If this sneak preview video of BlackBerry 10’s features and UI doesn’t warm your heart, may we suggest checking your pulse. RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, also revealed some other features at the BlackBerry Jam developer conference yesterday and it’s clear that RIM has been innovating.
True BlackBerry loyalists will bemoan RIM’s decision to pursue touchscreen keyboards, but the keyboard previewed on a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, looks promising. It uses modeling algorithms to learn where you press on the display, so it adapts to your typing style. Aesthetically, the keyboard looks like a traditional BlackBerry keyboard with fretted rows of keys. The frets aren’t just cosmetic appendages, though. As you type, BlackBerry 10 predicts words you are going to type and displays them on the frets. You can swipe them up into your message for fast one handed typing. You can also swipe to reveal symbols or erase words.
During the keynote, Vivek Bhardwaj Head Of Software Portfolio also showed off a new BlackBerry 10 camera feature that can move a picture backwards and forwards in time to get the best possible shot. For example, if there’s one person in the picture with their eyes closed, you can fix it.
The BlackBerry 10 UI looks to be developing into something truly unique. RIM CEO Thorstein Heins says that BlackBerry 10 is less homescreen focused. Essentially users are encouraged to “live” in their most used environment (calendar, messages, social media apps) with quick or “flowing” access to other applications.
It’s also clear that RIM’s acquisition of The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) was a great move. The Cascades UI Engine will encourage a unified application look on BlackBerry 10 while still offering flexibility. RIM has done a lot of work on the BlackBerry SDK and it’s paying off. There are over 99 500 apps in App World with 25% of those having been developed for the PlayBook. The growth in PlayBook apps show great promise for the future of BlackBerry 10 which runs on a similar architecture. Gameloft has already announced 11 titles coming to BlackBerry 10.
When can we get our hands on this? No specifics were given, but personally, I’m thankful that RIM is taking time to colour in the details. RIM has a history of prematurely pushing out devices, but Heins says that the company wants to make BlackBerry “right and great.”
BlackBerry 10 combined with CEO Thorsten Heins’s enthusiasm and charismatic stage presence is infectious, and I can’t help but feel optimistic about BlackBerry’s future.