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BlackBerry launches long awaited BB10 platform

BlackBerry has appointed Ron Louks as head of devices as part of its management shake up

The Canadian handset manufacturer formerly known as Research In Motion unveiled its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system on Wednesday. At an event in New York, CEO Thorsten Heins revealed two devices running on the OS and announced a change of name for the company to match its product brand.

Key features of the OS include BlackBerry Hub; a single place to manage all your conversations such as personal or work email, BBM messages, social media updates or notifications. The platform offers the ability to “peek” into the BlackBerry Hub from within any app, meaning users can view notifications by swiping the screen at any time.

The on screen keyboard and text entry also claims to be more advanced in understanding and adapting to the user, by learning and suggesting words while typing. It is also able to translate messages into variety of different languages, as BlackBerry’s research shows that the majority of the firm’s users type messages in two different languages; ten per cent of them type in three.

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) also includes voice calling and video chat, and has the ability to screen share with other BlackBerry 10 contacts.

Naturally, the platform is particularly rich in enterprise functionality; BlackBerry Balance is a sandbox separates and secures work applications and data from personal content on BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry Safeguard technology helps users protect what is important to them and their business and BlackBerry Remember combines memos, tasks, photos, documents, and other files into a single hub. The BlackBerry World storefront includes 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps.

“Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving,” Heins said at the launch of the platform.

Heins has previously spoken about BlackBerry’s ambition to make BB10 future-proof for the next ten years, and Stephen Bates, European MD for the firm, told Telecoms.com how this will be achieved.

“We’ve designed this micro-kernel, multi-core processing platform and the products we’ve launched are just the first manifestation of what the system can do. We’ve tried to articulate a vision around this mobile computing era that we see as the next big growth curve.”

“The world we’re trying to paint is a world where your interaction and activity transcends the mobile device and starts extending into your house, in terms of smart devices and components, and your car and in your business life according to the vertical you operate in, such as logistics.”

He added that in this mobile computing world, it will be important that platforms are able to identify who the user is through their various social profiles. The power of the software has been articulated with what the company has demonstrated at industry events in proof-of-concept cars such as Bentley and Porsche, he added.

Bates also admitted that having a platform that can compete with platforms such as iOS and Android is one thing, but being able to demonstrate its functionality to potential customers is the challenge that lies ahead.

“Historically, the way our devices became prevalent was through word-of-mouth, so that’s one channel that is very important to us – we’re looking to engage with the community. We’ll also be using above the line and below the line marketing channels. Ultimately though, we’re looking to show people, rather than tell them, how good this platform is.”

He claimed that BlackBerry does not have any sales forecasts for the first two BB10 devices, but for the moment it is keen to ensure that its 79 million-strong existing customer base remains with BlackBerry and that it can convince consumers who have previously used a BlackBerry to convert back to the platform.

The BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2-inch display, 2GB RAM, 16GB hard drive and runs on a 1,5GHz dual core Qualcomm processor. It has an 8-megapixel camera and is capable of 1080m HD video recording.

The BlackBerry Q10 has a physical keyboard, a 3.1-inch touchscreen with a 720 x 720 pixel resolution, as well as a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM.

Both are LTE enabled and will launch first in the UK, where they are on sale this week.

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One comment

  1. Jack 01/02/2013 @ 4:42 pm

    In the consumer marketplace it is becomming increasing difficult for companies to differentiate their OS, and Blackberry have failed to innovate. But for many business users this update will be sufficient for them to stick with Blackberry for the time being.

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