RIM is a casualty of the meteoric rise of Android and iOS. The Canadian smartphone maker was once the crown jewel of the mobile industry: they produced the most coveted devices around, their ecosystem was second to none, and the BlackBerry experience – the keyboard, BBM, email – was unbeatable. However, along came the second generation of smartphones, and washed RIM away.
Yet the Canadian smartphone maker is still alive. After purchasing QNX, an OS renowned for its stability, RIM released the Playbook. The 7″ tablet was a failure, but it seemed to prove that RIM had at least a little fight left in it. That was nearly two years ago, and the company has been hard at work on their next-generation OS ever since. Dubbed BlackBerry 10, the OS is entirely rebuilt. From the inner-workings of the system to the interface, BlackBerry 10 is an entirely different beast.
BlackBerry 10 was unveiled on May 1st of this year. The OS received a fair amount of press, though the general consensus was that it wasn’t revolutionary. It was nice – but nice just wasn’t enough to beat the iPhone and Android, or to even topple Windows Phone in order to retake third place. The design of the OS seems to focus on removing layers in order to get work done. This mindset follows the traditional BlackBerry manner, though the execution is quite polished – BlackBerry 10 is full of gestures and swipes, and an interface which is reminiscent of webOS.
Since that event, we’ve learned when exactly RIM is going to unleash BlackBerry 10. January 30th is the date, and while many are very skeptical, there are signs that RIM’s latest OS could actually succeed where others have failed.
BlackBerry 10 seems to have favor in high places: carriers are reportedly enjoying it. While the OS itself may not be a game changer, it could give the carriers something to push against iOS and Android, which have decidedly dominated the consumer smartphone space. While BlackBerry still has some holdouts, such carrier support will be absolutely necessary if the Canadian manufacturer wants a real shot at tackling the entrenched players.
Today, some of the first shots of actual BlackBerry 10 hardware were released. The image is obviously a teaser, meant to get hopes up for the impending launch, and depicts a phone with some sort of textured, almost leathery, back. The hardware itself looks nice, though not many details are available given the nature of the image. RIM is definitely trying to keep morale high going through the holiday season, and pump up some anticipation for their January 30th event.
RIM isn’t dead, and this latest round of hardware does look impressive. But is it enough?