If you’re reading this post, the chances are that you know that RIM and it’s BlackBerry product line haven’t been doing so well lately, stock value and product interest have been falling rapidly and many critics and reviewers have written RIM off completely. You may also Know that BlackBerry 10 is due to be released towards the end of this year. From what little we know of it, BlackBerry 10 is set to be a radical departure from any BlackBerry we have yet seen. It will be running a QNX operating system based off of PlayBook OS 2.0 (the PlayBook will be upgraded to BlackBerry 10 software soon after BB 10’s launch) so both the PlayBook and future BlackBerry phones will be running the same OS (tweaked for phone and tablet use obviously). BlackBerry 10 will also support widgets and video calling (Video-calling will be a first for BlackBerry phones, and widgets will be a first for both the BlackBerry PlayBook and phones), it will be RIM’s first Superphone, and it very likely will have the future of RIM and BlackBerry on its shoulders.
Even though at the moment BlackBerry’s future doesn’t look so good, and it is definitely “Uncool to be a BlackBerry fan” As ZDnet Blogger Matthew Miller noted in his article, I am a proud BlackBerry fan. I have a 16 Gig PlayBook and prefer it to the IPad 2, which I have used fairly extensively, and have been anxiously gathering all the information I can on BlackBerry 10 for a while now and I like what I see. Even though much will change from the leaked photos we have seen by the time the final product is released, it looks like BlackBerry is finally jumping into the future instead of playing catch up, as they have been for the last 3 years. BB 10 reminds me of a much better looking Android variant, and with traditional BlackBerry stability, (probable) real time multi-tasking, excellent email support, and speed, I am very, very optimistic.
So, so far we know that it will be very graphically pleasing, and seems it will be running a more advanced and finished version of the (QNX) PlayBook OS 2.0, we can reasonably assume that it will feature the real-time ‘true multi-tasking’ that the PlayBook is known for, and it will also be quite fast. RIM has confirmed that the PlayBook will be upgraded to BlackBerry 10 soon after its release. Looking at the leaked BlackBerry OS 10 photos, it seems like BlackBerry 10 will also include/support home screen widgets, so seems the PlayBook will eventually run BlackBerry 10 too, it is fairly reasonable to assume that there may be widgets in the PlayBook version of theBB OS 10, whenever that comes out. So, going on the prediction that widgets will be included in the PlayBook version of BB 10, that’s a pretty big change, and if a 10 inch PlayBook were ever to come out (rumours have been floating around since the PlayBook launched), you can see how that would make good use of the extra screen real-estate.
Although the phone and tablet versions will obviously be tweaked for their different form factors and purposes, the fact that they will be running the same operating system means that all apps that work on one device, with little to no modification, should work on the other. I feel that this point is especially important, because BlackBerrys have become known for having few apps, and not juggling Operating Systems will only improve that problem, and that, along with the graphics capability of the OS (and unknown, but obviously good hardware, as it is classed as a ‘superphone’) make them more attractive to developers. So, all the apps that are on the PlayBook right now, including many awesome games by EA Games and GameLoft studios should work on BlackBerry 10 phones at or very soon after launch.
I have had my PlayBook since early December of last year and I haven’t had any major complaint with it at all. I love the OS and I see potential written all over it. With a little better coding and/or memory management to improve app speed, I could easily see it becoming one of the best mobile operating systems out there. For the moment though, I am hoping that RIM’s constant delays updating the PlayBook are due to an intense focus on BlackBerry 10, which would make sense as it will eventually run on the PlayBook as well. Having watched all the rumours going around the web about a 2nd PlayBook, 4G PlayBook, possible 10 inch PlayBook, and BlackBerry 10, I believe that if any of these rumours about the next (physical) PlayBook are true, they may come out just after BlackBerry 10, and once it is running on the PlayBook. (It is worth noting again that BB 10 running on the PlayBook is not a rumour, but an official acknowledgement from RIM.)
In closing, for me especially, being a recently converted BlackBerry fan, I can’t wait for the new OS. Not just because of all the new features it will bring to both the PlayBook and RIM’s new Superphones, but also because, this OS may vary well (unfortunately) have the fate of RIM resting on its shoulders. If it does well, I think it will bring RIM back to the fore (or at very least, boost its sales considerably) in the mobile device race, if it flops… Well, I can only wish RIM good luck, because they will have blown possibly their last, and biggest chance to suceed in an ever-advancing market.
Update 1: RIM officially unveiled much or BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry Jam Americas on September the 25th 2012, please read my summary of that event, as most of the information in this post is no longer accurate because of the limited information available when it was written.
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