Research In Motion on Monday announced the launch date for its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10. RIM will take the lid off the new mobile operating system at a Jan. 30 event.
The event will also showcase the first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones. However, RIM did not offer any sneak peeks at the new devices or the market timing in its announcement.
"In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs," said Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of RIM. "Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities."
Heins said all of this will be integrated with a new user interface called BlackBerry Flow that differentiates it from smartphone competitors. BlackBerry Flow makes possible what RIM is calling seamless navigation across open applications and the BlackBerry Hub.
Practically speaking, that means all messages, notifications, feeds, and calendar events come into the BlackBerry Hub and no matter what the user is doing with the device, with a simple gesture, they can peek into the Hub at any time.
Enough, But Too Late?
Michael Disabato, managing vice president of Network and Telecom at Gartner, told us that when RIM initially planned to roll out BlackBerry 10 in September, he thought the timing was perfect. Now he has a different view.
"It's too little, too late, or it might be enough, but too late. Let's just put it this way: It's too late. RIM missed Christmas," Disabato said. "Who's going to be battling it out for Christmas? You've got Microsoft with Windows 8 and Surface and all of the Windows 8 phones. You've got various Android devices. You've got iPhone 5, iPad Mini, iPad 4 -- and old BlackBerry devices with an ancient BlackBerry operating system and they are going to try to go head-to-head with that."
The only consumers who are going to be interested in the new BlackBerry, which will likely roll out sometime in the first quarter of 2013, are the die-hard BlackBerry fans, Disabato said. Business and government users may also be interested in the new devices for security purposes.
The BlackBerry 10 platform has recently achieved FIPS 140-2 certification, which means that government agencies will be able to deploy BlackBerry 10 smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 as soon as it is available. RIM also recently announced that BlackBerry 10 smartphones have now entered more than 50 carrier labs with many more entries expected in the coming weeks.
Balancing Work and Play
That said, the new mobile operating system does have inviting features. For example, the BlackBerry Keyboard claims to learn how you write and adapt to how you type so you can write faster and more accurately, giving you the kind of legendary typing experience that only BlackBerry can deliver.
And BlackBerry Balance works to satisfy both customer and corporate needs without compromising on either by keeping personal apps and information separate from work data. The customer can switch from their personal to work profile with a gesture. The work profile is encrypted and secure so organizations can protect their content and applications, while also letting customers get the most out of their smartphone for their personal use.