RIM unveils BlackBerry prototype

2012-05-02 07:25
Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research In Motion, the company that makes BlackBerry, delivers the keynote speech during the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. (Reinhold Matay, AP)

Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research In Motion, the company that makes BlackBerry, delivers the keynote speech during the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. (Reinhold Matay, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Toronto - Research In Motion's new chief executive unveiled a prototype BlackBerry smartphone powered by a new operating system, the very software that the company has pinned its future on.

Thorsten Heins, who took the CEO job in January, revealed features of the BlackBerry 10 operating system running on a prototype device at the company's BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. He provided no update on the software's launch date.

Heins, who is trying to rally developers to make applications for the new operating system, promised that each developer at the conference will go home with the prototype BlackBerry.

In a speech that was broadcast on the company's BlackBerry World website, Heins stressed that the device is not the finished product.

"We're taking our time to make sure we get this right," Heins said.

Future

The once iconic company has had difficulty competing with flashier, consumer-oriented phones such as Apple's iPhone and models that run Google's Android software.

Heins made his first major speech since replacing long-time chiefs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in January. Lazaridis announced a month earlier that the often-delayed operating system would be delayed again until later this year.

Analysts say RIM's future depends on the new BlackBerry 10 software platform, although many say it may be too late.

"I'm very, very confident we will be there later this year with an exciting product. Make no mistake, this is not the final device, this is not the final hardware," Heins said.

"But it's a very, very important milestone for us."

The prototype BlackBerry has a touch screen, but no physical keyboard like most BlackBerry models. One of the new features is a modified touch screen keypad that will allow users to select full words with a single key stroke.

RIM has had limited success trying to enter consumer markets in recent years, particularly with high-end devices that sport touch screens popular with consumers. Touch screen BlackBerrys that lack physical keyboards have largely flopped.

Strategic review

BlackBerrys also lag iPhones and Android phones when it comes to the number of third-party applications they can run.

The Canadian company has long dominated the corporate smartphone market. Its BlackBerrys are known for their security and reliability. US President Barack Obama even refused to part with his BlackBerry after he took office.

But RIM faces threats from the "bring your own device" movement, in which employees bring their personal iPhones or Android devices to work instead of relying on BlackBerrys issued by their employers.

RIM's annual conference comes as the company has been undergoing a comprehensive strategic review for the last three months. Heins acknowledged the difficulties.

"A lot has been said and written about BlackBerry in this time. You've seen, I've seen it and our customers have seen it," Heins said.

"Let me make be very, very clear with you. I'm here because I believe in the unique value that BlackBerry delivers to our customers."

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who is in Orlando for the conference, said Heins gave a good speech in front of a bigger-than-expected crowd but said someone at RIM should have given the speech a year ago.

Important

"I just get the feeling that I wish they had it out already. It's going to be a challenge for them. When they launch BlackBerry 10 devices the iPhone 5, Windows 8 and all the Android devices will all be out," Misek said. "It sure does feel like it's getting close to being too late."

RIM declined to hold a presentation for analysts at the conference this year. Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial, called that a smart move because it kept a sense of doom out of the event.

Gillis said BlackBerry 10 is a solid operating system but it probably won't be enough to turn around the Canadian company. Gillis said it's more important for them to get it out right than to quickly release a flawed product.

"It's too soon to cast final judgment on the platform. Let's see what they do. Let's see if people build [applications] for the platform," Gillis said from New York.
Read more on:    blackberry  |  rim  |  mobile

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.