There are few brands that can truly count themselves as icons in the eyes of the world. BlackBerry is one of those brands and has over the past decade been on the lips of an entire generation. Created by the intrepid designers, engineers and technicians at RIM (Research in Motion), the BlackBerry has been around since the late 20th century but was only able to gain popularity in 2002. Since then it has been a dominant force in the smartphone market, mainly because of its signature QWERTY keypad and business focused handsets.
Over the years however it has been unfortunate to be hit by a string of events that for most companies would have meant the end. First came the iPhone with its touchscreen, apps and usability which tore a huge chunk out of their grip on the smartphone market. Then came the Android phones which was another shot to the gut for them. When BlackBerry messenger, one of their main USPs, malfunctioned for a majority of users it was almost a signal that the time of BlackBerry being a major player was coming to an end. Its systems failing, sales stagnating, who could blame competitors putting nails into the coffin of this Canadian born company that once conquered the world.
However recently at the BlackBerry World Conference in Orlando, RIM decided to unveil their new prototype for the BlackBerry 10 OS to fight back against their competition that had all but snuffed them out. This prototype has seemingly turned its back on most other BlackBerrys that have come before, because they have chosen to not incorporate a physical keyboard or any type of button on the front for that matter.
Alec Saunders told the New York Times “The reason why we’re doing this – which is unprecedented for us, and it’s quite uncommon in the industry – is because we want to create a wave of application support behind the new BlackBerrys before we bring them to market”.
RIM have gone so far as to offer developers a $10,000 incentive to build, finish and get apps approved for the time BlackBerry 10 is released to customers.They have to do this to ensure that they can effectively combat iOS App store and Google Play.
The prototype, currently called the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, has apparently only been created for the developers to test applications as they are made. It features a 4.2 inch screen along with the usual wireless and wired connection options.
So the last ditch effort, the magical sword being forged by BlackBerry might not be in the handset but in the OS itself. The question is whether it can beat the user friendly iOS and Android interfaces that have so far been pummelling them into submission.
The BlackBerry 10 OS will address the faults of the predecessors offering full multi-tasking, seamless app switching, cleaner presentation, new camera app and a predictive virtual keyboard.
However with the iPhone 5 as well as Google and Microsoft to contend with, when this is scheduled to come out, will this be a glorious last battle?
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