While it may seem like Android and iOS have such a lead that no other operating systems have chance of catching them, don’t count the others out just yet. Research in Motion is getting ready to launch its new platform version, and it has some pretty interesting features in the works.
Blackberry 10 was originally supposed to hit the market sometime this year, but the launch date has been pushed to early next year. Despite the delay, RIM discussed the new platform version at a recent Blackberry Jam event. Here’s what you need to know about the newest offering:
- Blackberry is jumping on the touchscreen band wagon. Only select devices will still sport physicalkeyboards
- Some BB 10 devices will be entirely gesture based – without a button or key in sight
- The ability to jump back and forth between apps with Blackberry’s “Flow” feature
- One central location (the “Blackberry Hub”) that manages all your communications – from emails to Facebook messages to notifications.
- Its own app store called App World (which already promises social media apps from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn)
- Reported easy porting for Android apps
- A feature called Blackberry Balance will help BYOD users keep their personal and professional apps and data separate
- Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) is geared toward enterprise customers and will allow organizations to control mobile device management, security, infrastructure and app management from one central location. Supported devices include BB 10, BB 7m BB Playbook tables and iOS and Android devices.
- Auto-complete will function across multiple languages (even within the same message)
- Standby to find out which carriers will get BB 10
It’s fairly clear that RIM is aiming to take back its dominate position among business users and company-supplied phones. With features like BES 10 and Blackberry Balance, the OS has a good shot.
Thought BB 10 is looming on the horizon, RIM has stated that it has no plans to stop supporting and updating BB 7 (which is a good thing, since it’s not clear yet if BB 7 users will be able to update their existing devices to 10). What this means for developers and testers is that – like the fragmentation involved with other operating systems – Blackberry will have two major, very different platform versions that will need custom apps. You still have a few more months to get ready, so start working!