RIM isn’t doing all that well these days, with their market share dropping faster than a rock and Android, iOS and even Windows Phone 7 becoming better choices than their Blackberry with every passing day. The company still has a lot of corporate clients, but the age of their platform is starting to show, and with the competition getting closer and closer functionality wise to their products, it’s hard to keep the customers from switching sides.
Obviously, the company is doing everything they can to survive, and they’ve shown quite a lot of promise with the new Blackberry OS versions and the touch smartphones that are just as good as the competition, at least hardware wise. The latest iteration of the consumer oriented Blackberry is the Blackberry 10 dev alpha – a prototype smartphone that is supposed to save the company from going the way of Windows Mobile and PDAs.
A whole new direction for RIM and Blackberry
The new device represents a whole new direction for RIM, and not only does it have the hardware to compete with any Android phone, but it is also very capable when it comes to the software, thanks to the all-new, QNX-based Blackberry 10 OS. The Dev Alpha is meant for developers to start working on testing the hardware/software and bringing it up to speed – they’re even offering incentives like guaranteeing that developers will make $10,000 in their first year on the Blackberry app market or the company pays the sum themselves – quite a proposition, indeed.
The new smartphone prototype shows a lot of promise. The design is pretty unique, but only because it’s so simple – it’s like a shrunk down Blackberry PlayBook: a simple rectangular black box with rounded corners and a display covering the whole front.
A great display, but unknown processor
The hardware features are quite decent, with the said display being a 4.2 inch IPS unit with a 1280×768 pixels resolution (which is higher than the competition, obviously). The exact processor used has not been revealed, and it’s quite likely that they will change it for the end model, anyway, but we do know that the phone has 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage space. There’s also the usual Wifi N, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, as well as a mini-HDMI port and 3.5 mm audio jack.
The QNX-based Blackberry 10 OS is more interesting than the hardware
The Blackberry 10 OS is probably more interesting than the Dev Alpha phone itself – it’s supposed to be an all new OS that can rival Android (and indeed, QNX can easily do that) and be a good match for both consumers and business users. The OS has a new, extensive API that can be used to do pretty much everything the developers want with the hardware.
RIM is paying extra attention to gaming, cloud functionality, wireless sharing, ease of use and development and other things that make a good OS. That is very encouraging and who knows, maybe we’ll see Blackberry rise from the ashes like Windows Phone in a couple of years. The apps market already features some of the most popular apps from the other platforms, including Foursquare, Slacker, Wikitude and others.
Sadly, the Dev Alpha won’t become a reality for the everyday consumer and corporate user until 2013, so we’ll have to wait quite a bit to see how all of this turns out. So far, the results are very encouraging, that’s for sure.