(Originally published on notable.ca)
It’s been a torrid 16+ months for RIM to say the least. The Waterloo, ON-based tech giant has taken its share of blows in 2012, including a huge executive shift (with a new CEO, Thorsten Heins, being appointed at the beginning of the year), a stock price at an all-time low, loss of market share, and, most of all, seemingly the most painful as well, a loss of confidence from some of their most devoted fans.
As I mentioned before, 2012 was less about negativity and more a year of transition.
However, after much delay – and seemingly out of the blue – RIM made an announcement on Monday morning that surprised everyone: BlackBerry 10 will officially launch on January 30th, 2013, with two new devices, one touch screen-only and one full QWERTY, both coming shortly after the “global release.” It has already been announced that BlackBerry 10 devices are in “carrier-lab” testing mode, meaning carrier technicians (Rogers, Bell and TELUS) are currently field testing the devices in and around the GTA for LTE speeds and battery endurance – these tests generally carry a 60-90 day turnaround depending on the carrier.
So, being a diehard BlackBerry devotee, what can you expect from BlackBerry 10, and will it blow you away as much as RIM is hyping it to?
Some pundits have claimed that the live tile/widget combination makes BlackBerry 10 a hybrid between Windows Phone and Android. Among the many new features included in the long awaited, much anticipated, from the ground-up OS include a new and improved camera, Peek (quick sidebar notifications that “peek” from the side and give the option to see a preview without leaving what you’re doing), BlackBerry Flow and BlackBerry Hub, and, of course, the BlackBerry Keyboard – the one that has been spoken about the most, with its ability to predict what you’re saying and allow you to “push” words into the sentence as they’re typed.
All in all, the aforementioned announcement – and features – is a breath of fresh air for those holding on for dear life to the BlackBerry brand; those who look at the BlackBerry as more than just push email and BBM, those who haven’t succumbed to the allure of iOS and Android, and most of all, those who needed some sort of confirmation that it was worth their time to hold on to their now defunct BlackBerry 7 and beyond devices.
January 30th is looking to be one of the most important days in RIM’s celebrated history, and frankly can’t come soon enough.