Архив метки: Dev Alpha

Leaked Slide Sheds New Light On RIM’s First BlackBerry 10 Devices


To say that RIM has a lot riding on their new BlackBerry 10 platform is a hell of an understatement, but to date the company has generally kept quiet on what consumers can expect from their first BlackBerry 10 devices.

As anticipation builds for a launch slated for later this year, N4BB has gotten their hands on an internal slide that reveals a few new details about RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 phones.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed at this year’s BlackBerry World event that the first BlackBerry 10 device to hit the market would be a touchscreen-only model, and RIM has been getting developers ready for it by doling out thousands of their Dev Alpha devices.

While company representatives were quick to note that the Dev Alpha was nothing close to the touchscreen device they would eventually ship, the slide notes that the L-series BlackBerry (previously known as the London) would sport an OLED display running at the same 1280×768 resolution as the alpha hardware. That display manages to cram 356 pixels into every inch, which also confirms that the L-series device will have a 4.2-inch display panel.

The slide also offers up a few details about what RIM has planned for their forthcoming keyboard-toting N-series model, perhaps most notably that the phone’s OLED display will run at 720 x 720 with a pixel density of 330 ppi. Crunching the numbers points to a screen that’s just a shade under 3.1 inches diagonal, making it the largest display to go on a more traditionally designed BlackBerry (the touch-friendly Torch series had larger 3.7-inch displays).

Just when these first devices will begin to trickle out of Waterloo is still a carefully-guarded secret, but sources have told N4BB in the past that an August announcement for the first BlackBerry 10 device would be followed by an October release.

Interestingly, the leak comes hot on the heels of rumors that RIM was pondering the outright sale of their handset business, something that doesn’t seem terribly outlandish considering CEO Heins’ past statements on corporate strategy. That said, The Globe and Mail reported earlier today that sources close to RIM have denounced the rumors as short-sighted and untrue.

Leaked Slide Sheds New Light On RIM’s First BlackBerry 10 Devices

RIM To Developers: We’ll Make Sure Your App Earns At Least $10K In Its First Year


With the release of their BlackBerry 10 beta development tools and Dev Alpha devices earlier today, RIM has made it very clear that they want to build up as much developer love as possible before BlackBerry 10 officially launches.

Well, as it turns out, that’s not the only thing they’re doing to attract devs. Alec Saunders, RIM’s VP of Developer Relations, revealed at BlackBerry World that RIM will guarantee developers of quality apps a minimum of $10,000 in annual earnings — if developers come in under the $10K mark during their first year, RIM will actually pay them the difference.

Ah, but there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). In order to qualify for RIM’s generous offer, the apps in question must meet a strict new quality certification program whose standards have yet to be laid concretely laid out. One thing is known for sure though — once an app has been officially approved for sale in the App World and nabs that new certification, it has to generate at least $1,000 on its own before RIM swoops in and cuts the developer a check.

Translation: the apps can’t completely suck. Sorry fart app devs, that means you.

It may not be the most novel approach — hell, just look at Microsoft’s track record — but it certainly drives home their developer-focused point. Frankly, it also smacks a bit of desperation. The one-time king of the smartphone realm now seems so hard up for more good apps that they’re willing to pay developers to build nifty things for their new platform.

Then again, with all of mud that’s been flung at RIM in the recent past, I can’t really blame for turning to payouts to make their platform a safer bet for developers. Creating rich, meaningful mobile content takes plenty of time and effort, and RIM is clearly doing whatever they can to make sure their app store gets some of that good stuff. Now the big question is whether or not RIM will be able to keep the momentum from this program going after they blow through their budget.

RIM To Developers: We’ll Make Sure Your App Earns At Least $10K In Its First Year

Tired Of Talk? Here’s What BlackBerry 10 Might Look Like


Even though we still don’t know when RIM will get around to launching it, CEO Thorsten Heins gave us a few brief glimpses at what BlackBerry 10 would be able to do during his keynote address at the BlackBerry World conference.

But what’s that? You missed the keynote? Well, just for you, here’s the video that Heins played during his time on stage that shows off what the company’s forthcoming mobile operating system could look like when it officially launches later this year.

Now, there’s plenty of time for RIM to change things before the operating system officially debuts on a BlackBerry smartphone, but the teaser video shows off a handsome, simple UI that I hope makes it into the final builds.

How close the video actually comes to accurately depicting the current state of BlackBerry 10 is still up in the air though — the pre-release Dev Alpha device runs on a modified (not to mention stripped down) version of the PlayBook OS, and RIM’s Vivek Bhardwaj wouldn’t show off the newer software build on his own testing device when we visited RIM in Waterloo last week.

We’ve explored some of the features spotted in the video (like the keyboard) in a bit more depth too, so take a peek if you haven’t yet had your fill of BlackBerry 10′s new tricks.

Tired Of Talk? Here’s What BlackBerry 10 Might Look Like

Early Look: BlackBerry 10′s Smart New Take On Touchscreen Typing


As it stands, most of BlackBerry 10 is still shrouded in mystery. Not even the Dev Alpha devices that will be made available to developers offer a glimpse of RIM’s new software — they’re running a modified version of the PlayBook OS instead.

All that said, RIM hopes to whet our appetites with glimpses at some of the nifty little touches that BlackBerry 10 will sport when it sees a widespread launch later this year. TechCrunch went to Waterloo and met with Vivek Bhardwaj, RIM’s Head of Software Portfolio, who took a few moments to give us one such sneak peek — an early look at BlackBerry 10′s keyboard, still a work in progress.

Fine, it doesn’t sound like the most thrilling way to spent 15 minutes, but let’s not forget that messaging and typing have always been a big part of the BlackBerry DNA and it isn’t exactly the kind of thing the company can afford to screw up.

“We feel that no one does this well,” Bhardwaj said of mobile typing.

Thankfully, the keyboard doesn’t disappoint. On the all-touch Dev Alpha device, the keyboard is large and nicely-spaced, with a small gap in between each row to help minimize errant taps. Even at this stage, everything seemed nice and fluid which is a definite plus when the keyboard leans on a few additional touch gestures to work properly.

Swiping to the left across the keyboard deletes your last input for instance, while swiping up changes to the numeric/symbol keyboard. That same swipe up gesture is used when the keyboard attempts to guess the word you’re typing — according to Bhardwaj, users will be able to send those guessed words flying into their messages by swiping from where the word appears over keys.

Normally, it would take a little time for the keyboard to store and recognize specific words that a person may use often, but Bhardwaj notes that there’s a way to jump-start that process.

“It’ll basically do a scan of all your personal history, your email, your SMS, Facebook, Twitter — basically every conversation you’ve ever typed,” he said. One this process is complete, the device will have a solid starting point for the user’s linguistic quirks, though he didn’t mention if users could opt to skip the scan.

Not all of the changes will be immediately apparent to BlackBerry users — in fact, one such improvement is meant to be all but invisible to people pecking out their day’s messages. Bhardwaj revealed to us that there is in essence a second, invisible keyboard that conforms over time to how a user types.

Let’s be honest: we’ve all been there. I suffer from a condition I like to call “beefy thumb,” which renders a solid chunk of my text messages incomprehensible to all but my close friends thanks to mistyped letters. With that second keyboard in place though, the boundaries of each key will subtly change to ensure that users are actually hitting the keys that they intend to.

It sounds like a minor addition, but the impact could be a big one for users — they won’t care how or why they’re getting better at typing, just that they are. RIM is making it a point to woo go-getters who can’t live without quick and accurate messaging, so the notion of a keyboard customizes itself to each user has the potentially to be a real crowd pleaser. Of course, keyboards alone do not a great platform make — Bhardwaj promised that the keyboard would be one of a few aspects that would get the demo treatment during the BlackBerry World keynote, so stay tuned for more.

Early Look: BlackBerry 10′s Smart New Take On Touchscreen Typing

RIM Officially Opens BlackBerry 10 To Developers, Greets Them With Dev Alpha Devices


RIM has caught plenty of flack these past few months, thanks to (among other things) a multi-day global outage, disappointing PlayBook sales, and a dramatic management shake-up. Beyond all of this, the news that their next-generation BlackBerry 10 operating system wouldn’t see the light of day until the latter parts of 2012 seemed like yet another nail in RIM’s coffin.

But the beleaguered company is trying to move past all of that at BlackBerry World. While we regular folk still have months to wait until the first BB10 products make it to store shelves, RIM has just officially opened up the BlackBerry 10 platform to developers at BlackBerry World, starting with the release of their BB10 beta development toolkits and the BlackBerry 10 Developer Alpha device.

As you may have guessed from the announcement, RIM’s game plan at this point is to give developers as much lead time as possible to develop applications to launch alongside BlackBerry 10, though we’re still no closer to figuring out when that launch will actually take place.

In fact, they’ve already managed to gain the support of some considerable third parties — fitness app developer Endomondo has already committed to the platform, as have the mobile game peddlers at Gameloft. Other partners include Occipital, Poynt, Truphone, and PixelMags, to name just a few. RIM hopes that by locking up some big-name partners, they’ll be able to entice smaller developers to take a chance on their platform as well.

“Anyway you want [to develop], we can support that,” said Adam Nanjee, RIM’s head of Social Media Partnerships. “Typically it’s been ‘Hey, come and join BlackBerry.’ Here we’re saying ‘Hey, you may already have an Android app, but it’s very easy to port to our platform’ and if they’re going for an HTML5 cross-platform strategy, we can support that as well.”

RIM’s app store numbers pale in comparison to larger rivals like Apple and Google, but representatives we spoke to were quick to spin that as a positive. According to developer focus groups the company held, more than a few beleaguered developers claimed that they could actually be found in BlackBerry App World as opposed to be being drowned out by scores of new submissions in competing app stores.

Meanwhile, the move to make the Dev Alpha device available to attendees of RIM’s developer-oriented BlackBerry Jam conference isn’t a surprise, but it’s a clear indicator that RIM is taking the BlackBerry 10 launch environment very seriously. After all, pre-release events for the PlayBook didn’t offer developers that sort of early access, and the company seems determined to learn from their mistakes.

All of the leaked Dev Alpha images that have surfaced over the past few days are indeed legit, and while it isn’t much to look at (imagine a scaled-down version of the PlayBook), that’s all part of RIM’s plan.

The thousands of devices being made available to developers at today’s BlackBerry Jam event are the same as the devices used internally to test code (save for the additional of some BlackBerry branding), and during our time with RIM they repeatedly confirmed that the Dev Alpha devices bear no resemblance to any BlackBerry 10 devices in terms of either hardware or software.

Sadly, this means that we’re still no closer to getting a feel for what BlackBerry 10 will actually look like. It’s a definite bummer, but it was perhaps to be expected — RIM is all about playing the expectations game now, and slapping the BB10 name on a device that essentially only has a web browser and a file system wouldn’t reflect too well on them.

As such, they’re also keeping mum on the thing’s specs — aside from the device itself proclaiming it has 16GB of onboard storage, all representatives would confirm is that it has a 4.2-inch screen running at 1280×768. After playing with one for a few brief moments its status as a developer-only device has been cemented by sheer lack of functionality included, though it did feel rather comfortable in the hand.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is in the middle of his BlackBerry World keynote address as you read this, so stay tuned — we’ll keep you posted on anything new or interesting Mr. Heins shares with us.

RIM Officially Opens BlackBerry 10 To Developers, Greets Them With Dev Alpha Devices