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BB OS is out, BBX is in

Recent reports from market research firms have revealed that Waterloo, Ontario based Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) is losing customers not only on a percentage basis, but also on a per unit basis in the U.S.  Adding to the company's woes, it recently experienced a major international outage that left BlackBerry users without email or messaging service.

But the company had some good news to announce, this week airing "BBX", its next generation BlackBerry operating system, at its DevCon keynote address.  The new operating system supports both native and web apps.

On the web app side, there's built in support for Android Java applications, much like the RIM Playbook.  This is critical as it gives new BlackBerries access to literally hundreds of thousands of new apps.  HTML5 web apps are also fully supported.

On the native apps side, there's a new Native SDK.  There's a new GUI SDK -- Cascade UI with support for 3D animations and more.  RIM is offering support for 100 commonly used open source libraries, including the popular multithreading library POSIX.  And for native apps RIM is also adding new deep integration to the company's push and BlackBerry Mail (BBM) services.

RIM President and Co-CEO.Mike Lazaridis was on hand to announce BBX [Source: RIM]

Adobe Inc.'s (ADBE) Flash and Air apps are fully supported.

The new operating system will be available on new BlackBerries and will be available as an OS upgrade for the PlayBook and future tablets.  An early build is available via the "BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 Developer Beta."

The base code of the operating system comes from QNX, the OS currently used in the RIM PlayBook, but borrows literally from RIM's own BlackBerry OS.  QNX was first released in 1982 by a fellow Waterloo firm, and was purchased in 2004 by Harman International Industries (HAR).  Then in 2010 RIM scooped up the OS-maker, reaching an agreement to buy it from Harman.

BBX Product
The new OS will be installed on both RIM's tablets and its BlackBerry smartphones.
[Source: Berry Review]

Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM, cheered the fruit of that acquisition, stating, "With nearly 5 million BlackBerry apps downloaded daily, our customers have made BlackBerry one of the most profitable platforms for developers.  At DevCon today, we're giving developers the tools they need to build richer applications and we're providing direction on how to best develop their smartphone and tablet apps as the BlackBerry and QNX platforms converge into our next generation BBX platform."

Some employees and investors have recently expressed skepticism [1][2] about the leadership at RIM.  Nonetheless, with increasingly attractive hardware, and a reinvigorated OS effort, RIM just may have what it takes to pull off a turnaround.

Source: BerryReview

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Typical Blackberry?
By 2ManyOptions on 10/19/2011 10:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
While I have not used a BB phone so far, the typical small screen with a relatively large looking yet cramped keyboard makes it looks lame compared to it's competitors offerings. While the new OS might bring in new features maybe what they really need is to bring out some really good phones comparable to its competition (targeted at a more widespread audience rather than restricted to business users).
Apart from the recently launched full-touch Torch 9850 (this is the latest if I'm not wrong), none looked appealing.

RE: Typical Blackberry?
By powerwerds on 10/19/2011 10:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
Your comment about the form factor made me think for a minute. On the one hand, yeah with that big physical keyboard they are just never going to come close to realizing the screen space of a full-touch form factor. On the other hand, I've never had a more enjoyable input experience on a mobile than when I had my Blackberry back in the day around around 07. Dude I used to just fly on that keyboard. Going from touch-tone entry to a physical mini qwerty interface was really quite a game-changer for me as a user.

Going from that to a qwerty layout on a touch interface, I was very much less enthused about. Not only did my speed drop a little, touch keyboards just seem to be ever so slightly, almost imperceptably, laggy tactilely. The biggest drawback was actually in accuracy. I think the physical layout, as opposed to the touch, must just confer a little more of a realized real-time error correction. When your fingers are flying and you miss the correct letter by just a smidgeon, on a physical keyboard you can kind of tell, oh I just over/under shot, and what I meant to press is right here, and thats a correction that happens on the fly. For touch screens, hitting a miss feels an awful lot like hitting a hit, it feels the same really.

However, concerning telephonic input entry, we are seemingly in the midst of a very real paradigm shift (you aren't just changing games, you are changing worlds), note:

Rotary entry > Touch Tone entry > Qwerty entry > Worlds truly unconstrained by lowlier tactile entry interfaces. Siri being a recently marketed example.

That phone, the 8703, was a very bright moment in my mobile history. It was the first phone I owned that lasted longer than a year. I was a junior in college by that time, and had continuously had cells since 1999. Though a few got washed, one or two got lost, a couple broken catastrophically (flip phones can gtfo in general imho), they seemed to poop out otherwise, and I felt validated as a consumer if my phone was older than 6 months. Also, it was free! It came as a hand-me-down from my sis who was upgrading to one of their new pearl variants. It was my first phone without an antenna, crucial to my backpocket-storage usage characteristic. First one I owned with full html web-browsing, and also the first one without those pesky SMS length caps (I can maybe capture single sentence brevity, on the whole.. ehh.. no). And sadly, maybe most saddest of all, it was the last of my someone-else-footing-the-bill cell use era.

Brick breaker with the side wheel anyone?!? Fire! That keyboard though really had me feeling like the bee's knees. I am not, however, objectively convinced of further bees-kneesment by users switching to RIM at this particular, current point in time. Its a shame though because with less competitors comes less varied attempts to break through the current form factor deliveries and move on to, or even glimpse, tomorrow today. I am not trying to break hearts here, but yes, what I mean is that the last cell phone made will not, contrary to various current enfeebled sentiments, look like your I-phone.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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