RIM, who spent the weekend trying to get publicity by winding up Apple with a “Wake Up” stunt outside their Sydney Apple shop, is set to launch a new Blackberry 10 touch screen smartphone in a desperate attempt to claw market share back from Apple.The new Blackberry 10 device which will be shown in Australia on May 7th has finally caught up with what Apple, Samsung and HTC offer as standard in their smartphones
A developer prototype that was given away in an effort to entice developers to create applications for the Blackberry platform has revealed some clues about the new device which RIM are banking on to revive the Company’s fortunes.
Under the bonnet the new phone has a modified version of the PlayBook OS, with the same PlayBook interface and gestures.
On the outside is a soft-touch rubbery material and metal with a BlackBerry logo on the back.
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The device has curved corners and a slight lip around the glass front.
The device has a front-facing camera, a very visible proximity sensor and a large speaker across the bottom of the phone.The rear camera has a flash. The headphone socket is on the top, along with a microphone for noise cancellation.
RIM has also supplied developers with a set of software tools in an effort to convince them to create flashy apps to run on its new operating system. The only problem is that many developers do not see the value of investing time and resources into a platform that is struggling.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said overnight that the BlackBerry 10 devices will navigate with fewer keystrokes than legacy smartphones, relying on swipe gestures and word suggestions.
Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners, told Reuters that Heins’ comments about the new phone only served as a reminder of the tough road the company has ahead as it prepares for the make-or-break BlackBerry 10 launch.
RIM knows consumers won’t buy its new phones or tablets unless developers get excited about the platform and create a wealth of apps to operate on it. A dearth of apps for the legacy BlackBerry is one of the big reasons RIM has suffered huge market-share losses to Apple and Google Android in recent years.
RIM admits that they are basically starting from scratch and that few of the apps available for its existing smartphones will not work on the new platform, and the legacy BlackBerry won’t be able to run apps created for the new platform.
The new phone comes with16GB of storage not the 32GB that HTC is offering with their new HTC One X and while it has the now bog standard micro USB and HDMI ports it does have three buttons on the side as opposed to underneath the screen as found on Android phones.
It also has a 4.2-inch screen 1280×768 resolution display screen. That’s higher than the 960×640 of the iPhone 4S.
RIM Australia is refusing to comment about the new phone or when it will be launched in Australia.