Ahough the BlackBerry 10 operating system is the clear focus at RIM's developer's conference this week, additional details concerning the future of this company were also revealed. There's good and bad news for long-time fans, especially if they own a device released in the past year.
Developers Are Critical
RIM seems keenly aware that a key element to BlackBerry 10 success lies in developer support and getting popular apps on its platform. As such, RIM put forth its best face in wooing devs at BlackBerry World in Orlando, and assuring anyone watching that major developers are already on board.
It began with RIM CEO Thorsten Heins keynote presentation to kick off the conference, the same in which he officially unveiled BB10. Representatives from Gameloft and Fish labs took the stage with Heins to show off their latest and greatest, including BB10 ports of N.O.V.A 3 and Galaxy on Fire, respectively.
Later during a panel discussion, major game developers extolled the virtues of the platform's security, its ease in porting over existing titles, and its profitable user base. As one dev quipped regarding the difference between Android and BlackBerry users, “BlackBerry users have credit cards.”
Of course, the Dev Alpha unit RIM passed out to BlackBerry Jam attendees will also help woo developers, as will RIM's $10,000 guarantee. At the show, the company guaranteed developers $10,000 per BB10 app during the first year the apps are made available. To qualify, the apps must receive RIM quality certification and earn $1000 independently. RIM will then pay the difference if the apps fail to earn 10k.
Customers Matter Too
It's not all about developers at BlackBerry World; Heins made comments to address customer concerns as well. Although RIM is still focused on business to the point Heins claimed he wants BlackBerry to be “number one in mobile enterprise,” he also claimed “RIM is not exiting the consumer business.”
The consumer focus may be evident from the Dev Alpha unit, assuming it's a harbinger of future BB10 devices. It looks extremely slick with its 4.2-inch touch display and industrial design. But Heins claimed in no uncertain terms that RIM is not abandoning the physical keyboard. Future BB10 devices will have a physical QWERTY, which should keep business customers happy.
What won't keep current customers happy however is the fact that current BlackBerry 7 devices might not receive the BB10 update, according to Heins. While BB7 will remain active after the BB10 launch, likely for low-end and entry-level devices as well as developing markets, the PlayBook is the only active device confirmed for the update.
Be sure to check out our preview of BlackBerry 10 from RIM's developer conference.