Overnight, RIM unveiled Blackberry 10, showed off its features and promised developers a bounty if their apps didn't reach specific sales targets. It's an aggressive strategy for a company that's seen better days, but will it be enough?
The Blackberry 10 OS was shown off in a device that looks rather like a generic smartphone — a few traces of iPhone here, a dash of Android there — but then they're prototype devices. Blackberry diehards — such as Lifehacker's Gus — probably won't be happy with the use of virtual keyboards, something that RIM's struggled to implement in a satisfactory fashion in the past.
Taking a leaf from its Playbook OS, BB10 also supports a number of gestures for fast multi-tasking — RIM's cute code word for this is "flow". The final area that RIM's talking up in BB10 are the camera, which has an interesting rewinding feature that allows you to shift around the second you took a picture in order to capture it perfectly.
Attendees at Blackberry Jam conference were handed a prototype Blackberry 10 device — officially the "Blackberry 10 Dev Alpha Developer Testing Device", which is frankly going to look lousy on the advertising posters. OK, it's never going to get that far — in fact, RIM's planning on offering those developers a full BB10 device when they do launch in return for the testing device, although there's no set timeline for when we'll see actual BB10 hardware.
The developer deal is because it appears that RIM's taking on board the reality that you can't have an app ecosystem without lots of apps, and that takes incentives. More specifically, as Infoweek reports if an App in the App World that is "certified Blackberry 10" (whatever that'll end up meaning) earns over $1,000 but fails to earn $US10,000 in its first year, RIM will pay the developer the difference.
I've ignored it up until now, but it's worth noting that RIM were the ones behind that whole daft/annoying "Wake Up" nonsense. Blackberry 10 is probably enough to keep the RIM faithful happy, but that's not going to be enough for RIM to keep cutting $9,000 cheques. Do the new improvements in Blackberry 10 look like they'll be enough to entice you either into (or back into) the Blackberry fold?