Thorsten Heins

RIM unveils prototype for BlackBerry 10

The chief executive of Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) stood before the developers who could play a crucial role in the company’s future on Tuesday and gave them a first-look at the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The chief executive of Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) stood before the developers who could play a crucial role in the company’s future on Tuesday and gave them a first-look at the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The widely anticipated unveiling at its annual BlackBerry World conference in Orlando centered on some awe-inspiring technological developments sandwiched between pounding club music and a heavy dose of flashing spotlights that could send any raver into a tizzy.

The showcase was intended to get fickle programmers onside as RIM tries to recover from numerous blunders over the past year, including flagging sales, a woefully underdeveloped apps store and criticism that it hasn’t released a new smartphone in ages.

“We’re taking our time to make sure we get this right,” Heins told developers shortly before revealing the BlackBerry 10 prototype.

“I know how much hard work went into this,” he added.

Heins, who marked his 100th day atop the smartphone maker on Tuesday, then pulled a touch-screen device from his pocket installed with the BlackBerry 10 OS in its beta version.

“It’s working, and it’s working well,” Heins reassured the crowd.

“That’s why we took the decision to give it to our developers today because we want them to get going on this.”

While the new operating system is still in its test stages, Heins led the audience through a tour of some of the flashier new features of the system.

Overall, the interface shared a familiarity with the interface of the popular Apple iPhone and Android devices, though there were several new features that made it different.

Some of the highlights included a modified touch-screen keypad that adapts to common words each user types, and then allows them to select the full words with a single swipe of the screen.

But it was the smartphone’s camera that really seemed to excite the audience. It has a feature that captures several frames of time which can be combined to create a single “ideal” picture. For example, if one person was blinking in a group photo, they can be replaced with an image of their face taken moments earlier with their eyes open.

When the company demonstrated fixing one picture of a woman, opening her eyes and tacking a smile on her face, the audience gasped and burst into applause.

Each developer will go home with the new operating system on a prototype device, a move that will allow developers to start building applications for the new platform.

The beta version of the operating system will be shared “key carrier partners as well,” Heins said.

“I’m very, very confident we will be there later this year with an exciting product,” he added.

This year’s BlackBerry World conference began with a different tone than in recent years. Once considered a victory lap for executives, this year is about reaffirming the company’s history and showing developers that RIM can still be an innovator.

The strategy comes amid questions about the future of the Canadian technology firm that has been the centre of takeover rumours in recent months.

While some rumours suggested that RIM would surprise the audience with a slate of new hardware, the company said before the event that it doesn’t plan to showcase the product until its ready, sometime in the latter half of 2012.

Financial analysts are mostly absent from the conference, as RIM opted to cancel the presentations and seminars that specifically catered to them. Instead, RIM said it will have a separate analyst event timed for the release of the BlackBerry 10 models later this year.

Shares in Research In Motion were down 73 cents, or 5.1 per cent, to $13.40 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in afternoon trading.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today, some complain of long lines

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia are heading to the polls today… Continue reading

Kennedy Stewart named mayor of Vancouver; one of several B.C. turnovers

VANCOUVER — Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck… Continue reading

‘In our bloodline:’ Land-based learning links curriculum with Indigenous culture

REGINA — A school day for six-year-old Hunter Sasakamoose can start with… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Most Read