The day RIM got real: We preview two upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices

Daniel Bader

August 24, 2012 2:04 pm


Tucked away in a closed room at the BlackBerry 10 Jam in Waterloo yesterday, RIM candidly put its cards on the table and let us glimpse two devices that will mark the company’s literal and spiritual turnaround. We’re very limited as to what we can talk about — no names, no specs, no specifics – but rest assured, you should be very, very excited.

RIM considers what we saw to be finished hardware but the software is still a work in progress. Nonetheless, we were impressed by how far the company has come since we previewed the Dev Alpha back in June. The team seemed visibly excited and nervous as it showed off its one-two punch of all-touch and QWERTY; we were able to touch, use and critique both hardware and software, and came away with mostly positive impressions.

Before we saw the devices, Alec Saunders, RIM’s VP of Developer Relations, spoke of his unwavering devotion to BlackBerry 10 and its developer community. His work has brought us these Jam Sessions, which have sold out in all but one of the 25 locations they’ve been held. Indeed, the energy inside yesterday’s remote Kitchener-Waterloo conference centre — and the ruckus we witnessed at the Toronto event in June — speaks volumes about the loyalty of the developer community. Saunders assured us that, in addition to the 25,000 PlayBook apps that will work out of the box on BB10, there will be thousands of native BlackBerry 10 apps available in App World out of the gate.

He emphasized that RIM doesn’t want to be just a pass-through merchant for these folks. With the new “$10,000 Guarantee,” RIM will ensure developers of certified BlackBerry 10 apps receive at least $10,000 in their first year. The company is “de-risking working on BlackBerry 10,” as Saunders likes to say.

Andrew MacLeod, RIM’s Managing Director for Canada, emphasized the financial viability of a company many have already dismissed as unsalvageable. “We have $2 billion in the bank and are debt-free. We have 78 million active BlackBerry users around the world, and we’re going to work very hard to excite and delight those customers to upgrade to BlackBerry 10.” MacLeod told us that RIM has been met with an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm from Canadian carriers as they’ve been showing the two devices around the country. He wouldn’t commit to which carriers would get particular devices, but ensured us the worldwide launch would be huge.

But such success is contingent on high-quality devices, the first of which is expected early 2013. The finished hardware on the all-touch device is imbued with a distinct BlackBerry essence, an uncomplicated professionalism that only RIM can pull off. Its 1280 x 768 screen resolution makes for an extremely pixel-dense experience, and the OS shines on the glass screen. There is no question that the keyboard, which had already been previewed, is distinctly ‘BlackBerry’ — it learns where your fingers touch the screen, and what words you use most regularly. We had no trouble touch-typing as fast or faster as other virtual keyboards.

The UI is fast and fluid, and much further along than we expected. The BlackBerry 10 we saw was a cohesive, fully-featured product, a testament to QNX and its touch-friendly roots. Users will have to get used to gesture-based navigation, that “flow” and “peek” dynamic that has been teased so many times. It’s a completely new way of interacting with a smartphone. BlackBerry 10 will be immediately familiar to existing users, but is not encumbered by its Java-based roots. There is no slowdown, no spinning clock. Multitasking, like on the PlayBook, is a real proposition.

The QWERTY device is iconic and familiar. The touchsreen display will have a 720 x 720 resolution and an OS that has been assiduously catered to the 1:1 aspect ratio. Despite our initial reservations, the “flow-and-glide” navigation felt natural to us on the smaller screen after just a few minutes.

The all-touch BlackBerry 10 device will be released some time in early 2013. The QWERTY product will come next, with a four to six week gap between releases. Hopefully the combo will be exactly what RIM needs to survive, and thrive, in this impossibly competitive market. The RIM we saw yesterday was not a company chastened and morose; these men and women welcome the challenge to prove to consumers, businesses and developers just how quickly they can recover.

  • Misaow

    Is this bb10?

    • cybik

      actually yes

    • ResearchInProgress

      Rimm stock closed at $6.94: Another day; another TALK, about what COULD BE in EARLY 2013.

      How low will the stock close August (low-mid $6?)
      September (High $5s?)
      October (droppped to $4 after iphone 5?)
      Nov: LG phones, new NEXUS phones, W8 phones, ($5)
      Dec: Everybody will be SELLING their phones and RIM will be “talking” about theirs.($4)
      January: Slowest month of the yr, nobody has money
      Feb: Operators release the close of the yr reports, Tada, here is BB10.($3)

      I realistically don’t think they will make it, they keep loosing about 6% per month and 15% when its Qreport time.

      The thing is nobody will buy them now because whatever they pay now it will be less if they had waited nother yr.

      I don’t think they will make it.

    • vn33

      For once, your question is relevant.

      In the rest of the times, you and/or your buddies (under various aliases) who asks this, look like retarded moron(s) !

    • Shey

      Too little, too late. Sorry RIM. You had your chances.

      RIP RIM.

    • FIRM DATE

      WHERE IS THE FIRM DATE?

      “The all-touch BlackBerry 10 device will be released some time in early 2013″

      APPLE WILL HAVE SOLD 150 MILLION IPHONE 5′S BY THEN.

      RIP RIM!!!!!!!!!!!
      RIP! RIP!

    • kERP

      That’s all nice RIM. TOO LATE. There’s something called iOS and Android…oh and Windows 8.

      RIP RIM. Just die.

      RIP RIM

  • Johnson

    Super excited for the QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device.

    No pictures make waiting to find out even more excruciating.

  • briggs

    Here’s to hoping.

    • ATInsider

      This upcoming BB10 should have the ability strip away market share from both Google and Apple, but especially with Apple seeing how the iPone5 suck real bad. RIM has a great opportunity to execute, execute they will do.

  • kris

    Is this BB10?

    YES MOTHERFU*KERS IT IS

  • CrackberrySzabo

    GO RIMPIRE!!!!!

  • BBA Brian

    Buy buy buy

  • Jason

    If RIM can deliver close to expectation with BB10 devices, then their next big challenge will be to migrate a large enough % of their existing user base over to the BB10 ecosystem as quickly as possible to build incentive for the developer community as well as protect that user base. Will be interesting to see how they go about that. By coincidence I should be up for a new phone by then too ;)

    • Gene

      When this is launched the 9900 will be 18 months old. If the global launch is executed well they should have no problem switching everyone over to BB10. I hope they announce a list of Apps available at launch well before January. (and no, Poynt does not count)

  • Sterling

    Hopefully the dumb RIP RIM people don’t come in and troll this!!

    GO RIMPIRE!! Blackberry by Choice!!

    • kERP

      rip rim! rip rim

  • todd

    Rim reminds me of a good Canadian hockey player no matter how hard they get hit they always get back up and keep fighting. Looking forward to using bb10 as soon as its released

  • Drew Moreberry

    @Jason

    I think because they have held off on such a large device and OS shift, that most of the BB users who want to keep using BB will have made the switch withing 6 months of the introduction of BB10. I won’t be one of them, but I have much hope for RIM’s success.

  • Mike

    I was excited about the playbook when they were just talking about it. Then it was released. The excitement went away pretty quickly.

  • Phil

    I hope that they can wow me and others as well. I’ve been with android for the last few years after I had an iPhone but before that it was BB. Would I go back….. Impress me RIM and I just might.

  • Arid

    Interested in seeing what they can put out, hopefully it doesn’t get delayed till 2014…

  • RIMPIRE

    RIP RIM

  • Dylan K

    They will have to amaze me to get my to switch from my Android device. Loved the blackberry idea and BBM was nice to have but the OS left alot to be desired.

    Here’s to hoping Blackberry can bring me back.

  • Blas

    Is this bb… Oh hey would you look at that it is.

  • Nomes

    Man the next 4-5 months are going to be hard. We should start seeing more demo’s and information flowing down. I am curious to see what the devices will end up looking like.

    Everyone I know that has used or seen the new OS is excited and said RIM has finally brought their A game. They are making it easier to develop applications but the next year will still be very rough for them.

  • Jordan

    I can’t wait to see these new phones – BB10 looks amazing. I’d also love to see RIM embrace its Canadian roots and name these phones after us. All touch BB Vancouver, qwerty BB Halifax, etc. Hey why not?

  • js

    You can praise BB10 all you want, and I’m sure it will be stunning, but no matter how good it is the real challenge for RIM is giving their customer something that makes their day easier or more fun.

    Google, Apple, and Microsoft have tons of services readily available at their fingertips that they can package with their smartphones. RIM essentially has nothing (does BBM even count anymore?).

    Hopefully they a ton of tricks up their sleeve for BB10 launch, because an amazing OS is not enough to save them.

  • Jason

    Please post a pic of the QWERTY device!

  • Apple Sales Guy

    Good luck to Blackberry and RIM

    ;)

  • Gene

    Well Daniel, that is quite an endorsement. I will be waiting, and hoping.

  • Fandroid

    nice piece of propaganda writing, now about about a reality check ?

    • Porilaisten

      This IS the reality check and finally some accurate information about RIM’s upcoming products. Unlike those *cough* who beat the drum of the anti-RIM internet media.

    • Jay

      @Fandroid: You wanna see a reality check, wait till the iPhone 5 is launched and the technology is months behind the latest Android (and hopefully the new Blackberry’s too).

    • CDN5abi

      This is a breath of fresh air. It reads and sounds objective and leads me to have cautious optimism. I hope RIM delivers.

      Mobilesyrup: kudos to you for focusing on the positive.

  • Donald K

    Sweet.

    I can’t wait to replace this pos Galaxy S with a BB10.

  • HwyXingFrog

    I prefer Android over Blackberry for the same reason I prefer Android over iPhone. I like the flexibility of Android to meet my needs exactly.

    That being said, I hope this can resurrect RIM and keep them as a viable option against iPhone. There are still a lot of people that will ONLY use Blackberry, I just hope it isn’t too late.

  • kevin

    Wow, sounds really good. Can’t wait!!

  • Trent Reznor

    Just bought a $1,000 of RIM shares. I believe in the Crackberry ;)

  • Robert

    Show the world what Canada is made of, RIM.

  • 45

    I’m admittedly not a Blackberry fan, but definitely interested to see whay they have to offer. We’ve been hearing about BB10 for what seems like forever; has a lot to live up to!

  • VenzBenz

    I c*m in my pants after reading this article. Go RIM!

    • trueteller

      A bit premature, arn’t you.

  • JDX

    Very excited to see what RIM brings to the table.

  • Kevin

    I have my $$$ waiting – please don’t disappoint me RIM!

  • superdave

    Very interesting. My contract is up in January and I will be eligable for a new phone. Perefect timing to get a new BB10 device. My torch has been flawless since I dumped a problem app (aim) 2 years ago, and I am pretty loyal to RIM.

  • JR

    While working on these devices, they should have had people working on bringing all the iphone and android apps to blackberry users. BB users have gone so long lacking what andoir and iphone users have, I think too many will have switched to something better by the time these devices come out!

  • Steve Dion

    I’m willing to give the one with a physical KB a chance. As long as it’s got a great camera, the phone will do fine. With tablets being so cheap these days all one needs is a phone that does great basic phone functions (volume, reception), Facebook and twitter apps and a great camera. A decent browser will be fine as most people do their serious reading on a tablet.

  • MidnightWatcher

    I’m on Android right now, but am seriously considering moving to BB10 when it comes time for me to upgrade.

    • Geoff

      I never thought I’d say this, but it’s a serious consideration for me too.

  • shaker

    coming to WIND??

    • d3v14n7

      No, WIND sucks compared to the rest of the carriers… You get what you pay for, and in WIND’s case, you’r enot getting much.

  • Bill

    Is this iOS 6

    • phreezerburn

      iOS6 you think? No, I’d never have mistaken BB10 for Jellybean-lite.

    • som

      Actually iOS 6 copied it. Then Apple will patent it as their own. Now they wait until the official release of BB10 so that they can sue RIM.

  • Vengefulspirit99

    Is this bb… Omfg it is

  • JustMeAndMe

    Success or doom of BB10 heavily depends on media opinion.
    Seems that this time they invested much into propaganda even at usually objective website MobileSyrup.

    And before all RIM-lovers start bashing me- have you noticed that there is not a one negative mentioned in the article? Does it sound as really objective report?

  • superfly

    Is this bb11?

  • Tehedra

    He mentioned that the software isn’t 100% ready but what he see’s is great so far. Does the article require negativity to not be biased?

    For once it’s a great Article without saying “Too Little To Late” like most Articles due. Let’s face it BB10 is being done right; RIM is finally stepping up. They are taking their time to ensure that what they release is what we want.

    They need to satisfy us as customers; as well as carriers as customers. They do not have the clout to be able to ignore the carrier requests.

    I for once am happy to read some postive; realistic reviews of the latest BB operating system.

  • Keebler

    Most BB users I know won’t use an Android or iPhone b/c they like the physical keyboard.

    If there’s no new BB device with one….ouch. Huge oversight imho. Is there one coming?

    • Go RIM!!!!!

      You obviously didn’t read the article.
      Yes it’s coming 4-6 weeks after the launch of the full touch screen.

  • v

    die slow android & apple :)

  • G – man

    BB X!
    FTW!
    RIP RIM HATERS!!!

  • sp

    very excited for the news and the release of these new BB10 phones.

    til then, i will enjoy my CM10 Galaxy S3..so buttery smooth!!!!

  • John

    Missing back to school and Christmas and possibly launching in January when consumer spending tends to hits a low for the year will hurt. Though maybe not as much as the usual tactic of releasing half baked products (PlayBook anyone?).

    Most consumers in North America are tied to 2 or 3 year contracts. A lot of Galaxy S3′s have sold. Many more will sell. iPhone 5 will sell like hotcakes.
    You won’t see many of those people breaking contracts to get a BB10 device so RIM has to wait until next time around to win those people over.

    IF BB10 is amazing, RIM might make a slow recovery and start gaining back marketshare. It won’t be a quick process though so don’t expect miracles. Expect a slow grind for a couple of years before they’re anything more than a bit player. And yes, they ARE a bit player now with less than 2% smartphone market share worldwide. That slow recovery is the BEST they can hope for.

    My prediction: BB10 will be great but won’t see a high adoption rate by corporate users or consumers. RIM as we know it will not survive.

    For the record I had a Torch 9800. It was utter crap.
    Then I had a Bold 9900. Fantastic for communications. Useless for anything else. It routinely froze, overheated on a regular basic causing huge battery drain issues.

    I have a PlayBook gathering dust. Battery won’t hold a charge, unstable browser, no apps, crap camera. Missing basic functions like being able to organize photos into a folder.

    I made the switch to Android with the LTE Galaxy S2. It is amazing. I LOVE the flexibility and freedom of Android. Everything works, and it’s fast. Decent camera, fantastic Navigation (better than my GPS). Lightning fast web browsing.
    I thought I’d miss the keyboard on my old 9900. I had a hard time deciding to move away from it. I was wrong. to think I would miss it. SWYPE is awesome. Speech to text works almost perfectly every time. For me full touch is just as good as the physical qwerty.

    It’ll take a miracle to get me back on the BlackBerry wagon after the disappointment of my last three RIM products. RIM is going to find a lot of people out there that feel the same.

    • Dean

      Upgraded to a 9900 from a 9780, just love the 9900, no issues whatsoever. PlayBook had it from launch,excellent device, especially the bridge app.

  • bb10

    all RIM has to do now, is to improve its marketing strategyyy. love bb10!

  • HelloBB10

    A total breath of fresh air….i would definitely buyout the remaining months on my iphone plan and upgrade to BB10…
    Go RIM — Go Canada.
    we made it this far we will make it till forever as the premium brand and hopefully on top of all other brands :D

    YESSSSSSSSS… THIS IS BB10 Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy :D

  • Ronll

    It is, t mobile bands will be supported, so wind is a likely contendent, Now who’s pre-ordering one of these babies this december !!!!!!Cause i am

    • balti

      im already standing in line to preorder! you already know! the sooner i can ditch this android the better!

  • Alex

    RIM lost me when they said Android player on Playbook would help. That OS 2.0 release day was a MASSIVE disappointment for me. I have tried to find em, but still no APP player.

  • kedar

    Go RIM go!
    QNX is such a wonderful platform. cant wait to have BB10. im definitely buying both touch and qwerty when they launch. The developers are also flocking and VP dev relations Alec saunders is doing a great job. RIMPIRE will strike back.
    #BlackBerrybychoice
    #BlackBerryforlife
    #letsrockandrollthis

  • Tomatoes

    I am not sure if they can recover from the terrible mindshare they have right now. Their main problem is to somehow get back all the fans that have completely written them off. That is going to be quite hard to do, no matter how good the product is.

    Betamax was a much better product than VHS but VHS had the support and mindshare. Betamax was too late, the damage has already been done and the pplayers already decided. I am afraid that RIM is most likely too late.

    • BlackBerry FTW

      Odd that you would say that.
      The user base is actually increasing every year (just not as fast as some others, hence the decline in market share).
      With 80 million current BlackBerry users I don’t think they will have a hard time finding people to buy a BB10 phone if it turns out to be as great as it seems.
      Also don’t forget there is a very large group of BlackBerry fans who have gone to another platform, but they are just looking for an excuse to come back. BB10 will be especially nice for combining business and personal phones in one device (BlackBerry Balance). The new hardware and BB10 will provide the tools to provide an amazing consumer experience that wasn’t available on previous business phones.
      I currently carry a BlackBerry 9900 and an iPhone 4S. I can’t wait to ditch the iPhone and just have one device.
      The smart phone market is expanding at a crazy pace. There is room for 4 platforms (BB10, iOS, Android, WP8) and competition is good for the consumer in the end. Anyone on this site that is cheering for the demise of any one of those platforms is showing extreme ignorance.

  • Terry

    Cant wait for my new phone please hurry, maybe Santa Claus can bring it?

  • julie

    I have always liked my blackberry. I cant imagine not having a blackberry.

  • kml

    Just make sure it doesn’t have rounded rectangles.

  • Noah

    RIM needs to focus less on phones. I think they should be providing enterprise apps that work across all platforms. They should create servers that businesses can use to manage the new “bring your own device” environment.

  • kroms

    Lets all wait and see what happens.

  • VenzBenz

    is this jelly bean 4.1?

  • Reality Check

    The BB10 Phone on the screen has a time of 13:37. Let’s hope it lives up to its ‘elite’ status.

  • Jarvis

    Would it be appropriate to use the phrase “This changes everything… again”?

  • Chris Farrer

    !GO-RIM-GO!

  • MC Lean

    THIS JUST IN APPLE vs RIM, It’s all about values according to TC. Looks like iOS 6 music app!

  • TTop

    I’ve jumped ship from BB to Android in the recent past but would love to see RIM pull through on this. I’d like to have a good reason to get back to BBM and keep it Canadian!

  • Cell Hell

    I’m not a massive fan of Android right now. If this is a truly competetive product I’ll switch.

  • Dee

    after having used bb, android and the iphone, I can safely say that bb has a lot more potential than its creators realize…

    hopefully, that is exactly what we will find when bb10 gets out and NO MORE DRAMAS.

    All hail THE RiMPiRE!!!

  • kastortroy

    Those people who constanly post simplistic words “rip rim” are not getting any sex so they gotta keep venting their bs here.

  • abc123

    It needs all the popular apps and games or it will fail like webOS.

    WebOS has shown us that not even a technically superior OS can make it alone, it needs the app ecosystem. 25000 playbook apps may seem like a lot but if it does not have the most used apps on iPhone and Android, it’s going to die.

    • balti

      well said, hopefully RIM has taken this into account and focused on getting those developers but seeing as how hard they’re trying im sure they know of EVERYTHING they have to do in order to succeed. like they said “we’re not in here to come in 2nd or 3rd, we’re in it to win it!” haha

  • balti

    I just upgraded from my 2+ year old bb bold, to a samsung android device (worst mistake of my life) 4 months ago, but i wont mind paying full price for the bb10! :D JUST HURRY UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!! the wait is killing me (literally, android gives me so many headaches.. just sending a text message the software has trouble not lagging -_- badddd)

  • paul sykes

    Ok lets face it …what new paradigm shift in technology would it take for the BB10 to really make everyone’s dreams come true and at the same time blow away the competition with this magnificent magic BB10 by 2013…I know the answer but I don’t
    believe that you all do…
    paul m sykes

  • Kevstra

    What is with all the anti-RIM sentiment? More competition in the market place is only a good thing for consumers. Why would anyone wish the downfall of a major player? If they have something that could be good, why wouldn’t ANYONE be all ears? If it’s a flop, it’s a flop, but why would you scream die RIM die before you even see what they have? It could be a game changer.

    Plus you would think there would be a little more support from the Canadians on this website for their countrymen. Jeez.

  • DOUGLASJORDAN

    lets say by chance the os is good/ people already just renewed contracts in an iphone5/christmas android mothersale holiday blitz. the two prime quarters are 3 and 4, 3 being back to school and 4 being xmas/holidays.

    rim has been so much talk, I am starting to doubt.
    for instance what if os is crap and they have just been blowing smoke.. that’s it they ARE done at this point they kept people waiting for too long and did not produce..

    all I can say is either way they need to get these devices out yesterday. it might be too little too late or, missing the boat entirely.

    I want them to succeed. they just are not making that faith easy.

  • cyclops

    Rectangular design?!?!?!? Apple law suit coming soon

  • ni99iedoo

    HAHAHAHHA!!! what it his ghetto sheet…

    iPhone 5 is 3 steps ahead and now Apple will sue RIM for Billion dollars for stealing the rubber band effect… RIM just give up it is over… Samsung and Apple run the world mobile business now.

    • Johentie

      apple will never sue RIM.. why? cause of the patents RIM owns.. how many do u think Apple violates?

      it’s a “i’ll keep off your back if u keep off mine” type of deal..

  • kakarot

    720×720
    rip rim

  • RD

    Looks promising just hope it is not too late for the sake of many jobs in the Kitchener/Waterloo area.