RIM debuts its make-or-break operating system this afternoon
After what has seemed an eternity, RIM is finally ready to take the wraps off BlackBerry 10, the latest version of its mobile operating system. A successful launch is seen as crucial for the struggling Canadian manufacturer which has seen its share of the smartphone market slide as a result of fierce competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung.
It is believed there could be as many as six BlackBerry 10 devices released this year, with one expected to be named the BlackBerry Z 10. TechWeekEurope had a hands-on preview of BlackBerry 10 and our initial response was positive, but our overriding feeling was that RIM had merely caught up with the competition rather than trumping it.
Find out whether RIM has a trick up its sleeve when it officially launches BlackBerry 10 at 15:00 UK time.
BlackBerry 10 Launch
17:32: Want a recap of today’s events? First BlackBerry 10 Smartphones Arrive In UK
16:20: Well that’s the end of the presentation. Alicia Keys tells Heins she’ll see him in the office. If you believe that, you’ll believe anything. If you’re still here, then why not take our BlackBerry quiz?
16:16: We’re now going to look at Alicia Key’s celebrity friends describe how they’re going to use the new platform. I assume none will will take snaps of the money they have received to promote it.
16:14: No wait, she’s describing how she ditched BlackBerry for another device and has now returned with a relationship metaphor. It’s worse.
16:13: Alicia Keys comes on stage. She is BlackBerry’s new Creative Director. No really. This is only slightly better than Jessica ‘working mum’ Alba at the Windows Phone 8 launch.
16:10: The BlackBerry Z10 will be available in the UK from tomorrow on all major networks. That’s earlier than the US, which gets it in March and Canada, where it launches next week.
16:05: Apparently you can download multiple apps at the same time without rebooting your smartphone. Surely that’s just par for the course?
16:02: There are more than 70,000 apps available for BlackBerry 10 today, with thousands added every week. Skype, Kindle, WhatsApp, SAP and, the most important of all, Angry Birds, are all going to be on the store.
16:00: Some application and content information. All eight major film studios and all major music labels will provide their wares to BlackBerry World, while smartphone developers have also been targeted.
15:57: We’re now looking at BlackBerry Story Maker, which is essentially a glorified image and video slideshow. If “No Sleep Til BlackBerry 10” is the soundtrack, I’m logging off.
15:55: The BlackBerry Z10’s camera and imaging features are being demonstrated now.
15:52: BlackBerry Remember allows users to share voice recordings, emails, bookmarks and other media onto a specific folder for later.
15:50: BlackBerry Messenger, the favoured communication tool of businessmen and teenagers everywhere, has also received some improvements. Video calls have been added to the application and can be used to send screens, pictures and documents. Heins eavesdrops awkwardly.
15:45: Time to see BlackBerry Balance, which separates personal and work apps and data. The transition is made with a simple gesture control and will go some way to appeasing both adminstrators and employees who value different things.
15:41: We weren’t able to see all the features of the BlackBerry Keyboard on a touchscreen when we saw BlackBerry 10 last November, but some of the predictive gestures and swiping to delete look pretty impressive.
15:39: The contacts page aggregates information about a person from various sources – contacts, LinkedIn, Facebook. Perfect for preparing for meetings/stalking.
15:37: We’re now looking at the BlackBerry Hub which aggregates emails, social networks and messages. All these multitasking features can be done with one hand apparently.
15:34: RIM, sorry BlackBerry, is now showing off some of the BlackBerry Flow gesture controls and BlackBerry Peek features, which will offer true multi-tasking. Heins claps himself again.
15:32: The BlackBerry Q10 is for those who still want a keyboard but still have all the advantages of BlackBerry 10. Both will offer “the best typing experience in the industry”
15:31: Heins says that BlackBerry knew it was important to have a large screen. The BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2 screen with 356 PPI. It promises fast browsing, integrated social communications and a cinematic experience.
15:30: Finally, we see some phones. One touchscreen device, the BlackBerry Z10 and the keyboard-based BlackBerry Q10
15:26: From this moment on, RIM will be known as BlackBerry – “one brand. one promise. We are BlackBerry.”
15:24: Heins promises security, apps and a user experience like nothing else. He thanks employees who helped make the difficult decision to go it alone rather than use someone else’s operating system two years ago.
15:22: Heins believes that BlackBerry 10 will be part of a transformation from mobile communication to mobile computing. He outlines how it will be part of the ‘internet of things’
15:20: “This is one of the biggest launches in our industry,” claims Heins, who says that BlackBerry 10 is aimed at those who are hyper-connected socially, like getting things done and people who want ‘balance’ in their personal and professional life.
Other BlackBerry buzzwords ‘flow’ and ‘multi-tasking’ are also mentioned.
15:18: “We have definitely been on a journey of transformation,” says Heins, who is marking 12 months in charge of RIM. He claims it was the most challenging but most rewarding year of his career. He says BlackBerry 10 attracted him to the role, which was a “great opportunity.”
15:16: Finally, Thorsten Heins, CEO of RIM is out to put an end to this nonsense.
15:15: Now there’s a chap from Crackberry who vowed not to cut his hair until the release of BlackBerry 10. “I love BlackBerry but I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life.”
15:14: Now we’re getting shown some “dedicated” BlackBerry 10 fans around the world. Now we have a rapper singing an original composition called “No sleep til BlackBerry 10”. Make it stop.
15:10: Now we’re getting the views of BlackBerry from operators around the world. All positive of course. Clients are excited about social networks, email and the camera – wow.
We’re just “moments away” from the launch. Please let it happen soon
15:07: Welcome along to our live blog. Things are getting underway here as we’re shown audiences from around the globe watching the launch. Live Aid it is not.