Research In Motion will debut BlackBerry 10, its next-generation smartphone platform and devices, on January 30. The new platform has been delayed by nearly a year and RIM needs the software and hardware to pack some "Wow!" factor if it's to win back the millions of customers it's lost to rivals Apple and Google.
Based on leaked images and video of the first wave of hardware, RIM has a decent chance.
A website based in Vietnam has posted a large collection of photos of the L-Series BlackBerry 10 devices. The L-Series is expected to be the first BB10 to reach the market. It is an all-touch device. A second handset with a QWERTY keyboard is expected to arrive later. That device has not yet been spied.
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The L-Series device seen in the images is clearly based on the current Dev Beta hardware that RIM has made available to BlackBerry developers. The overall shape, button placement and features are similar, though it is obviously refined when compared to the beta device.
It is a monoblock slab that has a sizable touchscreen and a conservative design. It is somewhat blocky, but the design clearly says "BlackBerry." The usual assortment of buttons and controls is visible, such as volume toggle and user-assignable action key, power button, headphone port, microHDMI and microUSB port. The device boasts front and back cameras (with a flash), and what appear to be light or proximity sensors on the front. With the back cover removed, the battery, microSD card and NFC radio coil are clearly visible.
None of the internals are shown, so that leaves plenty of room for speculation about L-Series devices' other features. Things that are a given include a dual-core processor, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and so on. (It's not clear if this L-Series device is the same "Aristo" device that was spec'd out earlier this year.)
The video provides a good look at the hardware, as well as a walkthrough of the user interface. RIM has already revealed a number of the user interface features, such as BlackBerry Flow and BlackBerry Hub. Flow is used to navigate through the user interface, and Hub is the Grand Central Station (if you will) of the new platform's messaging features.
Take a look for yourself. What do you think? Does this hardware and software give RIM a fighting chance against Android, iOS and Windows Phone?