Research In Motion's CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage in Orlando at BlackBerry World 2012 Monday to pitch RIM's forthcoming smartphone platform to developers, partners, and customers. What I saw, I liked--but I didn't see a whole heck of a lot.
The opening keynote of BlackBerry World 2012 took place in an absolutely packed room; customer and media attendance looked on par with previous years. Heins was met with cheers and enthusiasm from the crowd throughout his presentation.
The company showed off a few, fleeting bits of how BlackBerry 10, its next major platform, will work. First, RIM showed off a new user interface design that "flows" from app to app. According to Heins, apps never stop running, and are always accessible through a cascading user interface design. It's pretty, though I can't say how useful it will be.
RIM also demonstrated the new software QWERTY keyboard. Heins called it a learning and adaptive keyboard that adjusts to user behavior over time to make things easier. I am not surprised that RIM spent so much time talking about the keyboard experience, because usability of the keyboard is the most key element to RIM's past and future success. What's really neat about the keyboard? A word-prediction tool guesses at the word you want to type next, and then lets you easily "fly it" up to the message. Another cool keyboard demo showed how swiping backward across the entire keyboard lets you delete entire words at a time.
The only other application that RIM showed off was the camera, which has a slick user interface and an interesting "rewind the clock" feature that lets you patch together several images to get the full effect you want.
That's all RIM showed us of BlackBerry 10. It didn't show us the browser, the email program, the BBM and social networking integration, or even how the main home screen and app menu will look.
It didn't show us anything about the new App World, or how IT admins will control the software, or anything about the media playback capabilities, along with other vital apps.
Now, BBW attendees know full well that RIM is still working hard on BlackBerry 10, and that there's no way RIM was going to show off a full, working version of the platform here. It's worrisome, however, that RIM showed so little. That means RIM still has tons of work to do, that core pieces of the platform aren't even close to being complete.
The company then proceeded to offer a ton of app demos from third-party developers. What I thought most interesting was that all the app demos were from entertainment or multimedia companies. None of them were from hardcore enterprise companies.
Sure, Cisco and Salesforce.com got on stage to support BlackBerry 10, but they didn't show any BB10 apps. Rather interesting that RIM would spend so much time pitching consumer stuff to an audience full of enterprise partners and customers. Where's the "refocusing on the enterprise" that RIM promised last month?
Nowhere at BlackBerry World 2012 yet, that's for certain.
Take a look at BlackBerry 10 in the video clip below.