I just got back from Orlando and the Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry World 2012 conference. The BlackBerry-maker made a ton of major announcements during the three-day event, but a number of things really stand out in my mind.
Here's a list of the five most notable BlackBerry World 2012 announcements and happenings, in my opinion, along with some thoughts on what they all mean to RIM and BlackBerry.
1) BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Smartphone
The announcement that got the most press attention at BlackBerry World 2012 was the release of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, the first smartphone from RIM that runs the next-generation BlackBerry 10 mobile OS. The device was distributed to every developer who attended RIM's associated BlackBerry 10 Jam conference, along with a number of additional RIM partners. The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha handheld is designed specifically for developers, so they can test and perfect their BlackBerry 10 applications before RIM releases the first official BlackBerry 10 device later this year. And as such, it won't ever be released to the public.
However, the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device is notable for a number of reasons. First of all, it provides a general idea of what the first BlackBerry 10 device will look like; RIM says that some of the specs will change, but it's also safe to assume that some will remain the same, such as the 1280x768 HD LCD (356ppi) touch display and the lack of a "physical" hardware keyboard.
I, like everyone else at the event, wish that RIM released an official BlackBerry 10 device that everyone could use at BlackBerry World, but I completely understand why it did not. And I think the move was the right thing to do, especially when you consider just how important quality applications will be to the success of BlackBerry 10.
Check out my BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha slide show for a close-up look at the new device and read "BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha Smartphone Tech Specs and Details" for more information.
2) BlackBerry 10 Keyboard and Camera
Along with the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, RIM officially unveiled the BlackBerry 10 platform, released a handful of related developer tools and showed off a couple of cool new features in the mobile OS. The two most impressive BlackBerry 10 features RIM demonstrated were a camera option that lets you "rewind" or "fast forward" your photos to help find the best possible moments and get the best images and the new on-screen BlackBerry 10 touch keyboard. (Check out the video below for a look at this new BlackBerry 10 camera feature.)
The new BlackBerry 10 touch keypad is designed to feel like a traditional BlackBerry keyboard, with its large keys and "frets" between the rows of on-screen buttons. But it also incorporates a number of gestures to finish typing words and sentences for you and to quickly delete words, etc. (The video below shows the BlackBerry 10 touch keyboard in action.)
I was a bit disappointed that RIM didn't show more BlackBerry 10 features and functionality, but what it did show was definitely impressive. And not only are the new camera features and touch keypad exciting, but they're also unique and innovative, which is hopefully a sign of things to come for BlackBerry 10 in the future.
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