RIM shows off more BB10 features

Research in Motion Ltd. CEO Thorsten Heins gave the world a closer look at its anxiously awaited BB10 operating system Sept. 25 at Blackberry Jam Americas in San Jose.

Meanwhile, the company said it had expanded its developer toolkit.

Heins emphasized the ease of use and fluidity of the BB10 operating system, saying it provided “insight and information with a single glance, with more than just the traditional screen…a seamless flow.”

The troubled mobile handset vendor has repeatedly said that user experience and seamless integration across applications will differentiate the company’s products from iOS and Android-based devices The new operating system will allow people to be “more productive and efficient,” Heins said.

Part of this fluidity will come through the Blackberry “Hub”, Heins said, a central place for notifications of all kinds (including messages and profile updates). He also said keyboards on the new Blackberry devices, whether physical or virtual, will “take predictive text to a whole new level.”

“Blackberry has always been crazy about keyboard…and we have been the best in the industry,” Heins added.

The keyboards will support multiple languages, and will even allow users to write a single sentence in multiple languages, for example, in English and German, Heins said, two languages he is fluent in, because the operating system “knows who I am.”

He also assured the audience that RIM would offer enterprise security features that would draw a strict line between business and personal use of the new mobile devices, while still offering flexibility. CIOs have now embraced BYOD, but there are still “pain points,” he added.

The new Blackberry handsets will let users to navigate seamlessly between their personal and work profiles, he said, while allowing their employers to manage all company-owned devices behind a unified console (the Blackberry enterprise server). Users can even have “two app worlds on the same screen,” Heins said.

RIM also released new developer tools today, including a software update for messaging, calendar and contacts functions. Developers can now create applications that incorporate Blackberry Messenger (BBM), the company reported in a press release. RIM is now providing a native C++ plugin for Microsoft Visual studio for game developers, as well as an updated Ripple emulator (which simulates HTML5 mobile environments).

The new generation of Blackberry devices is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2013. The company noted today that its subscriber base had grown to 80 million from 78 million at the end of this year’s second quarter. It also said there were 60 million BBM users and 60 million users of Blackberry’s Facebook app.

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