RIM unveils new BlackBerry 10 features

1 May 2012

Research In Motion (RIM) has unveiled new features for its upcoming mobile OS BlackBerry 10 and launched its developer toolkit for native and HTML5 software development.

BlackBerry 10

RIM previewed the OS based on QNX at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Florida. VentureBeat reports that the homescreen features four widgets and includes phone, camera and search buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Notifications come in from the right of the screen and users can swipe right to see the app which has notified them. Apps will also be continuously on, making it easier to multitask, according to RIM.

BlackBerry 10 features an onscreen touch keyboard which learns how users type. Users can gain access to symbols with gestures and they can also swipe on suggested words to create sentences.

The BlackBerry 10 camera software lets users step back and forward from the moment when a user takes a picture, letting users find optimal shots.

Developer Kit

Applications created with BlackBerry 10 tools will run on BlackBerry 10 smartphones, expected to appear at the latter half of the year, along with BlackBerry PlayBook tablets when BlackBerry 10 is available for it.

The developer kit offers the first beta of tools for BlackBerry 10, which will be updated further in future months.

It features BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades, letting developers create graphically rich native apps in C/C++. BlackBerry 10 Native SDK has APIs to develop with core device features along with BlackBerry application services, such as Push and Payment.

It also supports HTML5 app developers with the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK. Developers can use HTML5 and CSS to build apps and offers JavaScript bindings to native device APIs. It also has RIM’s open source UI toolkit, bbUI.js.

RIM’s next move

BlackBerry 10 will be crucial to RIM if it wants to compete in the increasingly competitive mobile market.

The company has suffered numerous setbacks in recent years. It has struggled to compete against other smartphone rivals and last year, it experienced BlackBerry service outages. It also hit the media headlines for the wrong reasons, such as when it had to fire two of its executives over drunken behaviour on an Air Canada flight.

It experienced a US$125m net loss in the last quarter. The company took on Thorsten Heins as its new CEO to try to set it on the right path again.