RIM unveils BlackBerry 10 in bid to save fading platform
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) unveiled its BlackBerry 10 platform revamp, considered by many analysts the company's last realistic chance at rejuvenating consumer and developer interest in the fading mobile operating system.
Click here to watch a video about BlackBerry 10.
RIM released its initial BlackBerry 10 developer toolkit Tuesday at its annual BlackBerry World event in Orlando, Fla. The toolkit includes the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades, enabling developers to build native applications in C/C++ using the Qt cross-platform framework. According to RIM, the Cascades toolset allows developers to build graphically rich apps without writing complex, low-level graphics code. The Cascades SDK provides a full complement of native UI elements including buttons, fields and text areas alongside animations and design tools including a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop.
The BlackBerry 10 Native SDK also features a set of APIs granting developers access to core device features and a range of BlackBerry application services including Push and Payment. The NDK for BlackBerry 10, including Cascades, is available for download here.
Applications created using BlackBerry 10 tools will run on future BlackBerry 10 smartphones as well as the BlackBerry PlayBook tablets when the new platform becomes available for the PlayBook. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins reminded BlackBerry World attendees that BlackBerry users are "people of purpose... you mobilize people... you do more and you get more done in a day," adding that the BlackBerry platform's role in their lives is to save them time. "BlackBerry is all about success, BlackBerry creates their success," Heins said, according to Forbes. "This is the core of BlackBerry--this is the purpose off the company."
RIM is giving free, limited edition BlackBerry 10 prototype smartphones to developers in attendance at BlackBerry World. RIM previously cautioned that the design of the prototype as well as its UI would be significantly different from the future BlackBerry 10 devices shipping to retailers. "We're keeping some secrets away from you on this one... but it's critical we get this into the hands of developers so they can start creating applications and services," Heins said.
RIM has not yet revealed when it expects to make BlackBerry 10 devices available to consumers: "I promise to you that the whole company is laser-focused on delivering it on time and exceeding your expectations," Heins stated.
RIM is looking to BlackBerry 10--which will run on the same QNX-based software powering the PlayBook--to reignite developer passion for its platform. As of the first quarter of 2012, only 15.5 percent of developers surveyed by Appcelerator and IDC expressed strong interest in building apps for BlackBerry devices, far behind enthusiasm for Android, iOS and the HTML5 web standard.
Digital research firm comScore reports that as of February 2012, BlackBerry now makes up just 13.4 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, down from 16.6 percent just three months earlier. BlackBerry lags far behind Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android at 50.1 percent and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 30.2 percent.
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