RIM shows off BlackBerry 10 developer alpha device at BlackBerry World
As we predicted earlier in the day RIM CEO Thorsten Heins took the stage and gave us a sneak preview of BlackBerry OS 10 at BlackBerry World in Orlando. The device itself looks like shrunk version of the BlackBerry PlayBook, and it features a 4.2-inch display with a resolution of 1280×768 pixels, NFC, and a micro-SIM tray. The company also showed some features of the new OS.
The main focus around the OS is on glance and go information much like Windows Phone and Android. A new home screen menu was showed which basically had four widgets offering information at a glance. Besides this, the UI included a new feeds system and incorporation of gestures which enable the user to quickly move in and out of apps. RIM calls it the Cascading UI.
RIM also emphasized the fact that the new OS was build for a touch only device from the ground up and the idea was to provide a BlackBerry like typing experience in an all touch environment. Looks wise, the keyboard was reminiscent of a hardware keyboard which included even the frets separating rows that one has come accustomed with in the higher-end Bold series of BlackBerry smartphones.
RIM says that it has immensely reduced the latency between a touch interaction for a flawless typing experience. In the keyboard demo the company showed off intelligent features like word prediction, gestures and input mapping. All these features are very similar to the third party SwiftKey keyboard available for Android. For instance, the input mapping feature basically detects where the user normally hits the key and then the keyboard adapts to the user. The same can be achieved on a BB 10 keyboard. Gestures in the keyboard include swipe to delete text, swipe to unveil symbols and numbers and word prediction would help eliminate keystrokes and predict words in a sentence stream.
Perhaps the most unique feature was the camera app. The new BlackBerry camera app allows the user to just tap on the screen to take a snap. But the cool stuff is hidden in a timeline tool which allows the user to select the moment before or after the snapshot, to get a perfect shot. This will be particularly handy for getting rid of closed eyes and missed moments. In all likelihood, the camera would take a shot as soon as the user has focused on the subject but before hitting the shutter and another shot after pressing the trigger.
RIM has not given any specific timeline for the launch of the first BB 10 smartphone but it is expected towards the end of this year. In the meanwhile checkout the sneak preview video that RIM has just posted.