First Looks at the BlackBerry 10
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RIM CEO Thornsten Heins with the developer model of BlackBerry 10, the Alpha Dev on May 1st 2012.
Research in Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY) unveiled it's first BlackBerry 10 "developer-tool". The Dev Alpha, as it is known, is a 4.2 inch touch screen device with a high resolution screen (1280x768) that is, according to Heins, only the developer model. Heins demonstrated the software at BlackBerry World in Florida May 1st. It was released to help developers start making software for the phones due out later this year.
The new BlackBerry is sleek and as you can see has a completely new, snappier operating system based on the QNX software (which the Playbook software was also based on). While many features such as the all touch interface, wind back HD photos, and the intuitive (yes, more intuitive) typing will likely appear on the final version of the BlackBerry 10 smartphones, it's not been confirmed whether the design of the Alpha Dev will stay for the consumer version.
The Alpha Dev looks a lot like the iPhone and some high-end Androids with an all touch, flat, smooth rectangles.
RIMM needs the BlackBerry 10 operating system to pull itself out of the quicksand it's been in since the release of the iPhone. The company's stock has plunged 75% this year alone largely due to competition from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). The Apple iPhone is the most popular smartphone out there and one of the best selling cell phones of all time. The Google Android operating system is quickly gaining traction for it's openness. Google gives out Android for free to manufacturers and takes a cut of the advertising revenue and other micro-costs. There are hundreds of Android phones from $100-$800 that all run the same operating system and apps.
While the new software is completely revamping the Blackberry and looks like one of the most advanced mobile operating systems out there it's not clear whether RIM will be able to convince developers to develop for the BlackBerry App World. The lack of apps available for BlackBerry is a serious hit to the BlackBerry's popularity with consumers. RIMM is offering incentives for developers including guaranteed earnings, an easy-to-use Android to BlackBerry App tool, and the hope that the new BlackBerry design and OS will make the BlackBerry easier to develop for. The previous BlackBerry's were unpopular to developers because the different software versions, screen sizes, and processors, among others made it difficult to develop for the BlackBerry.
App developers don't want to develop for BlackBerry because of a lack of a market. Almost all the profits most app developers make are from iOS which has a healthy customer base that consistently upgrades and buys apps. Despite the lack of growth in the BlackBerry App World it is possible that the new incentives, along with the easy developer tools and the unified design and software can save the App World. And the App World isn't dead. 35% of BlackBerry users search and download Apps every single day, versus 22% for the average smartphone user.
In conclusion, BlackBerry 10 is a risky bet, but the new, more advanced design and software could save the company and provide HUGE gains from the current share price.
athorburn just bought shares in RIM. athorburn has no positions in any of the other companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.