During May 1-3 of 2012, Research in Motion (RIM), the makers of BlackBerry, are holding not one, but two conferences in Orlando. These would be its BlackBerry Jam and BlackBerry World, both highlighting RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10. According to those who were in attendance at the conference, however, not much was given in the way of information.

BlackberryEric Zeman from InformationWeek attended BlackBerry World opening day. He was impressed by what he saw, which included a new user interface as well as a new software QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard adapts to user behavior with word prediction. An entirely new feature is the interactive delete tool, where swiping backward across the keyboard deletes entire words.

However, Zeman stated, RIM did not show “the browser, the e-mail program, the BBM and social networking integration, or even how the main home screen and app menu will look.”

Demos of BlackBerry 6 and PlayBook were also noted as being extremely brief, yet intriguing. However, many, including Harry McCracken from Time Techland, didn’t feel that the final versions of these devices lived up to the hype of the demo videos. McCracken worries that the BlackBerry 10 will follow this trend of RIM’s, but BlackBerry 10’s demoed innovative touchscreen keyboard keeps him hopeful.

RIM also knows apps can make or break a smartphone platform. According to Zeman, during the keynote of the BlackBerry Jam conference, RIM “promised attendees that their BlackBerry 10 applications will earn $10,000 in the first year they are available in App World.” And if the app doesn’t earn that much?  RIM will reimburse the developer themselves.

The app must be “certified BlackBerry 10,” the criteria for which has yet to be determined, or at least released, by RIM. The app also must be able to net $1,000 on its own in order to qualify for the $10,000.  Free apps do not qualify.

With iOS and Android leading the pack, BlackBerry 10 could make or break RIM. What must be seen now is if RIM can really deliver on both the glitz and gumption, and if it can provide it by the cutthroat holiday season.


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