Hop­ing for Berry strong come­back

The Black­berry Hub in­box will be launched in the new year, writes Rod Ch­ester

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

BLACK­BERRY’S come­back could come down to whether con­sumers fall in love with the uni­ver­sal in­box of its new Black­Berry Hub.

Re­search In Mo­tion will launch two smart­phones with the new Black­Berry 10 op­er­at­ing sys­tem on Jan­uary 30, though both the touch­screen and QWERTY models are not ex­pected in stores un­til Fe­bru­ary or March.

There will be three models of each phone, aimed at high, mid and low-end con­sumers, though RIM has not re­leased de­tails on bat­tery life, phys­i­cal size and cam­era res­o­lu­tion.

The touch­screen phone will be a rad­i­cal change for the Black­Berry diehard users ad­dicted to their QWERTY key­boards. De­spite the in­ter­face change, the Hub that is the core of the new phone fol­lows the tra­di­tional Black­Berry phi­los­o­phy of man­ag­ing mes­sages and in­ter­act­ing with con­tacts.

RIM ex­ec­u­tives, speak­ing at Black­Berry Jam Asia in Bangkok last week, ad­mit­ted it was play­ing for high stakes with the con­sumers’ re­cep­tion to the BB10 phones.

RIM ex­ec­u­tives, hop­ing to lure app de­vel­op­ers into writ­ing pro­grams for the new Black­Berry sys­tem, took to the stage in Bangkok in a karaoke call to arms.

‘‘ We’ll have Black­Berry 10 both in touch and QWERTY edi­tions,’’ de­vel­oper re­la­tions and ecosys­tem devel­op­ment vice-pres­i­dent Alec Saun­ders lip-synced to the tune of REO Speed­wagon’s Keep On Lov­ing You.

‘‘ And I meant ev­ery word that I said when I said that our de­vel­op­ers are at the heart of our mo­bile en­deav­ours.’’

When he stopped singing, Saun­ders was still on mes­sage about BB10 be­ing both an op­por­tu­nity for app de­vel­op­ers and a fresh new start for smart­phone users.

‘‘ If you look at the iOS de­sign or the An­droid de­sign, that’s a five-year-old de­sign,’’ Saun­ders says.

‘‘ It was built for a dif­fer­ent kind of hard­ware and it was built for a dif­fer­ent kind of user ex­pe­ri­ence.’’

RIM has a huge task ahead, launch­ing a smart­phone months af­ter Ap­ple’s iPhone 5, Nokia’s Lu­mia 920 Win­dows Phone 8 hand­set and the Sam­sung Galaxy Note II ap­peared in the lead-up to Christ­mas.

Tel­syte re­search di­rec­tor Foad Fadaghi says if Black­Berry is to suc­ceed, con­sumers will have to be con­vinced that BB10 of­fers some­thing that is a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence than that with Ap­ple and An­droid phones. A big ask. Rod Ch­ester trav­elled to Thai­land as a guest of Re­search In Mo­tion.

Fac­ing up: the home­screen on the pro­to­type of the Black­Berry smart­phone and (be­low from left) the hub and browser.

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