Here at BlackBerry Jam Americas, RIM CEO Therston Heins is looking to turn the embattled company's fortunes around by showing off the company's latest build of its BlackBerry 10 operating system. And during his keynote today, Heins said that BlackBerry 10 and RIM's next generation of smartphones will help do just that.
During a stage demonstration of BlackBerry 10, Heins and developers showed off the new operating system's Flow interface. The idea behind this is that users will no longer have to move from app to app by backing out of one to the home screen and opening the next app. Instead, they will be able to seamlessly move between apps using simple gestures.
Heins emphasized Flow's ability to be used with one finger and the fact that users won't have to spend their time looking at their device's app grid, although they can still do so if they'd like.
Heins also showed off a new version of BlackBerry Messenger. Gone are the lists of messages, and in their place are a new interface that gives each contact an avatar that you can choose from. It gives the feature some much needed style and adds a personal touch to the app that many users will spend a good chunk of their time with.
Heins also gave attendees a look at BlackBerry 10's new keyboard. During a stage demo, Heins showed the keyboard's predictive text capabilities, which give you a list of possible words based on the first few letters you type. When the word you want pops up, you can swipe it from the keyboard to the screen.
We saw much of this at BlackBerry World in May, so it wasn't much of a surprise. However, the keyboard's multilingual functionality, was rather impressive. Users will be able to quickly switch between typing in English to another language and back to English with the tap of a button.
Unfortunately, RIM has yet to show off any of its next generation hardware. Heins did mention that devices have been seen by the company's carrier partners and that they like what RIM has to offer thus far.
Heins, did however, say that the next generation of BlackBerry 10 devices will use standard microUSB and BlackBerry connectors rather than a new port, an obvious swipe at the iPhone 5's new Lighting connector.
The general theme of Heins' keynote was that the company is trying hard to come back from the brink. In fact, at several points, Heins talked about fighting back. And while it's good to see that BlackBerry 10 has seen some significant advances in the past four months, the fact that we still haven't seen any final pieces of hardware beyond the Dev Alpha Developer Kit, is somewhat disheartening.
We'll bring you more on BlackBerry 10 today when we get some hands-on time with the new operating system. So stay tuned for our impressions.