Blackberry president and CEO Thorsten Heins with new global creative director Alicia Keys.
The new and long-awaited Blackberry 10 line from Research In Motion (RIM) makes its debut today. The company that once defined the smart phone market has a lot riding on it, and it remains to be seen if the new models debuting today will revive its fortunes. It’s already revived its name: Thorsten Heins, President and CEO, revealed at the launch today that “from this day forward, RIM becomes Blackberry.”
The two models that kick off its re-engineered approach to mobile computing are the Blackberry Q10 with a hybrid touch-screen/keyboard and the Z10 with a full touch-screen and onscreen keyboard, powered by the Blackberry 10 platform. Of the Q10, Heins said, “We built this for all those people who told us, ‘we just have to have a physical keyboard typing experience’.” Given Blackberry users’ well-known attachment to traditional keyboards, getting the onscreen keyboard right is going to be a big concern for tried-and-true Blackberry users.
As on the Blackberry Playbook before it, SwiftKey – the best-selling Android app of 2012— is reportedly behind the virtual keyboard technology on the new models. Though that vendor wasn’t named in the launch presentation during the demo of the touch-screen keyboard capabilities, the features Blackberry demonstrated pointed to the company’s leveraging the cross-platform SwiftKey software development kit for at least some of the new devices’ capabilities.
And what’s behind SwiftKey is natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technology to speed up touch-screen typing.