RIM offers peek at BlackBerry 10, alpha hardware

Research in Motion released a video that shows a device and software that are an extreme departure from RIM's lineup.

Research in Motion still has a long way to go before launching its first BlackBerry 10 smartphones, but the company is hoping to tide fans over with a sneak peak at the operating system.

A new video, released during RIM's BlackBerry World conference, focuses on the slickness of BlackBerry 10, showing an extreme departure from RIM's existing phones.

Like the BlackBerry Playbook's QNX software, BlackBerry 10's interface is swipe-based, with no navigation buttons on the bezel. Incoming calls slide in from the top of the display until the contact name hangs at mid-screen, where the user can swipe down to answer the call or swipe up to dismiss it.

A new software keyboard aims to capitalize on RIM's reputation for accurate typing. As the user taps on the virtual keys, suggested words appear directly above the next corresponding letter. So for instance, if you type “M,” the keyboard suggests “may” above the letter “A,” and “move” above the letter “O.” The video also shows wireless video streaming from the phone to a TV.

As Engadget reports, BlackBerry 10's camera will have a unique “timeline” lens feature, which captures a couple seconds’ worth of frames even before the user snaps a photo. That way, if someone has their eyes closed during the shot, users can still salvage a better picture.

Of course, BlackBerry 10 can't succeed without support from third-party app developers. RIM will have to work hard to win developers over, but the company has already secured commitments from Gameloft, Endomondo and Poynt, among others, as Mashable points out. (Netflix, however, has said that it has no plans for BlackBerry devices.)

To spur more developer interest, RIM is offering a “Dev Alpha” device for creating and testing apps. According to The Verge, the device runs a version of the BlackBerry Playbook OS, but RIM has added some of BlackBerry 10's hooks and calls, and will add more of those elements later. The design isn't indicative of a final product, but it looks like a miniaturized BlackBerry Playbook, with a 4.2-inch, 1280-by-768 resolution display.

RIM plans to launch BlackBerry 10 smartphones in late 2012, but the company hasn't announced more specific timing or any hardware yet. As RIM's new chief executive, Thorsten Heins said, “We want to make sure we get it right.”

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

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