Should We Get Excited About BlackBerry 10?

Pixelcarve, a boutique Interactive Digital Agency focused on providing preeminent Ideas, Strategy, Creative and Production services to premium and luxury brands, released images of an ad for the BlackBerry Blade back in March.  The BlackBerry Blade was a concept design showing the love that Pixelcarve has for BlackBerry, and how this love could be shown and designed in the next generation of BlackBerry Smartphones.

Curtis Priest, Partner, President & CEO of Pixelcarve shared with BlackBerry Empire a blog post that he published in June, about why we should should be getting excited about BlackBerry 10.

This article nails exactly what is currently being experienced at BlackBerry Jam America’s this week, and that is, BlackBerry 10 is something to be truly excited about as the launch of RIM’s vision comes closer.

 June 29, 2012 – It’s no secret that Canada’s star technology firm, Research in Motion, is in trouble. Although still strong financially, and even well respected around much of the world, in just a few short years they have watched their once impenetrable market share in North America dwindle down to almost nothing. Consumer confidence in them is at an all-time low while the likes of Apple and Android have dominated decisively.

Are they slowly marching to their grave, or is there some fight still left in them? Many believe that their upcoming shiny new operating system, BlackBerry 10, will be their last stand. But what is BB10, and how can it reverse the damage RIM has suffered as of late?

There are some significant reasons to be excited about BlackBerry 10, but first it helps to understand what BB10 actually is and why RIM is taking their time with it.

BlackBerry 10 is based on the QNX real-time operating system. QNX, another Canadian creation, is generally regarded by engineers as among the most advanced, stable and secure operating system in the world. As such it is trusted by the likes of NASA for mission critical operations, large nuclear power stations, factories, high-speed train control systems, and an endless array of embedded systems that require 0% downtime. QNX has earned its reputation over decades and many in the computer industry believe that if QNX had chosen to compete with Microsoft and Apple and pursue the consumer market, rather than enterprise, the world of computing would be generations ahead of where it is now. This is RIM’s hope now – they invested in a platform that is essentially future-proof.

So what makes it so great? Without getting too technical, QNX is built on a micro-kernel which means that the core components of the OS (the kernel) only contains the bare minimum amount of code that can provide the mechanisms required to run an operating system. The remaining functions in a typical kernel (called a Monolithic kernel) such as the filesystem, device drivers, application IPC, etc. are instead run outside of the kernel in the user space. Essentially what this means is that the kernel is the only software executing at the most privileged hardware level and is therefore infinitely more secure and stable. Bad drivers, software or executions can’t bring it down.

QNX is also a RTOS (real-time operating system), which simply means an operating system with guaranteed consistency for how long it takes to accept and complete a task. For a real-life scenario, think about the ABS brakes on a car – they require mission critical specifications to occur in real-time or someone can die. The system running them has to be able to guarantee the delivery, receipt and execution of messages in X amount of time or it does not qualify at RT.

The benefits of this architecture are too numerous to detail, but one of the main benefit to RIM is its ability to execute multiple platform runtimes at the same time with high efficiency – this is why you can write an application in C/C++, Adobe AIR, Webworks HTML5, and Java and have them all run natively on BlackBerry 10. The benefit to developers and consumers here cannot be overstated. Basically anyone with any amount of programming experience can make a great app – from high-level web based UI’s to low-level 3D games.

QNX takes their design one step further by also offering full POSIX support, which is a family of IEEE standards that helps maintain OS and software compatibility. This ensures it’s a lot easier to develop high quality software for the QNX platform.

So what does all of this mean for RIM? It means they finally have an operating system that can not only compete with the current industry, but is considerably more advanced and will be for the foreseeable future. You can’t really compare Android, iOS or Windows Phone to QNX because they are completely different types of systems. QNX can be scaled up or down as needed from the smallest embedded system to the largest mainframe, and everything in between. It runs in cars, on phones, on desktops and in enterprise systems. While Android fights concerns with fragmentation and security, iOS battles its aging architecture and struggles to create a desktop hybrid, and Windows Phone emerges from its infancy, QNX has already been powering some of the world’s most advanced systems for decades.

QNX makes the perfect companion for RIM because it brings the security that RIM’s customer’s demand, while offering a scalable and robust user experience not currently possible on any other platform. QNX isn’t just a new OS to modernize RIM’s offering – it’s a platform they can build on for generations for any device real, imagined or unimagined yet.

RIM also acquired a company called TAT (The Astonishing Tribe), which is a world-class UI and design company. They are responsible for putting the “face”, user interface and visual API into BB10. RIM has acknowledged that their new OS can’t just be powerful; it also has to be beautiful and elegant to use.

With significant innovations already announced such as their new predictive swipe keyboard, time shift camera, flow and peak UI, all new web browser, etc., combined with RIM’s enterprise network, BlackBerry 10 will offer the most secure, fast and scalable environment in the mobile world – something that will be very attractive and exciting to developers, carriers and consumers. If marketed well and quickly put into the hands of the passionate BlackBerry faithful, it should lead the comeback that RIM so badly needs.

Permission to Reprint from:

Curtis Priest
Partner / President & CEO
Pixelcarve Inc.
416.987.4935 x3000
304 – 96 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON