With the much-awaited launch of the BlackBerry 10 OS slated for Q1 2013, Research in Motion (RIM) has begun to pave the way for its next generation OS through a series of developer events hosted in 11 cities worldwide. Dubbed the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour, events kicked off in Toronto October 23 and will move on to other major cities – London, Amsterdam, and Madrid, among others – before closing in Chicago this November 28. These events are intended to assist developers in creating a new range of applications especially for the BlackBerry 10 platform.
The BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour will involve workshops that discuss how enterprise developers can provide employee access, via the new OS, to company IT infrastructure, such as intranets or databases. RIM is making a grab for the enterprise niche, which currently remains unclaimed territory by iOS or Android. A number of RIM-produced applications for the new BlackBerry 10 OS will enable secure access and connectivity with company data. During the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour workshops, enterprise developers will have the opportunity to learn the ropes from BlackBerry specialists and work towards creating new behind-the-firewall applications to improve productivity, convenience and efficiency at work.
Though RIM has focused efforts on building-out enterprise app options for BlackBerry App World, its ecosystem also aims to offer a complete range of apps comparable to those available for iOS and Android OS. A recent study prepared by Flurry, a mobile app analytics firm, found that productivity and business mobile apps are used no more than four times per week, with average user retention rates for over 90 days at only 35 percent. Clearly, the current crop of productivity and business apps needs to be overhauled. Though the most frequently used apps fall into the categories of music, communication, and social games, their retention rates are also low, as high popularity, also means a greater frequency of new releases. In recent BlackBerry PlayBook reviews, collated by BlackBerry, it is revealed that BlackBerry fans on Twitter feel very passionately about the OS and the apps provided on it, with one user calling it “App-solutely Amazing”. In launching the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour, then, RIM aims to point developers in the right direction – helping them create innovative, essential, and long-lasting BlackBerry apps, for both business and leisure.
While there has been no confirmation from RIM about possible new devices to run BlackBerry 10 OS, it is conceivable that such a combination of high functioning mobile operating system and solid enterprise applications could generate licensing from other device manufacturers in the future. Regardless, older BlackBerry smartphones, as well as the BlackBerry PlayBook, are likely to be completely upgradable to the new OS once it is released. The BlackBerry PlayBook has gained more ground in recent months; see this BlackBerry PlayBook review which praises the recently upgraded tablet and its productivity features. The 4G LTE cellular-equipped model has faster browsing than any other current tablet brand, due to an upgraded 1.5 GHz processor. It is therefore, expected to be more popular than its predecessor, especially for users who thrive in the BlackBerry environment.
By the end of the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour, RIM is likely to have gained further support from the developer community and new BlackBerry apps will be on their way. We look forward to seeing all RIMs efforts coming together upon launch of the new OS early next year.