Recent reports from market research firms have revealed that Waterloo, Ontario based Canadian smartphone maker Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) is losing customers not only on a percentage basis, but also on a per unit basis in the U.S. Adding to the company’s woes, it recently experienced a major international outage that left BlackBerry users without email or messaging service.
But the company had some good news to announce, this week airing “BBX”, its next generation BlackBerry operating system, at its DevCon keynote address. The new operating system supports both native and web apps.
On the web app side, there’s built in support for Android Java applications, much like the RIM Playbook. This is critical as it gives new BlackBerries access to literally hundreds of thousands of new apps. HTML5 web apps are also fully supported.
On the native apps side, there’s a new Native SDK. There’s a new GUI SDK — Cascade UI with support for 3D animations and more. RIM is offering support for 100 commonly used open source libraries, including the popular multithreading library POSIX. And for native apps RIM is also adding new deep integration to the company’s push and BlackBerry Mail (BBM) services.
RIM President and Co-CEO.Mike Lazaridis was on hand to announce BBX [Source: RIM]
Adobe Inc.’s (ADBE) Flash and Air apps are fully supported.
The new operating system will be available on new BlackBerries and will be available as an OS upgrade for the PlayBook and future tablets. An early build is available via the “BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 Developer Beta.”
The base code of the operating system comes from QNX, the OS currently used in the RIM PlayBook, but borrows literally from RIM’s own BlackBerry OS. QNX was first released in 1982 by a fellow Waterloo firm, and was purchased in 2004 by Harman International Industries (HAR). Then in 2010 RIM scooped up the OS-maker, reaching an agreement to buy it from Harman.
The new OS will be installed on both RIM’s tablets and its BlackBerry smartphones.
[Source: Berry Review]
Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM, cheered the fruit of that acquisition, stating, “With nearly 5 million BlackBerry apps downloaded daily, our customers have made BlackBerry one of the most profitable platforms for developers. At DevCon today, we’re giving developers the tools they need to build richer applications and we’re providing direction on how to best develop their smartphone and tablet apps as the BlackBerry and QNX platforms converge into our next generation BBX platform.”
Some employees and investors have recently expressed skepticism  about the leadership at RIM. Nonetheless, with increasingly attractive hardware, and a reinvigorated OS effort, RIM just may have what it takes to pull off a turnaround.
Improving dual-core compatibility for gaming
The piracy police made one 9-year-old a very unhappy camper
ZMAX will come with a Snapdragon 400 processor and 720p display
UC Davis dares to go where Toyota won't with the Prius
An Apple spokesperson fires back over Microsoft's latest commercials
Engadget gets the scoop on Dell's latest "ultra-portable" notebook