Even though the touch BlackBerry Bold 9900 was the only next-generation officially announced back at BlackBerry World 2011 this past May, several new BlackBerry 7 devices or in the works, and, it looks like they will be officially announced tommorow, July 26th at an event RIM is calling #BB7FanNight.
The fact that Research in Motion hasn’t officially announced the BlackBerry 9810, 9850, or 9360 hasn’t stopped the company from soliciting BlackBerry 7 applications written specifically for those devices in BlackBerry App World. Check out this letter from BlackBerry App World Marketing sent out to BlackBerry developers…
It looks like the virtual keyboard on the BlackBerry Torch has been updated and it looks a lot more like the virtual keyboard found on the BlackBerry PlayBook. There appears to be a bit more space between keys in the new layout which is a plus. The big question for me, however, is if RIM will start to allow third party keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey?
During Research in Motion’s annual shareholder’s meeting yesterday, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said that 7 new BlackBerry devices running its next generation operating system would be out in the coming months. (For clarity, ‘next generation operating system’ actually means BlackBerry 7 which is still based on RIMs old BlackBerry OS. The real next generation QNX OS currently found running on the BlackBerry PlayBook won’t be out on the BlackBerry until early 2012.)
Research in Motion has released OS breakdown information for BlackBerry users downloading applications from BlackBerry App World, and, nearly a year after the release of BlackBerry 6, almost 1 in 5 BlackBerry users, 18% to be exact, are using the latest and greatest RIM has to offer. The data also shows that 32% of BlackBerry users are still pre-BlackBerry OS 5. Usually when we think of mobile OS fragmentation, Android is the platform that jumps to mind, but, things are just as bad for the BlackBerry OS, and, they are soon going to get worse….
Uptake of BlackBerry 6 has jumped 8% in the three months since we last talked about it, but, 82% of BlackBerry users on an operating system at least one version back. This will jump to two versions back as soon as RIM releases BlackBerry 7, expected to ship sometime in the next 2 to 3 months. The real problem for RIM is that everyone who cares knows that RIM intends to replace BlackBerry 7 with QNX in ‘early 2012’.
If it took a year for RIM to get 18% adoption on BlackBerry 6, does it really make sense for developers to focus development efforts on BlackBerry 7 when they know that QNX is coming, and, coming hard?