Thorsten Heinz: The Hard Way to BlackBerry 10

image ‘the easy way, the hard way’: from (click to see the source)

The first day at BB World in Orlando Thorsten Heinz was on stage in his new role as CEO of RIM and last weeks Thorsten talked much about RIM and BB10.

Thorsten Heinz at first explained why RIM is Going-The-Hard-Way: building a mobile operating system from scratch.

RIM wants to have a platform for the “Blackberry People” who are not just using a smartphone to watch videos, but want to solve tasks in a short time – and of course also expect a cinematic experience. RIM has analyzed Android and other mobile OS: It would not be possible to realize this vision with one of the others.

If you’re familiar with BlackBerry perhaps you know the concept of SuperApps:

  • always-on-experience
  • highly contextualized
  • tightly integrated with core applications
  • social and connected
  • proactive and notification-driven
  • efficient and scalable

– that’s what BlackBerry users are expecting and RIM wants to take this to the next level for the next decade. BB10 is not only a new version of a mobile OS like switching from iOS 5 to iOS 6 or from Android 3 to Android 4, it’s a complete new redesign.

RIM looked around and found QNX, a secure OS with a robust Microkernel and open to be extended. So RIM acquired QNX and now owns a great OS !

QNX is the heart of BlackBerry 10.

QNX is already running since 2004 in Cisco-Router-Systems, in automobiles, airplanes, SpaceShuttle or at the International Space Station to name only some. Read more about QNX at Wikipedia here.

Dan Dodge wrote the first version of QNX 30 years ago: in 1982 and as he said at BlackBerry World why QNX survived such a long time: “Architecture matters” – the underlying architecture is great and now QNX was used to build the worlds first real-time mobile platform: BlackBerry 10. It’s a great win for RIM to have a genius software architect like Dan Dodge on board.

The acquisition of QNX was important, but only the first step into future for RIM – another important step was the acquisition of TAT and their Cascades (see above).

What does BlackBerry 10 mean in realitiy for users and developers ? BB10 is all about FLOW – CONNECT – EXTEND:


image: (c) 2012 ekke (island of kos, greece)

Everything flows and it does not matter whether a user starts a task in his favorite social network or in the contacts application or anywhere else: everything flows together and merges harmoniously and intuitive. The User Experience (UX) is always the same. If you watched some BB10 demos you can see how you flow between tasks with only using the thumb and in-the-middle of your task ‘peek’ at notification and go back and forth in your workflow.

This is from my point of view excellent and no other mobile OS can provide such a UX at the moment. I’m sure even in 6 or 9 months no one else will have such features. It’s not something added later to an OS: it’s built in !

From a developers view: one of the parts making the FLOW possible is the Invoke API. At first it looks like it’s similar to Android Intends. Android Intends provide functionalities that can be used by other applications. So you can ensure that a picture can be opened from one of the installed apps offering services to edit images. Services are loosely coupled and allow you to build very interesting applications on Android. As far as I’ve seen til now, BB10 solves all what’s possible with Intends. But BB10 goes one step further:invoking other applications is built-in into the OS from the beginning and it’s combined with the UX to enable a seamless transition: no longer thinking in terms of applications, but thinking in tasks.
Next months I’ll provide some code and apps comparing Android 4 and BB10 so you can take a look how some use-cases can be realized. I’m looking forward to next betas of BB10 SDK’s to play with the FLOW-of-apps and wiull blog about my experiences. I’m open-minded and have customers using smartphones from different mobile OS.


image from: (click to see the source)

BB10 Users are always connected with their social networks.

This isn’t really new: you can already use your Twitter, Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn, Foursquare accounts with iOS, Android, BlackBerry 7. All modern mobile OS provide actions like “send to Twitter…”.

But in combination with the FLOW for the user all feels integrated naturally – you don’t have to ‘send’ something to another network, it’s already there, it happens inside your workflow.

You can get a first feeling what’s coming up looking at the Contacts APP on Playbook OS 2.1 where Twitter and LinkedIn is integrated – you have to do nothing by yourself and get all the informations at one place: your stored data from a contact, his/her Twitter account and LinkedIn with Bio, last messages from the company and more. Some days ago I learned about cobook for OSX – an alternate way using the addressbook of OSX combining addresses, Twitter and LinkedIn, but gives you much less (on the Desktop) as PlayBook (on a 7” tablet) and what will be topped by devices running BB10. (PlayBook OS is only less then half step compared with upcoming BB10)

You always have to take a look at BB10 at a whole, not only single components to get an idea. The way how all is plugged together will be the secret of success.

EXTEND beyond the device

image ‘transparent extender’: from (click to see the source)

EXTEND means: BB10 goes beyond the Device !

BB10 is combining SmartPhones and Tablets with

  • NFC
  • Credit Card Services
  • Data from the Cloud
  • Entertainment Systems inside of Cars

and much more to extend your mobile experience.

BB10 covers the complete mobile life, not only a phone or a tablet.

BB10 is designed to be there for the next 10 years and more. Remember that BB10 was designed from ground with all the new possibilities in mind, where Android and iOS are five years old mobile Operating Systems.

Read about NFC below and also about QNX and Cars. (giving you as a developer great opportunities in fast growing markets).

BB10 is a new Platform with a RealTime OS

Let’s summarize: How all of this can be done?

These functionalities are directly implemented from the beginning deep into the operating system. It’s not added later, exists from the beginning and is part of the BlackBerry DNA!

Only when you have your own operating system, this can be done. If RIM would have opted for Android or Windows Phone, developers would not be able to build applications as shown at the conference in Orlando or later last weeks.

BB10 is made for the ‘BlackBerry People’

image: from (click to see the source)

BlackBerry users – or “The Blackberry People” – as Thorsten Heins named them in the keynote at BlackBerry World – have to do something and they want to do it as easy as possible. Everything is an “endless User
” – the user does not know where an application starts and another ends. This kind of applications was already known under BlackBerry OS 6 or 7, where it was called SuperApps. All of this was entirely re-thought and implemented into BB10.

BB10 is Unique (no mee-too Clone)

BB10 is an original and not a clone!

BB 10 is also the newest mobile operating system that is tailored to the needs of today’s smartphones and takes account from the beginning of the current technical possibilities.

BB10 is also the only mobile operating system that is a true real-time OS.

RIM owns BB10 and may incorporate into the operating system what is needed.

As a developer: I’m happy to make cool software for a cool system !

Secure Microkernel

BB10 is a certified secure operating system based on POSIX. The QNX microkernel is robust, reliable and running stable since years. This kernel is embedded in a future-proof architecture that allows open source libraries to dock easily.

Not only that RIM is well known for secure OS – if using it in vehicles (see below) it is elementary that one can be sure that the operating system is safe 😉

Open Source

Open Source and RIM ? Yes !

That’s another sign that RIM 2012 is a new RIM – there are already more then 50 open source projects on GitHub. Some more Infos at the last chapters of this article.

BlackBerry 7 is alive

During a press conference after the BlackBerry World Thorsten Heinz has also made clear that the “old” OS 7 is further maintained and developed: BlackBerry is sold all over the world (alone on the BlackBerry World were participants represented from 120 countries) and in many countries a smartphone such an iPhone or BB10 is simply too expensive. This may change over the years, but BlackBerry 7 Devices will be there for some time.

Just some weeks ago the BlackBerry Curve 9320 was introduced for OS 7.1 and new Simulators are available for BlackBerry Curve 9310.

BlackBerry 7 isn’t the future of RIM, but will help in markets like Asia and Africa to make the transition for more powerful devices next years.

next page →

  1. Intro
  2. Death Spiral’. Why developing BB, Who on Earth…
  3. How it all began, Farewell Java ME, the ‘old’ RIM vs. ‘not your fathers’ RIM, I’m independent
  4. BB10 is a Platform, Cascades more then a UI Framework
  5. Thorsten Heins: the hard Way to BB10, BlackBerry 7 is alive
  6. Alec + Chris rockin’ …, BB10Jam Conference, Creating intelligent Apps
  7. Connected Apps with Cascades, Anatomy of a BB10 App
  8. Native Camera API, NFC Apps
  9. Location-Based-Services
  10. Flow + Invokation Framework
  11. Party, SDK, AlphaDevice, Keyboard, Magic Moments
  12. Markets: Consumer, Enterprise, Government, Automobile
  13. BB10 around the World, Apps Apps Apps…, Open Source
  14. Mission RIM possible ?, Empower People like never before ?, Three Wishes

next page →