It’s hard to be excited about BlackBerry 7 when you know there’s an entirely new and awesome OS around the corner, albeit a very wide-angled corner. We know that the first BBX device to launch will be a touchscreen and it we can expect the software to be just like the PlayBook in terms of design and features. But there’s still some unanswered questions and concerns.
Image from Verge
The biggest question right now is around the Super App experience. RIM has spent years developing the APIs necessary to create apps that access all the PIM information as well as things like the BlackBerry Menu. The fact that a BlackBerry app can customize the device and fill gaps is one of the reasons we love the platform so much. It will probably take RIM some time to roll out these APIs and create a smartphone experience that addresses the mobile workforce needs in the way that its predecessors have.
Matthias at emacberry made a good point about the time it might take to release these APIs. The BBM API has been around for about 9 months and it took RIM quite a while to offer a stable API. If that’s the sort of time frame we’re looking at for BBX, it could mean the first devices won’t have an app experience on par with BlackBerry 7 devices. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a gaming device, BBX looks like it will be a great experience. The games that are appearing these days for the PlayBook look stunning, but we have yet to see anything on the PlayBook that could be deemed a “Super App”.
I think what’s going to happen is that RIM’s first BBX device will be a full touchscreen device and it will be a brilliant gaming device, but not a “get things done” device. RIM certainly has plans for QWERTY based devices, and the APIs that make for a Super App experience will definitely get there in time, but it looks like the first BBX devices will be more play and less work. It’s still way too early to tell but it’s just a gut feeling from what we’ve seen so far – especially at DevCon.