RIM CEO comes out fighting with BlackBerry 10 preview


RIM chief Thorsten Heins has used the opening keynote of the BlackBerry Jam conference in San Jose to warn business users against writing his firm off.

The beleaguered smartphone maker has seen its stronghold on the mobile market diminish in recent years, as corporate users embrace rival devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

On top of this, the firm has also been rocked by a succession of senior management departures.

However, at the firm's US conference, Heins suggested the worst of RIM's troubles were now behind it, and that the launch of its next device the BlackBerry 10 will mark the start of an important chapter for the firm.

"We are convinced the BlackBerry 10 will shape the next 10 years as profoundly and positively as Blackberry shaped the last 10 years," he said.

During his keynote speech, Heins said the company had undergone a complete culture change since he took over as CEO nine months ago, and that there is now "a lot of fighting spirit" back in the firm.

"We are making believersout of those that have previously written BlackBerry off," he said.

"We are listening. We are laser-focused. We're excited about our future and we are fighting," Heins added.

He also used the keynote to walk users through some of the BlackBerry 10's key features, including BlackBerry Balance, which is aimed at CIOs that want to embrace the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

We're excited about our future and we are fighting.

A pull down motion on the device's touch screen will allow users to choose between corporate and personal accounts, and keep business and leisure apps separate.

This means, when a BlackBerry 10 user changes jobs, the corporate data stored on their device can be easily wiped without affecting the employee's personal settings.

"It allows you to have two separate identities on one device," explained Heins. "And they are separated down to the operating system level."

Attendees were also treated to a look at the BlackBerry 10's Hub feature, which the company claims will negate the need for users to switch between apps because everything including social networking feeds, BBM messages and emails will be grouped together in the same place.

"We've woven together mobile life by bringing together people and events and social networks to give them immediate access to the things they wantno one should have to launch an app. It should just be there," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.