Confirmed: BlackBerry 10 full touchscreen and physical keyboard models will be announced and marketed together

CrackBerry Kevin talks BlackBerry 10 with RIM's CEO, Thorsten Heins, and CMO, Frank Boulben

BlackBerry. Best. Keyboards. Period.
By Kevin Michaluk on 12 Jul 2012 06:11 pm EDT

At BlackBerry HQ in Waterloo yesterday, I sat down with Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins, and the company's newly appointed CMO, Frank Boulben.

We covered a lot of topics, including the ramifications of BlackBerry 10 launching in the first quarter of 2013 vs. the previous target of Q4 2012.

The CrackBerry community, myself included, has not been very forgiving to RIM on this delay since word of it came out via the company's recent earnings announcement.

After speaking to both Thorsten and Frank, I have a much clearer understanding of why the decision was made to wait. Not only do I understand it now, but I get it. From a product quality, marketing and carrier support standpoint, it actually makes a lot of sense.

Of course, that won't make waiting for BlackBerry 10 any easier.

Heins Could Have Delivered a BlackBerry 10 Phone in 2012

Talking style after the interview: My long hair and Heins' awesome motorcycle helmet

Heins understands just how frustrated we are with the delays and made it clear that he wasn't happy about the having to change the timeline either, but he simply won't allow RIM to ship anything that is less than 100 percent. That probably wouldn't have happened under the old guard.

"Don't get me wrong," Heins told me. "I'd have loved to stick to that schedule, and I could have, if I would have sacrificed quality for it. We're not going to put product out there that isn't ready. We're done with that. That's over. This is not what we will be doing. So we gave the team the time to get it done and do it properly."

The primary concern over maintaining quality was squarely focused on maintaining platform stability while integrating new blocks of code into the main "trunk." Basically, RIM locked down the features it wanted in BlackBerry 10 for launch, and the software group went to work in teams to tackle it. The individual teams were very successful at getting their individual pieces built, but when it came time to drop all the new code into the main codebase, they found things were a bit messy (some inconsistency in the way APIs were being introduced between different software teams, etc.). At that point they made the decision to halt the process and clean things up to ensure all future code drops would go more smoothly.

Heins says the real cost of this process is a 6 - 8 week shift on the timeline of launching the full-touch BlackBerry 10 phone. As I hypothesized in a previous editorial, Heins also confirmed the delay in the launch of the full touch phone doesn't impact the timeline of the qwerty version, so the lag between the two devices being launched will be reduced from what was originally planned. As for when, Heins is confident Q1 2013 will not slip.

"I'm very confident about the first quarter, whether it's January or February," Heins told me. "You'll see lab entry and technical acceptance already kicking in, in Q4. Just the ramp up and launch with carriers will happen in Q1."

It's Better to Launch in Q1 2013 than No Man's Land 2012

One of the primary concerns expressed by myself and the CrackBerry community over the delay to 2013 was that RIM will miss out on important holiday sales.

Heins acknowledged this as the major detriment to the delay and noted that him and Boulben had intense discussions around this subject. The consensus was that even without the delay to 2013, getting into stores late in Q4 may have proved to be less than ideal.

Boulben, the chief marketing officer, echoed that sentiment.

"The carriers want to take full advantage of Q4," Boulben told me. "So if you want to have a real push from the carrier you need to be there in September / October. Then you have the marketing money, the share of voice and the staff would have been trained in September. If you are going to come to market in the second half of November or beginning of December, you won't get the full efficiency of the marketing of the carrier."

Heins said they actually refer to this late November/December period at RIM as "No Man's Land," and, he continued, "you never want to launch during 'No Man's Land.' "

Boulben added that some carriers reached out to him directly and advised him that RIM should target a January launch for BlackBerry 10 to which Heins made note, "It actually gives us more focus and attention in Q1."

Why Launch a Full Touch BlackBerry phone before the QWERTY model?

With the talk of delays out of the way, I shifted my focus to another question that comes up on CrackBerry a lot. Why launch the full touch BlackBerry 10 phone first? I have my theory on it, so wanted to hear the real answer straight from the BlackBerry CEO himself.

"There's two reasons for this. The first reason, without being arrogant, I think we own the full qwerty market. The Bold 9900 is doing a good job of this in the market with our corporate customers. In the US we're most under pressure with the BYOD movement in enterprises, so we need to get in the battle. That's why we need the entry card, which is the full touch device, so we can go to enterprises and say, hey look at this, this is the full touch from BlackBerry and it does things way better than what you have today. And I think it's going to be way better. And then the qwerty comes immediately thereafter."

"The second reason is technology. Building the full touch device on this platform is more complicated than the qwerty one. So it's natural that you make the more complex product first that actually clears the pipeline for the platform."

So that's that.

The One, Two Punch - Announcing the first two BlackBerry 10 phones together

New CMO Frank Boulben is already making an impact at RIM

Another benefit of moving the launch of BlackBerry 10 to Q1 2013 is that it gives more time for RIM's new CMO to get the marketing plan together. That said, only four weeks into the role it's clear that Boulben has hit the ground running.

Says Heins:

"Frank has a great marketing plan together for BlackBerry 10. Frank presented it to the board and the management team and they were really excited by it. It's really the first integrated, focused marketing campaign that RIM has done. I'm really looking forward to this. I think the world is going to be surprised by how well we execute. Not just on the product but also on the marketing side of it."

"We will announce them together and not in sequence. We'll just come out and say full touch available at (this date) and full QWERTY available at (this date)."

I couldn't help but let out a big grin at this news. It just makes so much sense. We've seen a lot of misreporting in recent weeks that RIM would be abandoning having a physical keyboard with BlackBerry 10. Those who follow the BlackBerry beat know this isn't true, but the average consumer is not as informed. Announcing BlackBerry 10 with a full touchscreen and qwerty version together ensures there will be absolutely no confusion in the market place. As marketing ramps up from day one, everybody will know BlackBerry 10 is available in both full touch and physical keyboard flavors. They'll be announced the same time, and the marketing efforts will benefit both devices. And it's clear that RIM will want the world to know they have the best typing experience on both qwerty and touch phones.

And maybe the best part is that RIM is targeting a global co-ordinated launch effort here and the carriers are on side.

"The carriers are with us," Heins told me. "All these things with the carriers are progressing: launch windows, launch plans, and Frank is all over this with the sales force. We have that support. The carriers want this platform out there. They see the Samsung / Apple duopoly and they don't like it. They want another third force. They believe we can do this. They've seen BlackBerry 10. They've had their hands around it. They can see it. And I think they like what they see. So that's on track."

Full Touch or QWERTY... That is the Question!

Knowing BlackBerry 10 phones will be announced together and that the full touch and qwerty versions will launch in quick succession, the question for upcoming BlackBerry 10 owners now becomes, full touch or qwerty?

It's a tough call. Go for the screen real estate? Or go for those buttery smooth buttons a la the Bold 9900? I guess with BlackBerry 10 six months away we'll have plenty of time to contemplate this one. Or better yet, use the time to save up and just buy both.

Reader comments

Confirmed: BlackBerry 10 full touchscreen and physical keyboard models will be announced and marketed together



my wife and I actually sat directly behind him at the AGM. He looked like a rather hip geek! He could maybe just wash it. Seeriously, the kid looked fine. Keep it up, Kev baby!

He is suppose to be the face of the crackberry nation. For crying out loud, he just met with the CEO and looks like a bum.
maybe thats how they roll in Canada?

I was hoping the helmet was for Kevin so i didnt have to look at it anymore! :)

Listen to me...
Take 6 more months to launch the phone if that is what you need.
But give us a phone that will shock the world.
If people are amazed, they will toss their apple and DROID phones in the trash and buy an amazing bb.

We use bb in our company. The contract ends December 18 of this year, and I will be getting everyone the new bb10 when they come out.
Bottom line. End of story.

O Ye of little faith...And the wrath of the Rimpire was great and it did smite the tree of poisoned fruit and disassembled the small green robot and gave to the masses the single handed phone that flowed to the users command that phone that the great earth longed for and it was very good!

I don't think I have seen this idea anywhere in the forums but, if they really want to have a great sales push on 10 Why not get together with the carriers and figure out a way that us normal people can get out of our contracts without haveing to pay and arm & a leg to be able to buy the 10 phones. I have upgraded 3 times in the last three years and am not looking to empty my wallet on a new phone at full price or paying out my contract to get the new customer price. How about a little help on this Thor!


This is the RIMM I was hoping for! There seems to be direction and stratgy in place to accomplish what they say they will do.

FULL TOUCH SCREEN KEYBOARD ALL THE WAY!!! As is, I do not use the physical keyboard on my 9810. So, I am going for screen real estate. =0)

Awesome article kevin, hopefully this silences some of the critics. Sooo pumped up for bb10 And on a side note, your hair is looking marvelous.

Why would this announcement silence the critics? We have heard these promises...I mean announcements...before only to later hear excuses for another release delay. Until the BlackBerry 10 smartphones are available for purchase I put no stock in anything this company says. Sorry Kevin but you've misled us in the past through no fault of your own except our collective faith. No more faith.

then its time for you to leave the community and get anther mobile phone, have fun good sir and best of luck when you get laughed at by BB loyals when the time comes :)

I don't have an upgrade but I will be buying it outright. Ready to sell my iPhone 4S and put the cash towards BB10 with QWERTY keyboard!!!

I have to admit I will likey be at my local cell shop day 1 to upgrade. Very excited that both will be out around the same time so I can compare also. I was going to go for a touch but I may wait for the Bold 10 if it's going to be awesome.

I will be buying BOTH, full touch and qwerty at the same time.

The only question is, which carriers will these devices come out on and when?

That's exactly what I was going to say. Thanks for stealing my comment (and be grateful that I'm not apple because I'd sue).

I think it's safe to say that you can expect even more carriers picking up the new BlackBerry 10 platform products- smartphones, tablets and anything else RIM has up their sleeves. RIM partnered with more carriers than ever before with the launch of BB7 phones.

Looks Heins is holding it. Also I'm pretty sure Kevin is sporting a full BB10 phone as a "real world " trial for RIM. But its probably disguised as a dev alpha.

Deciding QWERTY vs Touch might be hard. Tons of screen real estate for movies and browsing OR a kick ass keyboard that we know RIM will deliver on. Might not grab it the first day and wait for reviews to come in!

Agreed, get a PlayBook for multi-media and gaming, and get the QWERTY BB10 for the excellent keyboard we all know they are going to deliver.

For me, the best BlackBerry 7 form-factor is the Torch 9810: a decent-sized touch-screen and a slide-out tactile keyboard. Show me a BlackBerry 10 version of that sort of form-factor, and I'm in. :-)

BB10 sounds good to me now that there will be a physical keyboard and I'm quite content to use my 9900 for awhile 'til the BB10 comes out. I like to get at least a couple of years out of a phone before I fork out another pile of $$$ for a new one.

What's the "good reason"?

Proper keyboard? Check
Full size screen? Check

I don't see what's not to like. I'll be waiting for the slider.

I have a Torch9800. Problem with it is it's loose even though I'm gentle with it. Major problem with a slider is this: moving parts wear and tear and break down.

I let my 3yo niece play with my 9800 and haven't had any issues. I'm waiting to see info on a slider BB10, if I don't see any good news by Oct I may get a Droid.

Then I'll likely not buy a BB10 phone. I have no interest in a full touch slab, nor do I want a tiny screen Bold.

Agreed. Since I'm not interested in Iphone/Galaxy copycat or pure QWERTY device I'm waiting for cool 9810 successor. I believe there is still appreciable demand for sliders among consumers. In other words, if RIM decides to abandon hybrid devices I expect they have indisputable data (sales stats, consumer surveys..) which vindicate such decision.

... and the problem with glass screens & cases (a la apple & droids) is they scratch; they've also cracked at the slightest sneeze ... THAT hasn't stopped anyone from making - or buying! - them.
And, unlike on the old trackballs which fell out when they became loose, a "loose" slider does NOT = "flimsy" or "not functional" ...

A friend of mine has thrown his 9800 against the wall 2 or 3 times (don't ask), and I've dropped mine more often than I care to remember ... Screen & Slider: BOTH FINE on both devices!

And mine gets opened & closed at least a dozen times per hour.

You ARE right, of course: "moving parts" wear out, but
1) it's not a "super precise" moving part - unlike, say, Thorsten's motorcycle engine, and 2) what's the life cycle of ANY phone/device/gadget nowadays?
24-36 mths "shouldn't" present a big problem in terms of wear on a simple sliding part (of course, now that I've said that it's guaranteed to become a problem all over - LOL!!).

Depends on type of glass/composite used. Track balls are 5 years ago. Loose slider = worn parts. No kind of [motorcycle] engine is super precise because it contains moving parts, which eventually wear out.
Unfortunately I do agree about the life cycle of phones, but if you don't "have to" replace a modern phone, you're better off; much like with a brand, new motorcycle

Trackball phones were available into 2010. By my reckoning, that was just two years ago. The pure touchscreen iPhone came out almost 5 years ago, and hasn't changed much, yet.

Only two years ago? Holy crap. Time either flies or stands still. Crazy how much things have changed so quickly. Five years ago I had a land line. Now I don't remember what one looks like.

Mine is two years old and only has a tiny amount of play in the screen slider. No more than it hand when new.

If RIM would tighten up manufacturing tolerances, then folks with really wiggly screens would know what it's like to have a nice slider phone.

Best of both worlds - big screen when you want it, keyboard when you need it. Trackpad helps with text and item selection and is, IMO, much better than the on-screen cursors on the PlayBook. I always struggle with those things.

Move over Crockett, here comes Crackberry Kev! Straight off the set of Miami Vice! The question - who is the new Tubbs, Thor or Frank?

PLEEZ get a haircut soon, Kev.

Great write-up and this just re-installed faith in RIM with me. (Not that I lost much in the first place!)
I can see the Touch and QWERTY Ad Now! In the background they are playing "The Best of Both Worlds"! ;)

P.S: #blackberrybychoice

P.P.S: I'm going for the QWERTY!

Great stuff . We know this won't silence the trolls (I'm waiting for their heads to pop up from the peanut gallery) but for the dedicated it all seems to be coming together nicely. I'm waiting for the full touchscreen. Moving parts on a phone gives more chance of something breaking or getting worn; besides, I'm tired of buttons now.

Thx for this important update Kevin. It's nice to hear it from the horse's mouth (CEO Heins) about why BB 10 is delayed. But he certainly cleared that up. I read today on TechCrunch that RIM is still third in U.S. smartphone shares after Android and iOS. Which means I think RIM is going to be the third major platform for mobile ahead of Windows phone. Good news, I'm going for the full touch BB 10. And nice hair Kevin, I like it.

Once BB10 comes out there is no way in HEII that windows will overtake BB as #3...

I love how upbeat and positive Thor is. I understand he HAS to be but it is very believable. It doesn't seem like he is just telling us what we want to hear.

Yeah but carriers are solidly behind Windows Phone to and all major USA carriers but Sprint and all Canadian carriers have made statements of support for Windows Phone as the third ecosystem. Plus Microsoft has ten times the cash on hand that RIM does and are quite happy to out spend RIM 10 to 1 on marketing and winning over developers.

Where RIM has the edge is in us - the 78 million strong - blackberry by choice existing subscriber base. If RIM can hold on to us and win over a good slice of the 100 million plus symbian users who have not gone Windows Phone then they should have a shot at hanging on to their spot as the third ecosystem.

But I definitely would not put much stock on mass carrier support for BB 10 until I see it because carriers are a fickle bunch and while it's great that frank is a carrier guy he and Thor may be a little ahead of themselves stating that carriers want RIM to hold on to number three and be THE alternative to apple and Samsung. I want that to happen and I can't wait for BB 10 to show the world that RIM is the most innovative company in tech and has done in two years what no one else could, build from the ground up the best mobile computing platform the world has ever seen.

I get what you're saying but even with microsofts money and the carriers not "pushing" BB10, BB10 will still sell alot. Even if the carriers don't push BB10 they will still sell it. and they will sell alot. As soon as the carriers see BB10 selling like hotcakes(mmmm, hotcakes!!) they will quickly turn their attention to BB. Because, money talks and if they can sell a ton of BB's and make more money, that is what they will focus on.

Thats the way I see it playing out. I could be wrong.

All I know is I am happy with my 9900 and I am excited as heck to touch a BB10 device for the first time. I will be like a kid in a candy store that day for sure, and my candy of choice is Blackberries!!! haha. effed up analogies FTW!!!!

That is good news!!

No aprox date for launch??!!

Anyway i can wait to feb, cause my contracts end in that month
Live Long and Prosper!

So ..., your contract ends, but your service doesn't; it "should" just switch to "month-to-month" billing, keeping your current service, features and pricing.

There should be no pressure to jump into a new "device & contract" on Day 0 of your old contract just because it expired; I was "month-to-month" with my carrier for SEVEN YEARS before renewing, and BOY did my carrier "treat me" to a gr8 deal for it!
Having a 112 month old non-contract account carries a LOT of weight with their "Retentions Dep't"!

Peace and Long Life!

To all u iPhone haters / u Android perpetrators / u Windows Phone traitors / We be up in Waterloo doing work with the crew / T-Heins be there too / And we gunnin' for you / We be the truest innovators / the realest gladiators / the dopest platform makers / With ur candy ass devices playing games like at the park / We be doing mad business / freaking ho's after dark / So take your weak comments and keep em to yoself / cuz dissin' on RIM doin nothin' fo yo health. Peace.

Turn that into a video and send me a dropbox link to it. That's awesome.Will send you something awesome.

Need to do it wearing the BlackBerry by Choice middle finger shirt

Verse 2:

They call it Water-loo-loo cuz we bout to poo on u / when BB10 drops from the mind of r crew / u wont know what to do / no u wont know what to do / Indicator lights, indicate the future / iPhone, Android, Samsung r the losers / BB10 swag with a new platform base / this young mobile game like the old space race / Touch fo the kids / qwerty for the kings / i heard your phone sing / well mine fuckin' rings / rings like champ / rings round the clock / rings from the hos on my crackberry jock / so when the ball drops / and BB10 is born / I'll be in the club with my homie Heins Thor. And i'm out.

"rings from the hos on my crackberry jock"
that was the best thing I read all week. I lol'd (loudly)

Long Live The RIMpire!!!!!

really nice berrypotter .... make a vid and put it up ... that will be my ringtone once crackberry vX hits my hands

I think I got a beat I made on Caustic2 that would go good with those bars
Word to yo berry!

I do believe thqt RIM will be ahead of its expected timeline and that we will see a laujch as soon as the devices are presented. I think carrier testing will be done in the time frame that BB10 was originally supposed to be launched in and we will see action or leaks months before hhe release to market

It's been a LOOOOONG afternoon waiting for this blog post!!!! Kinda like waiting for the BB10.

Great read!

This article is worth me taking the time to log-in and comment on. It was very well done, Kevin. And, most importantly it feels reassuring. I felt like RIM kicked me in the nuts when they pushed back the launch date. Reading this article gives me confidence that they have a plan of attack, focus, and sound reasoning behind their decision making. It is still frustrating, but tolerable provided the explanation. Thank you for writing this piece. And, thanks to Mr. Heins and Mr. Boulben for taking the time to sit down and explain things to you (us).

Uh, nut shot indeed, I pulled my 9930 yesterday with some friends on a business trip and one my associate's friend actually said "I didn't know people still had blackberrys." I really have high hopes for BB10. Kevin did a great job articulating the reasoning behind the wait. My upgrade falls in that time frame and I'll be switching the whole families phones then. I only hope that the tech is right on. The competition will be stiff, I won't lie, I'll be looking around. I have to see what will facilitate my family with options and communication versatility. I've been a long time RIM supporter, and I plan to keep it that way. But once again I might have to be the odd man out. I have no issue with it but I would love for the whole family to have similar phones.

Totally agree. I feel like we all owe a massive apology to all those RIM folks slaving their guts out, putting out something they know is going to be supreme while we whine and they can't say anything. Me included. Thanks for your hard work RIM!

I was going for the full touch, but agree that probably letting my PB provide the real estate and phone provide the speed of a keyboard is the thing for me. Unless I change my mind again ...

I'm sad I'll lose my sliding keyboard (Torch). I found it to be the best of both worlds. Large screen (compared to the Bold) and physical keyboard.

Hey, I couldn't agree MORE with you on EVERY count!! "IF we all speak up loud enough," do you think RIM "might" listen? All these new people, policies and attitudes "should?"

The list of benefits - all round - is SO huge, extending to Design (of and for), Manufacturing, Marketing, and Tech-Support for JUST ONE Device that it's a no-brainer, in my opinion. Covered it in a pre-AGM blog-post on Monday.

The Critics AND Pundits, both, are demanding "Querty" concurrently with "full, large touch screen." A PROPER Slider WILL address them all with ONE DEVICE!!

Personally, "my" household will NOT compromise on "full-size touch screen" PLUS "full Querty Keybd," and it MUST have an SDHC slot.

Let's start a movement, a blog, a viable alternative.

A slider phone won't work as the only BB device. The keyboard is far inferior from the Bold 9900-style phone. A slider is clunky and makes the device much thicker. Unrealistic. It's half-touch screen, have keyboard, and can't fully account for each.

My Torch 9800 os no "clunkier" than a Curve with an Otterbox case wrapped around it.

For what it does, I find it quite slick, and I'm more than happy to have a phone that's a little thicker than an iPhone if it means having a proper keyboard AND a good sized screen.

People are too caught up in having the thinnest phone that they don't see the advantages of a sliding phone.

Always qwerty for real work, hey Kevin did you say no shaving as well as no haircut till BB10? Please cancel the no shaving part if its included!!

I hope to the Good Lord above that RIM makes it through this transition period. Will I still be with the platform? I don't know. I am contemplating that right now with so many choices right now and forthcoming.

With that being said and hate to be the devil's advocate, but I just don't think it will be enough for RIM to stay relevant in North America, except for that niche market and some corporatiions. I now understand the delays by reading the article, I get the excitement surrounding BB10 launching both a touch screen and physical keyboard in the same time frame. However, there is a long up hill battle to bring back the consumers that have left for another os, the consumers who are eligible for an upgrade between now and 2013 with no new BB in sight, or the enterpise sector who have abandoned BES for other platforms or working on their contingency plans.

Also, who knows what MS has up their sleeves with WP8 platform releasing in October.

Direct from Waterloo
Innovative technology dictates where the market goes. If BB10 is that innovative, it will succeed. Regardless of Apple and Android's current market penetration. One only has to look at how BlackBerry lost it's market share.

Direct from Waterloo
Innovative technology dictates where the market goes. If BB10 is that innovative, it will succeed. Regardless of Apple and Android's current market penetration. One only has to look at how BlackBerry lost it's market share.

I take the phys qwerty :-) i already have the full touch playbook ;-)

Greetings from the netherlands europe city nijmegen :-)

How about 'carrier lag' time?

We saw witht he OS7 devices that carriers took thier time to test the device before releasing it for sale.

Is 'carrier lag' time factored in the release dates?

Yes. When Heins talks about technical acceptance and the labs, that's what he's referring to. That should start to happen Q4.. should have final TAs by January.

They're definitely trying to line up a real global launch here.


What about a North American launch? There's been a lot of rumors lately that European and Asian markets will see this weeks (or perhaps months) before the North American market.

The Storm 1 and Storm 2 situation jaded my feelings for a touch screen. I think I'll stick with the Qwerty keyboard unless the new touch screen blows it away.

Have you gotten any quality time with a PlayBook? It would seriously make you change your mind. I will probably go with a QUERTY phone only because I have a PB. And the PB will get even better.

I have a Playbook and love it. I remember when I was with my fiance and her family in CT and they had an issue with the cable and internet. I used my Storm 2 (at the time, I'm on the 9930) and bridged it to my PB. They were like ummmm, that's quite impressive, I'm sure the iPhone can do this. I laughed and said, good luck with that.

WOW! Dude, Storms are such a lifetime ago! Have you used a Torch 9800/9810??
"We" LOVE our "Full-Screen PLUS Full Keyboard" 9800 AND 9810 SO MUCH, in fact, that "we" will ONLY go to a new BB10 device IF it's a Full-Screen+Keyboard SLIDER (yes, SDHC slot mandatory!).

I'm on Verizon which doesn't offer the 9810. If so, my fiance wouldn't be looking at getting rid of her BB for an Iphone 5 or GS3. She would love the slider bb if Big Red had it.

Great article Kevin - good to have more context and understanding on why they've chosen the path they have.... unfortunately at this point, the bleeding will only stop once they deliver on all these great-sounding plans. I have faith they can, but the ticking clock is getting louder and louder...

slider needs to be included - I wont get a fullscreen, unless, it is as awesome as everyone says its going to be

RIM has made no mention that they'd be doing a slider BB10.

That "Blade" concept that came out a while back was an independent designer's rendering, nothing RIM itself was proposing.

Now this is what should have been communicated the first time around.
Very excited for the qwerty bb10. With all the crap going around I almost jumped ship and joind my friends. So glad I waited a little longer. Now I just need my 9800 to last 6-7 months more.
Can't wiat for the leaked images and first reviews.
Bb10 FTW!!

It all adds up once explained.
The question is, in six months will these two devices still be fresh/current or will they be behind the curve?

Kevin, This is an excellently done article!
I enjoyed reading every line, and am excited for the BB10 launch, one thing that I VERY much liked in the line "Frank is all over this with the sales force"
When they discussed earlier the structures, it looked like the sales team would be reporting to the COO, not the CMO, which I felt was wrong, and if this line means that they are working with and reporting to Frank the CMO I am far more excited and confident in RIM's ability to launch BB10 in Both Enterprise and consumer markets.

Thanks for the article Kevin.
It's very clear now that the delay doesn't affect the launch of the keyboard BB10 device. So to all the keyboard fetish crackerry heads out there, the sexy keyboard BB10 device launch is on schedule.


A Droid friend of mine wrote the following after I shared this on my FB page

"Intelligent article. Don't find many regardless of tech subject. Love to see an ultra modern touch like some renderings I saw."

Thanks for the informative report. There's still 6 months until possible first launch and I wonder how they plan to keep the enthusiasm going in the meantime. Any idea if they plan on having all those public meetings they announced a while back in the fall? Would be great if they gave everyone a little taste before they begin selling the devices.

Kevin, thank you for this post. After reading this my faith is back with RIM. I do believe Thor isn't playing games at all. I think this guy is going to save RIM. He gets it. All of us have been upset with our devices in the past at some point. He wants BB10 to be flawless. A real-time OS on a phone? That puts RIM way ahead of the competition. These phones won't be obsolete in a year. QNX doesn't need much to run on. BB10 is an ecosystem. And a very powerful one too.

This is an outstanding piece. Just the fact that RIM's CEO and CMO were willing to speak to you at such length is reassuring in itself; they clearly value this community in a way the previous executive did not.

The message itself is reasonable and consistent. It strikes me that Thorsten is clearer and more relaxed talking to Kevin than he is the CBC.

Yes, The best part is that they are actually talking to US, the Crackberry Nation!! I'm sure Kevin is a great guy but we are very valuable supporters to them and Thorstein is acknowledging that. This shows his true character. Keep bringing it Kevin.

Agree. Great article, Kevin.

Now that Thorsten officially recognizes you as the head of an important nation, it is time for a makeover. No button-downs or loafers, mind you. Just the upgraded, more mature version of the fellow we all love instilling confidence in your followers. Ready to impress people in high places .... a true metaphor for the launch of BB10!

do you blame him for being mroe relaxed talking to kevin then the media? i really don't. the media is looking for any excuse to turn what thorsten says around and spin it to suit their needs, the fact that the media is reporting on RIM being in a a death dive they will find any sort of negative and spin it to the worst possible case.

Kevin is not only a BB fan but he is also pretty laid back and a realist, he knows how to read the whole story and piece it together properlynot looking for a negative spin but a true spin

Now I have to chose? Full touch or QWERTY? I think I may wait to see the implmentation on the PB or (the RSN) 4G PB. If BB10 on PB is IDENTICAL to BB10 on the handsets then full QWERTY is the way for me.

With PB and 9780 I don't feel I'm exactly suffering. (But I really envy my wifes 9900.)

/Device agnosticism or bust!

RIM needs to communicate like this to the media because if this article was the announcement that BB 10 was being delayed it would have gone over much better then the actual announcement. Excellent article.

RIM needs to own CES in January!

hey Kevin this is the first time im posting but i read everyday. I live in Barbados where it truly is a Blackberry nation but android is creeping in slowly along with ios. Im never switching from BB so im also praying BB X knocks the micro chips out those two. Thanks for all the info, we truly appreciate and luv it!!!!!!!!

And if your in Vancouver, make sure you forward this article/tweet it to CKNW 980, Bill Good, and Michael Levy who, repeatedly said this morning during their business discussion on RIM that (i) RIM will NOT be producing a keyboard version of BB10; and (ii) that RIM is dead because of this.

Maybe if they get a few hundred tweets/email messages pointing that they are wrong; they might actually start reporting on RIM responsibly.

Kevin, don't cut your hair. After you get your BB10, you should do a video post of you cutting it off outside the store with a wireless trimmer.

Matter of fact I may join you in this committment and grow my mustache until I have a BB10 device in my hand.

We all should do it. It would make a great viral video campaign.

Wow, great read. Why haven't their PR people got this out to the mainstream press as eloquently as you have here?

They need to hire you Kevin.

Great interview Kevin.....Now i can continue developing my app with more confidence that BB 10 is coming out....Hope they update their developer simulators and include the query BB 10 phone...

are you going to grow your hair till January as promised?

Given the choice of breaking the promise to launch in Q4 or the promise to deliver the best mobile OS period, I support Thor's Choice. When BB10 becomes wildly successful, they need to release a special limited edition beast-mode BB called the BlackBerry Thor in commemoration of the man who saved the brand.

maybe a motorcycle BB10 device. i wonder what type of bike he rides, if he rides a crotch rocket or a hog. given that hes german i would think its rocket

Can anyone tell me whether or not the BB10's are going to look like the dev alphas? Those things are cleeeeeeeeeeeean looking

It's my understanding that these dev phones have nothing to do looks-wise with the final product. Someone correct me if I'm wrong...

Promises are made to be kept? Is this what we're hearing? ....... This time, that is.
Well, let's hope we do see the qwerty. I think they're launching them so close together in case the full touch flops, at least the qwerty will make it into the hands of those (like me) who need them.

Great news...

BB = Physical keyboard...nuff said.

So.... when will there be a slider :-)...and where can i get one of those shirts Thor is wearing...

BB = new tech advancements. The fact that a keyboard is 2nd to launch tells us where the focus is for RIM, even though qwerty will be closely launched after.

Kevin, if you're going to go long shaggy hair, clean up your beard/stubble, otherwise it just looks nerd/unix dork instead of I'm so rich I don't care :)

That's not just a helmet, it's one of the new innovative BB10 helmets for the motorcycle community, synchronization with your BB10 device, VAD, displays messages inside the visor, media player, etc. It's the next best thing on the market

Hey Kevin, one thing that has always been lacking at launch of anticipated RIM devices, is the option of different colors. Do you know if the BB10 devices would be available in both black and white at launch, or would those preferring the white option (like me) have to wait a bit?

its been said by throsten that the BB10 devices will be coming in a color that has never been on a Blackberry

Kev, great article with great new insights.

Now, if only we can get all the US mainstream media to pick up on this.....

I'm hoping for Frank to have something planned from now leading up to the BB10 launch, in terms of build-up in order to ensure the "non-crackberry" readers are aware the Blackberry brand is alive and something big is coming!

Nice!!! I'll be waiting for the full touch one.... It will be my first full touch smartphone....

I'm really struggling with this one...I've always been a die-hard keyboard user, but if a touch keyboard could be done right I think the phone experience would be so much better.

Something I'm really interested in is will the full touch still support shortcuts...RIM has always been awesome at increasing my productivity with shortcuts and I don't want to lose that.

Ok I'm excited. And I have nooo idea what one ill be buying. Hopefully there will be some good leaks or marketing to help me decide. Carriers and there dummy phones don't do shit. I need to play with the os

Yes! I can already hear the Rock n' Rolling! Awesome touchscreen phone AND the best qwerty keyboard phone by the same company, with the one-stop shop solution to all your business AND consumer needs!

They should call it BB Phoenix! :D

I hear Amazon will be launching a smart phone in Q1 2013. Now if only there were a game changing, market decimating OS also available at that time that could be licensed to it...

You heard it here first folks: If RIM does opt to license BB10 then we are talking about absolute global market share domination. The OS fragmentation would become a 2-horse race between RIM and iOS, ultimately won out by RIM.

Global populations, governments, corporations, you name it, all operating on RIM's network. Share price launches into orbit.

I'm liking this Throsten guy more and more.

Straight talking and laser focused on quality. I love BlackBerry but launching another Storm would be a disaster. Take the time to get it right and then give consumers what they want and deserve.

My co-worker decided he would not wait and go for the iPhone but I told him he was quitting on BB five minutes to midnight and he paused then said "I've waited this long, I guess I can wait another two months".


true sotry i was just about to comment "he's German, those guys are notorious for quality and the fine details, just look at BMW, Audi and Benz even VW, the attention to detail in one car is awesome, solid build comfortable, economical good handeling, easy control, great feel (minus benz, to comfy for me) and Quick even the budget VWs have some punch to them. there really is no comparison between American or Jap cars, with them its one thing good and the others lack, not an all around quality piece of art

I just hope the hardware for the BB10 phones are kicka$$
RIM tends to use "last years hardware" for their new phones!

The processor should be "at least" a dual core if not quad core!!
1 gig RAM
awesome display
both internal memory and slot for sd card

Sure RIM will loose the sales on the up coming holidays. But hey! Sometimes, you just to bite a bullet to make it right.. BB10 will rock it, six months is nothing, as I am enjoying my bold 9930. Thanks for this great news, now im even more excited for BB10. Im sure I will get both full touch & qwerty... January or Feb is a great time. Hhmmm..... IOS & Android, just woke up the sleeping Dragon.. !!!!

I got faith - my biggest fear has always been that they would rush it out. It has to be perfect. Everything after this is based on this. This is THE PLATFORM. After this comes out everything goes faster.
You heard Rene - apple spent 3-5 years on IOS. This is nothing.
As for having it in my hot little hands - can't wait. !!
I'm going for full-touch.
Buying it outright. No more contract slavery for me.
And then, just for good measure...maybe I'll get the QWERTY, too!
I feel, despite the Web of lies and distortion, that the right people are putting the priority on the right things.
P.S. - Kevin : love the hair. Now -don't shave til BB X!

Kevin do you own any shirts that actually have buttons? You don't need a tie but once and a while maybe something a little less frumpy.....And when do you think you are going to be putting that mop into a pony tail? It seems that you went the extra mile and got those highlights but stopped short of buying a brush or comb....Come on Kevin we want you to put out a finished product....You look like your stylist worked for the old RIM and put out a half finished product. Let Thorsten rub off on you and post no more photos of yourself until you get your $h*t together.
Good article by the way and next time ask if they will be putting a slider our as well.

the hair is frightening.. will someone please think of the children. :)

i'm excited that both devices are coming out around the same time. I can make the decision then on which device. it's so hard to decide and i haven't even seen the devices yet :)

Great artical Kevin as always. Getting excited about BB10 again and cant wait to get one. How ever the key for Rim to do well here like u touch on is a good marketing compagn. If its anything like the be bold ads Rim will be hurting as the new Samsung Galaxy iii comercials including the new olympic one are just great. They show the pure functionality versitility and features of the phone in a exciting but simple to the point fashion. Something Rim has failed to do time and time again. So hopfully they will change that as well. By the looks of it they are on the right track finally.

Great coverage & article, Kevin!
Also great to meet you @ AGM tail-end; too bad drinks/lunch didn't work out - maybe next time.

For fear of flogging a horse, I'll reiterate what I said to you and in the blog: Full Screen + Full Querty Slider device makes ALL the sense in the world from E·V·E·R·Y Business case and Marketing angle imaginable.

I 'get' your point that sliders just haven't been "that" successful, but I think they haven't been marketed and presented properly either; plus, the original Torch 9800 (my model) is considerably underpowered AND locked to OS/6 ... the 9810 is "much better" but hasn't gotten ANY meaningful or effective marketing support - with carriers OR consumers; plus they have a "small" screen and keys (I was leery of the key-size myself!) compared to ALL touch-screen competitors.

In fact, when I called my carrier to get my wife's 9810 last Nov., they tried everything in the book from "bad" arguments to "incentives" to sell me ANY other device, esp. droids, even though they admitted to having BB inventory that wasn't moving 'quickly.'
I HAD to put my foot down and insist on a 9810 "come hell or high water." And, 'she' loves it!!
... (Carrier- & Sales Agents-) MARKETING FAILURE, pure & simple!

I could help Thorsten & Frank fix those & more, but I've been told that I'm not employable @ RIM (I am literally ½-way between the original & new campuses) because - don't laugh - I didn't have an Engineering degree or background ... killer is, I understand most of the tech at least as well as most general techs working there and certainly well enough to market it!!

Next time you're in town, lemme know (you got my card) and "wings + a pitcher's" on me.
Now, "DON'T" cut the mane; keep it trim & clean, but call it your pre-playoff "PlayBerry 10 mane" so people 'get it.'

Thorsten or Frank, if you're reading this, I can be there in about a half hour!

Good read. But wasn't there an article on here a while back about why releasing only the touchscreen model first was the best move?

I want the full parade : A dev limited edition, a full touch, a qwerty and my beloved PBs running BB10 (BTW: no inputs about PB LTE ?) !!!
I want to demo them all, share with friends and make them wowing.
Let's paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaartaaaaaaaaaaaaay !!!

Enough screen on my Playbook. Gimme that qwerty. I might jizz my pants when the dates are announced. Almost wish I hadn't used my upgrade on the 9930

I thought the same way but my storm device wasn't cutting it. Plus if the device is that special (which I assume it will be), I might get it off contract so Big Red won't screw me out of my unlimited plan.

The difficult, we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while longer.

If the new phones are LTE big red is gonna screw you out of your unlimited plan regardless because those are 3G plans.

That's what I'm afraid of. I could see with Bridge, BB10 and my PB, I'm all over the place on data.

The difficult, we do immediately. The impossible takes a little while longer.

Proud member of the BlackBerry community. 9670 Style and PlayBook owner.

Qwerty for me. I have my PB for the extra screen space and ability to view full websites. So I still prefer to have the physical keyboard on my phone. Now, if RIM is going to grant wishes, I'd love for a newer 9670 Style version running bb10!! :D I'm used to the flip style again and it's actually held up for a year and a half. Getting a replacement next week. But this one definitely got worked and lived a good life. (lol) I'll be waiting till Q1 to get a new phone. Presumably, another BlackBerry.

I think it would be a miracle if any of these things see the light of day.
I say miracle, yet, I don't believe in god/religion.
GL rim.

im so glad RIM didnt opt for easy way out (Droid and WP8). This is a company that is showing resilience and focus. strugling but will not give up without a fight. this is what makes RIM special. A come back will be more special. Fortune favours the brave

I will believe all of this when it happens. To me RIM is just pushing back another promised delivery date. RIM has spread so much BS that I will have to see it to believe it. RIM has made some very poor choices in the last few years and they are teetering on non-existence.


It sounds like the discussion revolved around mostly software. Can you discuss hardware or is that off the table because RIM wants to keep the rest of the industry in suspense for awhile longer.


Hey Kevin ~ Fantastic article, you haven't lost your 'touch'!

Am so looking forward to Q1 of 2013. Just imagine, there will be 2 BlackBerrys to choose from!! What could be better than that? Since I've got a BB Playbook and I do a lot of typing, I'm going to get the BB QWERTY.

Keep up the good work.


So, is it safe to assume the QWERTY version will be setup like my 9930? Physical keyboard and touch screen?! I love this phone so much, I don't know that I can live without the combination!

Either way, I'm getting a BB10 on launch day, and I can't wait! Just may have to go full touch for the first time... :/

I'm cautiously optimistic.


The combo of my 9930 with my PB really is WIN for me. I expect to simply migrate to BB10 :)

Well, another WP8 executive jumped ship, this time to Amazon. Assuming that Amazon are planning to eat the Android market at the cheap end (just as with their tablets), and noticing that Nokia shares are now so cheap the Finns are burning them because they cost less than firewood, perhaps RIM will end up after all as the #3 in the market. Please? Because I really want a phone that doesn't tell every advertiser in the world my personal habits, location and gullibility level, and yet has a big enough screen to do useful work on.

WOO HOO!!! So it took about 2, 3, 4 years to get BB10 rolling and by the time it arrives next year it will be outdated against iOS7 and Android 5.0 !!! Great work!

If you know anything about BB10 and the RIM infrastructure, you know that nothing NOTHING that Apple can add to iOS and NOTHING that Google can add to Android will surpass BB10.

Except fart apps. Apple will always hold the market share lead in fart apps. I will absolutely give you that Apple iOS will have more fart apps than BBOS ever will, they have that market sewn up and I think RIM should issue a statement to their investors about how they have positioned BB10 as "number 2" in fart apps :-) See what I did there.

Yeah, my BB 9900 at least helps me to be patient and helps me to understand that nothing is perfect! I really hope that BB 10 will be different.

Kevin, were there any discussions about how US carrier store employees are telling customers that RIM is dead, and making any other statements possible to steer customers toward iPhone and Android offerings? If so can you share some of that conversation. I see the US carrier store employees, their lack of knowledge about Blackberry and deceptive tactics as the greatest single threat to BB10 adoption in the US. RIM touts great carrier relationships, but in the US it seems more like a prison relationship and RIM is on the receiving side.

Sorry waste of time...will never see the light of day. Let's just say it does, will be buggy and no apps.

Thanks for your trollish insight.. now you can go back under your bridge and never come out again.

ps. No apps? You realize that most (if not all) of the PlayBook apps will work on BB10, right?

This may be a silly question but I don't recall hearing about an OS update for the Playbook? Will the BB10 OS update happen when the new phones launch? Kevin any talk about the Playbook re this or any general news. Great article by the way but please shave dude come on!

Great write up Kevin, thanks!

RIM have always been good at talking the talk. Unfortunately the same can't be said about walking the walk!

Personally I now take everything coming out from Waterloo with a pinch of salt.

My 9930 is still serving me very well. If the new phones drop before I decide I need a new phone, fine. If not, it's their loss, not mine!

"We're not going to put product out there that isn't ready. We're done with that. That's over."

Balderdash. If Heins believes this, then it shows that he knows nothing about the software market. Consumers simply do not expect -- and, more importantly do not demand -- that computer systems are bug-free. Microsoft set the expectations of the market long ago: their products are never perfect; never finished -- Patch Tuesday comes every month. The only thing that would justify the delay would be if BB10 was fundamentally broken -- and inconsistent implementations of API calls (as opposed to code written to call different and incompatible beta versions of those APIs) is not broken.

"f you are going to come to market in the second half of November or beginning of December, you won't get the full efficiency of the marketing of the carrier."

I'm skeptical. Plenty of devices launch in "No Man's Land." is Thorsten saying that the carriers don't have faith enough in RIM to trust a promised Q4 release date and go ahead with the marketing and training on a regular schedule, and therefore, it's either have it finished in the can by September's, or forget Christmas altogether?

He should of launched it in 2012 even if not perfect and issue updates makes no sense on trying to get it "perfect" and you lose market share to Apple and Google more and more each day! Heard someone refer to apps on iOS and Android as fart apps! If you rally wanna see fart apps look at Facebook, LinkedIn and the 3D game N.O.V.A. on iOS an Android and see the 2D crap that's on Blackberry come on you can't be serious...

Yeah.. because 1. it worked well for the PlayBook, right? People like you bitched up a storm that it didn't have email, etc. 2. RIM is at a critical point right now.. they release BB10 and it sucks in the consumer market, they can pretty much plan on closing up shop. I'm not being negative towards RIM because I'm rooting for them all the way, just pointing out the critical nature of BB10 and how releasing it in 2012 wouldn't do them an ounce of good.

Could you clarify if BB10 will play Android apps and if so, all some or many, and will someone at BB have to adapt/filter them before BB10 users can safely use them?

I agree with an earlier post. This added context stabilizes my foundation that had become shaky upon hearing the delay news. Thanks Kevin.

Living Bold-ly!

I hope that image is NOT the qwerty keyboard because it's like every other touchscreen keyboard (iphone). The whole point of a full qwerty keyboard is not having to click on a # button to then type in #s, then having to click it again to type letters. You don't do that on a keyboard. You click on the Alt button and hold it down for multiple #s, then let go to keep typing.

Where is the FULL qwerty keyboard like on the 9900? Is that gone?

I'm really looking forward to the QWERTY BB10. No sense in me switching to an iPhone or Android because they do basically the same as a Blackberry in terms of what I need. You can make phone calls on an iPhone....wait! a Blackberry can as well!. Send email....once again, so can a Blackberry! Send txt messages, surf the web....Blackberry does it all. Not much on an iPhone that I want or need that my BB can't do. Oh wait....I can't press a button and make my phone make a farting noise. I guess iPhone beats blackberry in that aspect....