'We realised we can’t go on with a 15-year-old BlackBerry OS' - Thorsten Heins

'We realised we can’t go on with a 15-year-old BlackBerry OS'
By Bla1ze on 6 Nov 2012 04:28 pm EST

While a good many BlackBerry users love the way the current BlackBerry OS works, there is no shortage of people out there willing to admit the aging system has reached its limits. I've mentioned it on many CrackBerry podcasts that no matter how many specs you put into the current BlackBerry devices as we know them, nothing was going to change due to the OS simply not being able to handle it all.

Luckily for BlackBerry customers, RIM knew that as well and began compiling BlackBerry 10. Recently, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins addressed the concerns surrounding 'device freezes', slow app loading and browsing and more in an interview with MarkLives columnist and Gadget editor-in-chief Arthur Goldstuck:

BlackBerry 7 is a good OS, but it’s a computing engine and you have to constantly upgrade a computing engine. Upgrades are difficult because it’s an integrated architecture, and you have to ask network operators to get it into their labs all the time. Part of our evolution is the recognition that we can’t go on like this. We realised we can’t go on with a 15-year-old BlackBerry OS. It served us well, at the time it was a wonderful invention based on the idea of a mobile messaging machine, but now it has to do something new.

I understand the frustrations about the freezes: that is a result of a platform reaching its limitations. We couldn’t go on like this, so we rebuilt it from scratch. Everything in this device is new; not one line of code made it from the old operating system.

I’ve had a BlackBerry 10 device on my hip for eight weeks. I have never had to reset it, and it has never frozen. The key is in the multi-kernel: if you hit a process and it does not execute properly, the icon goes grey, but the device carries on working. Just that one process gets restarted. It has a wonderful recovery process; it blocks this one process and the others continue to flow. It goes deep into the technology of the microkernel multi-threading process, and that allows us to have an immensely reliable system.

The interview itself is a fairly lengthy read as it comes in two parts but overall, it offers some further insight into BlackBerry 10, RIM's launch plans and how Thorsten Heins believes BlackBerry 10 will be able to succeed. Six new devices, 3 full touch screen and 3 QWERTY? Can't wait to write up some NEW device reviews though, I'm sure that includes different carrier versions.

Source: MarkLives (PT1), (PT2) via: BerryReview

Reader comments

'We realised we can’t go on with a 15-year-old BlackBerry OS' - Thorsten Heins


The stock is a 20 banger !

There are 216+ BILLION Credit Card transaction worldwide each year.

I have a feeling that RIM will play a HUGE part in offering the security in the payment end of it.

Give RIM 2 cents per transaction .... that is 5 BILLION per year in FREE money.

Think BIG ... Go RIM Go.

These freezes were happening since OS 5 and just got progressively worse with OS6 and 7.

PB OS is a rapid departure from this, so we know it will get better with 10. What I will not take though is the PB Browser, if any of that crap shows up in 10 they should be made to refund everyone.

I hope you're right. I've had a PlayBook since launch day(and I just got a second one today), but the browser has just recently begun to get on my nerves. The browser is where I spend 60% or so of my time on the PlayBook, so I really hope it loses its slow, jerky, crashy, checker-boarding habits when BB10 arrives!

BB10 browser is an entirely new browser 100% built with HTML5. First brower ever to be done that way....Everything I have heard sounds good, but guess we won't know for sure till it's released. One thing for sure, it's not the PB brower.

Most PB apps are AIR apps built on a layer on top of the PB OS. Thankfully that will no longer be the case with BB10

Even though I'm a BlackBerry fan boy like most here, HTML 5 scores do not equal "nuff said"... Being able to properly display html is one thing, doing so quickly and efficiently is another. I'm stoked that the BB10 browser is getting high scores for HTML 5, but if the browser loads slowly, pages take forever to render or there is checker-boarding or jumpiness when pinch-to-zooming... then great HTML 5 scores really mean very little. EVERYTHING about the BB10 browser needs to be super-snappy, as the PlayBook browser is anything but.

I hate blackberry honestly this needed to be explained. If this was to get into the hands of bgr it would be catastrophic. Why I think this is a powerful microkernal... Is because if one app crashes on android or ios the entire system goes down. This Still won't convence me into buying a bb10 device.

So stick to your isheep or robot device. You'd be surprised how many times an IOS app crashes or android.

IF for some reason a app crashes on BB10 it will relaunch just that app. Not sit with a frozen screen till it decides to close like ios 2 min later.

See I didn't take a shot at BlackBerry. I even acknowledged the crashes on ios and android. I'm anti-RIM but damn you went into a rant for what nothing.

are you trying to tell us that nobody knows about the spiny clock freezing a BB?
Look its nothing new, its okay that he addressed it. It show NO FEAR about how good BB10 is.

Seriously does anyone really care if you buy a BB10 phone Janeka? SMH

I never said it was a problem that he addressed it. You being a BB fan in denial wants to rant and complain about nothing just like the last person did. I know you care and the rest of the dying breed of BB users and enterprise users do. RIM needs to convince users at other platforms they are back to they how they were 5 years ago innovating. But i'll save that for another time i didn't come here to troll or debate with anyone.

maybe it wasn't a good comment to make, but he realizes that technology is not perfect... everyone's PC, Tablet, smartphone, heck even feature phones FREEZE and have application terminate on their own..

it's how it can BEST be handled.. i.e. my SG3 or any android for that matter has A LOT of FC's... (Force Closes).. even with a phone with dualcore, 2gb of ram etc etc etc.. the phone is UNUSABLE until that message saying "X app has force closed" and i tap OK... literally the phone is dead untill the phone can handle that crash and say "crap i need to close this app"..

in the SAME secnario with BB10.. the app crashes, but the phone is still usable and u can go about your business and voila.. that app is usable again without the phone ever stopping..

that's the difference and that's what i think TH meant and wanted to get across when stating this. to some people the way the OS handles certain negative scenarios is more important.. maybe one day when BB10 integrates into everything around u (i.e. house, car, work) u might switch then ; >

He had to talk about that and I'm glad he did, instead of trying to beat around the bush or avoid it all together like previous CEOs. It's one of the main reasons why I left the platform. Also, if you check twitter every now and then, the top trending thing is usually #quickpull (people resetting their phones with the app or people complaint about freezing. That is not cool.

I like the sounds of how things will be handled software wise on BB10. I also hope that app memory and all that garbage/hassle/headache will be a thing of the past.

What the CEO is saying is the previous iterations of the BlackBerry OS fall short of current expectations. That's like an automaker saying all models before their 2013's are crap.

There are actually many parallels between the automobile industry and mobile industry. 5 or 6 leading manufacturers, plenty of models to choose from; thin margins; ultra competitive; always looking to innovate; and mass marketing. The manufacturers are in close contact with dealers and need to accommodate those resellers. Whoever is most aggressive in advertising and promotion usually comes out on top.

It's not like that at all.

If you insist on using a car metaphor, it would be more like saying that a car designed in 1997 is not up to the standards of car designed in 2012. Cars designed in 1997 were still fine cars and ran well, but it'd be pretty hard to take a car from 1997 and make it as fuel efficient as a car designed in 2012. A car from 1997 would also have trouble accommodating modern innovations such as infotainment systems, LCD guages, sensor-based safety systems, GPS navigation, auto-parking, etc, etc, etc.

Even today, a lot of 1997 cars will still get you where you want to go, but most won't be able to do it with the conveniences we're all coming to expect in 2012/2013...

But what Heins is referring to is a model of operating system that is not only used in 1997, but modern day. It's still Java based, still lags and is often buggy. So in 2013 Heins will make the comparison to an OS in circulation just one year previous.

RIM used every last once out of the OS. Even pushed it farther then it was capable of in the first place. It's worn out and dated now. It served it's purpose but time for bigger and better things.

inaccurate analogy.
its more like if your engine is a pushrod slant 6 (OS6!)with a carb, performance is going to be poor.

What he said is that the current (15-yr-old) BB-OS (as a basement) is NOT ABLE to fulfill todays users requirements. That means even if they throw quad-core chips and a whole new UX at it which is oriented at todays users expectations, the OS would still suck in certain, critical points. All points which are a fixed part of the OS and which they can't change at all.

Am I the only one who thinks 6 new devices is a disaster waiting to happen? Give customers a choice, but streamline their choices. So, they should make 1 flagship full touch device. Just 1, not 3. Then they make 1 flag ship full qwerty device, bold. Then maybe if they want they can throw in a lower end device to satisfy the curve line. But that should be IT. 3 devices. Keep it simple, keep it clean. They should take this opportunity with the new platform to avoid the mess that was BB java handset, with the numerous model numbers and all. Android has also dug themselves into this fragmentation.

I believe when OS 7 hit the marketplace, RIM released 4 or 5 devices at the same time. We all know how well that worked. Less is best.

I agree with you, 6 devices is way too much. There should only be ONE full touch screen device, ONE QWERTY device(with a top half touch screen) and possibly ONE special device(such as a Phablet, Porsche device, etc), to bring the total to 3 blackberry devices.

Sliders are not dead.

With BB10 being a very touch-centric interface, you need a good sized screen to take advantage of it. If you do a lot of typing, the physical keyboard is important to many users.

The half screen/half keyboard phones are a compromise. I'm holding out for a Torch 9800 like slider with BB10. Best of both worlds - big screen when you want it, keyboard when you want to type.

I had a slider once, never again. Also, those that I know that have BB 9810s all get frustrated having to constantly slide out the keyboard when they want to type. I would too! We all know the keyboards are addictive, it's best to have the keyboard exposed at all times like on a 9900. Quick access, all the time! :D

I absolutely love my 9810! My co-workers that carry the same phone love theirs, as do my father and my brother-in-law.

9360/9810/32Gig Playbook = Unstoppable

I think the multiple qwerty and touch devices is to address the developing markets.

He mentions in the article that there will be 3 'waves' of releases, and how Nigeria and South Africa will be part of the first, initial wave; RIM will "pay tribute... by delivering BlackBerry 10 in South Africa when it is launched"

If that's the case, then there is absolutely no way that anyone could sell a $600 Cdn/US phone in those markets, hence the multiple devices on multiple prices points.

The reason for the multiple OS7 launches was similar.

Yup I hope this isn't the same old hype then after two updates later we have to turn off some option or the other for something to work well. I heard all these great things about QNX, now I'm hearing BB10 is much much better. I'm having my pinch of salt right about now.

When RIM makes so many phones, they focus on probably three for future updates, all of that crap has to change.

RIM could buy back some of the inventory and start selling it to developing nations. Most developing nations are only starting to get 3g+ speeds like HSPA and so these phones would make sense. BB10 could be the higher end device in these countries and OS7 could be the lower end. Also, the carriers carrying OS5 and OS6 devices are not in developed countries (Canada, US, Europe, etc).

If RIM were smart, they would have a 1/2 price sale where all current inventory is slashed by 50%. That may dissuade people from purchasing the iPhone 5 and other sought-after products during the holiday season.

You really think carriers are that stupid? They're not. That's why carriers sold over 10 million BlackBerrys last quarter yet RIM only shipped them seven million, all of which were OS7. Carriers' stock is already low.

Did I say carriers are stupid? There is no incentive for a customer to purchase a Bold 9900 for $600 outright when the BB10 qwerty is upcoming for roughly the same price.

Oh don't you worry. Inventory can clear out real easy. In North America, stocks are really low for OS7 devices. OS 5 and 6 are pretty much non-existent in carrier stores.

Developing markets will continue to sell them because they are cheap and affordable. Circle of tech-life I guess...

Hmmm not so cheap and affordable in developing markets as you think, compared to other phones.

Cell are way cheaper in USA than in other countries, including Europe

Are these "six" devices just the CDMA, GSM, etc variants of the L and N series phones? I feel like I've heard this before.

just a note: this article is about a month and a half old. information is obviously still valid, but i think it has been made clear that RIM will not release 6 devices. He is probably considering the TMobile, AT&T, VZW, etc. versions all different devices.

I'm gonna guess the closest thing you have to a girlfriend is porn.com? Ewww no one cares if you "got a chubby"

What's happening to CrackBerry???

You should ask him where all the damn Playbook stock is. No stores have them in stock and have not in over a month. I for one minute do not believe RIM had aggressive back to school promo's.

Do some digging. I want to buy 10 for Christmas!

The RIM should be designing the operating system in such the system's architecture that can be changed in the future. The operating system should evolve so the limitations on the systems can be fixed in the future. They should invest the part of the budget of the research and development on the performance of the operating system.

- Rezaur Rahman

RIM spends the most on Research on Development than any other company in Canada and more than Apple. How much more do you want them to spend? Clearly you don't even know much about Research in Motion. Back to school you go..

BB10 can easily be upgradeable now and in the future. Much like you can with windows..

Do you think it is the effective way? The RIM is not building the reputation as the fast platform.

- Rezaur Rahman

Heins just threw RIM under the bus and is pretty much saying its time for change. As long as bb10 multitasks like a MOFO I'll be happy.

Hello from Portugal. Honestly I couldn't care less about the number of models, I just want one in my hands and I can say that I'm truly happy! BB FTW

Well, he did say "devices" , not necessarily phones.

2-All touch GSM
3-All touch CDMA
4-Physical keyboard GSM
5-Physical keyboard CDMA
6-HIGH end device expected later in 2013, which I don't think is a phone, but rather a new tablet (PlayBook 2?).
-Although going by the leaked specs, the screen size correlates with a phone.

Makes sense to me.

Check-out the rumours

L-Series - Full touch 1280x768
N-Series - Bold Style
M-Series - Torch Style
A- Series - Full touch 1280x720
R-Series - Curve Style
6th > ??? Maybe 10" Playbook codenamed blackforest

3 Touchscreen would be L,M,A
3 Qwerty would be N,M,R
M is common in both because its a slider << My Guess

But I think more like this.

1-Fulltouch CDMA
2-Fulltouch 3+
3-Fulltouch LTE

and the same with der QWERTY/QWERTZ ones.

Because he said "at launch"

or do you really expect 6 "different" phones at launch of BB10?

Precisely why I ditched my BB for a Android phone while painfully using it everyday waiting for the BB10 to come out.

Really I love OS 7.1 on my 9900 - so much that I very rarely use my laptop anymore...seriously.
I'm looking forward to BB10 but I am not going to complain about this phone at all :)

all this bashing of os7 is strange to me. i just upgraded to a 9790 from a pearl 3g (which is quite a difference) but the pearl was a great device. It ran apps fine. the biggest problem was the browser. now the browser on my bold is great. pages load relatively fast - especially on wifi. renders some pages better than the playbook. and i tell you - the browser loads faster than firefox on my imac i bought new earlier this year.

i understand and appreciate the move to bb10, and completely understand why this move is important and essential for RIM, to say a 9790 bridged with a playbook is an excellent mobile solution is a huge understatement. $0 for the phone and under $200 for most wifi PB models is a mobile setup that cannot be matched.

I am truly excited and can't wait for bb10 phones and os to be released next year, but until then i have to regrets or bad feelings towards RIM or their products. In my experience, they've met and exceeded my digital mobile needs - affordable and with class.

BTW - thanks for the free apps today RIM.

Love my 9900. Use it about 15 to 20 hours per day... Long story, (that I will try to make as short as possible) - Had a 9780, but I was not due for an upgrade till Feb, 2013. Although I liked the phone I had tried a couple of my friends 9900's and just loved the feel of them, so I went out and bought a second hand 9900, I had a full body ghost Armour put on it, I loved it. A couple of weeks ago some scum bag actually walked into my garage and stole the phone off of my workbench, (Yes my fault - I left the garage door open and went inside for supper)...Anyway, just bought a new one, its even better than the first one I had, but now I will not be eligible for an upgrade forever :(.... So I will let RIM work out the bugs of the new BB10 phones, and the second I am eligible for an upgrade I will go and buy one, until then I'm loving my Bold 9900. (PS - A co-worker of mine has a Galaxy S3, and all he could ever say about BB was it was an old and slow technology....Anyway he picked up my 9900 a couple of days ago and played with it for a while, his comments when he put it down were "This thing is fast, and I love the keyboard").

man what's with all the hate for this article? There isn't anything in there we havn't known since May. I dont know why so many people think Thor threw Rim under the bus. He simply stated a fact, that BBOS is a 15 year old machine, and in order to move forward, they've designed a whole new machine which addresses the many lessons learned in those 15 years.

That's the kind of honest self evaluation i expect from Rim's leadership. God knows, the lack of it is the reason they ended up in this situation in the first place.

So True! Wonder why people are not appreciating the Honest and Candid attitude this guy has!
He has not defamed or degraded BB7 by any means, he is just stating the facts and Building respect for BB10.

BBOS in its current form is NOT a 15 year old technology!!

My Son is 14yrs old and I've been using BB's since he was just a year old. 7290 debuted when he was 3 years old. I owned teh 8100 Pearl on Rogers when it debuted day 1 and my son was about 7/8 when that debuted.

RIM is going through its 3rd OS transition!!

1> C++ Based units ... the pagers!
2> J2ME/CLDC Java based units ... BlackBerry (3.4+/4/5/6/7)
3> BB10 currently in beta.

my hate is this generic 15yr old technology. C++ units didn't even RUN on GSM but Mobitex networks (TDMA/CDMA like networks).

Still this was good news for RIM.

It's been over 12 months since RIM launched any Device/Handset, now I just want them to release the TEN ASAP, and not keep us Salivating!

Congrats you've managed to make the most complex OS even more complex in the new generation since the world isn't populated by the very computer saavy you will fail.



Must. . . . swipe. . . . from. . . . left. . . .

Forget it I quit, this is too complicated!!!!

Where's my iPhone. . . . and where's my caps lock button again?


i am still waiting for BB10 devices and I just hope that it is fresh, sexy, beautiful, and most of all intelligent. For the mean time, i don't mind carrying bb9810 and galaxy note 2 with me until it is release.

And i am singing… Give it to me baby aha aha, give it to me baby aha aha...

BlackBerry 7.1 for developing countries is a damn great idea, same for budget blackberries, it's still good. People just need to clean out their JVM's by wiping it out (loader.exe /nojvm), selectively restore a backup and install only the apps they'll be using frequently and only those applications.

That's one way to keep any blackberry using OS 7.x lean and mean. I did it last week and a half! :)