RIM CEO: No BlackBerry 10 upgrade for existing phones
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) will not upgrade phones running the current BlackBerry 7 operating system to its forthcoming BlackBerry 10.
Speaking Wednesday at the annual BlackBerry World event in Orlando, Fla., RIM CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed the company has no upgrade path for BlackBerry 7 but said the manufacturer will "continue to innovate on the platform" alongside work on BlackBerry 10, expected later this year. Heins said RIM remains committed to BlackBerry 7 as a platform for entry-level devices, including the new Curve 9220, and its dedicated BlackBerry 7 team will be kept in place "for a while."
Heins said applications written for either BlackBerry 7 or BlackBerry 10 will not necessarily work across both platforms. He added it is likely RIM will port some BlackBerry 7 apps to the new OS.
RIM unveiled BlackBerry 10 Tuesday. The manufacturer released a developer toolkit including the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades, which supports the creation of native applications in C/C++ using the Qt cross-platform framework, as well as the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK, giving developers the tools to create native-quality apps via common web programming technologies like HTML5 and CSS.
BlackBerry 10 will run on the same QNX-based software powering RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Applications created using BlackBerry 10 tools will also run on the PlayBook when the new platform becomes available for the tablet.
RIM is betting on BlackBerry 10 to reignite developer passion for its platform. As of the first quarter of 2012, only 15.5 percent of developers surveyed by Appcelerator and IDC expressed strong interest in building apps for BlackBerry devices, far behind enthusiasm for Android, iOS and the HTML5 web standard.
Digital research firm comScore reports that as of March 2012, BlackBerry makes up only 12.3 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, down from 16 percent just three months earlier. BlackBerry lags far behind Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android at 51 percent and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS at 30.7 percent.
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