Research in Motion (RIM) on Tuesday unveiled prototypes of the new BlackBerry phone hardware and software that it hopes will be its salvation. But the company’s demonstrations of the far-from-complete products again raised concerns about its ability to produce final versions on schedule and stay in the fight against Apple and Android phone makers.
RIM has given the prototype phones to about 2,000 developers, and has said the phones will be on the market by the end of the year.
“We’re hitting the milestones we set for ourselves on the new BlackBerry 10 platform,” said Thorsten Heins, RIM’s chief executive.
RIM said the prototype phones do not reflect the product that will ultimately be sold to consumers.
But for now, they appear to represent an end to BlackBerry’s signature physical keyboard as the prototypes do not have even a single button on their front.
The prototype phones’ 4.2-inch, high-resolution display is much larger than the 3.5-inch display of the current iPhone 4S but smaller than the one on the largest Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note, which offers 5.3 inches.
The phone has two microphones on the bottom, expected to enable better voice quality on calls. The prototypes cannot make calls or connect to wireless networks, and the company said that developers would eventually receive the software to make this work. - NYT