Great things continue on for the BlackBerryOS community and TeamBlackBerry, as we get a chance to interview Vivek Bhardwaj, RIM's Head of Software Portfolio, and ask him a myriad of questions pertaining to various hot topics about BlackBerry 10 and such. Now if you don't know, Vivek is not only the gentleman to give the first BlackBerry 10 keyboard demo at the BB World 2012 keynote, he is also the go-to-man for the latest software in development at RIM. He is the guy who gets to play with it first! While I'm sure many of us BB addicts have plenty of envy on this, Vivek is truly a great guy and fits his post at RIM quite nicely. He even had the patience to carry on the interview past the allotted time given to us, and so we got the privilege to hear more detail within his answers to our questions.
The interview is over 30 minutes long so I decided to compose the entire audio into a Youtube video for ease of viewing and allow you to pick out different parts of the video for your own ease of access for the questions that interest you the most. Below is a list of questions that we asked Vivek, a brief description of his answers, and the relative links to their place in the video interview where you can listen to his full answers for that question.
So, grab a cup of coffee, kick your feet back, and listen to the full video below. Or, you can skip to each question individually by following the links below within each response:
JT: Being the Head of Software Portfolio for RIM, you are at the front lines on how BlackBerry 10 is coming along. How much farther has BlackBerry 10 progressed from when we saw you at BlackBerry World 2012 in Orlando, till now?
Vivek: That's a great question. I mean, it's actually been phenomenal progress. And you know, each day as our developers are working flat out, we are really starting to see more and more of the pieces come together. When we showcased it at BlackBerry World in the early part of May you were able to see sort of the user experience concepts we were talking around in terms of that flow, and that peak, as well as that legendary keyboard which I know has gotten a lot of praise out there... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Joe: There is a lot of talk about the ecosystem being integrated as oppossed to BlackBerry 10 just being a phone. How would you describe the BlackBerry 10 ecosystem?
Vivek: That's a good question, and a lot of it is the wording that's used around things like platform. Reality is, as we went out to announce BlackBerry 10 at BlackBerry World, we went out with the message of BlackBerry 10 really being a mobile computing platform. Again, very difficult to realize that until we start delivering on that and showcasing products, but some of the things you are going to start to see not only around the smartphone space but really a broader platform... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
JT: We currently are sitting at a public OS 2.0 for the PlayBook, will the OS progression of the PlayBook leading up to BlackBerry 10 be incremental, or will we see one major update around the same time the first BlackBerry 10 phones launch in January of 2013?
Vivek: You are definitely going to see some incremental updates in the short-term, but then reality is, as we have previously mentioned, the PlayBook will at some point in the future get a BlackBerry 10 update as well. So, there is still some work in the short-term for PlayBook... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Joe: The ability to sideload apps has been a great way to utilize the openness of the PlayBook OS for developers. Will the ability to sideload apps continue on with BlackBerry 10 OS?
Vivek: Yes, I can confirm 100 percent that the sideload app capability will continue on BlackBerry 10... We've had a lot of great feedback from the entire developer community, and at the end of the day one of the things... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
JT: We all know the virtual keyboard is awesome. Aside from that, what do you think consumers will be most excited about for the BlackBerry 10 experience?
Vivek: That's a really good question. I think, and again, without giving too much away. I think actually, just to step away from applications for features. Some of the things we showed at BlackBerry World we not really just about applications or cool features. Um, you know the keyboard is an example. They really have meaning or purpose for BlackBerry people - those who use our devices today... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Joe: How is RIM planning to keep BlackBerry users in the emerging markets satisfied with their BlackBerry 7 devices? In other words, what kinds of updates can we expect for BlackBerry 7 that can continue to add value to these devices?
Vivek: Again, like I mentioned earlier, we will continue to support our in market smartphones, and you are going to see some software updates through BlackBerry 7.1. And we will not only continue to address market issues, but add new features and functionality... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
JT: Is RIM planning to bring that UI customization we have grown to know througout the history of BlackBerry OS into the BlackBerry 10 platform? - More specifically, cosmetic type customizations, such as themes, fonts, ect?
Vivek: So I'm as much of a BlackBerry fan as you are, naturally I am as well. One of the things we call those sets of features for customizations internally is really, the BlackBerry power user... and again, without revealing too much on BlackBerry 10 you are certainly going to see a balanced approach to customization and functionality... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Joe: What can users expect to see as far as native apps on the PlayBook platform before BlackBerry 10 OS launches? For example, BBM, BlackBery Protect, BBM Music, Twitter for BlackBerry client, and so forth.
Vivek: We haven't really made any announcements around the specific apps for PlayBook. Again, PlayBook at some point in time will get the BlackBerry 10 updates. Again, whenever we launch the BlackBerry 10 on PlayBook, you'll naturally see them on PlayBook... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
BlackBerryOS.com Member Inspired Questions:
Joe: Why have we yet to see a native BBM app on the PlayBook? Does it have to do with integration of multiple PINS toward one user account? What is the main reason behind this?
Vivek: I remember reading a lot of articles at the time around, as what were the different theories as to why BBM wasn't on the PlayBook. Again, It's a mixture of not only the quality we wanted, but it's the overall experience. BBM as you know is not a stand alone application... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
JT: What metric is RIM using to ensure that BlackBerry 10 is going to be a success?
Vivek: Yea, I think internally there are going to be certain metrics that we are going to be using, and that we'll use as we have always done with all of our products. ...The reality is that a important part of use getting that experience absolutely right for our costumers... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Joe: In BlackBerry 10, what three things stand out the most against the competition?
Vivek: <laughs>... Great question. Again, um, I'm not going to be able to talk about specific functions as much as I'd like to. I think, first off, BlackBerry 10 is a whole new platform. It's a brand new platform with a brand new micro kernal operating system. Brand new way for user experience as well as to develop apps onto. So I think that's definitely one thing that stands out for us in a time where... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Final Concluding Question:
Joe: Any final thoughts that you would like to leave to those mobile users out there who are sort of on the fence right now about RIM and BlackBerry 10?
Vivek: Yea sure. Again, I think my message is pretty simple. We are a company that is absolutely that is going through a transition. And you have seen a variety of announcements from the space that we're in... Listen to Vivek's full answer here.
Be sure to leave us your thoughts on the interview and anything that Vivek had to say in the comments below!