BlackBerry Live kicks off on the morning of Tuesday, May 14th this year with BlackBerry President and CEO, Thorsten Heins delivering the opening day keynote from Orlando, FL. This will be the first time since the BlackBerry 10 launch event in New York City over three months ago that BlackBerry hosts a major event. As such, many are expecting big announcements and a look into what the future holds for BlackBerry over the next year. So what can we expect from the keynote and the rest of the activities over the next week in Orlando?
BlackBerry could introduce a new mid-tier smartphone, the R-Series
On the heels of their latest two products, the Z10 and Q10, BlackBerry is poised to launch a third smartphone, the much talked about mid-tier R-Series. While some believe this announcement could be ill-timed (the Q10 has yet to launch in many areas around the world, including the U.S.), announcing that a lower-end device is coming would not dissuade people from buying Q10s or Z10s. Instead, the R-Series would be opening up a whole new segment that BlackBerry has ruled with their BBOS devices for BlackBerry 10: emerging markets.
We shall see if and when BlackBerry decides to introduce the R-Series, but it very well could be at this event.
BlackBerry 10 on the PlayBook?
While we may see a beta release of BlackBerry 10.1 for the PlayBook at BlackBerry Jam, an official release for the public is most likely not going to happen this week. BlackBerry tried to get it ready for this event, but for now, it has been again pushed back to late June or early July according to rumors. Not great news for all of us waiting for an update to our PlayBooks, but hopefully we do get some light shed on this at the event.
More hardware, but not a smartphone
BlackBerry has been working on a project known as Ontario or the Café Series. This hardware project is described as being a sort of tablet-like device with a dock attached to it to connect it to a PC. BlackBerry is planning this device for the holiday season of 2013 as it stands right now.
Now, there haven't been many details or any pictures leaked of this device which makes most of us think it's still in its very early stages of testing.
However, this does not mean that we won't get a glimpse of what they've been working on. Ever since BlackBerry World (the name BlackBerry Live had before it was changed) last year, we've seen their willingness to show off glimpses of what's coming. A true mobile computing demo that shows off what this device can do would definitely show the world that BlackBerry is definitely putting its money where its mouth is.
More app announcements
Possibly the biggest news that's being rumored leading up to day 1 of BlackBerry Live is the official announcement of some major app partners for BlackBerry 10. A big event like this will definitely have some big app news to go along with it. The big question always remains, which ones? Instagram, along with other big name apps like Rdio, Shazam, and others, could definitely be making their debuts in BlackBerry World officially this week. Although we have a really good feeling about this one, until it actually happens, we'll still be a little skeptical.
Skype, which dropped officially unofficially (not a typo) in BlackBerry World for OS 10.1 Z10 owners over the weekend, should also get a shout out at some point during the keynote.
The car is the next frontier
We've been hearing a lot about QNX in the car and how BlackBerry could lead innovation in this sector. BlackBerry Jam has a few sessions dedicated to the car, apps, and the integration it will take to make this a successful paring.
While this is a general overview of what we could be seeing at the event, BlackBerry definitely has a way of surprising us every time they host an event, and we doubt this will be an exception.
We'll be live-blogging, and live-tweeting the keynote directly from the Marriott World Center in Orlando, FL on Tuesday morning. Make sure you stay tuned later today for the BBOS pre-BlackBerry Live webcast at 4pm EST/1pm PST.
Let the fun begin!