05/01/2012 12:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

BlackBerry 10 Preview: RIM Releases Alpha Version Of New, Potentially Company-Saving OS (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

New CEO. New operating system. New Research In Motion?

Freshly-installed RIM CEO Thorsten Heins took the stage at the annual BlackBerry World conference to give, for the first time, a look at some of the features of BlackBerry 10, the BlackBerry operating system that Research In Motion hopes will turn around its floundering smartphone sales.

Below is a teaser video for the new BlackBerry OS that RIM showed at the conference, emphasizing the new touch keyboard with predictive typing and a more stylish, interface. (Note that the phones shown are blank prototypes and do not reflect what the actual BlackBerry 10 devices will look like when they are released later this year.)


So what's new with BlackBerry 10? The flashiest changes, and the ones that Heins spent the most time on during his keynote, are coming to the on-screen keyboard and the camera. With the on-screen keyboard, you're going to be getting a lot more gesture control for faster typing. Swiping to the left on the keyboard deletes your last word (this handy feature will be familiar to some Android users); swiping up toggles the keyboard between alphabetical and numerical input.

Another cool feature, as detailed by TechCrunch, is the option to let the phone scan through all of your text messages, emails and contacts upon startup in order to build your own personal dictionary before you ever type a text message. This will obviously be helpful for those with a name that is not in a typical English dictionary, or those who use a lot of -- ahem -- profanity.

Check out TechCrunch for a long post explaining more about the on-screen keyboard in BBX. (There are still going to be BlackBerrys with physical keyboards, too. This is just an update to their touchscreen offerings.)

A new feature on the camera, meanwhile, probably earned the most gasps from the conference. On BlackBerry 10, when you take a picture, you'll be able to cycle back through the camera's "timeline" three seconds: So, if you blinked when a group photo was taken, you can go back a second or two to find a shot where everyone has their eyes opening. It's similar to what the iOS app GroupShot does, though obviously this will be native to the stock camera on upcoming BlackBerry devices. That this is a standard feature on the camera has most bloggers calling it one of the standouts from the Heins' keynote.

Below, we have a few screenshots of the new BlackBerry operating system, provided by Research In Motion. The first devices are expected to come out some time this fall, and RIM needs them to sell well in order to stem the steady flow of consumer losses it has suffered to iPhone and Android over the past few years. Though Heins did trot out Cisco and Salesforce and namecheck WebEx in his keynote, it is clear that RIM is targeting consumers with this more polished, attractive mobile operating system; dominating the enterprise does not seem to be enough for RIM's survival.

Here is your first look at BlackBerry 10. For a more in-depth look at what Research In Motion has planned for BlackBerry 10, visit our Aol Tech sister site Engadget, who were on the ground in Orlando to take it all in.

First Look At The Features Of BlackBerry 10