Thorsten Heins 2 Part Interview, BlackBerry in South Africa and the Secrets of BlackBerry 10

RIM CEO, Thorsten Heins spoke with MarkLives columnist and Gadget editor-in-chief Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee) about the challenges facing RIM in an 2 part interview back in late October. The first half of the interview focused on investors and the still loyal South African market, where BlackBerry is the No. 1 smartphone. Within the interview Heins conveys his ultimate plan for BlackBerry 10 as we approach the Q1 launch time. Speaking in clear terms Heins delves into why BlackBerry 10 can help RIM regain market share in North America and abroad. Speaking about new user paradigms and UI innovations like peek, flow, and hub he lays down his reasoning for the the rebirth of RIMS BlackBerry line. Hit the break to read key highlights from Heins.

The second thing is to get Blackberry 10 into the market and make sure it fulfills all users’ requirements, such as the full LTE experience. And there will be a touch version of it. But then we must also set BlackBerry 10 apart in terms of the user experience. So it’s not just competing on spec terms, not just competing on radio technology terms. We will go back to the market and we will, on top of that, compete on a new user paradigm that we are introducing with BlackBerry 10.

Investors expect us to perform. But also when we showed them the strategy, when we showed them where we want to be from both the enterprise business and device point of view, they accepted our strategy. Now it’s up to us to deliver. We’re approaching the finish line for BlackBerry10 and we need to take it to a global launch and deliver on our strategy.
I understand the thoughts of investors, but we have a strategy in place for the long term. We will be a company that creates long term value. I’d say it would be different if we were only a developer or an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). But BlackBerry sits in many enterprises. We have a 92% Fortune 500 installed base, and that base wants us to succeed.
Carriers right now only see two ecosystems at work: Apple, which is not open, and Android, which Samsung has monopolized. So carriers are looking forward to a third and fourth ecosystem to enter this space. They are not just inviting us to the table, but also pushing us.

Arthur Goldstuck: How will BlackBerry 10 compete with the appeal and intuitiveness of the iPhone, Android and Windows 8? Will it be able to convince existing and new users, as well as those who have abandoned it?

Thorsten Heins: BlackBerry 10 is a new experience, but it is also a BlackBerry experience, and it is built to appeal to new users as well as to people who know BlackBerry today. There is one key element which was misunderstood when I announced it at BlackBerry World in May. There is a physical keyboard coming. It will be built on the BlackBerry 10 user paradigm, so it is different, but it is true to the roots and values of BlackBerry.
BlackBerry is a multitasking device – now we are making that the forefront of the device. We are building true multitasking into the forefront.
Apple introduced a very intuitive user interface five years ago. You call up an application and it does what it must do, you hit the black button and call up the next application. The sequence is in-out-in-out.
The thing about the original BlackBerry phones is that, at the time, it was like magic. It was the first one where you could hit the phone number in your e-mail and it would make the phone call – you didn’t have to take any other action. We thought about that, and about how they said at the time this flow was magic. So, on BlackBerry 10, we have introduced the flow concept. There’s no break or disruption in the user paradigm. We take what is good and working on the BlackBerry interface, but in terms of evolution to a new user experience.
The new operating system is truly multi-threaded. It allows several applications to run at the same time, in real time, and not on an in-out-in-out basis. We have all the apps not just on a grid, but up and running on a grid, so the moment you hit them, they are running on the grid.
At launch, there will be three full-screen devices with a virtual keyboard, and three devices with a physical QWERTY keyboard, but you will have the same BlackBerry 10 experience on all of these.

To read the full interviews in all their detail, here is Part 1 & Part 2

If you’re still in the dark as to what BlackBerry 1o really looks like, take a look at the video below which goes into detail of BB10 running BETA 2 on Dev Alpha B