As BlackBerry World and the BlackBerry 10 Jam continue to unfold, more and more information about RIM’s plans for the future is coming to light. Earlier today, we looked at the new software keyboard the company has been developing for use in BlackBerry 10. At the time, we noted how important a good virtual keyboard will be, since there’s been scant evidence so far of hardware QWERTY keyboards, arguably RIM’s bread-and-butter, on devices tipped for the new platform. If you’ve been having reservations about BlackBerry 10 abandoning the hardware that brought RIM to where it is today, worry not, as the company has reportedly confirmed QWERTY handsets for the platform.
So far, we’ve seen a mock-up of the BlackBerry Milan, a portrait-mode slider that was supposed to be a BB10 device. Later, we heard that RIM was canceling its plans for the model, leaving us without any sign of continued faith in hardware keyboards. Now RIM is reassuring users that while there may not be any similar devices among the crop of BB10 launch models, we will definitely be seeing more hardware keyboards from RIM in the future.
Moving away from hardware towards the software side of things, RIM has some ambitious plans for courting developers to support BB10. In an effort to bring its user base a better class of apps, RIM is instituting a certification program, designed to attest to apps’ quality. It’s unclear exactly what the criteria will be, but the program will be administered by a (presumably impartial) third party, and will be open to apps that have already generated at least $1000 in sales. The certification process will involve developers paying an additional fee, but beyond the increased recognition their apps will presumably get as a result of being certified, RIM is sweetening the pot with promises of guaranteed earnings: if a certified app doesn’t earn its developer $10,000 in its first year in the App World, RIM itself will pay the difference.