BlackBerry World Conference 2011 Opening General Session Summary

I attended the 2011 BlackBerry World Conference in Orlando, FL.  The following is my summary of the opening  general session.  The session started roughly 30 minutes late due to a delayed opening of the conference hall and getting everyone seated.  For more details, see the #bbwc11 tag on Twitter.

Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO kicked things off:

  • 10th year anniversary of BlackBerry World.  6,000 attendees - the biggest conference ever
  • 3D presentation
  • 150 million BlackBerry sold in the last 12 years
  • 250,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers worldwide
  • Thumbs up for PlayBook.  Quotes from USA Today, WSJ, Gizmodo and others
  • Lots of emphasis on Flash and why it's important  
  • QNX delivers multitasking
  • PlayBook has the best cameras
  • BlackBerry is leader in the enterprise
  • BlackBerry bridge makes tablet deployment safe
  • DocsToGo productivity apps
  • Reason why we called it "Play-Book" - Need for Speed and Tetris games
  • 7 inch form factor is sweet spot for reading
  • Built in BlackBerry music store with 13 million titles
  • Productivity apps like Adobe Reader and DocsToGo are critical to business productivity
  • 3,000 apps - more than any other at launch.  More coming soon.  Angry Birds coming
  • Wireless over the air OS updates
  • Video chat and FaceBook apps

Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe takes the stage

  • Flash player on the PlayBook delivers an uncompromised web experience
  • Demo of Adobe video player - Green Lantern movie trailer
  • Applications are also important and Adobe Air is the technology that delivers this (e.g. Adobe Connect and Reader)
  • Demo: First tablet optimized FaceBook experience using Adobe Air
  • Reader's Digest on the PlayBook using the publishing suite
  • Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 announced.  New release coming in June with tablet specific enhancements

Mike talks about smartphones

  • Portfolio offers choice
  • World's best keyboards
  • BlackBerry Bold 9900 announced and shipping this summer.  "Top of the line flagship."  Thinnest BlackBerry ever.  1.2Ghz processor.  4G
  • Runs BlackBerry 7.0 OS
  • "Liquid graphics"
  • Includes BlackBerry Balance and DocsToGo out of the box

Steve Ballmer from Microsoft takes the stage

  • Steve announced that this was his first BlackBerry World
  • Cloud services
  • Partnership between RIM and Microsoft is moving forward
  • "I love Windows Phone, but we won't talk about it much here today"
  • March agreement: Office 365 with RIM hosted BES Express service for free coming later this year (previously, cost $10 per user per month)
  • Bing is now the preferred search and map provider for BlackBerry and is a core component of the OS (not just an add-on app)
  • Devices are becoming sensors that provide access to real-time information and helps user be more productive
  • Security focus - opt in location awareness
  • "Goes way beyond a search box"
  • Video from Microsoft with RIM smartphone and Bing voice search
  • "Real tools that help real people get things done."  We share this vision with RIM
  • Live demo from Microsoft:  Bing search.  Integrate search on the home screen and current location (e.g. Marriott World Center venue map ).  A map is a click away (user interface is Windows Phone 7 "Metro."  Open Table restaurant integration

Mike takes the stage again

  • Transition from feature phones to smartphones
  • All conference attendees will receive a 16GB PlayBook tablet (loud applause from the audience)

Jeff McDowell, Senior VP of RIM takes the stage

  • Demo of music store - 7digital.  13 million titles.  DRM free
  • Demo of Vevo video store.  Justin Bieber video 
  • BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) 6 comes with the new OS 7 handsets (Bold 9900)
  • Foursquare demo
  • Augmented reality.  Wikipedia integration.  Camera view.  "See" Foursquare locations
  • New way of interacting socially.  Point the BlackBerry camera at a user and see their BBM id and start a chat (not sure why you wouldn't just speak to them)
  • Unity and Union - over 200 games.  Samurai demo (pretty bloody).  Others coming this summer
  • Demo of native e-mail, calendar, contacts, on BlackBerry - no bridge or Bluetooth. Coming this summer.  Tasks and memos are coming this summer also.  Full BIS and BES
  • Android application compatibility.  They show up on the home page like any other app
  • Easy to port apps.  No source code required.  Just the binary
  • Get apps through the App World.  

Steve Lucas, GM for SAP takes the stage

  • Killer app for business - sales (e.g. SAP).  Analytics 
  • SAP dashboard gone mobile

Kevin Cavanaugh, IBM VP of business and technical strategy takes the stage

  • Social business benefits are real
  • Acceleration through secure mobility
  • Support for the PlayBook: Cognos, Lotus Notes, Connections
  • Lotus Connections demo
  • Symphony web-based productivity editors
  • IBM Global Financing announced financing for tablets

Jim Cooke, president of CSC takes the stage

  • Insurance adjuster claims demo
  • Home health care provider demo.  Security is key 
Demo of 3D PlayBook from TAT

Wireless Achievement Awards

Carolyn Everson, VP of FaceBook takes the stage

  • Screen names are tough to recognize.  Goal: make real people, real people online
  • BlackBerry is unique
  • "Social by design"
  • FaceBook photo feature developed by two interns in 24 hours.  Key features: sharing and tags
  • Marketers want to be where the people are to promote their brands
  • Old Spice guy - 1.2 million fans
  • 13.7 million BlackBerry fans on FaceBook
  • Sponsored ads created by users