Research In Motion (RIM) has revealed plans to standardize the resolution of its Blackberry 10 devices. Not only will the move make app creation an easier task for developers, but it also confirms that all Blackberry 10 devices will feature high definition displays.
The current range of Blackberry smartphones suffer from a serious fragmentation issue. The Bold, Curve and Torch lines have a series of resolutions, ranging from 320 x 240 up to 640 x 480. This makes the task of developing for the platform problematic, as it's difficult to create applications that are able to fit the variety of different resolutions and form factors. This is an issue on a number of platforms, including Apple's App Store which allows users to install iPhone apps on the larger iPad device, leading to a choice of substantial letter-boxing or a greatly lowered in-app resolution.
RIM's standardization of its display resolutions will all but eliminate this issue for the future generation of smartphones running Blackberry 10 OS. While the solution doesn't help owners of current Blackberry devices, it's likely to be popular with developers. The company will produce two categories of handset, with resolutions of 1280 x 720 for full touch devices and 720 x 720 for those with keyboards. This is a significant jump-up from the current generation of devices.
However, the announcement does leave out one key handset: the very first Blackberry 10 full touch device. The company claims that the handset is simply too far through the manufacturing process for such a significant change to be made. RIM are advising developers to simply “letter box” their apps for the device, thus future proofing them for the next generation of full touch screen resolutions. This work around will leave a 24 pixel gap on either side of the device's screen, making it an oversight that users aren't going to love.
The move may also be designed to attract developers to the platform. The Blackberry App World is lagging significantly behind its competitors, with less than 100,000 applications in the ecosystem. Comparatively, both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store each offer users in excess of 600,000 apps.