RIM’s purchase of Gist, a social network-powered contacts app, in 2011 is being justified in the release of BlackBerry 10. T.A. McCann, former CEO of Gist, is heading up a project to make the BlackBerry contacts app more social, connecting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and likely others. This functionality was offered in PlayBook OS 2.0, and is to be heavily expanded in BlackBerry 10.
The move is meant to differentiate the upcoming software from existing offerings, though Facebook and Twitter integration has been added to iOS 6 and various Android manufacturers have linked up their contacts apps with various social networks. Obviously with RIM, BBM is going to factor into the equation, allowing users to easily communicate with existing BBM contacts through the contact app.
The more we hear about how RIM intends to differentiate BB10 from the rest of the industry, the more nervously excited we get. It’s not a matter of whether BB10 is good — we have no doubt it will be objectively good — but whether it can overcome a deep skepticism about whether the company can return from the brink.