For those of you scratching your heads over the weird headline, get used to it; for Research In Motion(RIM) shall henceforth be known as Blackberry. CEO Thorsten Heins’ choice to choose a “simple and elegant” commercial name associated with the best product of the former RIM shows that the company is ready to wipe the slate clean and start all over again. The fabled Blackberry 10 (BB10) operating system which has been under development for over a year finally makes an appearance at the Blackberry launch event yesterday along with two devices to carry it forward – the Z10 and Q10.
Blackberry 10 is all set to be the underdog of the smartphone race but does it have what it takes to be the most smartphone platform. The OS looks like a fusion between iOS and Android. There are no physical home buttons (on the touch based Z10) and the focus is more on the gestures to get things done. This is a very bold move from a company whose strength has been physical keyboards. BB10 is best described by Verge as an operating system with four main states: on your homescreen, in an application, in your messages (BlackBerry Hub), or in your app drawer.
There are two main gestures for navigation – swipe from down to top from any screen to go to the home screen and swipe from down to top, hold and swipe to right to view the Blackberry Hub, the unified notification center of BB10. Once you are back on the home screen, the app becomes a widget(like the Weather app) or just appears as an icon link to the app. The crazy thing is there can be only 8 apps at the most on the home screen. Open the 9th app and there goes your old app. So there is no way to keep your favorite apps forever on the home screen 🙁 The icons appear too large and border on being cartoonish.
Blackberry has done a good job of consolidating all the messages, emails and social network accounts in the same place via the Blackberry Hub. Like Windows Phone, access to social networks like Twitter and Facebook are built right into the OS itself. Though this notification system is ‘different’ from Android and iOS it remains to be seen if it is better. Complaints are already surfacing that though the Hub shows new Twitter messages but one has to click on it to open the full message. Guess the folks at Blackberry don’t use Twitter much, eh!
The renamed Blackberry App store boasts of 70,000 apps as of date but how many are actually useful is the more important than numbers. Of course, Blackberry must be applauded for its efforts to bring in so many apps right on the launch day. Gaining developer confidence is a hurdle that all new smartphone operating systems have to deal with. At the moment there are no exclusive or killer apps, but the regular favorites are right there from Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare,etc. Apart from apps, Blackberry World also provides users a wide choice of music,tv and movies from major and independent labels such as 4AD Records, Domino Recording Company, finetunes, Matador Records, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, Rough Trade Records, Sony Music Entertainment, The Orchard, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, XL Recordings and Zebralution. Blackberry has promised to even bring the BBM competitors Skype and WhatsApp to BB10!
BBM can be called the father of all the recent instant messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp and the likes. Blackberry has added more features to BBM by providing audio/video chat and even screen sharing! While audio/video chat may pass off as good additons, it is the screen sharing functionality that should help Blackberry woo back the enterprise customers who have moved on to greener pastures of iOS and Android.
The touch based flagship device features a 4.2-inch HD display with 356ppi (pixels per inch) and comes with the usual bells and whistle of modern day smartphones like a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel camera, NFC, LTE support and a 1,800mAh battery. Navigating the device for the first time with a tutorial is not going to be a cake walk for many users but should feel natural once the user gets used to the gestures. One of the most touted features is the Timeshift feature of camera which lets users capture images in a burst mode and select the best shot and the predictive keyboard which seems to do a good job from the demo videos on the Verge. Complaints about poor battery life could dampen user’s interest to try out the new OS.
The BlackBerry Q10 is the first BB10 smartphone with a keyboard, offering a 3.1-inch (720 x 720 pixel) 330ppi display, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (microSD slot included). Not much is known about this device as only controlled demos of the device has been made available.
Overall, Blackberry has a made an impressive debut and the hard work the company has put in developing a completely new modern smartphone OS definitely shows. As of today BB10 officially joins the race for the best smartphone OS and all the best to it!
This article has bee reproduced from Sridhar’s blog.