After a long, long time, BlackBerry’s newest OS is finally official. It brings a lot of enhancements to the fore, and it completely changes how you interact with your BlackBerry device. There’s a lot of things to cover here, so let’s get started:
Off the bat, one of the things we noticed with the new OS is how much it’s dependent on Gestures to get things done. The BlackBerry Z10 has few, if any, physical keys on the front of the device. It’s hard to wrap your head around it at first, but after the impressive demo during the BlackBerry 10 unveil, we’re sold. The company has really put a lot of thought into the new system which allows users to pull off some nice tricks. For example, you can take a peek into the BlackBerry hub while watching a video and see who has sent you an email, Twitter DM or whatever, all without pausing what you’re watching.
The heart is the Hub
The heart of the new OS seems to be the new BlackBerry Hub. It’s accessed by swiping up and to the right on the screen. On it you’ll see a plethora of emails, Twitter DMs, Facebook messages and whatnot, allowing you to be hyper connected to everything you care about. Swiping down from the hub allows you to see upcoming events and meetings that you need to see or go to, all without leaving the hub. Users will also be able to answer everything directly from the Hub, without opening an app – pretty cool if you ask us.
We’ve always said that excellent hardware is nothing without an ecosystem backing it, and it seems that BlackBerry knows this well. For the past few months, the company has been reaching out to developers and have been conducting multiple Hackatons to get apps ported from Android to their operating system. As a direct result, BlackBerry 10 has the strongest app ecosystem for a first generation OS compared to others, and has 70,000 apps on tap during launch. Here’s a short list:
- Angry Birds
That app ecosystem will only get larger as the OS matures, and in the US, BlackBerry says that they will also be offering music, movies and TV shows to potential customers. The big question now is will the company offer the same content in other countries (like ours), or will we be relegated to just being able to purchase apps, much like the situation with Android now?
The keyboard is the key
BlackBerry devices has always been all about the messaging experience, and BlackBerry 10 is no different. Even on the touchscreen BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry has kept the iconic look of their keyboard intact. Their new touch keyboard also has powerful predictive tools that allow users to type faster. As you type, small words show up on the predicted next letter on the keyboard that you can then swipe up to include in your message. Made a mistake? You can just swipe to the left on any part of the keyboard and it’ll delete a letter. If you need to type a number or a symbol, you simply swipe down on the keyboard to make them appear.
BlackBerry’s BBM messaging service has been one of the things that fans have always raved about, and BlackBerry has seen fit to improve that experience. For starters, you can now call your BBM buddies, ala FaceTime on iOS. What’s nice is that one of you can also share their activity on the device with the other – for example, you want to show your buddy one of the apps you downloaded from the BlackBerry store, so you turn on screen sharing and he sees exactly what you’re seeing on your device.
Before Android and iOS took over, BlackBerry devices were the workhorses of Enterprises and governments everywhere, so it only made sense that the company create a feature that separates their work life and their personal life. The feature, called BlackBerry Balance, allows users to seamlessly switch between their work apps and their personal apps, without any data leaking from one side to the other.
The best shot with TimeShift
BlackBerry 10 also has a couple of neat tricks under its sleeve when it comes to their new and improved camera app, most notably the “TimeShift” feature. TimeShift is basically a feature that allows you to choose among a gallery of cached images prior to you pressing the shutter button on your device and making you choose the best one. It’s a nifty little app that is sure to improve people’s pictures (hopefully). You can also edit pictures straight from the device and add filters and whatnot to improve it if you choose.
That’s it for BlackBerry 10 for now. We’re pretty sure we missed a couple of other features, but we’ll be doing a deep dive later on as soon as we get out review devices.