BlackBerry 10 launch: OS highlights

BlackBerry 10 launch: OS highlightsIt’s been a long road, but after a pretty dire year that saw next to no new RIM hardware released, BlackBerry 10 is a reality.

Martin is covering the phone stuff (namely the all touch BlackBerry Z10 and QWERTY-fuelled BlackBerry Q10), so it’s down to yours truly to cover the actual OS side of things. Ready for BlackBerry 10 features? Let’s rock!

As we saw in the various BlackBerry 10 hands-on demonstrations, RIM (sorry, BlackBerry – as they’re now called) is keen to big up BlackBerry Hub, accessible with a single swipe from the left.

BlackBerry Hub is essentially a super-sexy notification centre, with all your texts and emails and social networking stuff baked right in.

There’s also a huge focus on typing in BlackBerry 10, so you won’t necessarily miss your physical QWERTY – if that’s what you’re used to.

On BlackBerry 10’s virtual keyboard you can swipe to auto-complete (instead of choosing from a list above the keyboard), while swiping downward brings up punctuation. Similarly, you can swipe left to delete an entire word. Nice.

We also heard before about switching between personal and work accounts in BlackBerry 10. It’s called BlackBerry Balance, and jumping between the two is as simple as swiping down.

Brilliantly, IT admin type folk can push stuff to your BlackBerry 10 device (including apps and updates), or even delete data, without affecting any of your personal stuff.

BlackBerry Messenger is obviously a big part of BlackBerry’s arsenal, and it’ll get full-screen video calling in BlackBerry 10.

Speaking of video calling, there’s pretty big news in the form of BlackBerry 10 getting a Skype app, something that might’ve been a deal-breaker for some.

Indeed, BlackBerry World welcomes 70,000 apps at launch, and Skype will be joined by other big names including Amazon, Dropbox and Evernote, as well as Whatsapp for cross-platform instant messaging.

On the gaming side of BlackBerry 10, Rovio, EA, Gameloft and Sega are just some of the big developers/publishers signed up.

Camera magic isn’t something typically associated with BlackBerry phones, but the Canadians appear to have put a lot of thought into the editing side of things. There’s the now-familiar option of choosing the best shot of your friends’ faces to make the perfect picture (called Time Shift, here). You can also add filters, crop, drag and rotate.

A couple of nice-to-have features include BlackBerry Remember, which integrates files and notes, and is baked right into BlackBerry Hub. For example, you can throw in an email and add voice notes and due dates and stuff. It even links with Evernote.

Finally, BlackBerry Story Maker takes a page out of iMovie’s book, letting you edit together your videos and pictures and music.

And that's BlackBerry 10. All in all, sounds pretty good to us. How about you guys? Impressed?

Read more about: Blackberry OS

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16 comments

salmonmax  Jan. 30, 2013 at 18:03

yes, but it now just confuses me on which phone to get next!

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 30, 2013 at 18:32

I didn't follow that event. They all suck - lets be honest.
The keyboard sounds interesting - flicking suggested words into the entry box etc... UNTIL you read about all the other gestures you can (must?) get used to... Will have to see how well it all comes together in real life. Certainly an interesting update on paper.

Big mistake imho to only launch one high-end device (and nothing in the USA until after MWC)...
But hey - what does make sense these days? ;)

Stelph  Jan. 31, 2013 at 06:58

I agree that the gesture thing sounds like something you'll need go try before making a decision on it, it sounds quite complicated to me and I'm not sure I exactly understand what is meant by swiping when texting but I'm willing to have a go to see what I think!

I disagree that one high end launch is a bad thing, I think it'd cause less confusion with potential customers and all blackberry to focus their marketing more on the one phone, plus the massive delay in the US is more to do with the carriers than blackberry themselves

Not yet made my kind up about BB10 but so far ir looks like a great 3rd OS which has picked the best parts of iOS (single device, regulated screen size to help developers, "walled garden experience" etc) and Android (access to file structure, Comprehensive file support "choose to use what you want" etc) certainly deserves to take the 3rd spot IMO over windows phone

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 31, 2013 at 07:13

Well, the mainstream media has pretty much dismissed this reinvention as a failure - but no wonder considering the BFF relationship with Wall Street. And Wall Street was gonna dismiss "RIM" anyway. What better for their sick game than a brand ready for the picking? And yes, as I said: not launching in the USA straightaway WAS a big mistake judging by this morning's media coverage.

I don't care - they all lie and it's not about the actual product, of course.
I'll try one when I get the chance, although the Z10 may well be this year's Pre 3... With the Q10 tossed in later as "RIM"'s Veer.
Pretty much everything I read since the launch yesterday is either obviously anti- or obviously overenthusiastic (crackberry really have gone a bit OTT...e.g.).
Not impressed by any of the camera samples I've seen, though. They can't be all faked, and in low light especially the Z10 appears to be absolutely useless. I was afraid of that because I had a 9780 and a 9900 - pathetic shooters. Have RIM not seen any of the hype about camera modules these past 18 months?
Now all we need is the revelation that the battery is out-performed by the One X...

rash  Jan. 31, 2013 at 08:54

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 31, 2013 at 09:29

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha


Yes, as I said: I don't believe it till I see it. The right phrasing would make the Note 2's S-Pen 'gestures' appear like Mensa material...
I find 95% of the Z10 coverage I read unbearably OBVIOUS! Worst are those writers who pretend they would have "loved a great BB" etc yuck etc blah... NO YOU DIDN'T, you troll :p

rash  Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:13

There is no substitute for seeing this and trying it in the flesh. It's a strong contender. Especially if like me you don't want Android/iOS half assed attempt at multitasking.

The number of LIVE active frames is limited to 8 applications, BUT you can open as many as you want. The cameras is very good, video recording and playback is good - the web browsing trumps ANYTHING, deffo the best on any Android or iOS device. With proper full flash player, even media heavy website are very smooth.

The reviews seem to miss out the BBM video calling and screen sharing.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:32

Funny sidenote: a lot of US media (wsj, NYT etc) wrote yesterday how RIM are up against Apple and Samsung. NOT Apple and Android ;)

timy  Jan. 31, 2013 at 13:35

just ordered mine, time for a change, and this looks like the best option to me!

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 31, 2013 at 14:27

just ordered mine, time for a change, and this looks like the best option to me!

Agree, but I'll play with one first.... I tried plenty of phones the last 18 months that all annoyed me within a couple of days

Stelph  Jan. 31, 2013 at 14:46

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha


If that was aimed at me then I dont see whats wrong with saying the gestures need to be tried before I can decide if theyre good or not.

Like you say there are 3 gestures but even Crackberry (in thier extremely favourable review) state that quite often there are situations where this isnt always the case, or to be more specific it takes more swipes than you would expect to get to where you are wanting to go (I think the example given was if you open a web link in an email, then get a notification of a new email, when you swipe it takes you back to your original email rather than the new ones that have come in). Personally, similar to the Androids "back button" issue (where the back button doesnt always do what you think it will) I dont see this as a major issue, but some people found it infuriating and confusing, so everyone will have to make their own decisions on the gesture system.

Personally I think Blackberry have done a lot of good things here and have done almost everything within their control to make this work, there are some areas of disappoitment (like the late release in the US) but I would argue thats more the fault of the carriers as mentioned above, the Z10 is definatly a very tempting device for me however there are some specific sport apps that I use a lot that arent on Blackberry yet so itll probably be more the case that ill be asking developers to port across to BB10 and waiting for the Playbook port so I can have a good play before I pull the trigger

Stelph  Jan. 31, 2013 at 14:46

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha


Incidentally what device have you been running the Dev Alpha on?

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 31, 2013 at 15:05

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha


Incidentally what device have you been running the Dev Alpha on?

I may be wrong, but I think it's a special dev kit device which won't ever be released to the general public. Don't quote me on that, though.

rash  Jan. 31, 2013 at 15:27

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha


Incidentally what device have you been running the Dev Alpha on?


I have had the Blackberry Dev Alpha B **device** directly from RIM, it's not just software. Personally I think it's excellent, it just feels like you are in control of you device, nothing runs in the background unless you want it to. The OS is a mix of meego and (so people tell say) palm OS. Think of it as an N9 but with better S/W support, it'll take a few months to get the main developers to release stuff, but it should be easy to port Whatsapp even if the company themselves don't (aka Wazzap for N9).

I do think the reviews are fair to criticize the OS, it's definitely nice, they do have a point with the number of (GOOD) apps, as long as the main apps are present (which some are) it will be success for BB.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 31, 2013 at 16:32

That was my impression: "Meego" (Maemo) meets webOS. After 2 days with the N9 swiping just felt so natural. I keep trying it on other phones hahaha
But the N9 still feels unfinished - as you say: lack of support. Hopefully BB10 is more consistent. From what I've seen it seems so.

Stelph  Jan. 31, 2013 at 23:12

The gestures are NOT confusing, I don't bloody know who perpertrated this myth!

There are exactly 3 gestures:
1 - Swipe up from bottom of screen and right to preview messages or go to messages.
2 - Swipe up from bottom to minimise app/place it on drawer.
3 - Swipe from top of screen to open options for an app (if there are any).

Thats pretty much it on my dev alpha


Incidentally what device have you been running the Dev Alpha on?


I have had the Blackberry Dev Alpha B **device** directly from RIM, it's not just software. Personally I think it's excellent, it just feels like you are in control of you device, nothing runs in the background unless you want it to. The OS is a mix of meego and (so people tell say) palm OS. Think of it as an N9 but with better S/W support, it'll take a few months to get the main developers to release stuff, but it should be easy to port Whatsapp even if the company themselves don't (aka Wazzap for N9).

I do think the reviews are fair to criticize the OS, it's definitely nice, they do have a point with the number of (GOOD) apps, as long as the main apps are present (which some are) it will be success for BB.


regarding whatsapp, no need to port it, they announced that app in the presentation id thought?

lucky you getting a dev alpha, im hoping blackberry gives me my own dev alpha by releasing bb10 for playbook asap!

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