BlackBerry 10: Big changes and a new experience

BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry 10




BlackBerry’s next operating system will be here soon — and they’re going straight from version 7 to 10! ET outlines the main features and speaks to a few experts for their verdict

In a world where glitzy smartphones with gorgeous, expansive touchsreens rule the roost, BlackBerry seems to have been left behind.

According to a recent report by IDC, things don’t look so good for RIM’s beleaguered BlackBerry service and platform.

Android still rules the roost with 68.3% global smartphone market share and IDC predicts that it will still be around the 63.8% mark in 2016.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry’s current 4.7% share is predicted to be 4.1% by 2016.

The situation may not be as grim as it appears though, because RIM may yet have an ace up its sleeve. ET got a chance to experience RIM’s newest BlackBerry 10 platform or BB10 for short — completely new from the ground up.

The devices currently doing the rounds are developer units, released so that app developers can get a head start with porting existing apps over to the new platform before it arrives. This is already a step in the right direction because one of the primary complaints against BlackBerry is limited apps.

BlackBerry 10
BlackBerry 10

Gone is the stodgy, serious interface — in its place is a sleek, slick and superfast interface that is very much designed for both work and play. BB10 is built using the QNX platform — just like the PlayBook. Granted, there may be some ‘inspiration’ drawn from the current popular smartphone platforms — an app drawer with multiple rows of apps, a pull-down notification tray, notifications on the lock screen and so on.

In picture: Video grab from global.blackberry.com

But it also brings some interesting firsts to the table. For instance, there is no home button — instead, the area around the screen is touch sensitive (see the graphic on the left for information on more interesting features).

After using BB10 himself, Varun Krishnan, editor in chief of FoneArena.com, a popular phone news/reviews blog, was quick to comment.

In picture: Video grab from global.blackberry.com

“One has to admit that the BB interface has been a boring affair and RIM is trying to change that with BB10.

RIM seems to have cracked the social aspect in BB10 but what remains to be seen is the application aspect — this is crucial to the success of any platform.”

He further pointed out that “The final hardware is still to be seen but I’m sure RIM won’t disappoint us with the hardware. I think that the time to market would also be critical.”

In picture: Video grab from global.blackberry.com

Ashish Bhatia, independent technology writer and former editor of PC World, echoed the sentiment. “As a mobile operating system, BB10 definitively seems to have what it takes. The interface, with its combination of taps, swipes and gestures is interesting, intuitive and well-thought out. But circa 2012, an OS alone does not a smartphone make. A lot depends on how much support RIM has garnered from third party app developers — more so, the top 100 apps that all of us have come to expect on our phones. For instance, will BB10 have apps like Skype, DropBox and YouTube at launch? A lot depends on it.”

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