With BlackBerry 10 and new smartphones it’s planning to unveil later this month, RIM is aiming to challenge the dominance of Apple’s iPhone and Android-based smartphones and regain the relevance it once had in this market.
- The interface is largely gesture driven, taking advantage of swipes from the outer bezel towards the screen from all four directions. There’s no home button.
- The multitasking interface is presented in a grid layout with app cards that show live previews of what’s going on in an app. The interface lives on one of the pages of the home screen of the phone, unlike iOS where the multitasking tray is present below the home screen.
- A notification center, named BlackBerry Hub, that collects notifications from all apps and a companion preview window that can easily be accessed by a swipe from the bottom.
- A mobile browser that beats even desktop browsers in HTML5 compatibility tests.
- The keyboard is context aware, and suggests words based on the current sentence
- The camera takes a bunch of pictures before and after the image is clicked, letting you go back or forward in time to select the perfect shot.
- A Siri-like voice control feature that has a dedicated button on the side of the device.
Here’s the two part video overview of BlackBerry 10 (it’s in German, but you shouldn’t have a problem following it as the captions are in English):
RIM is seeing a lot of developer interest—an essential requirement for the success of a platform. RIM recently reported that more than 14,000 apps were ported to BlackBerry 10 in an app porting marathon organised by the company.
The company plans on introducing a wide variety of hardware targeted at different segments of the population with all-touch phones, phones with physical keyboards, and phones at different price points. Here are the two phones that have leaked so far:
- 4.2” 1,280-by-768 display
- 1.5GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor
- 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage
- NFC support
- 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera
This is the device targeted for the loyal BlackBerry user, who still prefers the physical keyboard. Not a lot of information about this phone has leaked, but rumors say the phone sports a 720-by-720 pixels display at a pixel density of 330ppi, along with NFC and of course a 4-row physical keyboard.
BlackBerry 10 seems to be getting positive reviews from tech sites so far, just like Windows Phone 8. But as we’ve seen with Microsoft’s mobile OS, a well-designed product isn’t enough to succeed in the market. There are folks who still swear by BlackBerry phones, but they are a depleting species. Most enterprises have expanded their IT policies to include iPhones and Android phones, and BBM—once a popular feature of BlackBerry phones—can now be replaced with third party apps like WhatsApp and Hike.
In the next few months, RIM will finally know if being three years behind the competition is a mistake that can be rectified, and more importantly if a v1.0 will compete effectively with four iterations of Android and six iterations of iOS.
Images via: Tinhte