It’s been a long time since RIM, correction, BlackBerry, has been in the limelight. Post January 30, and the announcement of its all new OS and smart devices, the Canadian company has been all over the media. The new operating system focuses strongly on gesture based interaction and seems to have a rather well designed layout to support that. Tech2 was live at its New York launch and had the opportunity to do a quick hands on with the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, which you can read here. We also managed to get some demos of the operating system in action. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the key facets of BB10.
BlackBerry Hub and Peek
Kicking things off is BlackBerry Hub, which is essentially the single point of access for pretty much every notification that comes to you. From this access-from-anywhere feature, you’ll able to read emails, check messages and BBM pings, SMSes, Calendar updates etc. from one location. The Peek feature takes the Hub a little further. In case of a notification, you needn’t bother leaving the app you’re currently in. By swiping to the right, you’ll able to access the hub, which will display the type of notification you’ve received. And by moving a little further right, you’ll also get a “Peek” at the actual details of the notification itself. You can then choose to continue with what you’re doing or access the notification. Here’s a quick video demo of how the BB10 Hub and Peek systems work:
Like most reminder apps, the BlackBerry 10 version has a UI style with some very handy tweaks to the functionality. It integrates easily with your Evernote account allowing you to share notes and reminders left on the device or stored on the cloud. In the demo video below, you’ll also see just how easy it is to actually create a reminder or leave yourself a little note while you’re web browsing, in case you like something you see and wish to save the page with a note. Take a look:
BBM Video/Voice with Screen Share
A significant update to one of BlackBerry’s Core systems is the addition of BBM video and voice messaging. The demo below showcases BBM’s video service that is sure to get the BlackBerry fans to sit up and take notice. It’s as simple as a video call over the net through the BBM application. Of course, you’ll be using the front facing camera by default, but you’ll have the option of switching to the rear camera to share location details. Screen Share simply lets the person you are on the call with actually see what’s on your screen. This way, instead of sending an interesting image, you could simply switch to Screen Share and show it to them via that medium. The demo below will give you a better idea.
One of the biggest issues with corporate BlackBerry users is the tight security and sometimes lack of personal space to use the device without the administrator’s prying eyes scrutinising the hardware. With BlackBerry Balance, you can use a singular device and have seamless transition between work and play mode. All it takes is a swipe and tap. From apps to device management, and even the look and feel of the device, you can swipe down and switch between modes for seamless separation of your business and personal lives. Here’s the demo:
The all new contacts setup has even tighter social integration than the last iteration of the BlackBerry OS. It’s designed to make easier to access all your social networking contacts from this single location. From twitter to LinkedIn and Facebook, the contacts menu seems to have been thought out very carefully keeping in mind the heavy social networking that most of us engage in these days. The video demo below will give you a clear idea on just how functional the new contacts feature is.
Calendar and Appointments
BB10’s calendar app has also undergone a few changes. Depending on the number of appointments you have in a given day, the numbers on the calendar will increase or decrease in height. The layout and overall functionality looks easy enough to use, and this too ties in neatly with your contacts and social accounts. Take a look at the demo.
In a nutshell, BB10 has tremendous potential to turn heads as we’re slowly moving further away from the button system to all out touch and gesture supported systems. The hardware BlackBerry intends to launch will certainly do well if priced right. However, BlackBerry fans, it might take you a little while to get used to the all new setup.
For all you need to know on BlackBerry 10, check out this section here.
You can also check out our BB10 Browser test here and and a short test on the new Time Shift camera here. Want to know how it competes with the Lumia 920? We've got a Grudge Match just for that purpose.
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