The new Blackberry 10 OS – Hands On
Blackberry by most had been condemned dead, but it seems that it has resurrected for a final fight. Blackberry after being battered by its competition, mainly Android and Apple, seemed to fade away. Blackberry needed a reboot and it needed it bad considering Android’s Jelly Bean, Apple’s iOS6 and Windows Phone 8 re defying the word “smartphone”. Blackberry 10 is the latest installment in the long line of Blackberry Operating Systems. The BB OS has been stripped to the core and has been developed from ground up, which is really refreshing to see. Blackberry 10 follows the easy-to-navigate criteria, which means that the home screens, app-list, widgets and new unified inbox has been merged together. It also uses a technology called “Flow” which means that in order to open or close an pp you will have to use gestures as no back navigation tools are available. Now lets lake a step by step review of the OS:
Normally in order to unlock a Android or Apple device, we have to press the power button or a home screen button (depending on the device). The BB10 OS does not need any of that, unlocking is really simple, you just have to slide your finger from down to up and voila the phone gets unlocked. Also while sliding up the home screen starts peeping up from below, which is a nice transaction to see.
The Lock screen itself seems very crisp which shows the usual time and date plus all other notifications including upcoming calendar events. On the bottom right of the screen you can find the camera shortcut icon, so just hold the icon for a few seconds and the camera app automatically launches, quite useful if you need to take a quick pic.
The BB10 homescreen comes filled with widgets called “Active Frames” . These Active Frames are basically mini application showing the apps recently used. The most recent appearing on the top left corner. Eight Active tiles run simultaneously but only four are shown on the homescreen. Now if you want to see the rest of the tiles you have scroll down. When you click on the frames the full app launches, opening the app is not a problem, its the closing part which is a bit tricky. As there is no dedicated back key you can have to use gestures to close the app. Now in order to close any app you just have to swipe your finger from down to up (same as when unlocking the phone). Though this may be easy, Android and iOS veterans will get annoyed not having a back key at the ready. So, it would be a matter of getting used to. At the bottom, you will find dedicated home-screen keys for calling, camera and quick search.
In order to access the app list from the homescreen you will need to swipe from the left to right, the app list is actually very similar to the one found in Android and iOS, having 16 apps on one page. The similarity is gratefully accepted considering the amount of gestures to remember for operating this OS. The scrolling between the app list pages is very fluid, and you get a very nice fading effect when sliding through the app list pages. The fade effect is that the current pages fade back and the new page comes over it, which is quite pleasing to the eye.
Peek is basically a gesture which lets you to check on your notifications without closing the current app, similar to the Charm bar found in Windows 8, but unlike the Charm bar if you swipe up completely the Blackberry Hub opens where you can read the email, BBM or text messages you have received. As you swipe up over the screen BB10 will minimize the pane you’re viewing and display notification icons down the left side.
The Blackberry Hub is basically a tool which merges multiple accounts and all your notification feeds together be it a simple call, email or even calendar events. It is one thing that makes the BB10 stand out of the crowd as it makes life really simple, with all the notifications at are finger tips. Now in order for you to be able to focus on one account, place your finger on the bottom left corner and select the account you want to check , and automatically the Hub will only show messages from that account. This is one thing which sets apart the BB10 from its rivals.
The heart and soul of Blackberry is its BB Messenger, it is the reason most people buy a Blackberry. Now with the BB10 update the BBM has got a whole new look, which is pleasing to the eye and simple at the same time. The new BBM gets new features such as BBM Video and BBM Voice. So now you can video conference with your BBM friends and family.
The talking point of BB10 has been its camera according to the people at Blackberry. The camera has a feature called “Time Shift” which actually rewinds a pic after its taken to the capture perfect moment of the pic. Meaning if a person has closed his eyes then the app can roll back to the point where the persons eyes are open, or to get that perfect smile. This function is quite impressive, but the subject’s face has to be lit up properly for this thing to work properly.
It is BB’s version of the notification bar introduced by Android, but this is not a conventional notification bar. Cascade is basically a feature which lets you multitask without actually closing a document or app. For example if you reading a document from an email and you get a new email, so if you want to check who the new email is from, you just slide from left to right and the document slides with you showing the inbox page behind it.
These are the few of the features the new BB10 OS brings to the table, the talking point would definitely be the availability of apps, the same problem Windows 8 had/still having as compared to Android or iOS. Another talking point is the limitation of changing the appearance of the OS, which is very common in Android devices. So, for those who get bored easily looking at the same interface then Blackberry is sure to be in trouble. The BB10 user interface may be simple but going through it would put most people off considering the amount of gestures. Nokia did the same when they had launched their N9 device with Meego, it had similar gestures and that did not bode too well with alot of people. On the bright side the BB10 OS is very refreshing has no lags and is very fluid, with features like “Cascade” and “Time Shift” it might just have a ray of hope. Let us know what you think about the new BB10 OS and any other feature you may have found out that we might have missed.