RIM is putting it all on the line with BlackBerry 10, an operating system designed to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. What's new and different? BB10 sports a fresh interface that emphasizes gestures and multitasking, a completely revamped touch keyboard and a supercharged browser. But that's only scratching the surface of what next-generation BlackBerrys will be able to do. Without further ado, these are the 10 most anticipated features of BlackBerry 10.
BlackBerry 10's new interface allows to look up information seamlessly. For example, when you click on an upcoming appointment you can see who is attending and how many Twitter followers they have or check their LinkedIn profile--without having to use separate apps. The Flow UI also makes it easy to multitask thanks to its Peek feature. With Peek, users can swipe in from the left side of the screen to reveal the BlackBerry Hub from which they can view and response to their recent messages. You can then reverse the gesture to return to your previous app.
The BlackBerry Hub is BB10's one-stop-shop for all things messaging including email, BBM, social media updates and text messages. BlackBerry Hub is a convenient feature that eliminates the need to ping-pong between apps when trying to answer and check messages from multiple sources.
Active Frames allows users to quickly access up to eight open apps on one screen. The feature works by letting users minimize open apps, shrinking them to thumbnail-sized Active Frames, similar to the Live Tiles found in Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. Like Live Tiles, first-party BB10 apps running as Active Frames, such as the native calendar and weather apps, will also receive live updates. Not every app will have an Active Frame, however. When minimized, some third-party apps will simply shrink down to the size of an ordinary thumbnail.
Although RIM will be selling a BB 10 device with a physical keyboard, the company is also making a big bet on virtual keyboards. Using next-word prediction, you can literally swipe suggestions up from the keyboard to your message, saving time. The BB10 keyboard also learns how you type and adapts accordingly to help eliminate typos, RIM may soon have one of the best virtual keyboards around.
One of the most intriguing features of BlackBerry 10 is the operating system's new Time Shift camera app, which takes multiple shots of a subject in one picture and then lets you choose the best image. Samsung offers a similar function on the Galaxy Note II via its Best Faces feature.
In addition to its new operating system, RIM is giving the BlackBerry brand a face lift through its revamped BlackBerry App World. The store not only gets a new, easier to navigate look and feel, but will also feature more media options, including movies and television shows.
BlackBerry's previous Web browsers made surfing the web a chore. With BlackBerry 10, however, RIM says its OS will have the best HTML 5 support of any browser around, including desktop offerings. From what we've seen, the browser is not only fast, but offers a boat-load of functionality, including an offline read later feature.
Hoping to satisfy both security-minded IT managers and consumers, BlackBerry Balance lets BB10 users quickly switch between Personal and Business profiles. Each profile has its own apps and security options. Balance also enables businesses to remotely manage devices and wipe any sensitive data if the handset gets lost or stolen.
BlackBerry 10's connected calendar feature will keep you in the know when heading into an important meeting. The feature not only lets users share their calendars with others, but you'll also be able to select a meeting attendee and see his or her LinkedIn profile.
While BlackBerrys have never been known for their gaming prowess, RIM is hoping to bring more interactive fun to its devices via BlackBerry 10. RIM has already shown several popular games running on BB10, including Jetpack Joyride, Shark Dash and Shadowgun. We like what we see so far, but we'll have to see whether other developers embrace the platform.