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5 Things You Need to Know About BlackBerry 10

RIM didn't reveal any next-generation consumer hardware at BlackBerry World 2012, but the company did show off some of what it's long awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system has to offer. RIM has a lot riding on this OS, and one slip-up could spell disasterous for a company that is fighting for its life. So what did we learn about BlackBerry 10? Check it out.

It's Got a New Look

It's Got a New Look

During his keynote, Heins showed off images of the new BlackBerry 10 homescreen and it looks nothing like BlackBerry's previous efforts. The new homescreen appears to offer widgets similar to those found in Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone operating systems. The new look is a welcome departure from the stodgy styling of the current BlackBerry operating systems and brings some much needed life to BlackBerry 10.

Revamped Touchscreen Keyboard

Revamped Touchscreen Keyboard

If RIM's BlackBerry smartphones are known for one thing its their physical keyboards. But when RIM CEO Thurston Heins showed off BlackBerry 10 on running on BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, one thing was conspicuously absent from the device, a physical keyboard. Instead, the device was sporting a slick new touchscreen keyboard complete with predictive text and gesture-based features such as swipe to delete and swipe to text. But RIM hasn't given up on its roots. Expect to see BlackBerry smartphones complete with physical keyboards when BlackBerry 10 launches later this year.

Better Multitasking

Better Multitasking

With BlackBerry 10, RIM is introducing a new style of gesture-based multitasking that allows users to simply swipe between running apps. During his keynote, Heins showed off the new system by swiping from left to right to quickly switch from running an app to check his BBM messages and emails. As messages were opened they stacked on top of previously opened apps and menus. Swiping from the right allows you to fan out all of the open apps and messages like a deck of cards.

New Camera App

New Camera App

One of BlackBerry 10's coolest features on display at BlackBerry World was the operating system's new camera app. What could possibly be so interesting about a camera app? How about the ability to swap out portions of an image with sections from previous shots. During his keynote, Heins explained that the app will be perfect for performing quick fixes for shots when people blink their eyes.

It's All About Apps

It's All About Apps

RIM believes that the only way it can compete in the current smartphone market is to offer a full-scale app ecosystem capable of rivaling those available from Apple and Google. To that end, the BlackBerry maker has guaranteed that app developers will draw enough users to generate at least $10,000 in sales within the first year their app lands on the BlackBerry App World store. And if they don't, RIM will pay the developers the difference. There are, of course, some restrictions for this offer. For instance, developers have to get their apps certified for BlackBerry 10 and make $1,000 in sales before they are eligible for RIM's guarantee. But if an app meets those requirements and only generates $5,000, RIM will cough up the remaining $5,000.

A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.