On January 30, Research In Motion (RIM) will launch the most important update to its BlackBerry platform probably after the launch of the first BlackBerry itself. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company found itself lacking for answers with companies like Apple and Google encroaching its space. RIM hopes its BlackBerry 10 platform will help it reinvent the smartphone as well as the company’s future. BlackBerry 10 is based on QNX, the in-car entertainment operating system that RIM bought in April, 2009. The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which was launched last year, is based on the QNX platform and should give a good idea of BlackBerry 10′s UI, which is also based on swipes and offers interesting multi-tasking options. Let’s check out some key features of BlackBerry 10.
BlackBerry Hub: This is one of the key features of BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry Hub is where the user can get all messages and notifications, including text messages, emails and social networking messages. Users can “Peek” into their BlackBerry Hub from anywhere in the OS by swiping their finger from the bottom of the display up and right. Here’s a demo video of how that’s done.
BlackBerry Balance: With BlackBerry 10, users can easily switch between work apps and personal apps. This gives companies greater control over what a user can do with official data on their phones as well as offer apps that are either built for the company or recommended by the IT department. At the same time, users can also have their personal data and apps on their phones, which means they no longer need to carry another device for their own stuff apart from the company-provided phone. Users can switch between the two modes effortlessly.
BlackBerry Flow: We got a sneak peek of BlackBerry flow on the PlayBook OS but it has really evolved with BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry Flow enables users to go back to what they were doing and return to their current task with a simple swipe of the screen. This means that users don’t have to go to the homescreen to see what all apps are running and can switch to and fro between apps without missing a beat.
BlackBerry Camera: RIM has licensed camera software tech from Scalado for BlackBerry 10 for a timeshift feature. In this feature the camera takes multiple shots in a group photo and lets the user to select the best photo for individual faces in the photograph.
BlackBerry keyboard: The first BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10 won’t have a physical keyboard. RIM knows its all-touch phones have not done well in the past but is confident that the Z10 would not fail because of the on-screen keyboard. RIM is touting a new keyboard that looks like a traditional BlackBerry keyboard but gives word predictions and learns the user’s vocabulary over time.
BBM with video and screen share: BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally comes of age with BlackBerry 10. Users will be able to make video calls and also share their screen with others. This is one of the features RIM has not shown extensively, yet and is expected to demo at the global launch on Wednesday.
BlackBerry Remember: Another feature that RIM has not shown yet, BlackBerry Remember is expected to have Evernote integration across the operating system to take notes, reminders and web clippings.
BlackBerry World: With BlackBerry 10, RIM has changed BlackBerry App World to BlackBerry World that will provide not just apps but also music and other content.
Do you think RIM has done enough with BlackBerry 10 to take on Android and iOS? Do you think BlackBerry 10 will revive RIM’s fortunes? What are your impressions about BlackBerry 10? Let us know in comments below.