By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
By this time tomorrow the world will have seen its first glimpse of Research In Motion's new BlackBerry 10 OS as well as the long awaited new smartphones. This is a new era for BlackBerry and a grand gesture to prove that they can bring something to the hyper-competitive mobile and smartphone market they helped define. Here's a primer on BlackBerry 10 and what to expect.
--(see our short video walkthrough of BlackBerry 10 OS on the Dev Alpha B device)
1. BlackBerry 10 is all new: Forget all the apps and functions you were familiar with in BlackBerry OS 7 or earlier none of those things will work on BlackBerry 10 which is designed on an entirely new foundation with the solid QNX operating system running at the core. Old BlackBerry users who move to BB10 should just accept that the OS has moved on and while there may be similar apps to those they are used to on their old devices, there are no guarantees.
2. BlackBerry 10 will offer an awesome web surfing experience: The new browser on the BlackBerry 10 devices will astound most mobile users and will thrill anyone who has had to watch their old BlackBerry smartphones choke when accessing media rich websites. The new browser is fast, has a mode that strips out formatting for better reading and will run smoothly on today's LTE networks.
3. BB10 is all about Gestures: At least with the non-QWERTY keyboard enabled BB10 smartphone, gestures composed of swipes, flicks, pinches and taps will determine how you navigate your BlackBerry 10 device. With the BlackBerry Peek feature, one quick swipe will reveal a quick peek at all your messages as if they're hiding coyly behind the homescreen. Good news is that the gestures are intuitive and easy to learn.
4. BlackBerry World is the software hub for BB10: Recently renamed from BlackBerry App World to BlackBerry World, this will be the place to find and buy apps, music and video offerings right on your device.
5. BB10's Touch keyboard software is a game changer: Trust the company with the best QWERTY keyboards to go for creating the best software keyboard and what we've seen of the new BB10 predictive keyboard is that it is a game changer. After having used iOS, Windows Phone and various permutations of keyboards on Android including SWYPE, I was very impressed with typing on the Dev Alpha B device running early BB10. Smooth, intuitive and fast, this is one feature that's a notch ahead of the competition.
6.Multitasking is built right in: Another feature that's germane to QNX-based OS is realtime multitasking, this means having various apps open and being able to easily switch back and forth without the apps draining resources. BB10 offers this on the root level of the OS which gives it an advantage over other mobile operating system that have had to slowly build multitasking into the OS.
7. BB10's security is governement-grade: BlackBerry users aren't the only ones waiting on BlackBerry 10, all the high-security government offices and enterprises that require rock-solid security in their devices and BlackBerry 10 devices will have this out of the box.
8. The Camera will be impressive: BlackBerry hasn't really been celebrated for the quality or the features of its built in cameras. This is going to change with BlackBerry 10 specially with the new Timeline Lens that captures moments that other cameras would have missed by starting to capture images even before the shutter is pressed. No specs on the new cameras have been officially announced but we expect RIM to have competitive specs and sensors.
9.BlackBerry Balance will redefine work-life-balance: The new BB10 smartphones are designed to be the one device for both work and personal life. The BlackBerry Balance function segregates work stuff from personal stuff, which makes BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) ideal. This way work accounts and personal accounts don't mix and if you ever leave your job, you simply erase the work-related apps, calendars and accounts without affecting the personal stuff.
10. The BlackBerry PlayBook will evolve: The PlayBook will get even more powerful when the new BlackBerry 10 for tablets is released. This means that while the PlayBook is being sold at bargain basement prices right now, it will get the latest tablet operating system once RIM release the free update. All of us who have the PlayBook can dust it off our beloved tablets and see them do cool new things.
Stay tuned for our live coverage of the BlackBerry 10 launch on this space and on Twitter from @gadjosevilla.
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