In just a couple weeks, on January 30th, BlackBerry will officially announce two brand new phones running an all new platform, BlackBerry 10. While BlackBerry isn’t quite new to the touch market, they’ve taken an all new approach that their customer base and others will find much more intuitive and productive. One phone will be completely touch screen, while the other will feature a physical BlackBerry keyboard.
We just received a quick demo of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Some of the features seem very familiar in a good way, while others are relatively new and neat. The overall UI was pretty fluid and polished. Here’s a quick recap of what we can expect to see on January 30th
- Peak: This is an all new previewing feature, similar but different than a notification bar, where users can quickly peak at a unified inbox of emails, messages, and notifications–their “BlackBerry Hub”.
- BlackBerry Flow: The new BlackBerry multi-tasking. This is a very intuitive feature that just makes sense. You can transition between apps while in use (messaging to calendar to contacts). All of your running apps become cards on the homescreen that can be opened or killed.
- BlackBerry Keyboard: While it’s not drastically different, BlackBerry reminds us that the onscreen keyboard is not an on-screen keyboard or a virtual keyboard, it’s still the classic BlackBerry Keyboard… but on a screen. As an iPhone user I found the autocorrect to be amazing (if not better) and there’s some really nice contextual text predictions. Another interesting feature is it can support up to three preset languages so it knows how to autocorrect your language mashups like spanglish.
- Browser: BlackBerry put a ton of effort into making the browser as competitive as possible, boasting one of the most capable rendering engines with a HTML5Test.com score of 485 out of 500, the top contender.
- Camera “Time Shift”: There’s one really neat camera feature, which actually isn’t new (LG Optimus G), where you can choose the best photo frame just before and just after your actual shot.
- BlackBerry World: No longer called BlackBerry App World, since it now includes Movies, TV, and Music available for download. They’re claiming a music library more comprehensive than iTunes (provided by 7digital) and you can even pay from content and apps using your carrier billing.
- BlackBerry Balance: This is one of the cooler features and we’re curious to see the adoption rate. This allows a user to switch between a work and personal workspace. Aside from productivity, this feature also provides improvement to security as it locks out work applications and messages.
Of course there’s going to be much more announced on January 30th, but this is the jist of what BlackBerry had to tease us with. Will BlackBerry 10 turn the company back into a market leader? We have no idea but this is certainly a nice start. BlackBerry 10 will be launched with 70,000 apps, which is supposed to include all of the best. The operating system will eventually be available for the BlackBerry Playbook tablet. The demo phone we used is not a final design.