Posted on 31 January 2013
The new BlackBerry® has finally arrived, and what you're going to read about here is the redesigned software, known as BlackBerry® 10. This is the operating system that will power the new generation of BlackBerry® smartphones, such as the BlackBerry® Z10.
So, compared to the older operating system called BlackBerry® 7.1, used in phones like the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900, what's new in BlackBerry® 10?
BlackBerry® smartphones have long been famous for their great keyboards, normally in QWERTY physical keyboard forms. Well, for the new BlackBerry® smartphones that don't have real buttons, BlackBerry® 10 has a fantastic newly designed touchscreen keyboard. Here's what it does. It can learn where exactly you touch the keyboard to hit certain keys, adjusting itself so you get the right keys, and it learns your style of writing, allowing it to accurately predict your next word. A whole selection of words you might use pop up on the keyboard itself, over the letters that follow on from what you've already typed. It's possibly the most advanced keyboard ever seen.
Cameras in smartphones have moved on since the BlackBerry® 7.1 software, and the new BlackBerry® 10 is right up there with the best of them. Not only do we see some great behind the scene software that makes sure you capture realistic colours, there are two really special features. Burst mode lets you snap photographs super quickly, so you won't miss action shots, like those you'd get at sports events or gigs. Then there's the almost magical feature called Time Shift. This actually lets you wind time backwards and forwards. The software takes photos before and after you press the shutter button, then lets you review the shots. You can wind back and forth individual faces as well as whole photos, making getting the shot you were after simple.
Talking of contacting friends and getting messages, BlackBerry® 10 introduces a new way of checking and responding to all your messages and notifications. Everything - from Facebook® updates and text messages to emails and calendar reminders - are all collected in the BlackBerry® Hub. So, when that little red light flashes, just head to the BlackBerry® Hub to see what's going on. BlackBerry® 10 also makes it possible to get to the BlackBerry® Hub instantly from any app or screen - just swipe up to Peek into the Hub, and then back down to continue whatever it was you were doing.
BlackBerry® phones have long since been favoured as business devices, and BlackBerry® 10 is going to supercharge that role. Not only are there improvements to the Calendar, which can now recommend who should attend a meeting and even compile files and data stored on your phone that you might need for meetings automatically, there's also BlackBerry® Safeguard. This is a set of features that make your phone secure, consisting of BlackBerry® Protect (track a lost phone), updated BlackBerry® Encryption (keeping files encrypted for security) and the famous BlackBerry® ID (strong password protection). The final part of BlackBerry® Safeguard is called BlackBerry® Balance™. This lets you effectively split your phone in two, one mode for personal use, the other for business. It's like having a personal phone and work phone, in one! All apps and files are separate, and you can even have different apps and security settings in different modes.
BBM™ was, and still is, fantastic - free, super secure messages over the internet. With BlackBerry® 10, you've still got that, but now you can call using BBM™, and even use BBM for face to face video calls, and all for free. The new interface makes it easy to work out who's around and who isn't, and it's just as simple to set up and use as you'd expect. There's also a nifty new feature called Screen Share. This lets you share whatever's on the screen of your new BlackBerry® phone with a contact – this includes photos and documents, and even whatever your phone's camera is looking at.
The new BlackBerry® Browser is faster and leaner, so loading up websites is noticeably faster than before. An improved layout also means there's more space on the page, and the URL bar is placed out of the way at the bottom of the screen, so there's more space at the top, the part of the page you look at first. Now we're so used to spending time online and telling everyone about what we find, the latest version of the BlackBerry® Browser has been redesigned to make sharing easier in just a couple of clicks. And because the browser is smarter, if you choose to share, for example, via BBM™ most often, that's the option that'll appear at the top of the sharing list.
The previous version of the BlackBerry® operating system included voice control, but the feature has grown significantly. Now you can write and send BBM™ messages, search the internet, update your Facebook™ status and even send a Tweet, all with just your voice. The voice recognition is spot on too, so dictating whole emails is finally a reality.
The look and feel of the BlackBerry® World™ storefront has been changed, so it's a better place to go and look around, and easier to navigate. But the big news is that the store will have bigger, better and more advanced aps - there are some 70,000+ new apps available at launch, and with so many developers excited about the prospect of designing for a new operating system, this number will just keep on growing.
Like Windows computers, older BlackBerry® software versions required you to restart your phone if you updated or deleted an app. With BlackBerry® 10 being smarter, now you won't have to restart, just update, remove and enjoy, all without touching that shutdown button.