The new Blackberry OS goes back to its roots


RIM’s new operating system focuses on speed and smooth functionality

Arthur Ward
Graphics Editor

This should look familiar to most Blackberry users: “Sorry guys but I’ve upgraded my phone and I’m not on BBM anymore.” This can be a very depressing and lonely moment for the die-hard Blackberry users, but before you consider changing your smart phone allegiance, Research in Motion (RIM) has something in store that just may convince you to keep thinking Blackberry.

RIM announced that it will release its latest mobile operating system, Blackberry 10, on Jan. 30, 2013. With the market already saturated with so many bells and whistles in mobile technology, the new Blackberry 10 operating system focuses more on the tiny details of speed and functionality. The new OS is being tested on the Dev Alpha B – a prototype device RIM has provided to developers to aid in creating new apps and programs.

At a preview event hosted by RIM this week I had the opportunity to try out the new features of Blackberry 10 for the first time.

The key feature of the new OS is the Blackberry Hub. It catalogs all your notifications, messages, emails and events in one place, which are all updated in real time. While using the Hub, users can either take a peek into the Hub to see what’s going on or open it to full screen and respond to emails and notifications. One of my favourite parts of the Blackberry Hub is that it can be accessed from anywhere, eliminating the need to jump back to the home screen to view notifications.

If smart phones were as smart as their spell-checkers then a phone running Blackberry 10 will be the smartest in its class. The term spell-check is an understatement when it comes to Blackberry 10. The OS not only checks the spelling of a word but it also the entire sentence, ensuring that the suggestions it generates are within context.

Blackberry 10 also goes a step further and scans all of the user’s documents and emails, detecting regular reoccurrences of names and acronyms which are then excluded from the spell-check. This neat little feature is certainly useful for those users who are constantly using a lot of industry specific jargon and not having to worry about spell check errors all the time.

Blackberry 10 can also be set to auto predict up to 3 languages at once, meaning multilingual users will have no need to change the language setting when they want  to type in a different language.

Ever have trouble hitting the wrong key when texting on a touch screen? The new Blackberry 10 solves this problem by adjusting the placement of the keys on the screen to adapt to the user’s patterns of usage.

RIM has also added a new Balance Feature for users who have to use their work issued phone alongside their personal phone every day. Balance allows for users to partition parts of their device, essentially creating two user profiles  – one for work, and one for personal use. Balance can also be locked to prevent unauthorized access of sensitive information, which means that you can let the kids play their favourite game on your phone without the fear of them sending a broadcast text message to all your co-workers.

However, Blackberry 10 isn’t solely about smoother workplace functionality. Phones using the new OS system will feature cameras equipped with the new Time Shift mode – the first mobile application of its kind.

In Time Shift Mode, the camera takes several photos each time the user snaps a picture. If the subject in the photo closed their eyes the moment it was taken, Blackberry 10 users can now select that person’s face and scroll back through the previous frames to find the right moment. This certainly reduces the hassle of trying to get that perfect shot but also it can the basis of some really interesting apps to come in the future. Other features such as the Blackberry Messenger have received a new face lift with its graphical interface along with other native Blackberry features such as the calendar, browser and also a new weather app that now comes standard with the new OS.

With all these changes on the horizon for Blackberry users the new OS will still maintain a familiar feel as its user interface is similar to that of the Blackberry Playbook.  The red blinking notification light and the full QWERTY keyboard, will still give its users that iconic Blackberry experience. After interacting with new Blackberry 10 operating system, its functionality will be a key selling point to many users that are in need of a system that is simple and easy to use while at the same time boasting the speed and reliability to keep them in sync with the work place.

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