Blackberry 10 Hands-On Preview

BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone maker, has had a torrid time in 2012, but the under fire company is pinning its future hopes on their new Blackberry 10 operating system which will form a foundation for its new range of smartphones, expected to arrive throughout 2013.

The heavily delayed and much talked about operating system has been sending the internet rumour mill into overdrive, but with a couple of months before it’s expected hit the shelves the company is beginning to showcase what they hope with be the saviour of the ailing company.

Blackberry Hub

One of the biggest change for BB10 compared to current Blackberry’s is the new Hub feature, if you’re familiar with Windows Phone people hub you’ll be right at home. The hub offers a one-stop-shop for all your social media, messages, email and calls. It’s a centralised hub meaning you don’t have to navigate to several different apps to keep abreast of what’s going on.

One nifty feature is the hub can be accessed at anytime from within any app by simply swiping up from the bottom of the handset, much like you would on the iPhone’s notification centre, but simply reversed. It means you can glance a new messages without leaving what you were doing, whether it’s watching a video or playing a game.

Blackberry Keyboard

One of Blackberry’s unique selling point is their famed physical QWERTY keyboard, and the Canadian company has tried to inject a bit of their famed knowledge when it comes to touchscreen keyboards. Text prediction is handled intelligently and works by letting users flick word into the message, with entire words deleted with a simple right-to-left swipe across the keyboard. Blackberry has confirmed there will handsets with both physical and touchscreen keyboards – satisfying both ends of the spectrum.

Blackberry Time Shift

Camera functionality has always been a real bugbear for Blackberry’s of old, but with BB10 photos and videos should come out substantially better with the help of an all-new software system called ‘Time Shift’. It allows the camera to take shots before you’ve pressed the button so you can then scroll through the numerous picture until you come across one you’re satisfied. By using clever face detection software, the camera allows you to pick the best facial pose from the series of images, so if you’re blinking you can simply swap out a different face from one of the other shots.

Blackberry Balance

Another clever inclusions comes the form of Blackberry’s Balance feature, originally showcases on their much maligned Playbook it allows users to separate their work phone from your personal phone. Essentially splitting the device in two via a simple button press. Balance give users the ability to switch between business and personal interfaces allowing users separated all-important business emails and contacts with personal ones.

Better than that, if you happen change job and want to keep your phone, you can simply wipe the work side of the handset without losing any data from the personal side of the handset, or vice versa.

First Impressions

Clearly Blackberry 10 is shaping up to be a great OS, it manages to capture the best of the corporate world without sacrificing too much on the personal touches that users have been crying out for. From what we’ve seen so far it really is a platform packed full of innovation and brilliantly designed features.

We’ll be diving even further into BB10 over the coming weeks as the OS comes out of beta and gets ready to go to retail. While Blackberry might be teetering on the edge, their new OS looks like Blackberry will here to stay, which is always a good thing.

Research in Motion has announced it will officially reveal its BlackBerry 10 phones and their release date at an event to be held on January 30, 2013.

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- who has written 609 posts on UK Gadget and Tech News, Reviews and Shopping.

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