BlackBerry's market and usage share has been dropping dead for quite a while and the company has been suffering with millions of dollars of losses since the success of Apple and Android phones. But the company became fed up with all the attention new touch-based smartphones were getting when it was the one that led smartphones to the hands of the people in first place. To get rid of this issue, BlackBerry announced its BB 10 OS, which it claims to be touch optimized. Lets have a look at the changes and updates it has got.
BlackBerry 10 is a quite away from what BlackBerry has come up in the past. It now combines gesture-based features that are quite innovative, synced social and email accounts and support for not only its own services, of which new have been introduced by the way, but also for Android apps, natively.
One of the most talked about gesture based feature in BB 10 OS is being called "flow" by BlackBerry. With the help of this feature, BlackBerry has got rid of the "home button" in its new range of devices. For example, you can just swipe up the screen to unlock it(just like Windows Phone) or to even show the list of the apps that are still open in the background(multi-tasking windows) or to even get to the BlackBerry Hub.
Also, now BlackBerry has included its own take at a unified notification center, BlackBerry Hub. It gets notifications from your email, social and web accounts including Twitter, Facebook, BBM, LinkedIn, EverNote and various other email accounts. So, it is a place to see all your appointments and notifications without having to reopen any application for the purpose.
To simplify the learning curve for its new users, BlackBerry has launched a walk-through video for BlackBerry Hub. Lets have a look at it.
Just like iOS and Android, BlackBerry starts up with the clock on the mainscreen and notifications and reminders if they are there. But unlike its two main competitors, when unlocked it doesn't have definite or customisable home screen and instead, the user is greeted to a set of tiles where each tile is of a currently running app and there can be a maximum of 8 tiles at a time. Here, you can swipe left for a list of installed apps and right to launch BlackBerry Hub.
BBM is the iconic messenger service of BlackBerry that led to the making of services like iMessage and WhatsApp. To take things to the next level, BlackBerry has announced its updated BBM service with introduction of Voice Calling and Screen Share. With millions of subscribers already, this can be a huge hit and increase usage of such features without the need of 3rd party apps like Skype, which by the way is now available for the operating system. And the screen share feature can come in quite handy and worthy to many customers for sharing information visually, especially to Entrepreneurs and Business man, BlackBerry's most loyal market.
As with the Hub, BlackBerry has launched a walk-through video for the updated BBM as well. Lets have a look.
BlackBerry has renamed its app store to BlackBerry world and with 70000 apps from the beginning, it is good start. Also, BlackBerry has said that BlackBerry world will be featuring movies from following movie studios with same day availability(relative to DVD and Blue-Ray releases): 20th Century Fox, Entertainment One (eOne), Lionsgate, MGM, National Film Board of Canada, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (US), Starz Digital Media, STUDIOCANAL, The Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures (UK), Warner Bros. Also, it will have television shows from the following broadcasters with next day availability(relative to broadcast release of the episode): ABC Studios, BBC Worldwide, CBC/Radio-Canada, CBS, DHX Media, ITV, National Geographic, NBCUniversal (UK), Nelvana, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (US), Starz Digital Media, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Univision Communications Inc, and Warner Bros.
Also, BlackBerry announced that its BlackBerry World will also host DRM-free music which will come from the following major and independent labels: 4AD Records, Domino Recording Company, finetunes, Matador Records, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, Rough Trade Records, Sony Music Entertainment, The Orchard, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, XL Recordings and Zebralution.
BlackBerry's camera has always been criticised but now BlackBerry has baked some pretty innovative features into the new OS to make the whole camera thing a solid one instead of just a substitute feature.
One of the most talked about camera feature is time shift. It lets the user choose an image from moments ago to get the perfect settings for the memory lane. It essentially shoots images in burst and then let user decide the best one to fit their mood and needs. Although very simple, but the feature is quite an handy and a nifty one. It certainly resolves the issue of an image getting ruined just because a moment of shutter lag or to guess when exactly to click the shutter button.
One of the other very important things of the new OS is that it has been optimized for touch. Also, that its keyboard has gotten some special attention from its developers. As we know, the keyboard and its special features were showcased weeks before the launch of the OS.
Lets have a look at the new walkthrough video BlackBerry has made featuring the keyboard and its various innovative features that BlackBerry is so proud of.
When it comes to the applications department, one which can break or make an OS, BlackBerry is off to a good start. It already has 70,000 apps stashed in the BlackBerry World, for the users to download, at the time of the launch and more are coming its way. Also, it has taken care that major applications, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Kindle, Angry Birds, SAP, Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, have committed to the BB 10 app catalogue at the time of the launch. Although, 70,000 seems to be a small number in front of Apple or Android app store collection number, but its good to see that developers are giving the new OS a healthy response and with time things will surely get better.
BlackBerry has also come up with its own iMovies competitor, Story Maker. Users can easily create short movies with simple music cues in the background and can easily put some very creative filters and effects on top of the whole thing. As a matter of fact, the application produces some slick works of art and should excite and even help BB 10 customers to make some themselves, as well.
At the end, it is safe to say that BlackBerry has done some work but there are some downlets to the new OS. First of all, it seems like an amalgamation of iOS and Android mobile operating systems and, while that might be good for some, it won't be that exciting for many as well. Also, at some points the OS seems to be kind of a bland one. Its not bad, per se, but it doesn't showcase a work of an artist.
Well, however it may seem at the moment, the real results can only be seen when the devices come to markets across the globe. But the wars have already begun with the launch of first couple of devices based on the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Let slip the dogs of war!