Heard about BlackBerry 10? Want to know more? We reveal how to get it and the key new features it includes.
What is BlackBerry 10?
BlackBerry 10 (or BB 10 as we’ll call it) is the new operating system that manufacturer RIM (now rebranded as BlackBerry) hopes will turn around its ailing fortunes. Once the dominant player in the smartphone market, the company has struggled in recent years as users switched to slicker Apple and Android phones.
What’s different about BlackBerry 10?
Pretty much everything. BB 10 has a completely new interface that scraps the familiar BlackBerry system and replaces it with something that resembles the likes of Android and iOS, although with its own unique features.
There’s no back or home button like you’ll find on most smartphones. Instead the new interface is gesture-based, meaning you navigate and control key functions by swiping the screen in specific ways. BlackBerry claims it will “deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs”.
What are BlackBerry 10’s key new features?
Homescreen – The new homepage shows all your currently running programs. The tiles give you an overview of information from a particular app and launch the full version when tapped.
BlackBerry Hub – This is a universal inbox. Instead of switching between different apps to deal with email, text messages and notifications from the likes of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, the Hub puts them all in one place.
Peek – This gesture control lets you check your latest notifications without having to exit the app you’re using. As you swipe over the screen, your messages and notification appear down the left side. If you want to read more you can continue to swipe to reveal the BlackBerry Hub; if not you can just return to the app or video you were viewing.
BlackBerry Messenger – The popular free messaging service now includes video calling (though only to other BB 10 users). And with just a tap you can show the person at the other end of the line your phone’s screen, letting you quickly share photos, videos or apps.
Predictive text keyboard – The touchscreen keyboard has a new predictive text feature that tries to guess the word you’re spelling out. A selection of words are highlighted above different letters and you simply swipe up the one you want to use. You can also swipe from right to left to delete a whole word.
Camera ‘time shift’ – The new camera application includes a ‘Time Shift’ feature, which lets you take a series of photos and then choose the best looking one. For example, if someone blinks you could search through the frames find to one where their eyes were open.
Over 70,000 apps – BlackBerry’s app store has over 70,000 applications at launch. Android and iOS boast over 700,000 each but many of the famous apps, such as Angry Birds, are present.
BlackBerry Balance – This allows you to keep your personal and business lives separate, removing the need for two phones. You’ll still only have one phone number, but can have two different profiles – this means, for example, that companies can prevent personal apps from running inside corporate firewalls, but can’t access personal data on the phone.
When is it available?
Now, though it’s only available on a small number of phones and you can’t upgrade to BB10 if you’ve got a phone running on an older version of the operating system.
What phones run on BlackBerry 10?
Blackberry has announced two new handsets.
The Blackberry Z10 is a fully touchscreen smartphone with a 4.2-inch, 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution display (equivalent to 356 pixels per inch – more than the iPhone 5). It has a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory and an 8-megapixel camera.
The Z10 is 4G compatible and is on sale through a number of networks (though 4G is currently only available on special tariffs from EE).
The Blackberry Q10 will go on sale later this year. This will have a full Qwerty keyboard and a smaller 3.1-inch touchscreen display. Few other details have been confirmed, though it’s expected to shares the same dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM as the Z10.