We’re here at Bangkok, Thailand for the BlackBerry Jam Asia 2012 or previously known as DevCon Asia (Developer’s Conference). We got a chance to talk to the RIM’s head honchoes to tell us more about their latest project, the BlackBerry 10.
The upcoming BlackBerry 10 was built from the ground up following RIM’s three major principle; Integrated, Social and Beautiful. Each aspect of the new OS revolves around those three things, from the UI down to the apps that the company has heavily invested on.
BlackBerry Flow and Peek
RIM has put in a lot of effort in to the BB10’s UI that veers away from the typical physical keyboard/button navigation. In addition to this, the company also envisioned a UI which would let the users seamlessly switch or open a new app without having to close the previous app. The multi-tasking experience they’re gunning for is similar to the PC experience, wherein users can just switch from app to app without the UI closing the other app that they were using it.
The result is a UI called BlackBerry Flow which, to our opinion, looks very promising. The interface is, in some aspects, similar to the UI of the BlackBerry PlayBook which relies heavily on swipe gestures. But RIM took it to the next level by ensuring that users can easily transition from one app to the other and letting the other open apps run on the background while they’re doing it. In addition, BB10 allows user to just Peek in to the other apps such as BlackBerry Hub by just swiping a little to the right without having to close the app that they’re currently on.
To give you a better insight on how BlackBerry Flow, here’s a short demo courtesy of RIM’s Head of Software Portfolio, Vivek Bhardwaj.
As mentioned earlier, Integration is one of the key aspects of the BB10. RIM understands that users will most likely be in multiple social networking sites and managing each separately can be a pain in the neck. Having said that, the company unified most of those SNS to a single purposeful native app called BlackBerry Hub.
With BlackBerry Hub, SNS notifications, email, even calendar events/invitation are now all in one place. Another great thing about it is that it allows users to update their FB status or Tweet directly inside the app. This in turn makes it easier for the user to interact with their friends because they don’t need to go to the FB/Twitter app to do it.
Messaging is an integral part of the BlackBerry ecosystem. It’s been RIM’s bread and butter which made their device a must-have for some users. The company took it upon themselves to improve the BBM service by incorporating some of the sough-after features found on other communication apps.
BBM 7.0 enables BlackBerry users to communicate better thanks to its new feature called BBM Voice that allows them to make free calls over Wi-Fi. The good news is that the latest version of BBM is not only limited to the BlackBerry 10 , meaning it’s compatible with older BB handset so long as it’s running on BB OS 5.0 and up.
You can also check out our previous previous post to know more about the BBM 7.
Another key element of BlackBerry that users have fallen in love with is the keyboard. RIM takes pride in having the best keyboard in the business and they made sure that it remains that way when they introduce the BlackBerry 10.
What RIM did was to take what worked for them in the past and integrate new technologies which dramatically improved the keyboard functionality in terms of usability and intuitiveness. Just to show you how awesome the BB10’s keyboard is, check out this short video demo below.
Two new BlackBerry handsets
Along with the launch of the upcoming BlackBerry 10, RIM will also launch two new BB handsets that will run on the new OS. One will be a full touch device while the other one is a hybrid handset that is both touch-enabled and has a physical keyboard.
The device that’s getting all the attention (praises or criticism) right now is the full touch model because it’s the only device that RIM has distributed to developers. However, RIM announced yesterday that they will start seeding Dev Alpha C devices to eligible developers so they can start creating/porting their apps to the QWERTY-sporting BlackBerry handset.
RIM acknowledges the fact that BlackBerry’s strengths have always been BBM and the handset’s keyboard. The company is hoping to capitalize on those two aspects again by offering relevant enhancements to make each aspect more functional and appealing.
Now I can keep on blabbing how awesome the BlackBerry 10 is but I think it’ll be better if I just let Christopher Smith, Martin Mallyck and Alec Saunders tell you what you can expect from BlackBerry 10. Enjoy!
Note: Listening to this may cause severe LSS. You’ve been warned.
RIM will be unveiling the BlackBerry 10, along with the two new handsets on January 30 next year. We hope that we’ll be invited to cover the launch, but even if we’re not, rest assure that we’ll bring you the latest buzz on the upcoming OS and the devices that will feature it.