BlackBerry 10 may not solve all of the ailing phonemaker’s problems, but it’s packing some pretty good ideas. Some of its features are as good, if not better, than what rival platforms offer. Here’s a closer look at what’s happening inside BlackBerry’s new Z10 phone, which launches in Canada in February.
The new Flow multitasking interface is what’s getting most Blackberry fans exiting. It removes all button pushing not related to volume or sleep in favor of gestures. While it’s not all that different from pressing a home button, swiping up to exit an app and having the tiles of every other open app immediately appear in front of you is a wonderful touch.
In our opinion, Hub is the best new feature of BlackBerry 10, and it’s one every other smartphone software maker should consider copying.
Essentially, Hub gathers all of your communication channels — phone, text, chat, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. — and puts them all into a single stream of information. All of your notifications, missed calls, emails etc, are ready for you, hiding behind the home screen. Hub takes all of the collective chatter from your various networks and makes it easy to respond. You can send texts, reply to emails and tweets, and post status updates right from Hub.
Oh the good old BBM. The reason most people we know stayed with Blackberry for so long. RIM has put a fair amount of effort into revamping its BlackBerry Messenger app, which was once the sole reason anyone under the age of 25 owned a BlackBerry. Now RIM has given BBM the ability to place voice and video calls over Wi-Fi. It even enabled a screen-sharing feature that allows you to broadcast your screen to whomever you’re talking to. However, BBM still exists in its own universe, unable to connect to other services. Unless you’re surrounded by BlackBerry users, you won’t have much use for the app
The camera on the Z10 isn’t all that great, but the camera software has one wonderful feature: TimeShift.
Essentially, it captures shots in the moments just before and just after you tap the shutter, allowing to you choose from a handful of images if the original ends up blurry, out of focus, or otherwise horrible. TimeShift even uses the facial recognition software to let you zoom in and select the best image based on whatever expression you like best. It’s a feature already available in a few cameras, but it’s nice to see it making its way into smartphone software.
BlackBerry is saying the Z10 keyboard is the best virtual keyboard on the planet. By all accounts, that claim may not be too far off. The proportioning of the keys and the finger detection is near perfect, but the predictive text solution is the real breakthrough. As you type, BB10 will predict the word you’re trying to say, like any other smartphone. But the suggestions start popping up all over the keyboard itself, and you can send a word or phrase into the compose box by flicking it up there. It’s a different way of typing, but one that could be wildly efficient.