I have written a lot about BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook tablet on this blog. Without a doubt I became a fan since leaving the iPhone/iPad world for a BlackBerry in early 2011. My time with BlackBerry has been full of great events including the BlackBerry 7 launch party #BB7FanNight in Toronto and the #BBMUglySweater Party in New York.
So why is the BlackBerry 10 launch so exciting?
BlackBerry 10 is a new start for RIM. The significance of this can be summed up by RIM’s current BlackBerry 10 tagline: “The BlackBerry Experience: Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented.” This is not to say that the current BlackBerry 7 smartphone is not a fantastic platform, just that BlackBerry 10 will be taking what BlackBerry 7 started to the next level.
BlackBerry has always been a communication device. BlackBerry 7’s standout features are the Unified Inbox and Notifications, integration of Social Media apps (Twitter, Facebook, BBM), and the BBM social network. Being able to pound out a long email, reply to a few BBM conversations, check your Twitter feed, and post a new picture to Facebook without missing a beat is a hallmark of the traditional BlackBerry experience. BlackBerry 10 will not lose this capability, in fact, it is taking this approach and applying it to everything you will do on the device.
Looking at a few core concepts that BlackBerry 10 is based on, it is easy to see why I am excited about the upcoming release:
- BlackBerry Flow: Applications will integrate in such a way that you will not need to constantly launch and close applications to get things done. Instead, as you go through a “flow” the applications will present you with the Actions and Content that you need to complete the tasks that you are working on.
- BlackBerry Hub: The BlackBerry Hub will take the traditional Unified Inbox concept to the next level. The Hub on BlackBerry 10 will be a BlackBerry user’s place of action. All incoming Messages and Notifications will enter the Hub and be easy to act on with context-sensitive actions presented.
- Optimization and Usability: The first BlackBerry 10 smartphone will be a full-touch screen device. BlackBerry 10 has shifted to a touch-interaction model from the traditional BlackBerry focus-interaction model (trackpad to highlight things and select them). This new BlackBerry 10 operating system has been optimized for touch, but not only that: it has been optimized to be used primarily with a single thumb. One handed operation was a hallmark of the traditional BlackBerry, and RIM has brought this specialty to touch-centric devices. The user interface has been designed to keep key interactions on the bottom 2/3rds of the screen so that your thumb can reach the buttons without having to adjust hand position. The BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard has intelligent predictive word suggestions that can be easily flicked up from the keyboard with your one thumb.
- Intelligent Apps and Personalization: With BlackBerry 10, RIM has taken the opportunity to re-invent the apps that BlackBerry People depend on every day. This means that apps like Calendar and Contacts will likely become even more critical in your day-to-day workflow.BlackBerry 10 will take personalization to the next level, building in features that customize to how you use them.It will be “an intuitive experience that constantly adapts to your needs”
This has been a long post and what makes BlackBerry 10 even more exciting is that what I have mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg. BlackBerry 10 will feature way more than this and is going to change the way you use your phone, again.
I expect BlackBerry 10 to be a huge success for RIM. They have taken the time to break down what made the traditional BlackBerry experience so productive, and applied these concepts to everything a user will do. I like to think of BlackBerry 10 as having matched the general features of Android or iOS, but then taken it to the next-level with BlackBerry style productivity and connectedness.
When I left my iPhone for a BlackBerry back in 2011, what drew me in was the integration of apps and the efficiency of communication. I am excited that RIM has continued along this path with BlackBerry 10. Expect some exciting news when BlackBerry 10 is launched on January 30th, 2013.