BlackBerry 10: Why I'm genuinely excited for it

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.


Wow! It has been forever since I’ve had the opportunity of reviewing a BlackBerry device of some kind. In fact, the last one I managed to check out was the BlackBerry Curve 9360 – with the beloved Bold 9900 being the one before that. Having slumbered through most of the 2012 year, RIM is embarking on a new venture this year, as they intend to kick off 2013 later in the month with the official introduction of its brand spanking new BlackBerry 10 platform (and devices too, we hope).

Crazy to say, it’s been well over a year since I’ve last experience BlackBerry, but after getting a sneak peek at the upcoming platform over CES, I’m genuinely excited by what RIM has to offer. Above all, it’s the platform experience that’s going to pique my interest – though, it’d be nice to see some awesome flagship device to show off the equally anticipated platform. By now, many people throughout the industry is pinning BlackBerry 10 as the last hoorah for RIM, who has seemingly been in the back burner as the competition has passed them by. Despite the ominous tone that might surround it, RIM has a loyal following and a deep subscriber base that should keep them relevant throughout it all.

Buttery smoothness to the max

So why am I excited about BlackBerry 10? Well, for starters, I’m just enamored by how smooth the platform rolls along with various operations. At the center of it all, it seems as though the design language of the platform maintains its form from previous versions, but the execution of various functions have been modified. Better yet, there’s a certain level of eye candy sprinkled onto the platform – from the cool animation happening when unlocking the device to the smooth transitions littered all over the place, it has enough of them to appear modern. However, it’s just that level of consistency with its performance that raises my eyebrows the most. Seriously, when I think about Android’s project Butter, this is what I envision – something that maintains that responsiveness with everything!

Sure, we were given a small sample of what to expect from BlackBerry 10 – such as the various swipe gestures in play and how to gain access to BlackBerry Hub. In fact, RIM’s concept of BlackBerry Flow enables users to seamlessly go from one app to another without exiting the BlackBerry Hub entirely. Whereas other platforms might launch a separate application, everything is clearly integrated within the BlackBerry Hub, which means you can get all of your contacts, calendars, and notifications without exiting to another app. Easy? Of course! And that’s exactly how it should be done in the first place.

Still a great OS for messaging

Another cool aspect is how they’ve fine-tuned the messaging experience, since as we know, BlackBerry devices are known for their messaging prowess. In addition to the usual way of inputting text, by simply hitting characters independently, BlackBerry 10 relies on contextual clues from previous written sentences to predict what you’re going to type next. As you begin to type, you’ll see specific words that you can swipe up on to “throw” into your message – so yeah, it’s going to be even easier to type with an all-touch device.

Even better web browsing experience

Data is everything nowadays with our devices, so it’s really a bummer whenever I encounter a device that struggles to maintain that buttery smooth performance in the web browsing department. Heck, there are still some high-powered Android smartphones out there that exhibit some choppiness with the experience, which is mind-boggling considering they’re sporting some intense hardware under the hood. Although there’s no exact mention as to what’ll power these future BlackBerry 10 devices, one thing is absolutely certain from my quick look at the dev alpha unit – it’s that the performance is consistent! Loading pages wasn’t a problem with the dev alpha unit, since it’s connected via Wi-Fi, but as soon as I placed my finger on the screen to scroll, I’m just astounded by its fluidity. The best way to describe it is like moving your finger through water, as the ripples occur the moment our finger touches the water – simply, it’s that instant.

Of course, I can go on to a host of other things that justify the platform’s strength – such as the cool “time shift” feature with taking photos. Ultimately though, the biggest thing for me that’ll make, or possibly break the platform, is the kind of third party app support that’ll be available with the new OS. Indeed, it’s wonderful to know that there are over 65,000 developers on board with BlackBerry 10 so far, but it’s all about those quality apps for me that’ll truly justify whether or not the platform will have longevity. As we know, iOS and Android lay claim to the best third party apps, and even though Window Phone has a slick look with its modern UI, it’s still lagging in terms of functional apps that rival its competition.

To infinity and beyond

As much as I’d like to dwell about the great stuff I’ve seen with BlackBerry OS 10 so far, I can’t help but reminisce about webOS. Looking back at it, Palm had something that was ahead of the times, but they failed to branch out its third party app support in a timely manner. Actually, I was a staunch defender of the platform, since I was sold on how “Synergy” would take things to the next level. Knowing that Apple and Google have Siri and Google Now respectively as their personal digital assistant services, it’ll be interesting to see if RIM will have something similar right from the onset. Then again, since this is version 1.0 of a new platform we’re seeing, it might be in the works down the road. Whatever the outcome, all eyes are on January 30th when they officially take the cat out of the bag.

It’s do or die time, or maybe not? So far, I’m convinced that RIM has taken the time to make sure the initial launch is going to be something grand. Unlike Microsoft and Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 seems like a more defined and extensive platform right from the gates. From its take on the whole multi-tasking procedure, to the new predictive text feature it has to offer, it’s comforting to realize that they’re making sure to have a developed OS from the beginning – rather than trickling it down over a period of time. Finally, the biggest question left is what magical device will be the go-to one that’ll epitomize the freshness of RIM’s reboot. When it comes to messaging devices, I’ve always been a fan of the beloved Bold series, and I hope dearly that we won’t be disappointed by the next incarnation. So with that, I say welcome back RIM! You’ve been missed greatly.

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