News by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday January 30, 2013.
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BlackBerry 10 is here. After watching its once unrivaled position at the top of the smartphone market decline in an era where any only the iPhone and Android jockey for the top spot, RIM unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 operating system. In what CEO Thorsten Heins called a "journey of transformation" as it attempts to rebound, RIM debuted BlackBerry 10 to a packed audience of press members and analysts, a large portion of which use the smartphone operating systems that have pushed RIM far behind.
RIM designed BlackBerry 10 as a way to keep users in constant connection to a "personal Internet of things" in real-time. Rather than follow the current conventions of going home and then navigation to a single app, BlackBerry 10 keeps notifications constant and is designed to ease the process of moving from one activity to the next. Here's a rundown of some of the marquee new features:
BlackBerry Flow is how users switch between apps. With a simple thumb gesture, cards of open apps appear and users can tap to switch.
BlackBerry Hub is a unified communication center that integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BBM, email, texts, and more. The Hub shows notifications and can take actions without having to leave the Hub. For instance, users can accept or ignore a Facebook friend request without having to launch the Facebook app. There's also an agenda view of upcoming Calendar appointments available by flicking up. Meetings have photos and profile information of people who are participating, and it shows their contact information, social network updates, and communication history with that person.
BlackBerry Peek allows apps to continue running as users take a look at a hub to see notifications. This can preview an email alert and know whether it?s worth stopping or continuing to watch a YouTube video.
BlackBerry Keyboard has a visual design meant to replicate the physical keyboards of traditional BlackBerry phones. It includes "flicking words." A user places a thumb on a letter and suggested words appear. Flicking upward will add that word automatically, allowing for fast typing with a single finger. The keyboard includes multiple language support and does not require toggling between languages for multilingual users.
BlackBerry Balance creates separate experiences for work and personal. Users are able to use a sandboxes experience that can protect enterprise data and tap into IT or device management, and then have the personal section that is freely under the user's control and has its own app set-up.
BlackBerry Messenger adds the ability to make live video calls and share screens between users. More information is available here.
Camera and Picture Editor will allow users to apply filters and photo corrections through lighting or cropping. It will also include some camera magic by piecing together photos from multiple snapshots. The camera takes a photo right before and after the shutter button is pressed, so if someone makes an odd face in one shot but normal in another, it will be easy to get the best possible photo.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.