BLACKBERRY 10 had what at best can be described as a rocky journey to release.
The touchscreen focused mobile operating system (OS) was originally meant to launch in 2012. However a number of technical and managerial setbacks meant that Blackberry 10 wasn't released until the start of 2013.
The delay caused quite a few problems for Blackberry, the Canadian smartphone company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM), which saw its share of the smartphone market and financial reserves plummet to all time lows. This leaves the question, is the Blackberry 10 mobile OS good enough to save the company Blackberry?
Unlike previous Blackberry mobile operating systems, Blackberry 10 has been designed with touch interfaces in mind. This means that its user interface (UI) is radically different from those of previous versions, looking much more like Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems.
Powering up the mobile OS, you're immediately confronted with the Blackberry 10 lock screen. The screen is fairly empty, displaying only the time and date on its top and unread message notifications on its left. The device is unlocked simply by swiping up on the screen.
Once unlocked Blackberry 10 presents a multiple window UI. Shortcuts to the apps and services are displayed in a four-by-four grid format - something users of Apple's iOS will find familiar.
It's only when you look at the input shortcuts arrayed across the bottom of the screen or swipe left that you begin to see how different Blackberry 10 is from most other mobile operating systems.
For a start, unlike any other mobile OS, Blackberry 10 doesn't have a home button. Instead the bottom of the screen is lined with Phone, Universal Search and Camera buttons. To get back to the home screen when in an app, users must use an upwards swipe gesture from the very bottom of the screen.
Universal Search is a function designed to let users quickly search for information stored on the phone and online.
Once the central shortcut button is clicked, Universal Search offers users the ability to search their messages, contacts, apps, music, pictures, video, and documents for a specific file or name.
If the offline search ends up being fruitless, the function also lets you take your search online using the built-in Maps app, or Bing, Google and Yahoo search engines.
We were impressed how well Universal Search worked and would often use it to track down a contact or photo we were trying to find before going into the Blackberry 10 file manager. However, Universal Search's usefulness paled in comparison to that of the Blackberry Hub.
Next: Blackberry Hub and Security.
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