All Hands on Tech: BlackBerry 10 alpha

If there’s one thing Canada’s tech industry is looking forward to in 2013, it’s BlackBerry 10. Research in Motion’s new operating system has been long anticipated. It will signal whether RIM will be able to compete with the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft in the new mobile OS landscape.

Now, we’ve got a first look at BlackBerry 10. Still in developer alpha, the OS isn’t ready for prime time yet. But we can show you all the new features.

At the centre of the new OS is the BlackBerry Hub. It’s always accessible while you’re in any app, or from the home screen, by swiping in from the left side of the screen. This shows you all your incoming notifications in one place. E-mails, social messages, text messages, and the like. You can see it all in a unified inbox, or filter by message type.

Another big feature is BlackBerry Flow. The OS is designed to let you access related information without having to close and open different apps. So for example if I’m viewing a calendar item, I can also view the e-mails related to that meeting, or the social profiles of the people that are also attending that meeting.

You’ll appreciate a new camera feature if you can never manage to snap that perfect picture of yourself. Time shift allows you to scan forward or backwards in time if you happen to capture your image with your eyes closed, so you always look great.

BlackBerry fans are enthusiastic about typing on mobile phones. The touch screen keyboard is divided by three frets, similar to the BlackBerry Bold design. The predictive text works by displaying words above the different letters on the keyboard. You just flick up to select it, instead of typing the entire word. The keyboard also supports multiple languages and will let you switch between them seamlessly.

The BlackBerry 10 alpha.

There’s a new browser that is scores high on HTML 5 compatibility. Even BBM has a new, more graphical look, and all the features that were just released in the new version, including voice calling.

App World has been renamed to BlackBerry World. That’s to reflect the new types of content. Music, movies, and TV shows will now be available to download there.

There’s even a feature for when you go to sleep. Just pull down the alarm clock from the top of the lock screen and set the time you want to wake up.

RIM says it is having a major launch event at multiple locations around the world January 30. That’s when we’ll see the first smartphones to run BlackBerry 10 unveiled.

Brian JacksonBrian Jackson is the Editor at ITBusiness.ca. E-mail him at bjackson@itbusiness.ca, follow him on Twitter, connect on , read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.
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