10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

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BlackBerry phones have some high profile fans, with the likes of Tim Allen, President Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt all having publicly came out as being users of the popular smartphone platform. For many years, it has gained a die-hard following of fans who love its powerful email capabilities, comfortable keyboard and robust build quality.

But that’s not to say it didn’t had a rough few years. Sales are down, and it has struggled to keep up with the popularity of Android and iOS. But the Canadian phone manufacturer has a few tricks up its sleeve.

They’ve just released BlackBerry 10. This is a new operating system written from the ground up, and whilst it might not be to everybody’s taste, it has some pretty irresistible features. Here are ten reasons why you might want to give it a go.

A Converged Hub

The nineties were a simpler time. Take for example, electronics. If you were out of the house and you wanted to make phone calls, take photos and listen to music, you’d best be carrying a cell phone, camera and a Walkman. Then suddenly cell phones started doing all those things, and your pockets became significantly lighter. That, my friends, is called convergence.

BlackBerry 10 takes convergence a step further by shoving your SMS, BlackBerry Messenger, email, and social networking and shoving it into a single hub. And yet, it does this without being confusing or crowded.

hub   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

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All messages are kept in a single thread. You can scroll through that, and easily identify the source of each message, allowing you to prioritize which ones you care about responding to.

In addition to that, you can look at messages and events in a single thread based upon their origin. Although I’d normally be reticent to keep all my communications in a single location, ‘the hub’ is remarkably well executed, and feels astonishingly well-polished.

Multitasking

Multitasking is something that has traditionally been the bête noire of most mobile phone operating systems. It took until the fourth iteration of Apple’s iOS to allow the user to use multiple apps simultaneously (although Cydia brought about an unofficial multitasking system earlier) and Microsoft’s stab at it in Windows Phone has been heavily criticized for being obtuse and confusing.

BlackBerry 10 gets it spot on. You move an application to the background by swiping upwards with one finger. It’s as simple as that.

multitasking   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

It is then you are be presented with all the applications that are currently open. Each has an icon which shows their state as it was when when you left them. Closing an app couldn’t be simpler. Just tap the little cross in the bottom left corner. Returning to an app is a simple matter of tapping its icon.

Voice Control

Hugh Grant has it lucky. With his foppish, Mr Darcy manner of speaking, he’s unlikely to ever come a cropper when it comes to voice recognition. The same can’t be said for this poor chap from Microsoft.

Sadly, not all of us are so lucky. Speaking as someone with a regional English accent, using Siri and Google Now is almost impossible. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the voice recognition built into BlackBerry 10 works pretty well.

voicecontrol   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

I was able to accurately dictate an email without getting any strange results, and punctuation was intelligently and accurately inserted into my message. Whilst voice recognition isn’t the core selling point of a BlackBerry phone, it’s refreshing to see that this important feature hasn’t been neglected.

In-Phone Navigation

Gestures are the cornerstone of the BlackBerry 10 experience, making it easy for you to navigate your device. As I mentioned earlier, swiping upwards shows all applications that are currently running. From here, swiping right brings you to the app menu. Swiping down allows you to access your settings as well as allowing you to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and change how you are notified about messages. Swiping left brings up the messaging hub.

navigation   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

And that’s pretty much it. There’s not a lot to remember there, and yet that’s enough to easily navigate and traverse through your phone.

This is wonderful when you consider that a great user experience didn’t typify earlier versions of the BlackBerry. It’s evident that they spent a great deal of time, effort and money getting it ‘just right’ in BlackBerry 10.

The BlackBerry World App Store

The measure of any mobile operating system is the health of its app store. Apple and Google both boast over 500,000 applications available to download and purchase. Windows Phone has significantly less. BlackBerry boasts a slightly paltry 70,000 applications.

And yet, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for any prospective owner. Despite being an incredibly new operating system, I found that the applications most people care about are present and are of good quality. Skype, Flixter and WhatsApp are available to download, and I found a killer Reddit client called ‘Reddit in Motion‘.

appstore   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

Simply put, there are very few things that I can do on Android or Windows Phone 8 that I can’t do on BlackBerry 10.

Prospective BlackBerry purchasers should know that the owners are desperately trying to court and grow its developer community. To do that, they are throwing money and phones at them in order to convince them to develop for their fledgling OS. It seems they have had some success.

It Can Run Android Applications

The Playbook could run Android applications, and BlackBerry 10 is no different. It makes use of a compatibility layer not all that dissimilar to WINE on Linux and transparently allows you to install Android applications. The only caveat is that that they have to be converted from the ‘apk’ format to BlackBerry’s ‘bar’ file format.

So, why is this important? Whilst many Android applications have some form of analog in the BlackBerry World store, there are a handful of noticeable exceptions, including Snapchat and Instagram.

snapchat   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

With the compatibility layer built into BlackBerry 10, it is possible to run these apps, and many more. At the time of writing, applications that run on Android Gingerbread can run on BlackBerry 10. When version 10.2 comes out, it will bring support for Android JellyBean 4.2, bringing more modern applications to the platform.

Documents To Go

Documents To Go has been around the block a few times now, having been present on earlier BlackBerry devices. It is a cornerstone of the platform.

So, what is it? It’s a pretty solid office suite makes it easy to compose documents, edit spreadsheets and view presentations on the go. It comes with the usual formatting options that you’d expect from an office suite, as well as allowing you to export to the latest file formats.

documentstogo   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

This makes your BlackBerry smartphone more than just a communications device, but also a powerful tool for productivity, especially when combined with the physical keyboards that are present on the Q5 and Q10 devices.

A Brilliant Browser

Webkit is everywhere these days, having successfully made the transition from the desktop to the smartphone. It goes without saying that BlackBerry 10 is no exception, and comes packing with a browser that is not just speedy and that renders everything as you’d expect.

It works well with HTML5 and Javascript-rich websites, and can handle multiple tabs simultaneously without slowing down. You can also type in a search query, and it’ll fetch you the results from Bing, Yahoo and Chrome. This works similarly to Chrome’s Omnibox.

browser   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

It also comes with a feature called ‘Desktop Mode’ which modifies the user-agent string to show webpages as they would on the desktop. This is handy for those times when the mobile version of a page simply isn’t good enough.

BlackBerry Link

Despite its many shortcomings, iTunes handles media synchronization really well and makes it easy to move media between your computer and your iDevice.

BlackBerry Link goes one step further and cuts the cables, bringing to the table a beautiful user interface and wireless synchronization without the need to even be in the same room as your phone.

blackberrylink   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

It has never been easier to keep your phone updated with the podcasts, songs and movies you love. Another handy feature of this is that it makes it easy to retrieve your files and photos from your phone, should it be lost or stolen.

Print To Go

Print To Go is an integral feature of BlackBerry 10 which aims to cut down on the massive amounts of paper waste that is produced by making printouts.

Simply put, it makes it trivial for you to send a document to your smartphone. By installing a driver on your computer and authenticating, you can start shifting documents to your phone by using the very familiar ‘print’ window and selecting ‘Print To Go’. Once sent, your documents are transferred to your phone in just a few seconds and can be found in the Print To Go application.

docstogo   10 Reasons To Give BlackBerry 10 A Try Today

All content is encrypted before transmission, meaning that your private documents is kept safe from prying eyes. I can imagine this would be especially handy when you catch a flight or go to the cinema and have to print out your own documents.

Conclusion

The BlackBerry 10 operating system does what many thought would be possible. It offers a compelling, beautiful phone experience with all the bells and whistles whilst staying true to its enterprise heritage. Will you be giving it a go? Let me know in the comments below.

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26 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Trevor

And, of course, another reason why one should give Blackberry a try is, because the company is not doing so good on the market… :-)

Matthew H

Heh, that’s not a great reason. But honestly, the phones themselves are really quite good! Who knows, you might like them!

Marc

company is private now…

Reply

Jon

Ahah, the market has no play in whether you should try the phone. The market is poor BECAUSE people refuse to try it and judge it prior to learning anything about it. The Z10 is an amazing device, beyond happy with it. Lack of apps my Ass. This phone rivals the iPhone and Samsung Galaxies and the OS is only a year old! Big things in store for BlackBerry.

Matthew H

Yeah, I’ve not used the Z10. I’m a big fan of the physical keyboard. Honestly, I people really ought to give the platform a go. It’s actually quite good.

Matthew H

Yeah, I’ve not used the Z10. I’m a big fan of the physical keyboard. Honestly, I people really ought to give the platform a go. It’s actually quite good.

Reply

bob

Give BB10 a chance to die in peace.

Matthew H

Erk, the other comment was for another reader! Sorry!

I’m not so sure that Blackberry as a company is finished. Whilst it’s possible, it has no debt, a new buyer and a decent communications platform, as well as a long history of providing solid devices to the enterprise. Who knows what the future holds!

Reply

Zhong J

I own a blackberry curve 8320, what I’m more concern about is the inherent design of the trackpad and whether if they address this issue or not as sometimes the ball would not function as if some blockage is preventing it from moving in that direction. I fixed it with a dental floss lol and the price range isn’t at all appealing to many consumers, some of the features or design weren’t very noticeable. Despite hardware improvements, I’m very conservative on purchasing a phone whom produce no special relationship.

Matthew H

Well, they’ve addressed all trackpad issues by removing trackpads entirely from their latest lineup. The Blackberry Q5 and Q10 has a physical keyboard and a touchscreen, whilst the Z10 and Z30 have no buttons and a touchscreen.

Reply

SW

Compared to Android and iOS, BB has a very long way to go in all these areas mentioned in the article. If RIM doesn’t get bought and stripped down asset-by-asset, it’s going to take a few generations for the BB OS to be comparable.

Matthew H

Interesting. In which ways do you think that Blackberry 10 fall short of Android and iOS?

Bill

Yet you haven’t cited any examples where BB is behind. Try the new phones. You might be surprised. I came from android having never used a blackberry device, and now both my wife and I have one. They are excellent devices. The hub, multi-tasking, keyboard, and gestures alone are enough to make it superior to android/ios. Shit, I could go on and on… Browser is excellent. Best performing HTML5 browser on the market, not making that up, you can google the tests.

Viswanaath M

just in case of app store. i mean bb10 app store is not fully developed. some more utility apps like mint,vonage, and many more apps are missing. as a blackberry user i can say one thing blackberry makes people to fall in love with it. i am sure blackberry is the only one which made addictive phones. even iphone also need to change versions of there ios frequently.

Reply

Nash J

Nah. I kept expecting things from the company but they seem off when it comes to their customers. Like going to BB10 took years. Android did updates and add features as it when along. I will stick to IOS or android from now.

Matthew H

Who knows. I think Blackberry are in a better position than Apple were in 1996. Consider that they hold no debt, have a solid relationship with the enterprise and that 3.5 million people are still paying a monthly fee to use BIS because they’re using Blackberry 7 or under! They’re doing a lot of the stuff that Jobs did when he took over from Amelio, including slimming down their offerings to a handful of quality products.

I guess time will tell.

Nash J

That’s just the thing. I am no Apple fan boy but I see the that the new Iphone sales will triple that 3.5 million. As those 3.5 million phones get old and break those numbers will dwindle. Many will want to try something new and while many would go BB10, many will rather go android or IOS. I have tried the BB10. Sort of an upgrade from the playbook OS. I like it. However, the playbook will receive no more major updates and many will feel that way towards the other products of a company that is on rough edges at the moment.

Reply

Chris H

BlackBerry has pulled out of consumer tech, so getting into BB10 today is like boarding an already-sunken ship.

Unless you’re an enterprise, I suppose.

Matthew H

Eh… Yes, and no. They said that they intend to serve the enterprise and the prosumer market. The takeaway from that is that they likely will get rid of their BB7 devices and possibly the Q5, and hang on to the Z10, Q10 and Q30.

Anonymous

It’s not 3.5 million subscribers, it’s around 70 million on BBOS and 5-10 million on BB10.

BlackBerry is vastly underestimated and undervalued by those who don’t know it.

Reply

Ravuama N

Z10 is pretty nifty. Im totally cool with it. It works just fine for business needs.

Matthew H

What’s your favorite thing about it?

Reply

Nicolas D

I’m using BlackBerry 10 for a while now, and it’s really more amazing than anyone would think. I can highly recommend to anyone. The keyboard is amazing, the browser is very nice (better HTML5 support thatn dome other desktop browsers).

Matthew H

I’m inclined to agree. Even the virtual keyboards which traditionally have never been the forté of Blackberry products have been well received!

Reply

CharlieHipHop

It’s not 3.5 million on BBOS ; there are 70 million still on it, 60 million at a bare minimum considering that they still sell millions of BBOS devices every quarter. Add to that between 5-10 million BB10 users, tens of thousands of corporate MDM installations and the world’s largest private data network.

BlackBerry is vastly underestimated and undervalued by those who don’t know it.

Reply

Brenda Brown

BlackBerry 10 is awesome . I have been a BB user for about 5 years now . I love them . I have a Q10 love the keyboard Lack of Apps is not much of a problem anymore . More and more companies have BB10 apps. Company has not gone private yet – Check the NYSE if you don’t believe me. BB is in better financial shape than HTC and they have more phones out there than Microsoft . Vastly underestimated. They can run android programs with a conversion program currently and with the new update this will be even easier . Blackberry is much less likely to get viruses than windows and android phones and even Apples can get viruses . People really need to give the Blackberry 10 devices a try they are not only a joy to use they fit well inn your hand and have a great hand feel. .

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