Why BlackBerry 10 should succeed
We take a look at what features might help make BlackBerry 10 a success
BlackBerry 10 is the next operating system from RIM and the company is banking on it being revolutionary to ensure its survival.
We haven’t seen a huge amount of information about the platform, as the fashion seems to be to follow Apple’s example of ultra-secrecy, but what we have seen has been quite impressive and demonstrates that RIM has taken the sensible choice – its going completely back to the drawing board to start from scratch and, perhaps most importantly, RIM is thinking outside of the box.
There are a couple of things here which should make BlackBerry 10 quite appealing, of course, we can’t say whether or not these factors will be enough, an operating system's appeal goes further than just the built-in features after all.
RIM will have to balance the issues of developer appeal, which affects the quantity and quality of apps, which in turn is a big factor in attracting users. And of course there’s always the thorny subject of marketing and branding to tackle with.
But, nonetheless, they’re features worth focusing on because we think, for better or worse, they’ll help distinguish BlackBerry 10 as something special.
Know your enemy
The main thing which makes us sit up and take notice of BlackBerry 10 is the way the interface has been constructed. RIM has clearly been paying attention to the evolution of both Google’s Android platform and Microsoft’s Windows Phone system and has selected the best parts to emulate.
But it’s not mere imitation, RIM has certainly been inspired by certain features on rival platforms but the implementation is quite dramatically different from its competitors.
A prime example is the multitasking interaction. On the latest builds of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and Jelly Bean 4.1) you have an ever-present control to bring up a multitasking carousel, which lets you scroll through currently active apps, tap them to open, or swipe them away to close.
It’s a very simple but remarkably elegant, intuitive and altogether rewarding way of interacting with a phone or tablet.
However, as RIM’s own chief executive Thorsten Heins points out, even with this method there is a lot of what he described as ‘in and out’ of apps. Some kind of desktop-style multiple window interface might seem ideal, but on a smaller phone screen this isn’t necessarily the most practical workaround.
RIM’s solution isn’t to add a multitasking control to the interface, but to make the entire interface the multitasking control.
The BlackBerry Hub is the control centre of this approach – here you’ll always find an aggregated list of all your texts, instant messenger chats, emails, BlackBerry Messenger chats, Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates and any other social networking or message interaction. It’s a leaf right out of Microsoft’s book with plenty of inspiration from the People Hub.
It should be noted that you can select which feeds from which apps appear in the list, so it’s only going to be a huge stream of information if you want it to be – you can instead make it tailored and relevant to your needs.