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February 1, 2013

The New BlackBerry

blackberry-z10-blackThe makers of BlackBerry, recently changed its name to BlackBerry Limited so they can have just one brand, it was formerly RIM(Research In Motion). They also named Alicia Keys as its creative director.

Yes, the singer! Which is great since Ms. Keys connects better with the young hip target audience that they need to compete better with iPhone and Android.

BlackBerry also announced BlackBerry 10 OS and its new phones, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10, both run BlackBerry 10. The BlackBerry Z10 has a touch screen while the BlackBerry Q10 has a physical QWERTY keyboard. I guess they did both because some customers prefer touch and some like physical keyboards. So you have choice. The BlackBerry Z10 does not have a home button, to switch apps you swipe. The BlackBerry Q10 runs all the same stuff as the BlackBerry Z10 but the keyboard is always there whether you need it or not.

BlackBerry Z10 has a neat keyboard that seems similar to Swype. The keyboard starts learning where you hit keys using heat maps and can correct misspellings. Seems like a more advance auto correct system and looks like a fun new way to type!

 

Another interesting feature is BlackBerry Balance that lets you have one phone and keep your personal life and business stuff separate. So you have two different home screens with separate apps on both. So both are sandboxed and separated.

It sorta reminds me of Kid’s Corner on Windows Phone but instead of keeping you and your kids stuff separate its keeps you and your work stuff separate. It’s like having two phones in one basically.

BlackBerry Messenger is also in the new operating system, but it includes Video Calls also now. Seems like they are catching up with FaceTime with this one. Sadly all these messages and video services like iMessage, FaceTime, BBM, Facebook, Skype are all separate protocols. I wish the industry would adopt or create an open protocol with the same features, sorta like how email works on all devices and can message people using email no matter what device or provider they use.

 

BlackBerry Remember is another new feature they announced. Where you can create Notebooks with groups of information such as notes, voice notes, emails and lists. Looks interesting to keep yourself organized. So far it looks like it’s only on BlackBerry 10, but would really be useful if they made a Mac and Windows app for it to access the same data no matter if you’re working on your phone or desktop.

Also the camera app has a Picture Editor were you can crop pictures and add filters similar to Instagram.

The BlackBerry World has over 70,000 applications already! That’s a lot for a new platform. I wonder if this is because they were paying developers to port over apps. Apps such as Skype, Amazon Kindle, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Linked In, TuneIn radio. So if you’re switching from iPhone or Android to BlackBerry 10, there’s a chance you’ll find apps you know and love from the other platforms. BlackBerry World will also sell TV Shows, Movies, and Music.

At&t, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will be the carriers for it in the US. The Z10 is expected to be out in March, and February 5th in Canada. So with all these changes, maybe it’s still to soon to write BlackBerry off yet as being dead. I’m excited to watch how the future of BlackBerry plays off. Part of me wonders if they are too late, I doubt a lot of people in Apple’s Ecosystem would want to switch. No iTunes Sync, No iCloud on it to sync notes, reminders and contacts. Some people don’t want just a phone, they want an ecosystem of products that share the same DNA. Maybe an open notes and contact system protocol is needed next, so people can have everything they want no matter what phone or device they use.

Check out the full keynote on YouTube.

Sent from my new BlackBerry Z10. (not really, but would love to play with one hands on)

Kevin Whitman

Kevin is a geek who is a web developer, entrepreneur. Interested in tech, startups, Photography, & more.

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