At first it was predicted that the new Blackberry 10 phones would be touch screen and phones with physical keyboards would come out later. Roger Cheng from CNET has reported that the company will unveil two phones for Blackberry 10 at the end of the month, a touch screen phone and one resembling the company’s Bold model.
RIM is aiming to reverse huge market-share losses to Apple and Google’s Android, by creating an all-new platform compatible with only a few of the apps available for its existing smartphones. Older BlackBerry smartphones won’t be able to run apps being created for the new platform.
One of the disadvantages Blackberry faces is the lack of apps for its platform, compared to Apple and Android. So, RIM gave handsets to developers that would allow them access to native code, the Cascades user interface framework and Web-based HTML5, in hopes that apps for the new operating system would proliferate.
Whether the new Blackberry will make a splash or just be a ripple in the pond, there are some nice looking features in the new system.
One of the new features is something Blackberry is calling “Balance”. Swiping your finger down the home screen, or app screen, will reveal two buttons at the top of the screen, Personal and Work. The personal side has all your personal apps. If you use the phone for work, logging into “Work” you’ll have a separate encrypted partition that the company can lock down if they want to. But, they can’t see your personal apps. And, you don’t have to worry about mixing personal and work files. Data is stored separately for the personal and work apps and data for each is encrypted.
Another feature of interest is the Hub, where you can see all your messages. Swiping left to right on the phone screen allows you to “peek” at your messages without closing your current application. If you decide to read messages, you can swipe all the way across and get to your Hub, where all your e-mail accounts and social network accounts run together. You can also set which types of messages you want to check at any one time.
The Blackberry 10 onscreen keyboard will suggest words as you type. Swiping back with your finger erases the last word you typed. An alternate symbols menu and an emoticon button are also features of the keyboard.
Blackberry 10 is expected to be formally unveiled at a January 30th launch event in New York City.