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29 January 2013 - 9:23am | posted by | 7 comments

What will Blackberry 10 mean for the world of smartphones?

Naomi MortonNaomi Morton

Naomi Morton, innovation executive at glue Isobar's nowlab team, and one of The Drum's top 30 under 30 women in digital for 2012 looks at what we can expect from the Blackberry 10 launch.

This week we’ll see the launch of Research In Motion’s Blackberry 10 OS.

The new OS looks as though it will bring Blackberrys back up to date with the features that we’ve already come to expect from our smartphones.

BB10 has a new ‘personalised typing pattern’ touch screen keyboard (though they are releasing a version with a physical keyboard). Supposedly this can adjust itself for where you tend to hit the keys, and predict the words you’re about to write.

They’ve also created a ‘flowing’ navigational system, which allows you to swipe and pull to navigate the phone, rather than clicking ‘back’.

Also, much like the Windows phones, they’ve given us ‘live blocks’ so you can see what’s happening inside the apps on your home screen, without having to open them up.

All of which essentially makes Blackberry relevant again.

So what does this mean for the world of smartphones?

This move from Blackberry kind of confirms that touch screens are a basic requirement of new smartphones. It’s what we expect; gesture and two finger swipes are commonplace now, so it’s not really a surprise.

Personally, I think this pushes any kind of online development even further towards using responsive design. Unless your app is using native functions within the phone, it seems odd to create slightly differing versions, simply to get them into the appropriate app stores. Otherwise alienating a whole group of people, purely down to the device in their hand.

We’re getting to a point now where the amount of differing devices, types of screen, and size of screens is becoming irrelevant. All people really want is a service, game or site that works, regardless of what they are accessing it from.

The unfortunate thing is; we’re not currently at a point where creating a responsive web app will give people an experience as good as a native app. Perhaps this means we will take more consideration over what we are creating, so for an app that only contains content we’ll decide to use responsive design instead. Or it could mean we look closer at the types of people using each OS, and define which kind of app belongs in which app store.

This seems to make sense, the features we’ve heard of so far from BB10 still sound very focussed on ‘getting things done’. So still great as a work phone. This also defines what kind of things the phone will be used for, and therefore which apps are appropriate.

For RIM, this keeps them in the mobile game. Their loyal customers get to stay with a company they’ve trusted for so long. For everyone else it’s a whole other ecosystem of mobiles to add to the list.


29 Jan 2013 - 11:08
andybarr's picture

Great piece... I think the bottom line is that this is Blackberry's last chance to survive. They are circling the plughole at the min and this product will either save them or see them slip down to the murky world of being bought and the brand being killed. IMHO :-)

29 Jan 2013 - 15:31
NaomiBM's picture

@andybarr Thanks Andy, I think that's the way most people are seeing this release. They've fallen pretty hard and without doing something drastic it'll be hard for them to get back to where they once were.

29 Jan 2013 - 20:06
chasb21107's picture

Maybe it's the tortoise and the hare. Apple 5 is not so much different than 4. BB 10 is wildly different from their previous OS. If they had kept coming out with incremental OS's their stock would be dropping worse than Apple's is now. I hope they have a truly great product.

30 Jan 2013 - 06:58
stephen_lepitak's picture

Well today's the day that we'll find out. With so many phone releases at the moment, this one does feel pretty important for one reason or another.

30 Jan 2013 - 10:17
stuar18037's picture

Not to mention committing to launch in the Superbowl ad break....they're certainly going for it with this!

30 Jan 2013 - 13:14
rober12658's picture

Why is RIM having trouble disclosing a physical keyboard release date? This is very troubling to BB Loyals, like me

27 Mar 2013 - 16:58
djsno17664's picture

"All of which essentially makes Blackberry relevant again."

Nope. This is so high level it tells us nothing. Saying that the new BB has gestures and an on-screen keyboard etc. means it has only just caught up to what the iPhone has had since 2007. Android keyboards have been offering predictive typing for years.

Where is the mention of the demise of BB Messenger (rise of what's app)? Where is the discussion around BBs old target audience moving to different devices? The fact that more and more companies moving to BYOD and the iPhone now the most used enterprise device... what does this mean for BB and pinning its hopes onto this more consumer-friendly OS? You don't even mention the fact it runs Android and what that means in the wider context of the 'mobile OS war'.

If anything, the points you mention mean this BB is completely irrelevant. The ONLY thing relevant with this device, like seen recently with the WP7 Nokias, is... if this fails, is BB finished?


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