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What will Blackberry 10 mean for the world of smartphones?

By Naomi Morton

January 29, 2013 | 4 min read

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.

Naomi Morton

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.


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