As you know, Research in Motion is working hard to get back the popularity of BlackBerry by developing BlackBerry 10 operating system. It seems that the popularity of BBM can’t survive the company in smartphone industry. In order to compete with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, BlackBerry must offer an easy to use operating system with some new features. Here is the review of BlackBerry 10 on BlackBerry Dev Alpha A.
The design of actual BlackBerry 10 devices launched in next year is not the same as BlackBerry Dev Alpha A. The Dev Alpha A has a similar design to PlayBook, with doff material and back and glossy on the front. Swipe gesture on Playbook can be used on this phone. That makes the display looks wider than Android smartphones with HD display, allows you to do gesture on the area around the screen. Overall, it’s look like a minimized Playbook.
Dev Alpha A has a 4.2-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels. That results 355 ppi of pixel density, higher than Xperia S with 342 ppi and iPhone 4 with 330 ppi, but lower than HTC Butterfly with 440 ppi. The display also offers good qualtiy, with bright white color and the characteristic is similar to IPS display on HTC One X or iPhone. The drawback is the black color is not dark enough.
The user interface is totally different from Playbook, and it’s called BlackBerry Flow. It shows clock, notofications, and camera shortcut on the lock screen. You can also add text on the lock screen. To unlock the screen, just swipe from bottom to top. Unfortunately shortcut to the camera doesn’t work quickly and you need to hold your finger continuously until the camera app is launched. It has the iOS flavor on the menu screen. It doesn’t have main menu like Android. It only shows the list of app like iOS in the same style. Every screen has 4 x 4 application icons with a relatively large size. It looks stiff compared to Android or iOS. Like the iPhone, you can order each icon place by holding and dragging the icon. On the bottom of the screen, it always shows shortcuts to phone, search, and camera.
Swiping the screen from top to bottom will show you a bar like on Android, Symbian, and iOS. But it’s not for notifications, just some toggles like the one on Samsung and LG Android phones to turn on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, activate alarm, display rotation, silent mode, as well as shortcut to Setting menu.
The uniqueness of BlackBerry Flow compared to its rivals is the screen that shows you all of running applications, each with mini window showing the screenshot of the app. And the screenshot will change continuosly if the app displaying different content. Users can easily switching between apps without returning to home screen.
Text input is a crucial thing for BlackBerry device. As most smartphones today come with touchscreen display, RIM also produces BlackBerry smartphones with touchscreen technology, starting from BB Storm. Like other platforms, the keyboard on BB 10 uses QWERTY type with big letters and smarter prediction. It’s comfortable to use. As usual, BlackBerry-style emoticons present on this keyboard.
A new interesting camera feature on BB 10 is Time Machine. If you are taking an image and the target person blinks or do some movements that cause the photo unclear, you don’t need to repeat the capture. You can select the best face captured by the device as it captures some faces at once.
Other camera features are capturing mode (normal, stabilization, and burst), Scene (night mode, auto, beach/snow, text, and action), and aspect ratio (4:3 and 16:9). For video recording, it features stabilization mode, Scene (night mode, auto, and beach/snow), Light (using the LED of the phone), and resolution (720p and 1080p). You can capture an image by touching the display, while the autofocus is continuous. The camera features may different on each handset.
Another feature is the BlackBerry Hub. This feature will the activity center on BlackBerry 10 device. When you are in another application, this feature can be accessed by swiping the display from bottom to top, then turning to right. BlackBerry Hub shows all notifications you have received including missed call, SMS, social networks, birthday notification, and others.
The music player starting interface is divided into recently added and recently played, while the Library divides songs based on album, artist and genre. You can create your own playlist. Unfortunately it doesn’t have equalizer setting, whereas an BlackBerry Curve 8320 has equalizer setting. Perhaps RIM will add it to BB 10 when it’s launched.
It shows the thumbnail of photos and you view based on camera, recently added, recently view, and albums. The images can be rotated, edited, used as wallpaper, and shared to social networks or messaging.
BlackBerry 10 offers totally different experience compared to pervious BlackBerry OS. It’s a modern OS white good user interface and innovative features such as the gesture, camera, and user interface.