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2/23/2013

Review: BlackBerry 10 Brave Attempt...

BB10 is out and yes they bravely managed to face Android, Apple and Windows, but is it strong enough a contender? Would you bet your money on BB10 when you have alternatives in same price that give extreme performance and power?! Let us try to find the answers, from my perspective, if its really worth taking a chance. (BB loyal users and BBM addicts may not be willing to read further! :D )

Flow Interface:

[Cool]
BlackBerry calls the BB10 interface Flow with good reason. It’s all about the gestures with nary a button necessary. It reminds us of Windows 8 with all the swiping from the edges you have to do. But in BB10, it feels natural.
The gestures and swipes are easy to learn and remember, so the learning curve isn’t that steep. The main move to remember is swiping up from the bottom. This unlocks the device, activates peek, and also minimizes apps and returns you to the Home screen. Swiping up and to the left opens BlackBerry Hub from any app or screen (except the Lock screen). In apps with settings, swiping down from the top brings up those options. On the Home screen and in the Hub this gesture gives quick access to often used settings and wireless radio toggles. In the Hub and on the Home screens it’s all about swiping left and right to get where you want.
And that’s it. If this seems simple, that’s the point. The interface is mostly efficient and lacks the kind of complexity that can lead to confusion.



[Uncool]
There are aspects of this that aren’t so efficient. For instance, each time you swipe an app to get back to the Home screen area, you always land on the Active Frames (open apps) screen. If you’re switching between apps and the second app isn’t a recent one, you still have to swipe from the right to get back to the list of all apps. This is a minor thing, but the more apps you use, the more this is annoying. It’s equally annoying that you can’t launch an app from BlackBerry World once it’s installed.
That said, the Active Frames screen is very useful. It’s the heart of BB10′s multitasking features and makes it easy to get to the most recent apps. The reason these little windows are called Active Frames is that, like widgets in Android or Live Tiles in Windows Phone, they can display changing information, such as an update to the weather, a reminder, or the time. The concept is useful even if the functionality isn’t robust as the widgets in Android.

[Verdict]
Clearly in the fast race of better than best interfaces already available like Android , Apple & Windows, and these platforms themselves improving and upgrading so faster with ever upcoming latest Android versions, BB has a long way to go. Again the recent revamped move of windows: Windows Tile interface and Windows 8 has given a tough competition to Android and Apple already in terms of interface friendliness, leaving Android and Apple no choice but to evolve more faster and some historic OS like Symbians already out of Smart phone race and labelled a feature genre rather, that it is really very difficult for Blackberry to have its own space. And with the BB10's current Interface features available, leaves room to improve a lot!



BlackBerry Hub, Peek, and Calendar:





[Cool]
The Hub is the centerpiece of BlackBerry 10 and its importance is key to understanding who BB10 is actually for. BlackBerry appeals to people who want or need to keep on top of their messages. And the Hub recognizes that important messages aren’t limited to your email or BlackBerry Messenger. They also come from social networks and chat services, too.
 All of these messages come to the universal inbox that is the Hub. Yet somehow it doesn’t feel cluttered and disorganized. The interface design strikes a balance between offering enough at a glance information — not just who a message is from but where it’s from – and not overloading the screen with too much. Plus, you can always filter the inbox by service, viewing email or BBM or Twitter only.
You can shrink the main window with a gesture to see notification icons showing how many unread messages you have from which accounts.

[Uncool]
It’s possible to reply or create new messages or status updates right from the Hub, which comes in handy. It still has some odd quirks, however. For instance, the Compose button is strictly for messages to people, not for status updates, which isn’t readily apparent. To post a status update, you have to filter for that network and then the Status button appears. Hub also pulls in information from the various services for context, though viewing full profiles on social networks does require going to the app.

[Verdict]
Though we have certain Hub apps available for Android, Windows, Apple and their own proprietary Hub application also available for few like Samsung hub for Android, but for Hub application, I would give more marks to BB instead! Though messaging is no more BB's dominant area, as Google and Windows has emerged a lot with Google being most popular in messaging services, and also personal and secure server communication is available as in Apple- iMessage. But from business point of view still the most secure and robust messaging service is BBM only. Though we have cross platform apps like WhatsApp, but that can not be counted relevant from business point of view, rather more an informal way to stay connected and have fun, but BBM brings you both the worlds!

Predictive Keyboard:


[Cool]
BlackBerry is going forward with both touchscreen-only and physical keyboard devices. Both types of phone will benefit from BB10′s new predictive text engine, though the implementation is different for each.
As you type, word predictions appear on the keys and you can just flick them up to choose. The space bar provides a single autocorrect option in case you don’t feel like flicking. Over time, the keyboard will learn from your typing and offer better predictions.


[Uncool]
At first, the predictions aren’t going to be as much use. The suggested word text is very tiny and can be hard to see. By the time you suss out the word you’re trying to type, you might as well have typed it. Speed demons will easily outpace the tiny text. Only later, after the keyboard knows you better, will the tiny words finally match what you want to say well enough that you can flick most of your words. It also helps that the words appear floating over the letter you’ll probably type next.

[Verdict]
Blackberry might be amongst very early devices to have QWERTY physical keypad devices, but the time has evolved a lot now, with better than best touch interfaces available in Apple, Androids and touch winning the futuristic interface preference, again a long way to go for BB keyboard. With lots of customizable soft keyboards available on Androids, BB has a lot to evolve in this category.


Voice Commands:
[Cool]
 BlackBerry 10 includes another good way to enter text: voice. The Voice Commands app can launch apps, update your social network status, make calls, and perform other Siri-like features.

[Uncool]
The engine isn’t as robust as Siri because it lacks some of the natural, conversational commands, but in practice, it’s about on par in terms of accuracy. It understood what we wanted “make a call,” “tweet,” etc., yet had trouble with our pronunciation of some contact’s names. The voice-to-text engine has to upload to a server to translate and won’t work while offline.



[Verdict]
Compared to Android- Google Voice based various apps or Siri of Apple, BB really fails here badly, and will give you a very novice experience of voice command if you have experienced Apple or Android before. This is kinda same story as Apple maps, and again a long way to go for BB.

BlackBerry Messenger: (The undisputed feature of BB!)
For BB10, the company added two new features to this popular core service: video chat and screen sharing. The quality of video chat depends heavily on the network or Wi-Fi connection and the camera.
Screen Sharing is just what it seems. Once on, the person on the other end will see what you see hen navigating your phone. In this way you can show a presentation, pictures, or pretty much anything except video. This will appeal to business users as a quick collaborative tool.

[Verdict]
A clear win, full marks to BB!


BlackBerry Balance:
[Cool]
Another much touted feature of BlackBerry 10 is Balance, as in work/life balance. This allows users to have a separate personal profile with different apps, messaging accounts, even backgrounds (so it’s easy to tell when you’re on the Personal or Work sides).

[Uncool]
Balance is only available to companies that utilize BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10. That leaves out mainstream users and probably some small businesses as well. The technical reasons for this make sense, it just seems odd that the company touted the feature so much when it’s not available to everyone. It’s one of the aspects of BlackBerry 10 that really brings home that the company designed this platform for its base: business users. Mainstream users are welcome – some might even say needed – but important aspects of the operating system are geared toward business use, if not restricted to it.


[Verdict]
Again as BB always emphasized & cherished it's business useful features, same is this case. Definitely a plus for people who use BB for business needs, and definitely not available in Apple, Android or Windows targeted at general users more. So BB scores here more than Apple and Android.

Apps - Big Fail!
With such a vast variety of Apps available on other platforms on massive app stores like Google Play, Apple or even Windows, BB app store has very less apps or variety available. There is definitely demand for many useful apps missing on BB that are available on other platforms. Lets see how far developers go, and BB creates some good variety of quality apps in future.

Conclusion:
BB is certainly packed with certain unique features like BBM, secure messaging, business oriented and certainly will always be the best choice for that business segment of users always. Though it is trying to expand to other segment of general users and youth alike, but in that area it has a long way to go and a big competition to face as well. There is a little portion of 'loyal' users alike who might not need BB for sole business purpose but rather love for the BB or the BBM lone is enough for choosing BB over other alternatives. With the kind of market grabbed currently, trends going forward, and evolution happening in technology my view of near future in terms of mobile OS is: Android will remain biggest market eater due to greater performance and interface it offers and better integration with upgrading hardware as well as Google's hardwork to keep beating its own old versions and launching newer with a pace that is astonishing! Also the major audience we have is general audience not business, this includes youth, and this major portion loves features, performance, fun, Apps and smartness and not only business messaging over secure servers. Google understands that, and is cleaver enough to offer open source powerhouse with all that user wants and thus is a big hit! Apple again being good and an inspiration for Android too! will remain second, since this is a bit costly segment hence the percentage is less than Android. Windows who was once dead is catching market share will have its own small share of market with number 3 position due to its own uniqueness of latest tile interface. Windows will have an impact on the market and will not be out of the picture. Nokia Symbian is dead already, the biggest pain for Symbian is now being labeled as 'feature phone', who was once an undisputed smart phone. Blackberry again will continue to hold on its own market share though very small, and certainly will not be out of the picture. This is again partially true due to its unique business features. But how far BB goes ahead in this fast race is a interesting question, and only time will tell. Though with what BB has entered in market now with BB 10, and what competitors offer already it seems really a very long way and a tough race for BB! Lets see how many laps it needs!But one thing is for sure, with this fierce battle of platforms, at the end, there is only one winner - end user!

* Various info on BB10 OS specifications has been used from this article

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.
    ipsol.in

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a great information for blackberry users thanks for sharing this article.
    Nice to see this post.thanks
    ccnp voice

    ReplyDelete
  3. nice article but feeling pity for Black berry users. As they are paying for black berry app but android users can use app free. I am a android users. But i also have Black berry. so I use both. I like to use black more than android. So i liked this article.
    JMD Chevrolet

    ReplyDelete

 
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