While it may seem like Android and iOS have such a lead that no other operating systems have a chance of catching them, don’t count the others out just yet. Research in Motion (RIM) is getting ready to launch its new platform version—with some pretty interesting features in the works.
Blackberry 10 was originally supposed to hit the market sometime this year, but the launch date has been pushed to early next year. Despite the delay, RIM discussed the new platform version at a recent Blackberry Jam event. Here are ten things you need to know about the newest offering:
1. Blackberry is jumping on the touchscreen bandwagon with only select models featuring a physical keyboard.
2. Some BB 10 devices will be entirely gesture based—without a button or key in sight.
3. Blackberry’s “Flow” feature provides the ability to jump back and forth between apps.
4. The “Blackberry Hub” manages all your communications—from emails to Facebook messages to notifications—in one central location.
5. BB 10 has its own app store called App World, which already promises social media apps from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and LinkedIn.
6. There are reports of easy porting for Android apps.
7. Blackberry Balance is a feature that will help BYOD users keep their personal and professional apps and data separate.
8. Blackberry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10), geared toward enterprise customers, will allow organizations to control mobile device management, security, infrastructure, and app management from one central location. Supported devices include BB 10, BB 7, BB Playbook tablets, and iOS and Android devices.
9. Auto-complete will function across multiple languages—even within the same message.
10. Standby to find out which carriers will get BB 10.
It’s fairly clear that RIM aims to take back its dominant position among business users and company-supplied phones. With features like BES 10 and Blackberry Balance, the OS has a good shot.
Though BB 10 is looming on the horizon, RIM has stated that it has no plans to stop supporting and updating BB 7 (which is a good thing, since it’s not clear yet if BB 7 users will be able to update their existing devices to 10). What this means for developers and testers is that—like the fragmentation involved with other operating systems—Blackberry will have two major, very different platform versions that will need custom apps. You still have a few more months to get ready, so start working!
(A correction was made to this story to point out that there will be both touchscreen and physical keyboard models of the Blackberry 10 device.)
Jamie Saine is the marketing writer at uTest, the world’s largest marketplace for software testing services. She spends her time creating white papers, eBooks, case studies, web content, and blog posts focused on mobile, web, and desktop application testing. Jamie particularly gravitates toward the real-world ramifications of testing—or the lack thereof. Reach Jaime at firstname.lastname@example.org.