BlackBerry Jam 2012: A bit sweet, a bit sour
BlackBerry Jam is happening in San Jose currently and there is new features of BlackBerry OS10 being revealed. I am going to get you up to speed on some new features, as well as my opinions.
-Flow/Peek. From within any app, if you swipe up from the bottom you can see all the notifications you have along the left side. From there if you swipe to the right it takes you to the universal inbox, where all your messages are stored.
-App World sells movies and music. This is catching up to the Apple App Store and Google Play. This won't blow you out of the water, but it is nice to have.
-New Facebook App
This looks finally like a full featured Facebook app, including timeline functionality. Something us 7.1 users have not seen. Again, catching up to iOS and Android here.
-Balance. RIM allows you to keep your personal and business lives separate on the device. You can have apps, photos, messages, and more in either category, and can easily wipe just one section if necessary. This looks to be done really well. It is not something I would use, but the businessman might.
-It is "on time". The carrier approval process will start next month and it will still be on track for an early 2013 launch
Here is a demo video of BBM via Kevin at Crackberry
Here is Thorsten Heins' entire keynote
My personal opinions. Keep in mind a lot of this is conjecture and based on an unreleased OS that I haven't seen. I have reviewed many blog posts today about this and think my assumptions are reasonable.
So I have a weird obsession with seeing my friends' faces when I am messaging them, I have always liked seeing the contact picture of a friend in BBM. For OS10 they have put pictures into the forefront. I love this.
The problem now is that I will infer that standard text messaging will NOT work this way in OS10. I can bet this based on how they handle it in OS 7.1. Right now I can only see display pictures of BBM contacts, and for SMS I see a chat bubble rather than the picture I have of them in my phone. To illustrate this point.
The other problem with it is I am losing BBM contacts rapidly as people switch to other platforms.
+ Multitasking is cool
So those "active tasks" are pretty similar to widgets, but in fact they are minimized applications that are functional. You get a maximum of 8 to display at once, and it seems like it will be quick and simple to move between apps.
- Notifications/Universal Inbox, not easily dismissed
I may be in the minority of BlackBerry users when I say this, but I don't want all my notifications in the same inbox. The BlackBerry Flow that is being introduced looks like it forces you to go that way. Or at least manually select each inbox as you go into the Flow.
I also saw no way to easily dismiss notifications. I have been spoiled by Android Jelly Bean for swiping to dismiss notifications, as well as receiving detailed notifications. Right now in BlackBerry 7.1 you must enter an app to clear a notification, and it is a hassle. It looks like this hassle may persist onto OS10
- Own Facebook/Twitter App
RIM has always made their Facebook and Twitter apps in-house. This means it traditionally lags behind the new features of the iOS and Android apps. We JUST got event support on the Facebook app for BlackBerry 7.1. RIM needs to let the experts make their own app. This would save them time and money, and provide a better app to the end consumer
This video is pretty cheesy, but I like it
Alright so you made it to the end of my opinions, so I will say this: As it sits I am probably not going to get a BlackBerry OS10 phone, but will not rule it out until we see final hardware and software.
I look forward to a civilized discussion, so please keep "RIM is dead" comments to yourself unless you have proper justification
I am curious as to what improvements you have in mind for BES. BlackBerry balance is a unique idea and product, but it doesn't help the teenager market, which is something RIM has been battling to hold power in. BBM has proven that it is a solid platform, but is not enough on its own to keep users. I just think RIM can't fall back into a business niche. They need to power forward on both business and consumer markets :)
What I worked on was basically a BES completely in the cloud based on Office 365. An administrator doesn't have to do any installation (which admittedly has been clunky), and a lot of the worries of that administrator are covered on the RIM/Microsoft side of things :)
In my opinion that is very 2012, and very cool. I would love to see expansion on stuff like this to really help out small businesses that can't afford their own hardware, and larger businesses who want the convenience.
*I am not trying to represent or advertise my old project here, but I think it is very relevant to the direction this conversation is going haha :)
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