BlackBerry Q10 with mail

Now that the Q10 is available in most major markets, we’re seeing a lot of old-school BlackBerry users getting around to upgrading their Bold 9900 devices. Of course, these folks aren’t always savvy CrackBerry readers that were already a leg up on BB10 thanks to the Z10 launch. More often than not, these users are transitioning to the Q10 solely for the keyboard, without any expectations about difference in software, as opposed to Z10 buyers that are fully aware that this is a new generation of BlackBerry and are braced for change. Even then, there are bound to be some Z10 buyers that are scratching their heads about how things are different compared to their last BlackBerry.

So, we’re going to start putting together guides for those migrating to a Q10 or Z10 from an OS 7 device - be it the Bold 9900, 9780, or anything older. Hopefully we can highlight the important differences with OS 7 and make it easy for late adopters to learn about and enjoy the new BlackBerry 10 experience. Let’s start with the core what makes BlackBerry what it is: e-mail.

In BlackBerry 7, e-mail was bundled into the Messages application, along with many other social accounts and app notifications. In BlackBerry 10, this has evolved into the Hub. The BlackBerry Hub is accessible from any screen and any app; starting just below the screen on your Z10 or Q10, move your thumb up, and then (without releasing) to the right. It’s easiest to picture the motion as a quarter turn.

BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 10 notifications

You may be used to checking the notification tray for new incoming messages in BlackBerry 7. Though you won’t get the subject line in BB10, you get the same core functionality by not completing the whole motion; just stop moving before turning your thumb to the right, and you can peek at how many incoming notifications you have, and what type they are. If it’s anything interesting, you can continue with the Hub gesture, or just slide back down and release to return to what you were doing before.

BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 10 folders

Though BlackBerry 10 won’t let you place icons on your home screen for individual e-mail boxes, you can filter what’s visible in the Hub by swiping to the right, or by tapping the menu icon in the bottom left. This will show all of the various accounts currently registered on the device. Tapping the blue title bar at the top will let you further drill your view down into specific subfolders.

Now, not all of the shortcuts in OS 7 have found their way to BlackBerry 10 yet. The one I’ve missed the most is the U key to hop to the next unread message. This is apparently arriving in the 10.1 update due to land soon. Another is the ability to swipe left and right between messages. On the Q10, you can do this up P and N keys (for Previous and Next), but it’s still not quite as smooth. Others are still there: T to go to the top, B to to go to the bottom, S to search, C to compose. F to Forward, R to reply, L to Reply All, and so on. You can see which keyboard shortcuts are available by tapping the overflow menu button in the bottom right and checking the light grey letters to the right of the menu items.

BlackBerry 7 and BlackBerry 10 rich text formatting

One welcome addition to composing messages in BlackBerry 10 is rich text formatting. Just tap the pen along the bottom bar, and a bar will pop up with plenty of font options and bulleted lists. You’ll find the same Send From drop-down menu at the top, though by default it will be hidden - just scroll up a bit and you’ll find it. Picking contacts to send to is also a little more friendly. In addition to the usual prediction, there’s a plus button on the bottom-right of the text field which launches you right into the address book.

Those are just a few of the new things that BlackBerry 7 migrants will bump into when moving to the Z10 or Q10. Be sure to check out our top tips and tricks for the hub and e-mail in order to get the very most out of your new BlackBerry 10 device. If you haven't even set up your accounts yet, we've got a walkthrough right over here. Those of you that have already made the switch - what was the hardest thing to get used to in the new OS?