10 Weeks of BlackBerry 10: The BlackBerry Hub

In our '10 Weeks of BlackBerry 10' series we'll explore one feature of BlackBerry 10 each week leading up to the launch event on January 30th. This week: The BlackBerry Hub
BlackBerry Hub
By Adam Zeis on 10 Dec 2012 01:52 pm EST

BlackBerry and email go hand-in-hand. Ask any BlackBerry user and more often than not you will see one or more email inbox icons on the homescreen. Some like them separate while others use the combined Inbox for all notifications. I've always love having all my messages in one place, but with BlackBerry 10, you won't have to worry about what style of inbox you choose thanks to the new BlackBerry Hub. Replacing the long-standing Universal Inbox, the BlackBerry Hub is the new heart of the BlackBerry 10 experience.

The BlackBerry Hub is the center of the BlackBerry 10 OS. We no longer have separate email inboxes or a Messages application, rather a constant, one-swipe-away hub for all of your incoming messages and notifications. No matter where you are in the BlackBerry 10 OS - be it on the homescreen, in a native or third-party application - you can always access the Hub with one simple gesture, meaning you never have to look far or lose time getting to your messages.

The BlackBerry Hub houses ALL of your incoming messages. That includes SMS, BBM, email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone messages, voicemail, Emergency Alerts and supported third-party apps. That means that when you get an alert, you simply swipe to the Hub and you can instantly view the notification and see if you need to address it. There is no banner to tap on and no notification drop-down that wastes time and clicks (and money, duh!). 

You don't have to leave an app to get to the BlackBerry Hub either, you can simply gesture to the Hub (swipe up then pull to the right), peek at what's come in (see what I did there?) and go about your business - be it responding to the notification or just swiping away the Hub for the time being. No more in and out. Once you're in, you're in. To take it one step further, you can even pull down in the Hub to see your upcoming calendar appointments - so the BlackBerry Hub can also see the future!

There is no "inbox" or Messages app at all on BlackBerry 10 actually. The BlackBerry Hub takes over here and is always open and always on, and most importantly (we can't stress this enough) always no more than one gesture away. So you don't look for that email app because you won't find it. Just add your accounts to BlackBerry 10 and the Hub will bring it all together for you quickly and easily. 

The BlackBerry Hub is easily one of the things we are most looking forward to in BlackBerry 10. It's simple, brilliant and truly the heart and soul of the OS. It will always be there when you need it and you'll always have that quick access. No more scrolling to find your messages app or searching for an accidentally hidden icon. Just swipe and you're in.

Check out more of what we're looking forward to in our 10 Weeks of BlackBerry 10 series and be sure to hit up our new BlackBerry Hub forum section for more discussion! 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

10 Weeks of BlackBerry 10: The BlackBerry Hub


So in essence the BlackBerry Hub is the new BlackBerry Unified Inbox with some social networking tossed into the mix. Fantastic innovation. Meanwhile, the advertisement on this web page is demonstrating the Microsoft Surface tablet in a docking station to make a presentation and integrated into the office worker's work environment. Research In Motion is falling behind in the very areas that Heins' mobile computing platform should have already been making in-roads if BlackBerry OS 10 was not almost a year and a half behind schedule. Go RIM! January 30, 2013, will either be a bloodbath or the beginning of an odyssey for BlackBerry 10. Is Las Vegas making book on BlackBerry 10?

The BB playbook has a HDMI output and the capability to read power points and excels sheet. Blackberry has been able to do that for a while. Just connect the BB to a projector with an HDMI outlet and done.

Aaaaannnnndddd.....If you have a bb phone to bridge with the playbook you can use your phone as the remote control. I do this often from the comfort of my couch when watching You Tube or casually browsing the Web on my tv. Thing of beauty!

on a side note, I thought the BB10 countdown on the homepage would be like rubbing salt on the wound of waiting, especially given that I frequent this site more times than I would like to admit.

but the last time I checked we were at 60 days til the announcement. now it's at 50!

wahoo! that got me excited!

i need a life!

I hope they put the ability to look at email accounts separately on the BB10s. Last thing I want is to have my hub clogged up with spam from the email account I use when buying things online.

That's not really a solution. For me, I choose not to display emails in messages because I have several accounts that I don't want to mixup, ever. I don't have to double check outbound messages, because I know what inbox I'm in, I tapped it.

I just hope they give us the same type of flexibility we currently enjoy on BBOS. That way, those who want to jump into BB Hub full force can do so, and those of us who desire a little more separation (for whatever reason) won't be left feeling let down and looking for alternatives.

In the HUB you can individually check accounts or see them grouped together..

But if you're saying you want icons for emails like on BBOS.. I don't think it's going to be there that way..

A quarter score and 9 months ago our Crackberry fathers brought forth this website; conceived at a bar and dedicated to the proposition that all blackberry users are created equal. Now we are engaged in the great BB10 launch, testing whether that device, or any device, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure...

...we here highly resolve that previous devices shall not have died in vain - that Blackberry, under RIM, shall have a new birth of addicts - and that Crackberry, of the user, by the user, and for the user shall not perish from this earth.

Can someone tell me if you are limited to the amount of active frames there can be opened at one time? Looks to me maybe only one screen with 4-6 on the screen.

I remember hearing 8 on a previous demo video. Also I think they said it could be more but in that case the frames would be pretty small.

It's 8 Active frames limited to that number for a better user experience. Very smart and I can see everyone adopting this..

I am loving the HUB for sure but:

"There is no "inbox" or Messages app at all on BlackBerry 10 actually. The BlackBerry Hub takes over here"

Yeah I am not feeling that too much. I do not like to have my text messages, or Work email in my Universal inbox. I have read that you can choose what messages show up in the HUB. While I am sure separate emails will still have their individual mail icons, I am hoping that txt messages do as well!

I think I've seen an icon labelled as 'Messages' I don't know if this is for SMS or just a shortcut to the HUB..

That is horrible. I HATE having everything in on place. It makes it so hard to just glance and go at emails or texts.

This will probably be the feature that kills it. They need include an option to turn that off.

That's unfortunate. I assume, from your statements, that you also like one app at a time and always going to the home screen in order to start a new task. I also assume you hope there is an option that would limit all the new features so that it acts just like "other" phones. I think its safe to say, this phone may be a little advanced for you. I hear Startacs are relatively cheap on eBay.

I Bleed Black & Berry

Slide across using the BB logo/Hub button, and it displays a list of every item being pushed into the BlackBerry Hub. Click on each individual one to view only that source of notification.

You can relax.

The BlackBerry Hub is customizable, and you get to choose what you want on the Hub to display, so it should be no problem for you my friend. On the other hand, when you get to the Hub, just swipe to the right and vuala, it pops a meny with all of your inboxes, you choose from there, it's that simple !! cheers !!

BB by choice !!

Feature that kills it? This is the feature that most people are waiting for. No more going to different places, opening and closing different apps, wasting time, basically. All of your work related apps and such are kept separate. That will be partitioned off and when you are in your personal, your work related will not appear there. This is the innovation behind BB10. Other platforms can only dream of this. I am sure there are apps that allow it, but this is already built in for you. This is what makes the iphone users and android users that I know, take notice and go "WOW"

exactly my sentiments... I need to see my text / emails separately and not together in one box, like I have in my present 9860. I hope they have it separate or at least configurable...

I'm really looking forward to BB10 but RIM seriously needs to deliver on the Apps. I need netflix in my life. The amount of Apps BB10 has will determine the life or death of the OS, lets all be honest here.

Yeah - let's be honest. How many people really care to watch streamed movies on a 4" screen. Maybe one of the other platforms is a better fit for those who do. Think about it - why is that a requirement for your smartphone in a world of HDTVs.

Why would Netflix be successful on the other platforms and yet, you don't think it would be beneficial to have it on BB10?

Netfix usage is less than 2-3% on mobile phones.. The main use of Netflix on your phone is just to manage your queue and stuff like that.. This is anyways shifting to HTML5 web-based so doesn't matter if the app is there or not.

It's the dumbest thing to ask for on a mobile phone and I clearly understand the american obsession with dumb things with highest priority.

And seriously.. If you are going to follow Note2/SGS3 users and use it as a replacement for a comp, htpc or anything. God save you. You are dumbing down yourself.

In all honesty.. Even netflix doesn't care about having mobile users on it's platform as much as mobile users crave being on it..

So if it's not for big name Apps like Netflix and Skype etc etc Than what would you say is the actual MAIN reason why BlackBerry has fallen behind the other platforms. Apps aside a BlackBerry for the most part can do the same exact jobs as an iPhone or an Android if not more. I was using Netflix as an example cause I'm a Netflix junky and I would love to watch and episode of something while in a car ride or waiting for something. RIM lost a majority of their customers because its phone didn't have the same App library as the other big two. Thats the point I was trying to make. And I guarantee you if RIM doesn't address the app issue correctly this time around then there is no way it will be able to get its customers back. SImple as that.

P.S I know its not RIMs fault the App library is scarce but it's still the main reason why customers leave the platform.

Like I said before those were just examples. If RIM wants this OS to be successful they're going to need to make their product appeal to more customers than just the BB loyalist of the world. I'm pretty sure its safe to say that a majority of iPhone and Android owners, if asked, would say they would not switch back to BB just cause of the Apps. I had a cousin switch from BB to iPhone cause of instagram and skype. Yes that seems very shallow but that it the reality. Yes BB7 phones were underpowered in my opinion but there was never anything wrong with the OS, it was simply the selection of apps.

I personally don't want or need those applications on my phone or tablet. For those, I'll be situated at home at my three computers to enjoy movies and video calls, etc.

Those two apps, if the companies don't submit them by the deadline, IT WILL NOT BE RIM'S FAULT.

1. RIM can't make those apps.
2. RIM can't control the companies decisions to make their own apps.
3. If the companies in question don't make the apps, we don't have them on blackberry 10.
4. IT WON'T BE RIM'S FAULT if they don't have those apps.
5. There are alternatives already in place.
6. If you don't like it, move to another platform. It's that easy.

1. RIM doesn't have to deliver those apps if the TWO COMPANIES don't make their apps and submit them by the deadline.
2. RIM doesn't make those apps.
3. It's NOT RIM's fault if they don't have those two apps.
4. If you don't like the fact that they don't have those two apps, either deal with it, or move on.

Apps aside, how do see BB10 being a success and putting a dent into iOS and Android. I really don't see it happening with just BBM and a nice Hub.

I guess I'm the only one who wants to see RIM at the #1 spot again.

Im looking forward for this too, I just hope that RIM does a really nice job integrating with social network. I have used HTC phone before and they try to integrate social media to sense and sometimes is terrible. For example, I hope RIM gives you the option to manually pair your friends with social media if the Hub is not able to match their name with the info provided in the contact.

So when do I get an R if I send a bbm? When I peek to the Hub, when the msg shows up on Active Frame? Or only when I open the msg on BBM?

When u open the chat for that individual person. Not before.active frame display is like bbm list over view, you can see some of message, or timetimes the whole message but it doesnt turn to R yet.

I'm a little concerned - too many gestures.

Swipe down from the top bezel and get one set of options, swipe down in the screen and get something different.

Gestures that change depending on whether you have a notification?

It all just seems too messy to me.

I suspect, based on your comment, that you do not own a playbook. The gestures on the BB10 seem to be very similar so far to what the playbook uses, and they are extremely intuitive and very quick and easy to learn.

No, they're not all based on swiping from the bezel in BB10. Look at the video again.

And what kind of proof do you need that I own a PlayBook? Since you didn't spell "PlayBook" correctly I'm guessing you don't have one.

Does the hub also receive social network updates from your people as well, does it consolidate all your social network updates in one place? Rather than going to into individual contacts and checking there?

Yes, social network updates will appear in the hub. Twitter messages, Facebook, Linkedin etc. You also swipe from the right, and select individual accounts or social networking 'inboxes' that you want to look at. So if you only want to look at your facebook messages, then select facebook and your hub will only display your FB stuff. Same with Twitter etc... and of course the same is true for email. If you have 3 email accounts, you can select each one individually and look at them...or select 'All' and everything will appear (all emails, all social networking). However, I also saw a video that says that you can control what you see in 'all'. If you wantn "all" to only be emails, then you can set it up that way. THen you would simply need to click on your individual social networking items to see them. You can control what is included in ALL. Doesn't have to be everything. It can be what you want. Very flexible and intuitive.

so how will the HUB know which account I want to use to send an email? Is it going to be like in Playbook, where you select the account in the 'compose" window? While that is good at times, I often forget to select my work or school accounts and end up sending emails from my personal account

My Wish would be that the Calendar would recognize names of people that are in the Contact so you could contact them directly from the Calendar and save time. I use the Calendar daily to book my Clients directly from the phone. The phone recognize the Clients so why not the Calendar. RIM please grant my wish.

I was in FutureShop today and walked by the PlayBook display. Surprisingly both PlayBooks were running. One was looping on the original (and still gorgeous ) video. The other was running some sort of video demo of PlayBook features I've never seen before. It was very well done but the one thing that struck me was how they demo'ed the email box.... It was VERY hub like... I've used the PlayBook email client since it came out but never thought it was much like the hub but (now to me) clearly it is almost exactly except for the gestures. I guess because I usually use the Bridge Messages app, I've never noticed the other one acts like this (it doesn't work in the Bridge Messages).

To reproduce the "hub" on your PlayBook.

Bring up the Messages app. (This is the big difference... The Hub is already running on BB10)

Hold in Landscape (works in Portrait too but instructions are different)

Now click on the envelopes at the left - you can see the "unified inbox", click again to go away

Now pick an email from someone you know (in your address book)

Scroll up to the top and select the sender... Brings up the contact info

From here look again all the icons on the right... See how much detail there is... Meetings in common, Common contacts, Facebook, ability to make a BBM or video call if they also have a PlayBook. If the PlayBook was a phone you could call. Imagine if they ever support Skype.

I never realized how much was in this... I think they've been sneaking features in with the updates. I've had the PlayBooks since day 1 and I'm blown away by how BB10 it is. We already have a lot of it....

I don't know where the he'll that demo video has been hiding but RIM should be Playing that on every store front. I can't wait to demo this to my iFan friends. I have the best part of BB10 and didn't even realize it!

Do you have one? Those of us that do, quite like them. You'd have to pry both of mine from my cold dead hands. I don't know ANYBODY that has one that would trade theirs for another device. If you have a BlackBerry phone, the device is unbeatable. I'm sure there are lots that would change but for people that don't care about Skype/Netflix or 100K fart apps, the PlayBook is the device to get stuff done.

My point wasn't that the PlayBook is just like BB10... but you can clearly see how a few minor changes made the hub... the foundation is clearly there (when you start to look for it).

Blackberry Hub, ... Blackberry Balance.. ! That will not be enough if BB10 doesn't have APPs like Skype, CNN, FOX, Flipboard, Netflix, ..... ! If these apps are not there BB10 will probably end up like the Playbook !

Seriously? If these apps are not there, then BB10 will fail? Lets take a look at this....first of all, Skype is working on an a browser version of their system. This will be run on HTML5 browsers, which BB10 has (and the best out of any smartphone). So Skype will be taken care of, and lets not mention the fact that BBM will have video chat, and there's a new competitor to skype coming out (can't think of the name right now), but they are building ios, android and BB10 apps for it. The CEO of the company actually commented on a post here on crackberry.com about their software, and it's looking like a great competitor to skype. So I'm not concerned about that. CNN, FOX apps? Seriously? If you can't type 'cnn.com' in a browser, then maybe you shouldn't have a smartphone. I guess maybe people are mistaken that 'smart'phones make people smart. I guess we were wrong there. Netflix? Really? You want to watch a movie on a tiny little screen? I prefer watching movies on my tv...but if I'm in my car with my son, I download movies on my PB he can watch. Having netflix while driving is not helpful at all. There will be between 70,000 and 100,000 apps available at launch for BB10. If people are honestly gona complain that it doesn't compare to the nearly 1,000,000 apps that ios has...then I'm at a loss for words. How many apps does the average user have? 30? 40? So what does a million apps (which alot are duplicates btw, just different versions of the same stuff), and most of them are garbage. Only a handful are actually useful. So seriously people....complaining you won't buy a smartphone because a company doesn't want to build an app for it? Maybe you don't deserve to have a BB10.

Yeah, no real Apps like Skype, Netflix, Flipboard, CNN .... and a too complicated OS ! Probably I don't deserve a BB10! I think I buy a simple iPhone 5 instead with all the above Apps ! Thank you for enlightening me! :)

right now apps are the driving force of the smart phone market, everyone has an app. Its going to take some time for people to adjust to not needing apps, if BB10 is able to provide a true web experiance where apps are not needed thats great, though lets face it the general public likes apps, they are used to them. This is something BB10 is going to need to deal with.

I just want a phone that stays updated with the newest OS, tired of being left behind after 1 maybe 2 updates. we should be given the option to run apps or use the web.

I agree with the users who are hoping that there is a way to configure the hub to only show information from certain accounts and then have another way to access the other accounts that are not setup to show up in the hub.

For those that feel that the hub default settings is the way to go with all messages, texts, etc. all being displayed in one place: Just because the universal inbox nature of the hub will work for you, does not mean it is the solution that works for everyone once else. Everyone one has different workflows and I believe that picking a smartphone that works for your particular workflow is the best option.

Given what Oscar_E posted about the hub being customizable, both the universal inbox and the separate accounts crowds will be satisfied with the hub.

From all the videos and articles I've read (including a couple from sites interviewing RIM staff displaying the BB10 Dev alpha's), this is how the hub will work. You can do 1 of 2 things. You can look at ALL your 'inboxes' (i.e., email1, email2, email3, text, FB, twitter, linkedin, phone calls etc..) all in one universal inbox, or you can click on each individually to see them seperate. So if you only want to see your text messages, you swipe to the right from the hub, select text messages and then you only see text messages. If you only want to see FB, then swipe to the right, select FB, then you only see FB messages. If you want to see everything again, then swipt to right and click "all", and everything appears. However, you also have the ability to modify what you can see in "ALL". If you only want to see your email accounts when you select "ALL", then you set it up that way. All doesn't mean that you have to see everything. You modify what you want 'all' to display, or you can select individual accounts to see them seperately.

So what about people (like me) that get tons of emails from both their work and personal account(s). are they all going to be listed in the hub ? Is there really no way to view all personal emails or all work emails (at least) ?

Its not a deal breaker, but what about people that love the organisation ??

Can someone in the know enlighten me please ?

The hub will allow you to view everything, or individual accounts seperately. If you are in the hub, you can swipe to the right, select the individual account you want to see, and that will be all that shows up in the hub. If you now want to look at only FB messages, then swipe to the right again, select FB, and that will be all you see. Every account can be viewed seperately within the hub. You can decide what you want to see. There is also an "All" selection, that will show everything. However, this can be modified. You can select what accounts you want to view when you select "all". If you only want to see every email account when selecting 'all', then you set it up that way. However, you can then select individual accounts on their own to view seperately if you want. It's very simple and easy to use. You will be happy. Do some google searches for blackberry 10 videos, and you'll see a few videos out there that show all of this. Consider yourself enlightened! :)

I am indeed englightened. I hope all the others who are in the dark can see this light as well !!

Thank you sir ! Bring on BB10

So in all of these options, does one still exist to hide various icons, email accounts, or folders? i think a lot of use that feature currently.

I'm going to enjoy blackberry 10 to the fulliest once I have it on the playbook to tie me over until I get my first N series. :D

Laughing at the people bitching about apps they can't have due to the two (or more) companies that haven't bothered to make them at all for blackberry 10. Too bad for them. What they can do, is move on though.