BlackBerry 10 Review

The BlackBerry 10 operating system marks a whole new era for BlackBerry - here's what the next generation is going to look like. 

By Simon Sage on 30 Jan 2013 11:00 am EST

CrackBerry's full walk through and guide of the long-awaited BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system! BlackBerry 10 is finally here! Veterans will find a lot that's familiar, but also plenty that's new in BlackBerry's brand-spankin'-new operating system. Those coming back to the fold will need a refresher on what's up, and anyone thinking about picking up a BlackBerry Z10 as their first BlackBerry will want to know what to expect.

Introduction to BlackBerry 10

To kick things off, here's a broad video overview of BlackBerry 10. We'll be pumping out dedicated posts to dive more deeply into every nook and cranny of the OS, so stick around. 


Building a New Mobile Computing Platform

BlackBerry's acquisition of Ottawa-based QNX Systems is where BB10's journey began. Initially, it seemed strange for a smartphone manufacturer to invest in a company that built low-level software for industrial, automotive, and medical machinery. The QNX microkernel is used in what you call a distributed operating system, otherwise known as a hub-and-spoke architecture. What that means is that the various component parts of a system each have their own self-contained miniature operating environments.

Each of those hubs link up to a primary kernel that orchestrates the whole lot. This makes for a highly secure and stable experience since if one component fails or is compromised in some way, other systems are largely unaffected. By contrast, the classic monolithic model places all system components in the same operating environment, increasing risk of complications. The distributed operating system model also provides improved performance since apps aren't fighting for resources as they're being doled out on a priority basis by the central microkernel.


The QNX Microkernel


QNX had been around for decades, but never in anything outside of embedded systems. Following the acquisition, BlackBerry fans started imagining a mobile OS that would work seamlessly with their car, fridge, and machines everywhere. Before long it became clear that the move would have massive repercussions for BlackBerry. The first fruit borne of this partnership was the BlackBerry PlayBook. While tablets were an exciting frontier for BlackBerry to explore, the new software really set the stage for the next generation of BlackBerry smartphones. Today, we've arrived at that new era by way of the BlackBerry Z10.   

Even from their early pioneering days in the smartphone space, BlackBerry always had eye towards shaving precious seconds from their users' daily tasks. One-handed use has long been a high priority - just look at the side-mounted trackwheel interface that started it all. From its enterprise roots, BlackBerry has been heavily steeped in e-mail and communication, which has meant having a world-class keyboard on every device. These priorities manifest themselves in BlackBerry 10 in a number of ways. For one, the all-important Hub gesture is extremely easy to execute with a single hand. There are more subtle implementations, like placing the web browser address bar at the bottom of the screen for easy reach, and moving delete confirmation windows less centrally to make sure you don't accidentally trash something important. BlackBerry's iconic QWERTY keyboard has moved slightly aside for a whole new virtual keyboard that has been carefully crafted for the touchscreen generation.  

BlackBerry Z10 with Peek

Though BlackBerry 10 has one foot in the past, it reaches out in new directions to finally meet competing platforms head-on. Navigation has been optimized for touch input, doing away with the optical trackpad. Developers have been given Cascades from T.A.T. so they can make apps beautiful. Powerful camera software opens new possibilities for photos and video. Active Frames provide helpful at-a-glance status of running applications. Users can now share live views of their device displays through BlackBerry Messenger.

The bottom line is that BlackBerry 10 really is the best of the old and the best of the new assembled seamlessly into an elegant, practical, and integrated package.

BlackBerry Hub, Flow, and Home Screens Explained

Getting around BlackBerry 10 is an extremely fresh experience with a handful of familiar paradigms, but there are a few gestures that you'll need to learn (especially if you never owned a PlayBook before). It's easy to visualize the home screens as a strip laid out from left to right in the following order: Hub, Active Frames, then the classic icon grid. You can flip between each screen with left or right swipes, or jump right to a page by tapping the indicator along the bottom of the screen. To launch an app, just tap its icon.

BlackBerry Z10 Homescreens

By holding your finger down on an icon for a second, you can initiate a "breathing" mode. From there, you can rearrange the order of apps by holding down, moving, and releasing your finger from the icons between each other, moving them on top of one another to create folders, or tapping the trash bin buttons on them to delete apps. Folders can be easily renamed with a long press on the title at the bottom of the screen, and apps in the floating state can be moved out of the folder by moving it to the same bottom bar. 

Apps In A Folder
In terms of overall layout, BlackBerry 10 has the usual important information along the top: time, battery life, signal strength, active antennas, and alarm indicator. For the most part, you'll be using BlackBerry 10 in portrait orientation, though there are a few native apps that support landscape mode.
Drop Down Settings Menu

BlackBerry 10 Menus 

Once you're within an app, there are up to five different types of menus you can work with beyond the app's main activity area. Yeah, that sounds like a pain, but stay with us here. It can take awhile to remember which options are where, but there's a fair bit of overlap in the native apps, ensuring the important stuff is always readily available. Firstly, swiping down from the top in an app will summon a menu typically reserved for access to settings and other high-level functions. A static menu along the bottom offers buttons for the most common actions, while a longer menu with the remaining destinations can be called up from an ellipses-like three-dot button in the bottom-right. We usually call this the overflow menu. A long press on any selectable items brings up context-sensitive actions from the right side, such as deleting, moving, or sharing; selections stay sticky, allowing you to follow-up with a tap on desired actions. You can skip a step by keeping your finger on the screen after the long press registers, dragging your finger to the desired button, and releasing your finger from the button to execute it. This is a much more fluid action once you get familiar with which icons are where.

it will only take a day or two to learn all of the places to look for certain commands

Finally, a left-side pane slides in by tapping on an icon on the bottom-left (and sometimes top-left), or by swiping left to right if you're at the top level of some apps. In those case, swiping halfway can peek at the list of icons while keeping an eye on app content in the right side pane. Just keep in mind that you can't interact much with the app with those icons stuck on the left, since they disappear as soon as you tap on the primary window. Users can go back to previous screens in the app with the back button on the bottom-left or by swiping from left to the right. Be warned that it can be easy to accidentally initiate a back gesture when scrolling through content horizontally (such as in BlackBerry World screenshot carousels).

That all might seem a bit overwhelming, but keep in mind that not every app will use every type of menu. The alternative to splitting up app functions between different views is piling them all into a single menu, which is the old BlackBerry way. Ultimately, it will only take a day or two to learn all of the places to look for certain commands, and a few days after that to fully naturalize gestures.

Swipe In Menu

Active Frames 

When you want to go back to the home screen, apps are minimized by swiping upwards from the bottom frame. This will shunt the app into the Active Frames screen where a snippet of information about the app will be visible in a thumbnail next to other recently minimized apps. Only apps that have taken advantage of the API available to developers will show Active Frame-optimized content; otherwise, you'll just see a shrunk down version of what was in the app last. Up to eight of those apps will still be running as you go about other tasks. Four minimized apps are on screen at a time, with another four accessible with an upwards swipe. They're all ordered based on when they were opened last, while anything that gets pushed into 9th. place is closed.

Active Frames in BlackBerry 10


Peek and Flow

If you slow down the upward swipe and keep your finger on the screen, a pane will drift in from the left to provide an overview of current notifications - e-mail, calls, BBM, etc. From there, if you swipe to the right, BB10 moves you to the Hub, where you can interact with those notifications more significantly. The gesture isn't complete until your finger leaves the screen and you can always backtrack. That way you can look momentarily at what's going on in the Hub, then return to what you were doing by moving your finger the way it came: inwards and down. This buttery smooth glimpse into your notifications is called Peek, and is a major selling point of BlackBerry 10. The term is used liberally in conjunction with Flow, which describes in a broad, general sense how you can easily move from one task to another in BlackBerry 10. We'll have more to say about Hub shortly, but suffice to say that before long you'll be making single, fluid quarter-circle motions to quickly leap into action. Think of turning your wrist to check your watch, and you'll get a sense of how natural the motion is. Once you're done in the Hub, just swipe inwards from the right to get back to the Active Frame screen and the app you were just running. 

The BlackBerry 10 hub



Swiping down from the top of any home screen will bring a quick settings menu into focus. Tapping the icons there will toggle Bluetooth, alarm, rotation lock, Wi-Fi, and Notifications, while tapping the text beside them will drill down into more detailed settings. The full settings menu provides absolute control for every aspect of the BlackBerry 10 device - notifications, accounts, keyboard and language, media sharing, security, and everything in between. We'll dig into that later on.

Settings and Advanced Settings

Universal Settings

A bottom bar throughout the home screens provides easy access to the phone app, universal search, and the camera. Unfortunately, these quick-launch apps can't be assigned by users. Universal search finds all types of content across your device and the web, just like BlackBerry 7. Typing into the box will immediately start pulling up results from your messages archive, contacts, documents, pictures, music, help, third-party apps, Maps, and offer options to launch out into web searches through Bing, Google, or Yahoo! Through the system settings, users can turn off certain apps and services from showing results in universal search. Device Search

Lock Screen 

The lock screen is simple and functional; it shows your current unread e-mail count along with number of new notifications. Take a second to appreciate the cool transparency effect of dragging your finger across the screen before finally flicking up and launching into the BlackBerry 10 experience. Users can quickly jump into the camera app by holding down their finger on the icon on the bottom-right. The lock screen shows up once you tap the device's sleep button, and a simple upwards swipe takes you to where you last left off. You can bypass the lock screen altogether by swiping from the bottom bezel to the top from standby - a welcome and familiar sight for PlayBook owners.

That's a fair bit to take in as a new user, but every one of these design decisions are sensible and easy to follow once you wrap your head around the logic. It doesn't take long to learn the basics, and after your first week or two with a BlackBerry 10 device, you'll be leveraging the more advanced features like a boss.

Unlocking in BlackBerry 10


The new all-touch keyboard is a pretty huge step for BlackBerry. BlackBerry has always been well-known for its top-notch physical keyboards, and to date remains the industry leader, which makes it all the more interesting that they're leading the launch of their new platform with a touchscreen slate device.

So, what's the big deal with the keyboard in BlackBerry 10? From a design standpoint, you'll see the familiar frets between each row of keys, but those are there for more than just ergonomic spacing. Instead of showing suggested predicted words above the virtual keyboard as in previous touchscreen BlackBerry devices, suggested words float on those frets above the next letter in the word. To insert the word, you just swipe up from the key. For example, if you want to type "juxtaposition", you would tap "j", "u", and "x" as normal, but over the "t" key on the fret would be the whole word; if your finger makes contact on the "t" key and flicks upwards, the word "juxtaposition" would be inserted wherever you're typing. As flashy as that is, the best part is you don't have to type that long-ass word anymore. The keyboard might predict "juxtapose" instead, in which case you could still pick it, backspace, and get new prediction options (in this case over the "i" key). Over time, the user dictionary learns which words are used most frequently and in what order they're used to offer more accurate predictions. It also learns which areas you're tapping on the screen and adjusts the target areas accordingly. SwiftKey powers the prediction engine in the BlackBerry 10 keyboard, which bodes well for long-term reliability considering its popularity on Android. 

Reliance on the prediction system will vary by situation. When typing one-handed, it will be the way to go, and for the aforementioned longer words, swiping will be a godsend. There may even come a point where the prediction gets good enough that you'll end up flicking more than tapping, but for the most part, it will be faster to just tap away like normal rather than scanning predictions and making a decision to use or skip each one. For those that are prone to misspelling or typos, BlackBerry 10 will automatically correct common mistakes, though you can manually edit the list of auto-corrections if the keyboard's consistently switching something you don't want it to. Along that vein, word substitution is a great feature from the old OS that made it over to BlackBerry 10. By typing in a set of user-defined keystrokes, full words and simple commands can be typed out, such as "hr" for "hour". It will be interesting to see how the prediction will be implemented with the upcoming BlackBerry 10 device with a physical keyboard.  

There are a few other subtle touches in the keyboard. As always, the BlackBerry keyboard automatically kicks in capitals and periods after hitting the spacebar twice. Special characters are available by holding down letters and seeing the accented variants float above, or swiping down from the top of the keyboard to toggle number and symbol screens. On that note, there's excellent language support - you can even have multiple languages running through the prediction engine at the same time if you're the bilingual sort. Over 20 languages are currently included in BlackBerry 10, with many more doubtlessly on the way. On the flip side, you can turn off prediction altogether if it's all just too complicated. If you need extra screen real estate, you can hide the keyboard by holding down the spacebar or swiping down from the top with two fingers. If you'd rather not tap repeatedly to delete a word, you can do a short swipe from the backspace key. There's also voice dictation available from the keyboard, but more on that later. 

Copy and Paste

Cursor selection is hugely important, especially now that there's no trackpad to manually position it. Long-pressing on a word will highlight it, and double-tapping it will bring up the copy and paste menu. You can extend your long press to include the sentence, paragraph, or everything in the text field, and fine tune anchor placement before copying. When you're ready to paste, the cursor is highlighted by a circle which follows as you drag it around.

BlackBerry Balance 

The most productivity-focused aspect of BlackBerry 10 is Balance. This is an idea that BlackBerry has been working on for awhile. By swiping down from the icon grid, users can switch between Work and Personal modes, which forms an impenetrable 256-bit AES encrypted wall between sensitive work information on the phone and private individual content. It also enables access to securely-deployed enterprise apps through its very own BlackBerry World. Any work apps that you currently have minimized into Active Frames have a briefcase icon on them to show they're protected. For added security, content cannot be copied and pasted from one mode to the other. 

What this ultimately enables is for end-users to have their own personal phone and be able to use it for work without having to worry about having all of their non-work stuff messed around with, while administrators can rest easy by having secure control over the content that affects their business. This is something that no other smartphone manufacturer enables out of the box. Be careful not to think of these as two different themes that regular consumers can make use of; Balance is meant primarily as an enabler for enterprise mobility management. That means unless you have an IT dude that wants to be able to plug into your personal device, odds are you won't have to worry about Balance at all. You're actually kind of in luck if you get to use Balance though, because it means you don't have to carry around a separate phone for work and play. 

BlackBerry Balance

BlackBerry 10 Hub, E-mail, and Personal Information Management 

If there's a single defining characteristic of the BlackBerry 10 experience, it's the Hub. Though its lineage with the older BlackBerry experience is apparent, the ability to Peek to check notifications and Flow to and to the Hub from any app makes it a brand new bag. Tons of apps hook into the Hub, allowing users to catch notifications as they arrive, act upon them locally from the Hub, or launch into dedicated applications as the need arises. BlackBerry Hub delivers a brutalizing tornado suplex to any preconceived notions of a notification center you may have from other platforms, so put your learnin' caps on.

In a nutshell, the Hub is where every type of communication is amalgamated and logged in a big, constantly-updated list. You can edit which kinds notifications show up in the Hub on a per-app basis, or simply filter active views from the left-side menu. Every item in the Hub can be acted upon by long-pressing it, and tapping on the actions that show up on the right side.

The BlackBerry 10 Hub


E-mail is the heart and soul of BlackBerry. It's easy to set up, and compliant with many standards, including Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, POP, and IMAP. The major consumer web-based e-mail services like Gmail, Windows Live Mail, and Yahoo! are all supported, too. From the Hub, open the right-side menu, hit Settings, then Add Account at the bottom. If you want ActiveSync for your Google Apps account, you'll have to drill down into advanced settings at this stage, otherwise it will default to a slower IMAP sync. From there, punch in your log-in information, and BB10 will figure out all the necessary settings. You can always drill into the Advanced menu if you need to do some manual tweaking.


Folder in BlackBerry 10 e-mail

When composing an e-mail, you'll have the option to pick which e-mail account to send from. A huge addition is rich text editing when composing new messages or replies - bold, italics, underlining, and bullet lists are all just a tap away. Like usual, you can attach files, set the importance level for messages, and quickly add To, CC, and BCC recipients manually or directly from your address book. Oh, and you can finally edit forwarded messages! Hooray! Reading e-mail is the the same experience you've come to expect. Incoming messages can be flagged with varying colors, action types, and due dates. Search has a whole slew of easily accessible filters. Messages can be marked read after a certain point by long-pressing the date, though there's no longer an option to keep that status change solely on the device.

Composing an email

Instant messaging is tightly linked to webmail accounts from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. After setting up your e-mail account, BlackBerry 10 (much like its predecessor) will prompt you to log in to related instant messaging clients with the log-in credentials that have been provided. Text messaging has its own filter in the Hub, and is accessible from a dedicated icon on the grid. Its placement is a little inconsistent since e-mail inboxes don't have their own dedicated icons anymore and are just folded into the Hub entirely, while BBM has its own icon, app, and Hub placement. Our best guess is that carriers want SMS to remain highly visible, while BlackBerry would rather nudge people towards using data-based instant messaging. In any case, text messages can also shown through BBM if contacts are linked.  

Text Messages

Hub services  

Out of the box, BlackBerry 10 has baked-in Hub support for FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Management of these accounts are all through the Hub, and generally relates to populating your address book (which we'll talk about momentarily), but there are also a few other interesting ways these apps tie into the BlackBerry 10 experience. For one, all three of these bake into the system-wide share menu, so you can Flow from the browser with a link to the Hub, ready to send a site address to whomever you like on whichever communication channel works best. If any app is clogging up your Hub with too many notifications, you can tweak which channels show up there through the Hub Management settings menu. 

Add Accounts

BlackBerry Contacts 

The key to BlackBerry Contacts has always been linking them to outside social networks, so in your address book, you get a rich, current perspective on the people you keep in touch with. The scheme is pretty familiar: contacts are either created from scratch or generated from an outside network, like Facebook. As you add in more contacts from other networks like Twitter, those new contacts can be automatically or manually paired up with existing contacts for the same person. The accuracy of automatic pairing isn't perfect (and it rarely is for this kind of thing), but tweaking profile links is a one-time pain in the heiney that you won't have to deal with often after set-up.

Aside from linking, BlackBerry Contacts also scrapes the web for any content relating to the person - such as any exceedingly insightful blog posts about smartphones they've written recently. You have Tungle and Gist to thank for that feature.



The native calendar got a beefy upgrade in BlackBerry 10. For one, your upcoming appointments now show up above your messages list in the Hub - just scroll up a bit from the default starting position. As before, events are pulled in from LinkedIn and Facebook in addition to whatever your default calendar service might be. The acquisitions of Gist and Tungle has added a healthy dose of social cleverness to the experience. Calendar attendees are now listed within events under a separate tab, and in another are any e-mails relating to the event.

As always, the Calendar app for BlackBerry allows users to respond to meeting invitations, view conference call details, quickly change between day, week, and month views, and set recurring meetings. We had some issues setting up shared calendars, but your mileage may vary. The more meetings you have on a given day, the bigger the number shows up on your calendar, which is a nice visual flair. Another solid UI addition is how you can check upcoming meetings by scrolling past the top of the default position in the Hub. This is a trick that's also employed elsewhere in BB10, including BlackBerry World in order to set filters for app searches.


BlackBerry 10 Settings, Notifications, and Customizations 

As we mentioned earlier, Settings is the master control for your device, which means there's a lot to go through. There are still plenty of settings and customization options in BlackBerry 10, however power users may find that some favorites weren't carried over from the old BlackBerry OS, or the granularity of control has been reduced. When diving into the settings screen, you'll see a rather simple list of settings, each of which has a deeper menu with multiple options.

Settings Summary 

  • The About screen provides operating system information with software version number, hardware information, network information and other technical information.
  • The Network Connections screen provides access to Airplane Mode toggle and connection information. Here is where you can choose the mobile network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, Mobile Hotspot, Internet Tethering and VPN.
  • Notifications includes settings for sound profiles (Normal, Phone Calls Only, Vibrate Only, Silent and All Alerts Off) as well as a volume slider for audible alerts. Here you will also choose your individual alerts for native and third party apps that support notifications. The volume of a profile is now global for all alerts tied to that profile - you can no longer set the volume for individual alerts within a profile.
  • System Volume provides a slider for the master volume on the device which is used for media. You can also choose to use the volume rocker buttons to control music tracks.
  • Accounts allows you to add and edit all accounts on the device including email, Twitter, Facebook and Evernote.
  • The Display options are pretty standard allowing you to change screen brightness, wallpaper, font size, screen lock timeout and HDMI usage.
  • Language and Input houses all input language and keyboard options. Here you can customize items of the keyboard including feedback volume, keypress popup and text predicition display.
  • Voice Control lets users tweak settings for the built-in voice control functions including language and an offensive words toggle.
  • BlackBerry ID gets you access to your BlackBerry ID settings including password recovery or changing your personal info.
  • BlackBerry Protect is no longer a separate application but a setting on the device. Here you can toggle Protect on/off.
  • Security and Privacy settings include application permissions, device password, SIM card settings, parental controls, security wipe, development mode and more.
  • Media Sharing settings allow you access to DLNA functions for sharing music, photos and videos wirelessly to DLNA devices. The toggles allow you to set which items you want to share.
  • Date and Time settings give you options for time zone settings and a 24-hour time toggle.
  • Software Updates checks for new OTA updates for your device.
  • Search settings let you change what apps are included in search and view/delete your search history.
  • Storage and Access provides settings for USB connections and Wi-Fi transfers. You can also view device storage details and turn on mass storage mode.
  • Location Services has settings for allowing applications to access the location of your device.
  • Payment Options provides settings for payment information for BlackBerry World using PayPal or credit card.
  • Accessibility options includes magnify mode (gesture to zoom anywhere in the OS) as well as screen brightness and font sizes. 

Beyond settings in the main Settings area, it's important to know that app-specific settings reside within individual apps. Within the phone app for example, you can visit the Settings screen for options like Call Forwarding or to enable answering a call when removing the phone from a holster. 


BlackBerry 10 features quite a few voice control options. For one, there's a new voice-activated assistant that kicks in when you hold down the pause/play hardware key - just tell it what you want your phone to do, be it look something up on the web, dictate an e-mail, or create a new calendar appointment. Though many will point to Siri as the predecessor to the voice control system in BlackBerry 10, Android's current voice control scheme has a slight advantage by providing more comprehensive computational (rather than task-based) results, and for processing commands more quickly and locally. For more day-to-day use, the keyboard has a dictation key built in, allowing you to read your messages and other text out loud - very handy for those moments when even one-handed typing isn't practical.

Then, there's the phone. These things still make calls, right? They sure do, and BlackBerry still handles them like a champ. Calendar events that have conference call information baked in will automatically pop up with dial-in information as the call is about to start. There are a handful of customizable notification profiles so users can set ringtones, vibration, and LED alerts for not only incoming calls, but different types of messages and apps. Holster-specific behaviours continue to be available, if you're into that kind of thing. The profiles set-up has been streamlined a fair bit, insofar as users can't create their own profiles from scratch anymore and volume levels are shared across all notifications. Some will mourn this loss of granular control, but for the most part the simplification is welcome.

Dialer App


While other mobile platforms are ditching Adobe Flash (or never supporting it in the first place), the BlackBerry 10 Browser runs Flash almost as well as any desktop browser. BlackBerry 10 also rates very highly on JavaScript and HTML5 compliance tests, which are equally (if not more) important for day-to-day browsing. The user interface has been shuffled around a bit - namely, the address bar is now at the bottom, which makes it much easier to reach when browsing with one hand.

As for features, you aren't going to find much in the way of surprises here. You can switch the default browser to Google or Yahoo!, which will be something of a necessity seeing as it's using Bing out of the box. Tabs, page sharing to outside apps, and bookmarks (including saving sites directly to the home screen) are present, along with a few more advanced features, such as private browsing so your activities aren't tracked, and a PlayBook feature called Reader which pares web pages down to the bare minimum of text and select images. The settings allow users to tweak the default font size, audio feedback, and site permissions.

The BlackBerry 10 browser


BlackBerry Messenger 

BBM remains one of the key defining characteristics of BlackBerry, and could arguably be credited for keeping device sales up over the transitionary period to BB10. The biggest addition to BlackBerry Messenger is screen sharing. Any two BB10 devices can share what they're seeing on their display through video chat, which is another new feature (though not entirely unexpected, considering its introduction on the PlayBook and Wi-Fi voice calling on older BlackBerry handsets). We've managed to get video calls going out to PlayBooks, but no screen sharing just yet.

The usual stuff that always made BlackBerry Messenger great, like read/read message status, groups, pinging unresponsive contacts, and file sharing are all still there. The emoticon art has been tweaked a bit, but you'll find the same extensive selection there. The UI has been spiffied up a fair bit, but otherwise you'll find everything you're used to here: adding new friends through QR barcode scanning, groups with image, file, and list sharing, and organizing contacts by categories.

BBM On BlackBerry 10

Camera and multimedia apps 

BlackBerry 10's TimeShifting camera has been a major selling point during the platform's pre-launch period. The BlackBerry snaps a short burst of pictures surrounding the time you actually tap on the screen when in TimeShift mode; this way you can dial time backwards or forwards so that people's faces are just right - not blinking or screwing up what would otherwise be a great shot. Effectively, you're creating a moment that never existed, but who cares about photographic purity when you've got a pretty picture at the end of it? The TimeShift feature was done in partnership with Scalado, who's currently in the process of being acquired by Nokia.


TimeShift on BlackBerry 10

There are five scene modes available: snow/beach, text, action, night, and automatic. Toss in stabilization and burst mode options, and most of your photographic options should be covered. Video recording has auto, night, and beach/snow modes, and can record in 720p or 1080p if you have a class 4 or higher memory card. The hardware playback keys can be used as shutter buttons, if you want to take the shot without muddling your view of the screen.

Story Maker

Though camera is missing a few features, such as a wider selection of scene modes (like panorama and close-up) and no tapping the screen to change the point of focus, the Pictures app includes a massively useful batch of editing tools.These include practical adjustments such as cropping, rotating, brightness and contrast, and automatic color correction, and a bunch of artsy filters and effects if you're feeling creative. There are a few specific tools that kick in when a face is detected, including red eye reduction, face smoothing, and an eye enlargement filter. 

On the video side is Story Maker, which is the direct result of BlackBerry's acquisition of JayCut. Here you'll find similar tools for adjusting color, brightness, contrast, volume, and clip length. The more important feature here is the ability to automatically generate short movies with one of six themes and a selection of stills and video. Users can add in background music (either preloaded or their own stored on the device), and a few lines of text for a title, subtitle, and credits. Once it's all processed, you can upload it directly to YouTube.


Watching video on the BlackBerry Z10

Of course, both Videos and and Pictures apps provide the usual straightforward viewing experiences too. Multimedia files are easy to access through appropriate categories and directories. You can set your wallpapers from here, and though images are generally obscured by icons and active frames, they will get some time in the limelight from the lock screen. The Music app lets you easily get to anything you've sideloaded or purchased through BlackBerry World. The device hardware controls are still fully integrated for playback control, so you can hold down the volume keys in order to skip tracks. Hardcore audiophiles will appreciate that you aren't warned about damaging your ears when cranking up the volume.

Built-in productivity apps

Remember is a reimagined app that includes memos, voice notes, and task management. Notes are stored in categorized and color-coded workbooks, plus with Evernote and Outlook integration, the important stuff gets backed up to the cloud. Text is obviously the main thing here, but BlackBerry Remember supports images, video, and audio content as well. By plugging into the system-wide Share menu, it's easy to get content saved into Remember from anywhere else on the phone, too.

BlackBerry Remember
BlackBerry Maps has been updated in OS 10 to include free voice-activated turn-by-turn navigation powered by TomTom data and developed by TCS (the same guys that make Verizon Navigator). BlackBerry Maps navigation includes plenty of options, such as calculating the fastest, simplest, or shortest route, while filtering out highways, toll roads, carpool lane, or ferries. The usual search for points of interest, addresses, and favorite places are all there.

BlackBerry Maps

BlackBerry Maps also folds in the Traffic app of yore, which was borne from the acquisition of Dash Navigation. Through it, drivers can get live traffic conditions based on anonymous, crowdsourced GPS data. For more simple location awareness, there's also a compass app that lets you find true magnetic north and use the gyroscope as a level. The two apps tie together in a really helpful way; pick a point on Maps, and have the Compass point you towards it. It's a great way to get around on foot without constantly pinch-zooming and rotating a map on your phone.

BlackBerry Maps Navigation

Docs To Go is here again, ready to provide high-grade editing for presentations, spreadsheets, and presentations. Everything you would expect from a document editing suite is here, including the ability to tweak text color, font, and indentation. PDFs are supported, The only real caveat here is that you can't make PowerPoints from scratch, but if you sideload a blank presentation from a PC, you can edit it and save the final product as a separate PPT file. BlackBerry acquired DataViz a while back for this software, and it continues to be a real workhorse.

Docs To Go

The Clock app is looking really swanky in BlackBerry 10. It includes the usual modes, such as timer and stopwatch, as well as a new and impressive world clock. That's particularly helpful for those times you're trying to figure out if it's too late to call a contact at the other end of the planet. Alarms are managed from the Clock app, and Bedside mode makes its return. A convenient shortcut has been placed on the lock screen so you just have to swipe down from the top in order to initiate it and mute most incoming notifications (except those that you manually designate). The clock face also turns into a slick dark orange face in bedside mode.


File management is looking great on BlackBerry 10. In addition to the usual file system access that has been available in previous OS versions, there's now an API available for outside developers so services like Box and Dropbox can provide access to your cloud storage through the same interface. A neat little addition is the ability to create ZIP archives on the fly by selecting multiple files and

A few memorable BlackBerry-made apps have yet to make an appearance, including Password Keeper, Travel, Wallet, and News, but with any luck we'll see them back in action on BB10 shortly after launch.

File Manager

BlackBerry World, Third-Party Apps and Games 

BlackBerry World has a great upgrade in BB10, if only for its organization of content. Now music and videos are seamlessly available alongside apps rather than having their own dedicated storefronts, as on the PlayBook. Payment options are all pretty much the same: PayPal, credit card, and in many instances, direct billing to your wireless service provider. A new addition is a separate BlackBerry World for corporate environments, so administrators can offer a catalog of tested and secure apps to run on the Work side of Balance. The one noticeably absent section is for themes, which has long been a staple on BlackBerry smartphones, but all indications are that themes are out of the picture for the foreseeable future.

BlackBerry World on BlackBerry 10

In terms of sheer selection, we've been really impressed by the quality of apps BlackBerry World has to offer. The boys and girls on RIM's developer relations team have been busting their hump right up to CES (a few short weeks before the Z10 announcement) to win over developers to the new platform, and those efforts were not wasted. The many localized BlackBerry Jam sessions have generated original, high-quality apps for BB10. Hugely popular games from iOS, Android and the PlayBook have found their way to BlackBerry 10, and doubtlessly many more will come around once they see the Z10 getting traction in the wild.

BlackBerry World Videos & Music

As for other content, Rovi claims that they can get popular TV shows and movies up the same day that they're made available on DVD, which is pretty sweet. 7Digital has 22 million songs in its library, and has a long-standing, well-regarded presence on BlackBerry.

Scoreloop is finally being put to work in a new hub called simply enough Games. BlackBerry Games connects BB10 players, shows off achievements, builds leaderboards, suggests new games to try out.



BlackBerry Link 

BlackBerry Link is the refreshed PC counterpart to BB10 devices. The new UI is strikingly sharp, with clearly color-coded sections for managing music, pictures, videos, and documents. Wi-Fi sync and customized sync schedule is built in, so you can get to your BlackBerry pictures easily from your PC. There's also straightforward memory management, so you'll never be caught off-guard by how much space your apps and media are gobbling up. Mac support is available, which is good news for those users that have traditionally been behind on desktop software releases.

BlackBerry Link and BlackBerry 10


Closing Thoughts

Overall, BlackBerry 10 fixes many of the long-standing gripes the faithful have endured for years, and makes significant strides to produce new, forward-thinking features. Over-the-air updates will ensure that the handful of issues found in the initial build of BB10; we don't have to sit through hourglasses or resort to battery pulls anymore, which in and of itself is a godsend.


Reader comments

BlackBerry 10 Review


Totally understand how u feel! I am from HK, which is 12 hours ahead, I didn't get any work done 12 hours before this launch, LOL

Can no one show what it looks like when you receive a call? The announcement, the reviews, the previews.. this is the one thing I'm curious about.

I saw a video of this. It shows the contact picture and you slide your finger up to pick up and down to ignore, I think.

(I don't know why but Chrome isn't allowing me to post a comment... Err... Third time now)

Hey Kevin, in your review about the camera it states: "no tapping the screen to change the point of focus" but in the presentation, doesn't he just drag his finger around the screen to focus?

You are correct my friend, there's a full review of the camera on YouTube, comparing it live with the iphone5 camera, and here are the features i saw:

-Focus:instead of tapping where to focus, you have to drag the focus square to where you want to focus on, which is useful in a scenario where you don't remember or accidentally touch the screen going out of focus. In BB10 you always know where the focus area is.

-Zoom and close up: Yes in dead, it even zooms when recording videos, feature that at least iPhone doesn't have.

-The quality is really good, for both (cam and vid)someone said here he was underwhelmed about the camera quality, perhaps you didn't see it close or clear enough, unless you have tried it in you own hands, the vid i saw on the review showed a really good quality.

-Panorama: probably not native, but in one of the Jams, there was an app showed with panorama, and they even showed how you could use the gyro to travel around the photo by tilting the phone.

-in you tube there are some vids of apps by devs for the camera, really cool gotta say.

The lack or limit in using landscape mode it's not cool, but overall it looks great, i assume they will be fixing and adding features with updates.

By the way, the Q10 looks really awesome !!

I kinda leave with an empty feeling from the presentation. Heins is a very stiff presenter. Also, the devices were not covered indepth: Quality of the camera? Processor? Amount of Ram? BATTERY LIFE?
Also I'm not conviced about the keyboard version without the physical back buttons and trackpad..
And I can tell you.. If I'm not conviced, alot of other people won't be...
Loving the new OS tho.

Oh man that notification system is horrible.

The rest of the OS looks promising. It'll be interesting to see what it looks like after the first major update and how long users will have to wait for it.

Goona take me all day to read this review with 50 other posts to hit up first lol. Thankfully i got the day off. Come on feb 5th, i need my z10

Huge amount of apps for release of a brand new device and more coming. The PlayBook UI is all gesture based and learned in literally seconds and once learned all other UIs seem ungainly.

Huge amount of apps?? Names? I just looked at all the ones they listed in the email they just sent me. Barely any major apps. Just like on the Playbook which also had barely any major apps but hundreds of alternative apps. People want apps that the other platform has. Nothing here that even tempts me to switch from my S3 to BB10 and this from a several years Blackberry user until last July.

A lot of Playbook references, but still no information when the BB10 upgrade will be available for the Playbook.. I'm so sad

BlackBerry has delivered a proof of concept, ready to be sold to Samsung if they want vertical integration, but unless they quickly come up with 10.1, I'm not sure Lenovo would want to build consumer devices based on BB10. The apps are simply not there. There is no real incentive to switch from android or iOS, unless the place you work at buys one for you.


Dont know if I am sold. Of course I will get one, but the camera looks crappy, and the review had too many things they didnt really like if you read between the lines. Of course, they are not going to say too many bad things, but I was hoping for better.

My thoughts exactly. I want to love the new BlackBerry, I really do, but it's just isn't enough to make me suffer through touch screen keyboard... and the QWERTY version is 3 months away. They screwed the pooch on this one.

It is a first version, you have to remember that. The OS is a lot better than Windows Phone 7 or the first version of Android so they are starting out good; it's really going to come down to how timely they give major OS updates and if the major updates add functionality and ease of use.

It has to happen at the very least once every 365 days or consumers will abandoned the platform; since the majority of people have been conditioned to get major updates at least once a year.

I won't buy one right away because the notification system is horrible; but there is a lot of potential here. Hopefully it won't be like WebOS, tons of potential but ultimately go nowhere.

I got one in my hands from an iPhone 5, I'm really impressed with what BB has done with this handset. In my view, Blackberry is now every bit the contender with their new OS and the Z10 applies it beautifully.

Bring it on to India. I'm buying it first. Just love it and can't stop watching and sharing those videos everywhere.

*back to work :D *

The new operating system looks good.
Disappointed that when launched it's not available for playbook.

When apple release new mobile operating systems its immediately available for download on the iphone,itouch and ipad

Sorry everyone but I do not have time to read all of this right now but when will I be able to buy this in the USA?

Could someone elaborate on the password requirements for Blackberry Balance? With my iPhone... it's a PITA to type in a strong password (corporate IT policy) just for me to make a phone call, text or to look up how far I am to the 7th green. Can I access the personal side with a weak(er) password and only when I need to look at work related stuff I need to type in a strong password?

Quick question and I know that someone on here will have an answer. My employer no longer has a blackberry enterprise server. Will I be able to receive my work emails on the BlackBerry without the new BES10 server? I do have all the exchange settings if that makes a difference.

Looks freaking awesome, just a few questions?

Is BB Bridge available on BB10?

Is BIS still req'd or an option!

Kevin, any info on availability in Australia?

Watch most of the webcast, had my eye set on 'something new' from what we've already read, watch, etc about throught various sites.

Most excited about...:
1. I love the BBM Video screen feature
2. Looking forward to the overall expereince of the new OS
3. Touch screen
4. The 'BlackBerry' way of doing things

I'm sure there will be some additions down the road that they did not announce today.

What happened...:
PlayBook BB10? This would have been the perverbial sweet cherry on the cake. If not for PlayBook 1st Gen, then bring on PlayBook 2nd Gen ASAP!!!

Can't wait to get my hands on it in the next couple weeks. Feb 5th can't come soon enough!!!

I think its a great device that looks to iPhoneish. I see lawsuits on the horizon. Hope Blackberry has deep pockets. I know my Samsung is going to pay big time one of these days. Welcome back to the game guys, may you be here a long time to come. Former Storm/2 user, now a loyal Android user.

Did anyone notice a part of the first video where it shows "allow bbm calls over mobile network" in the bbm settings menu. Thats really good news

Can you please do an email review, I saw maybe 5 reviews today non of them actually showed how e-mail works in video or in more details. Can you still type the folder name when moving (looking at above folder view, I don't see anyway to type folder names, I have over 100 folders!!), or viewing folders, can you easily flag, how about forwarding as attachment or sharing e-mails, how about media within e-mail? Formatting, excel? Is DocsToGo still included? Can you edit an excel that is attached to an e-mail and save it in the e-mail? So many more questions, but nobody is doing an e-mail review. Please do one when you can.

Also, is wifi calling available (I am referring to wifi calling with app over mobile network, or UMA)


I was surpised to see someone say there's no real push going etc. checked every 15 minutes (minimum time allowed).
Would like to see some confirmation.

I guess just assumed comminication wouldnt take a step backward.

Are there any setting that control the LED notification colors, ect or will users have to wait for apps like Bebuzz to come out for BB10?

What I want to know is what "committed" means with respect to apps/developers that were announced as committed to BB10. They've got until March to be in BlackBerry World... I feel we've all done enough waiting as it is.

Does BB10 still limit you on the memory for apps? BlackBerry needs to patent BB flow and everything new about this phone before Apple or Google tries to copy it and steal it!

it all works but it all just doesn't seem aesthetically pleasing. I really want to love it but there's just something missing. it's miles ahead of iOS but i just wanted a little bit more from them. i guess it's because there's nothing new announced today.

As a former Blackberry user who switched to Android 7 months ago. I just got the specs in a Blackberry email the battery is 1800 mAH removable battery. Not 2100mAH.
The talk time is time is up to 10 hours but this is on 3G not 4G. So on 4G I assume it is much less. They list apps, but apart from Facebook, LinkedIn and maybe a couple of others none of them are major apps. I wish Blackberry well... competition in the market is a good thing, but there is nothing about this phone that remotely tempts me to switch from my Samsung Galaxy S3. I'm underwhelmed. There is no "cool" appeal (to me) it looks like a corporate phone.

I am so EXCITED but also so DISAPPOINTED. BB10 is everything I wanted as a die hard blackberry fan, but I was convince they were going to introduce to us something new that we didn't get the chance to see in the leaks. Where is the fantastic Scrappbook app that we saw on the playbook. More importantly were is this app!

I am convince this Document sharing app would have added a WOW factor to non blackberry users. At such an important launch RIM or I should say Blackberry should have introduced something that no one saw coming. Under promise over deliver, Apple does this so well that's why when they add another raw of apps people go crazy. Anyway just my 2 cents.

From BGR
There is no push email, contacts, or calendar on the BlackBerry Z10 except for Microsoft Exchange accounts. No push Gmail, no push Yahoo — email is checked every 15 minutes by default, and you can make this interval longer but not shorter.


Also BGR
Another problem — and this one really gets me: you do not see a status bar in any app. Whether you’re in BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, your calendar, or any other app, there is no status bar. No battery level, no time, no signal, nothing. This is just odd and pointless

First off, when you’re in an app or even on the home screen and you get a message, an email, a text — whatever — there is no visible notification on the screen. You get an audible notification if you set one, you get a vibrate notification, but you do not see anything on the screen. There is nothing that scrolls by, or flips down, or pops up, that gives you an idea of what kind of notification you got or a preview of it.

NOTE: I'm a huge BB Fan---been devoted forever. Stuff like the above are big misses in my mind.
No notifications or status when in Apps? How was that even a consideration? I guess it's you're either working or your playing...not both at once which I thought was the whole point.

Almost Apple-esque in not even giving you the option.

Still anxious to see and try---but these three items are HUGE red flags.

The PlayBook is the same way. It' easy to swipe, and I never really noticed there was no notification or status in app till I read that.

My thought is that if I'm on my tablet or PC---what's in front of me is my priority. If I'm on my phone - communication is number 1, everything else is auxilary.

What good is being able to peek if your peeking just to check to see if you have a message. If you don't have one, its wasted time.

My take....

There is an LED indicator on the phone that you can set on or off. You can set sound alert or vibration.

A bit of devil's advocate here...not trying to be contrary...

so my choices are LED for all messages--have to peek to see if its email or say for example FaceBook...which means if I'm only waiting for an email and its a FB I've wasted a swipe...


No LED for Facebook which means I have to swipe to see if I have any.

Just seems messy compared to a small notification bar.

that's seems to be very good machine however i'll be disappointed if it won't have skype, viber & netflix
for me there is no point to own it without these apps


Nice review.

However, one question is now answered.

Will Z10 have the same email features as their prior models. I mean webmails, microsoft exchange mails etc.

Do let me know please.

Thank you very much in advance.

I was very disappointed to read this morning that,
Google Maps and You Tube are not committing to Blackberry 10.
Any comments.

From a layman's point of view and Blackberry fans, Blackberry 10 would have stood up to it's hype but actually it has nothing really out-of-the-box features as was expected.But still it does make u go wow about it.

Here some pros and cons are listed
i was planning to definitely buy this phone but after reading it's review, i have changed mind.

I cant wait to get it .. the moment i was waiting for
Z10 for me, and Q10 too :) love it both .. its amazing

I'm having trouble hiding files in my new z10.. i have tried 3 different apps and didn't work, I emailed the developers for a refund. does anybody know a trick or a good app that would work?

BlackBerry #1 Fan from London, ON

The Bold 9700 was good. The battery seems to last forever. Then came the 9900, and it failed me in the battery compartment, which I would guess due to touchscreen.

Now came the Z10, which I can use for work and play. Awesome combination. However, BB guys if you are listening, watch the battery please....we don't want a phone that goes dead on us in just few hours of emailing + some personal use on the browsing. I have almost switched to Android if it wasn't because of the BB emailing services. Now my 9900 failed me on reading the SD card.

I thought I was excited during the last few waiting months - well now I'm fit to be tied, as they say! Please understand the metaphor, I am REALLY enthusiastic about what I see - and frankly, I could care less about the absurd numbers of apps we keep seeing promoted as an asset to a smartphone. Hope for a Z10 March 28.
Roll on BBRY, be a good phone - as you were designed to be ......

I saw this video as well, and admit pre-OS BB10.1 my Z10 was a little buggy with frozen web screens. I'd like to see this comparison post BB10.1 release, as the performance as really been refined.

Hi Simon! I'm from Brazil &I've been watching your videos and I have a question. I have a Z10 and 2 Google email account(not as Exchange) How can I delete the emails at the Z10 (the old ones) without delete the emails from the Internet if I want to have a backup of all these messages?
I'd really appreciate your help!

Best Regards!


Posted via CB10

Guys i am a Blackberry loyal. This might be the worst place to start this thread but I wanted to do something for BB therefore decided to promote it via facebook page. Need your help spreading the word.
Issue is BB guys didnt promote BB 10. Till today I didnt know we dont need to pay service charges and my carrier was charging me full amount as same as they were for legacy device. My family members using Z10 dont know either. I am sure many of us dont know.
the page is designed to tell BB 10 users about OS and others also so they get interested in this new device.

page is

I Shall make admins of that page, i myself dont know much but i am sure you guys want to share as much as you can

I got my Super Smart phone BlackBerry Z10 few days ago, and I love it!!!
For me, it's the Best Device on the market.
Great design, kool features, perfect size, plenty of good Apps, very good Camera.
It works fine with my PlayBook.

Poor Service by Blackberry phone in India

Blackberry Z10 Review

On dated 20th May, 2014 I purchased blackberry Z10 from Issue was in starting, once it was discharged or low battery it didn't restart. After facing issues continuously on 12th July I sent my phone for repair from authorized blackberry service center. But still I haven't received my phone as I submitted it for fixes on 12 July 2014 to service center.

And also now they are not picking up call. I am continuously trying on mobile number as given by service center authorized person to its higher concerning person in HCL.

Blackberry Z10 this is what the quality product blackberry is giving to his customers. I contacted some of the guys in my contact list who purchased recently Z10. 10 out of 10 products are faulty products. I used my phone only for 10 days hardly and phone stopped working. I bought blackberry Z10 to use it not to submit it for the 3 months in service center. Phone was not working, not because of me it’s because of blackberry. What quality product they are giving to customers. Blackberry is keeping phone for the 3 months as of now. I wasted my money totally here. And now I am totally blocked due to money I have already spent. Now neither I can buy a new phone nor am I able to use Z10 phone which I purchased earlier. When I call to service center they are not picking up the phone. I got to know people who given phone in May June may get delivery in next week. Its more than three months. It’s very unprofessional that blackberry customer service guys stopped responding. This is my worst customer service experience ever. Blackberry process is too week/slow to resolve the problems.

What will be the company doing to compensate for this entire mess which has happened after buying this faulty handset?

I am in contact with both local company (HCL) who is providing service to BlackBerry in India and with the BlackBerry at Both of the representatives are wasting time. Nobody is doing work to give me satisfactory answer. What they are demanding the more time which I not have.
Please do not buy BlackBerry products until they take a solid stand to improve in their service.
September 18, 2014 at 9:56 AM
Now this is current scenario its more than 10 days even not in a position to tell when handset will deliver and whats the status at their end?
HCL representative at with whom i am communicating is now not responding.
Service center representative whom i handover the handset was saying it will take another 15-20 days. But i am not sure because he is continuously saying this from day 1.

And i am sure this is happening not only with me. This is with everyone.