Crash Course: The things you need to know about the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system

BlackBerry 10
By Adam Zeis on 5 Nov 2012 12:34 pm EST

With all of the BlackBerry 10 news it's easy to get lost on information overload. L-series, N-Series, keyboards, camera, Active Frames, Dev Alphas ... it may all be a jumbled mess to you at this point. To help bring you up to speed quickly, we've rounded up what you most need to know about BlackBerry 10. As we near 2013 and an official release date, BlackBerry 10 will pick up speed and the news won't stop as we find out more details, but we'll keep this post updated so you'll have all the latest info about BlackBerry 10 all in one place. Keep reading and check out everything you need to know about BlackBerry 10!

What's New

BlackBerry 10 is a totally new platform being built from the ground up. It is being marketed by RIM as a "mobile computing platform" and not just another phone OS. BlackBerry 10 will share very little with the old BlackBerry OS, but instead offer a completly new experience for users. We've seen many hands-on demos and have a taste of what BlackBerry 10 will bring, but there is certainly much more in store. 

Hands-on with BlackBerry 10 software

Some of the new features include a brand new keyboard with predictive text and gestures, a time-warp camera, new BBM features, The BlackBerry Hub, Peek & Flow, Active Frames for minimized apps, plenty of upgraded specs and much, much more. You can see most of the new features in action in our hands-on with the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B.  

  • BlackBerry Hub - BlackBerry Hub is the inbox/messages app for BlackBerry 10. There is no Messages app now - just the BlackBerry Hub which is always there and always one gesture away.
  • Quick Settings / Menus - Swiping down from the top of the phone of the screen reveals a quick settings menu. 
  • One-Handed UI touches - All of BlackBerry 10 has been designed with one-handed use in mind.
  • Lock Screen - The lock screen not only shows your notifcations, but as you drag you finger to unlock the device, you can literally "reveal" the OS underneath. Very cool.
  • Active Frames - Minimzed apps turn into widget-like Active Frames. These frames will show useful app info (like current temparture for weather app). 
  • Keyboard - The BB10 keyboard has an aweseome predicitve text feature that actually shows predicted words over the next letter you would have to type, really speeding up one-handed typing. Check out the demo video below.

A look at the BlackBerry 10 keyboard

Peek & Flow on BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry Balance & Mobile Fusion

BlackBerry Balance on BlackBerry 10 makes for managing your work and personal spaces on one device a breeze. With BlackBerry Balance, you can actually just use one device and have your personal items completely separated from your work items. Mobile Fusion will allow IT departments to manage BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices and end users will be able to choose their own device.

Having BlackBerry Balance on BlackBerry 10, users will have a separate work space and personal space on their device. Both run independently of each other and users can easily switch between the two. There will be a separate App World for work and personal that will offer up different apps depending on a user/company needs. The work space can be locked to prevent access, IT can wipe work information while leaving personal intact and even information copied from the personal space will not be able to be pasted in the work space. Check out a quick demo of BlackBerry Balance below.


At launch we are expecting to see two BlackBerry devices. First will be an all-touch device (known now as the BlackBerry L-Series) followed by a full QWERTY model with a physical keyboard (known now as the N-Series). The keyboard model is expected to come a few weeks after the initial launch of the touchscreen version.

BlackBerry 10 phones

Following the first two devices, it is rumored we will see four additional devices fill out the spectrum. Ultimately we may see three touchscreen devices and three keyboard devices, all at varying pricing tiers. 

Release Date

BlackBerry 10 devices are expected to hit the market in Q1 of 2013. That means we should most likely see the first BlackBerry 10 phones made available by March of 2013 - but nothing is yet set in stone and an official release date has not been announced.

More BlackBerry 10

Discuss more in the BlackBerry 10 forums
BlackBerry 10 News
BlackBerry 10 Superpage
BlackBerry 10 running on the Dev Alpha
Many hands on BlackBerry 10 - 10 things we're looking forward to
Ten things we'll lose in BlackBerry 10

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

Reader comments

Crash Course: The things you need to know about the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system


Looking forward to getting rid of the iShit...and picking up a new BB.

The 'peek & glance' video is a little misleading since the 'peek' part is now on the left side and the gesture is a little different...

Hopefully they have a setting to pin active frames like in the video Kevin posted suggesting that -- definitely would be something people would want to do.

I'm in the same camp. Will be switching from my iPhone to a BB10 as soon as it comes out. I'm just getting bored of iOS. Alot of people around me are switching from the iPhone to other smartphones. Some are going to WP, some to Android, and some are waiting for BB10... I haven't seen this much negativity around Apple in a long time, just look at their stock price.

I have Verizon 9850 Torch it s good phone until the 7.1 OS update came along and ruined my speaker phone. Why didnt RIM/BB offer an update as many people complained.

They seem to have just left it alone...Now I have to buy a new phone because my speaker phone is useless. That is the only thing wrong. I wish someone could address this issue properly as I have reported it to BB/Verizon and forums of all that I can and no one has had a solution.

Yet I deal with the speaker less phone which i use to use alot. It is now useless as I paid full price for it.

It's NOT RIM's fault at all. It's verizon's fault. They probably screwed up some setting in the OS core files when it was sent to them for testing and then made changes according to the screwed up things and now, the voice channel that goes to the phone (basically, voice and data share probably the same stream), speakerphone isn't supported due to that change they made. AT&T also has the same issue, it's quite strange.

Nothing related to RIM at all.

To sell for xmas RIM needed phones in carrier's hands waaaayyy before.
They obviously weren't able to get'r done fast enough so Q1 2013 it is.

I'm definitely switching my i5 to BB10. I just switched my i3GS to i5 couple weeks ago. Very very disappointed on i5. It is a scam. What a waste of $$.

Giving the user the option to pin those frames how would want is a must imo. Not because of the actual feature (although, I do relate it to the PB's browser bookmark handling as it is now, and it will annoy some people), but it's more about the mindset and the "BlackBerry way".

iOS leaves very little in terms of customization. Even a few releases ago, you couldn't change the homescreen background. That being said, I think Android's approach confuses some of the lighter users that would prefer no options over too many confusing ones.

With that said, I think there needs to be a middle ground. The user should be able to change things such as the locations of the active frames (most recent, pinning, most frequently used, or a combo of two of those). Imo, one of BlackBerry's strongests strengths (aside from messaging and the keyboard) was the ability to customize in many different ways. From themes to apps such as quicklaunch. From quick dialing or universal search to apps like berry weather that can always show you the weather on the top of the screen and automatically update your homescreen background with an image related to the weather.

The OS6 lack of customization for the homescreen panels drove people nuts because it was very anti-BlackBerry by not allowing any customization. IMO, it will be a major mistake if RIM goes for a more iOS approach to customization with BB10. I understand they may not have enough time to make everything customizable, but the big things like the Active Frames need to be from the get-go or people may never look at BB10 again.

RIM, don't change every aspect of the BlackBerry experience. Modernization is not decustomization.

I'm dumping my WP7 the day BB10 hits the market. Want to get the Aristo but can't bear the extra 1/2 year wait so L-series it is sadly

Goodbye ''iShit'' indeed. The features on the new BB10 look absolutely stunning and I am so looking forward to it. Love the peek feature, and the email word prediction, and how you can send the full word to the email with a swipe is stunning. That is gonna screw Apple really good. RIM needs to patent this great feature so Apple can infringe it, then RIM can sue them for a billion dollars. Give the iIdiots a taste of their own crap. Also love how you can see partial multiple information screens with a swipe. This is the next step in the evolution of the Tablet/Smartphone.

What I really love about BB10 and Playbook is it's a big enough company to play hardball with the best of them, and yet it's small and intimate enough to have a wonderful forum like Crackberry.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Of course they would. Apple wants anything that's a hit, and this feature will be just that.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

I wish RIM was more clear on a release date. I personally feel march is to long a wait - as I'm long overdue for a new device as it is. I can wait till January, but not March. I know, I know, you're all thinking "what's two more months", its been a long enough wait as it is... At 'some point' the wait is to long (this length of waiting is different for each person) - for me, January is my limit - I was ready for a new device in September.

RIM has never ever said the release date will be March.
It was some analyst who, for whatever reason, speculated that it would be March.
RIM's official statement has been calendar Q1 of 2013. I'm sure they will announce something more finite soon enough

You're right, and I'm not saying they've said anything. Speculation says its gonna be released in January (which I can handle waiting for), but if come January they announce March (which seems to be their style), then it'll be the straw that breaks the camels back (for me... My opinion, how 'I' feel)...

I say January... with pre-orders at Christmas time :) RIM must take a bite of the Christmas sales somehow! ;)

4000 quatloos, and a case of Romulin Ale that BB10 will make iThralls eat an Apple.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

You should probably pick another video to demonstrate peak, because this is the old one with the BlackBerry Hub and notifications on the right side. Otherwise very nice sum up article.

* BlackBerry by choice *
Eagerly and not so patiently waiting am I. I'm so excited I need to go run a few laps around the house to ware myself out so I can stand to be around me. :p

Seeing that the phones are already in the hands of more than 50 carriers worldwide plus numerous enterprise businesses, I think January is a more reasonable timeframe. Most phones go to carriers only two months or less before launch. Specs get outdated quickly, so a March launch would be too late. They would have received feedback from the carriers within 3-4 weeks, and they would not send it to carriers if it is still several months away -- that makes no sense. Of course, if there is a significant hurdle found in testing, then there might be some delays, but that cannot be forecasted. Knowing RIM, their hardware is top notch so we don't anticipate any antenna or signal issues. As well, the Dev Alpha devices has allowed RIM to pretty much nail down the hardware design and perfect it.

Before I get into my assumptions, speculating a release date is just that: speculation.
That being said...

My non-educated guess is somewhere in mid Feb.


Original release was supposed to be 'late 2012'.
To me, that means end of Nov, probably beginning of Dec for Christmas season. Not later, and not earlier (because of RIM's horrid track record on getting things out let alone getting them out 'early' late 2012).

So why Feb? ->

2 months after beginning of Dec is beginning of Feb.

Add in a few weeks of buffer known as 'RIMisalwayslateforeverything contingency', et voila.

so faithful in this release date I bet someone a car.

Oh wait i'm not all crazy like Kevin :D

hrm impressive.
I'll do ya one better:
It will be released at 2:14pm local time on Valentine's Day.

This will show the world that Thor not only has a mighty hammer, but an even mightier heart, as he is a sucker for those little heart shaped candies with cute messages on them.

For me is ok march o january, any way, my upgrase it's in febraury, so i can wait a bit longer

Live Long and Prosper!

Playbook sucks at folders. Every app that uses standard playbook file manager to open/save files is crippled forever.
I get the feeling that no one in the world organizes files anymore. Like: "They all shall be in a single list. And I totally won't get lost because there's THREE of them".

I don't get your point. I haven't had a problem with dealing with folders. They files are where they expect to be. I can create sub folders when connected to a PC. No problems. You just can't make root folders and your shouldn't do that anyway.

My example is When I try to upload a file it gives me standard playbook file manager with no folders and all files in a long messy list with no info on which is from where.
More of the fun coming: there's no file associations in playbook os, so I get this messy list almost every time I'm opening a file from within a non-default app.
And while it is perfectly reasonable from a programmers point of view to use the default system 'open file' dialog, it is at the same time incredibly idiotic to not have folder support in it.
I'm not found of a thought that i'll be dancing with a tambourine around each and every new app that I need to work with my folder structure.
So this is my question - will BB10 have folders? As a system.
Why, is everyone except me is comfortable with navigating 64Gb worth of files as a single list? Thinks it is a good idea?
It costs money. It can't do basic stuff. How come?

I hope BB10 will give us the ability to set default apps. That way if RIM doesn't make one I like I won't be stuck having to go the long way (look for the app icon) to open the app.

Tough decision is which one to buy? I dumped iPhone this year, bought a BB 9900 to hold me over, the pain of waiting is truly crazy right now but soon I'll spend my time deciding if I will go all touch and use my BB 9900 too, or ...................... get them both!!

Does anyone remember the post Crackberry Kevin made a few months ago where he basically took a bunch of things the CEO said and pointed out the that for all those things to be true the BB10 devices would have to come out in January or else the CEO was a liar.

Nothing is official but if you know any information on the different device specs, please share. I've heard that there will be different specs in the L series, we have the physical kb version, and the A series. Too many rumors!

I would love for the new BB10 to come out in Jan. Not only because I'm due to upgrade in Jan but also because Galaxy S4 hype will start in March not mentioning few other Android phones. RIM is already missing Thanksgiving and X-Mas peak and I'm pretty sure iPhone and WP8 altogether with Android will advertise their devices like crazy.

I would really like to see a demonstration of the N series. I have a 9860 and love it, but I do miss a physical keyboard. The predictive text does look good, but a physical keyboard on a phone is a big benefit. I suppose I can buy them both ass they come out and hit ebay with 2nd place!

Me too. I'd love to see BB10 on the N-series. However, I'm afraid that RIM is not ready to show case the N-series. I have a hunch that the release date for the N-series will be delayed longer than three months after the L-series release date. I hope I'm wrong.

It would really be nice if rim considers putting a membrane, under the keyboard for water resistance. No I'm not talking about using the unit underwater. But instead making their product a little more durable.

Mutiple language input method support is a must.
The current BlackBerry 99xx phones do a good job on this feature.

I'm ready whenever you are, BB10! My phone has been out of contract for almost three months just BEGGING to be upgraded. If I have to wait longer than January, that shouldn't be a problem though, since my carrier gave me a new 9350 after my old, trusty Bold 9650 bit the dust on friday.


BlackBerry for life

I don't think they are showing the N series because it is similar in style to current phones minus the track pad and so on.

I'm bettin they are still debating on the trackpad or not. Us old timers want it. the fore-thinkers don't think its needed. Only proof to me, would be to see how easy a cursor is to insert within text. Cursor with trackpad is flawless (and copies easily too) At least on my iPhone, its tough to get that cursor in the exact place I want it.

ok, consider this; A touch screen that you are able to zoom, so that you can place that marker right between two letters. Then use the keyboard (physical) for editing, Then zoom out on the touch screen, and continue on the keyboard. now do you need a trac-pad?

ok, consider this; A touch screen that you are able to zoom, so that you can place that marker right between two letters. Then use the keyboard (physical) for editing, Then zoom out on the touch screen, and continue on the keyboard. now do you need a trac-pad?

I saw this in the past: several months with promises and then nothing... It happened with Torch (I remember it looked amazing in demos) and happen with Playbook that was launched even without a native mail application.

I honestly think that RIM should stop with such a lick of promises and work hard and quickly to deliver a rock solid product.

I used BB for years but I got tired to wait and bought a Galaxy S2.

Yesterday I have been thinking on buy a Playbook untill I realized it STILL has no video chat application (no Skype, no GTalk) and, please, do not mention the crappy app that some people use to recommend on BB forums. I wonder why RIM is moving sooooo slowwwwly.

And please, do not try to attack me: I say clearly I would like to go back to BB, but I will not lower my expectations. I would like something equal or better than iPhone or SGIII with all the basic functionalities and applications that everyone is using. I know that QNX is a rock solid OS (I have worked with it in the 90s) but it does not matter if you are not able to video chat with your family when are away of home. Come on, I can do that with a cheap Huawei phone!!!

No excuses for RIM...

Buy some Playbooks. It has a great video chat. I bought my wife and her mother playbooks for xmas. They chat almost every day. Works great when they are traveling too. Cheaper than almost everything else.

I bought a BB because the PB was coming so native email or lack thereof has always been a "meh" for me. I prefer bridging to BB for communications, calendar, memos, etc.

Either you won't be able to appreciate what RIM offers or you haven't bought the playbook at all. Get one, you'll have 30 damn days to take it back and then, decide if you love it, or don't want it, then return it.

Don't blame RIM for the apps it doesn't have, BLAME THE DAMN DEVELOPERS!! THEY made the choice NOT to include the applications you brought up. RIM DOES NOT MAKE THOSE APPS.

Oh and the playbook DOES have a video chat application.

I'm really fine with my BBOS 7.1 until i get the bb10 L-series early next year...
To what i want to do i need no other phone than my 9860...
I really want BB10 to come out... but i see no reason to go to android or iOS.
My phone still get's things done....
Besides... BlackBerry is... a world apart... that I just LOVE... since first touch!!! :)))

While updating my 9780, I came across a file that mentioned BBVegas, maybe it's the N-series? Or just some random file with a suspicious name or I'm paranoid.

Would be a great Valentines gift for her and also for me. so I am set, less stress looking for a gift.

The ONLY thing I need to know about BB10 is WHEN IS IT COMING OUT ?!?!?!?
I getting sick of this wait, and my GF (BB fan for about 10 yrs) just decided to go to iPhone as she is tired of waiting. Looks like my brother and his wife are going Samsung and iPhone respectively. Their contract was up 4 months ago but they are also tired of waiting.
The only reason I havent switched yet is that I'm stuck in contract until March.

I'm tired and worn out trying to get friends and family with BB's to wait "just a few more months"

I can imagine this same problem is occurring in numerous households. RIM, with new BB10 coming out "soon" you are loosing customers. The only people I know buying BB7 phones are business customers.

And what would the point of RIM announcing a deadline when we all know that any deadline set by RIM, if history continues to be repeated, is merely a suggestion. As much as I want a release date announced - my cynicism gets in the way.

But like you, I also am getting sick of waiting; I already moved onto another tablet after giving up on my Playbook. My BBM list has dropped to 11 - down from 62 - since this time last year as everyone I know with a BB phone have simply moved on to another platform because they were tired of waiting.

Oh well, BB10 is "coming soon" - whenever that is (sarcasm)

I seriously don't understand people who act like their phones expire just because their contract did. Unless it's broken, what's the big deal?

After 3 yrs (standard Cdn contract length) the phone is BEGGING to be replaced. Saying its on its last legs is an understatement. As much as I like BB, if my ph goes I will have to switch to another ph.

1. It goes if you damage it (jammed microSIM adaptor, water damage, too many drops, broken screen/housing).
2. Or it goes if the flash memory chip gets flashed out.

Those are the only TWO factors when a phone expires and doesn't work AT ALL, ie. Never powers on EVER again, even with a fresh charged new battery.

how about this!

i have verizon 9850 torch. since the 7.1 OS update my speaker phone has not worked correctly!

Where is the fix for this? its been 9 months!!!! so now i have to buy a new phone? personally the torch is an amazing phone imo. but the speakerphone sucks now since the 7.1 update. wtf !

Sir or dude, or miss, don't blame rim for the speakerphone function not working correctly, blame your carrier for screwing up the voice channel it sends/receives during a call. You could use a bluetooth speaker.

Right now I use what I think is the best smartphone on the market SG3 with my nice Bold 9900. However I can not wait to sell both my SG3 and bold 9900 and have the best phone/OS on the market BB10. BB10 will be hands down the best OS and phone and I can not wait.

@ Kevin, Kev, I'd like to know some info how we will transition from older devices to BB 10 devices. As many know, only need to perform a "Backup",..from old device and "Restore" for new devices, in current BBs. So, being that BB 10 is entirely new coding, I'm wondering how I will get some 800+ contacts from my 9810 to a BB10 device!

...patiently waiting!

I think they are on top of this.. I am waiting to do a device switch when I get BB10, If i dont have that option me and others will b upset.. they must have this down

Thx Jonathan,...Hmm, I guess one way to skin this cat is to perform a backup of contacts to Blackberry Protect,....then import the contacts to the new BB 10 device.

But what happens to all of current emails?,...and text msgs,...

This is going to be interesting.


I can wait. Can't replace my Torch 9860 till March at the earliest, so might just hang on for another 3 months afterwards till the rumoured super phone, top of the range version appears. Stuck using my company SIM till march when I leave. After that I have to pay for my own phone and I can go on a pay as you go contact for a few months till the right phone is released.

starting to look a lil confusing.... sliding up then left. seems like to many gestures... peek seems kinda useless,, kinda like apple and android add features that have really no use BUT look COOL.. I hope BB knows what there doing.

seems like you don't have a playbook... but don't worry, gestures are simple, easy to remember and most important, useful...

Peek has no use but looks cool? Surely you only use Facebook or troll twitter on your smartphone. For people who deal with a high volume of e-mail and messages per day, peek is incredible. That must be one of the dumbest comments I've ever read on CrackBerry.

The trackpad is a huge loss!
I dont know how we're going to use the phone with gloves on!

Well it's always winter in Canada so we always have our gloves on... it's gonna be hard that's for sure!

Here's the Cliff's notes crash course: wait another 5 months and see if this actually comes out and if it's not DOA.

One big question: How well will a Blackberry 10 phone run Android apps? I don't have a playbook, so I really don't know what to expect.

If the experience is good, if Android apps run smoothly and are well integrated into the OS, then a Blackberry 10 phone will give you the best of both words - great BB usability with the Android app market.

JANUARY is the better option for RIM in their financial calendar, and they are very much aware of that. They'll be pushing for January for sure... the pressure is on.

I have a good feeling it will be January since everything is going according to plan so far.

It goes to show how much a change in management can move so many mountains!

So excited for Blackberry 10! :D

I have a few of questions about BB10.

1. Rumor has it that BB 10 will not work on previous devices, i.e. Bold 9900. Confirm? This one may be obvious.

2. If I run my 9900 on OS 7, will I have access to the same apps as BB10? Will the apps work on OS 7?

3. I've heard issues around BES. In an enterprise environment, will there be a need to upgrade to a new BES? If that's the case, I'm not going to an OS10 device because I can pretty much guaranty my company will not upgrade and keep rolling out IOS and android.

4. I've heard Android apps will be available on OS 10. Is this true? if it is, can I not get these apps for OS 7 devices?


1) Correct. Old, Java-based BBOS devices do not get an upgrade to BlackBerry 10. The PlayBook, however, does. BB10 requires dual-core hardware.

2) Only if the developer makes the app available for BlackBerry 10. Think of BBOS and its ecosystem as being EOL. There will still be support for OS 4 through OS 7, but PlayBook/BlackBerry 10/QNX (Soon to be all the same thing) - are brand new, new ecosystem, RIM's future.

3) If you want to deploy BlackBerry 10 devices and manage them with BES-precision you will need BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. Come May, this will be able to manage all legacy devices and BB10 phones. Mobile Fusion allows you to manage iOS and Android devices as well. In terms of business e-mail, even without a BES server, BB10 supports Active Sync natively, and is as easy to connect as any iPhone or Android device.

4) Android apps that are ported to BlackBerry 10 are available, and will be sold through App World, and run in an Android Run-Time environment, still capable of multitasking (better than Android even) and is seamless to other native apps. No you cannot get this for OS 7 devices; see #2.

- Mark

I coudnt take iphone anymore and put it away two months ago. It was long time for me to wait for 10 so i decided in the mean time to get a Blackberry 9360 and i did. Until 10 is out of course.

Kevin, Nice presentation. In the past, When a company has sold me a phone. There has been no support for training, That is to say. This is how you do this, or that. So would you please (before launch) post some videos complete with presentation panels (exploded views). And go through the steps. Do the screens progress one after the other? or do we have short cuts (like the keyboard). Is there one main hub only? or do we have sub-hubs to work with. Will the new units be able to handle data and vox and something else all at the same time? Will I be able to video conference call some one, And while doing this be able to take a picture of something to send to them? ok you got the idea, some training videos please. Thanks Buddy. Sam-i-Am

i bought an i phone 5 had it for 10 days returned it, i guess i got caught up in the i phone hype, never owned one, and never will again i have a BB torch, love it cant wait for BB10, it will have a voice command feature like "Siri" that was the ONLY thing i liked about i phone 5

I don't get why people are going crazy over the hub. Except for always being available from a convenient swipe ,how does this differ from the 'Messages' app we have on legacy Blackberry devices?

Torch 9810 -- Playbook 64GB