From the Editor's Desk: Getting primed and ready for BlackBerry 10

Getting primed and ready for BlackBerry 10
By Kevin Michaluk on 22 Oct 2012 03:06 pm EDT

I'll do anything to make sure I win this BB10 keyboard typing contest! ;) 

If you read my articles last week, you have no doubt noticed I am having a lot of fun putting my BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B device to use. No, it's not final hardware. Nor is it final software. The version of BB10 loaded up on it is a stripped down developer preview. That said, between the flow UI and a few native apps being loaded on it (as well as a bunch of apps I have sideloaded), it's doing a fine job of satisfying my new device cravings.

One of the BB10 native apps that was preloaded is BlackBerry Messenger, which means I've been spending some quality time with the new BB10 touchscreen keyboard. There's no other app that encourages you to learn how to type fast on a smartphone like BBM does. I'm becoming one with the new keyboard, and combined with all of the time I have spent in recent months visiting Android and iOS as part of my World Tour, now have a lot to say about typing on touchscreens. I have a long article in the works, titled CrackBerry Kevin's Theory of Smartphone Keyboards, that will be hitting the blogs soon. It'll be an epic follow up to my Smartphone Hierarchy of Needs theory that has stood the test of time.

As for the photo above... well, let's just say I challenged a few RIM employees to a typing race on the new BB10 keyboard via twitter on Friday. After a little bit of smack talk in all directions, I tweeted the photo above and told them not to underestimate my keyboard training techniques. Nothing like a little electronic muscle stimulation to add another 25% to your typing speed. :)

Having the Dev Alpha up and running has been a great primer for me in terms of getting ready for BlackBerry 10. Yes, we're also using it for app testing per its intent, but I'm also carrying it with me everywhere I go now. In one pocket I have the iPhone 5. In the other pocket, I have the Dev Alpha B, which is using the iPhone 5's data through a WiFi Hotspot. There's no phone app on the Dev Alpha B, but at least I am connected and up and running. It's amazing how quickly you get used to the flow on BB10, and how much better it is compared to the competition. Despite the newness of the iPhone 5, the experience of iOS 6 feels positively old in comparison to the flow of BB10. 

The feedback to last week's Brainstorming BB10 posts and videos has been very positive, so I'm going to keep them coming. I know they're torture for those of you who want the phone NAO, but at least they'll also help all of you get primed and ready for the release of BB10 so you can hit the ground running tap the screen with your fingers swiping!

Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: Getting primed and ready for BlackBerry 10


Everyday I wake up and do the following:
1.Read texts,emails, and bbm received during the night
2.Click browser icon,go to bookmarks, click crackberry.

I'm absolutely FIENDING for bb10 and I comment on almost any post that isn't a game or theme.

@ Bold_until_Hybrid_Comes

Sounds like my Playbook daily routine. With the exception I'm a major gamer and love Playbook games. I would have pegged you as a gamer too. I like to work hard and play harder and love a good game.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Kevin, how does it compare to a (9900) physical keyboard, typing speed and accurarcy, and even 'feel'?


Dear sir, the blackberry virtual keyboard is like no other. The learning curve will tell how fast.

What's is the official name for the keyboard does anyone know? I really bother myself calling it an octopus keyboard in my head

(yes, I know I'm not Kevin, but I've used the BB10 keyboard and own a 9900, so I'm pretty sure I'm qualified to comment)

If you're dedicated to a physical keyboard, the BB10 one won't necessarily change your mind. I will say, though, that the word suggestions are very useful and it only takes a minute or two before you're confidently flicking them up into place. It's VERY cool, and a definite improvement over any other virtual keyboard.

One benefit of the virtual keyboard is how easy it is to make corrections (a quick left-swipe erases the last word) and get to symbols. In some cases that can definitely be a time-saver.

It's a different experience from the 9900. It is definitely the best virtual kb, and with the predictive text and the gestures, it can do things that just wouldn't be possible with a physical keyboard.

Personally, I'm still on the fence, but I can see many, many people being attracted by this. It definitely impresses people when I show it to them.

minus the whole drug thing, sponsorship from sony and stepping down from the board of his charity... but yeah! Just like him! :P

Kevin praising a virtual keyboard? :) I'm really impressed!!! BB10's virtual keyboard must be sweet!

Playbook is a great fast machine and looking forward to BB10 and the new virtual keyboard with its hot new predictive software.

The new BB10 handsets are coming out in March 2013, but I hear that we are not getting it for the Playbook till June 2013. But I'm thinking that the phone handsets and the Playbook need to have the same OS and narrow the gap as this will fragment the Developers in term of writing apps for 2.1 or BB10.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

This seems to be the general consensus in the Blackberry Forums. Go to Blackberry/Hot In The Forums/When Will BB10 Come To The Playbook?...It's in there.

Seems people are saying in there RIM is putting all its resources into the new BB10 handsets, and Playbook will get the update about 3 months later. Putting it out around June, the beginning of summer 2013 for the Playbook. However people are saying that a beta BB10 for the Playbook will be out about a month after the new handsets release in March 2013.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Too bad it's all just assumptions though. BB10 is already on the PlayBook internal and this is fact not assuming. Can't see why it would take so many months to release it after the phones when it's already built for PlayBook too.

PlayBook OS is a VERY DUMBED DOWN and VERY BASIC first attempt at bringing QNX RTOS into a mobile environment and platform.

Look at it this way, PB OS is like Windows 95, PB OS2.1 is like Windows 98.

Let's just hope BB10 runs smoother than Windows ME !


Well June 2013 might be based on past Playbook update releases.

Think of this...Playbook 2.0 came out in February 2012. Then Playbook 2.1 came out in October 2012. So that's 8 months between releases.

If you follow this logic of 8 months between releases then BB10 for Playbook will be out in June 2013. And its said that all resources are being used on the new BB10 handsets, and the Playbook BB10 will follow shortly thereafter. Thoughts?
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

RIM needs a theme song for BB10 and the whole 'Black Sheep' idea,...

From the group,...Black Sheep,..."The Choice Is Yours"

"you can go with this, or you can go with that, or you can go with this or you can go with that, you could go with this or you could go with that Or you can go with this, cuz this is where it's at"

....cause BB10 is where its at!

Black Sheep,..."The Choice Is Yours"...are you talking about that cool but hilarious Hamster commercial? lol. That would be a perfect jingle for bb10!!!

Sounds like some good ideas. I was thinking that RIM has to develop some sort of jingle to support the upcoming advertising campaign for BB10. Anyone know when they are gonna start advertising bb10? I'm guessing maybe in January or February 2013.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Nice! How about by and the end of January? (he said hopefully!). That is my working assumption, that I'll have my new hardware in time for Valentine's Day. (coincidence not intended but somewhat appropriate)

Hey Kevin, how about another contest like the one you had for Instagram?!

It will create the kind of excitment like none other!

What kind of car Kevin? LOL
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Let me fix this for you:

"(I'm guessing) the new BB10 handsets are coming out in March 2013, but (speculation in the forums is that) we are not getting it for the Playbook till June 2013. (Of course, I have no confirmation from RIM or any authority other than guessing that this is the case)"

Seriously dude - appreciate your enthusiasm, but passing off guesses as facts is not a good thing.

Didn't mean for it to come off like that. Noted for future reference.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Whenever someone tells me controlling BB10 is complicated, I say it's not different from playing temple run....
#BB10 can't wait

"I'm going to keep them coming. I know they're torture for those of you who want the phone NAO, but at least they'll also help all of you get primed and ready for the release of BB10"

I know I'm in the minority, but I really wish you wouldn't keep them coming - for me, all it does it make it much more infuriating at how slow it has been to finally get an updated, modern Blackberry phone and BBOS from the folks over at RIM. Do I want it now? Hell no. I wanted it two years ago!

My 6 year old son picked up all the swipping gestures on my playbook within minutes, and he navigates through it like a pro. BB10 will have similar swipping gestures, and I'm sure my son will pick it up and use it with no effort. So any bb haters out there who say that BB10 will not succeed because everyone will need to learn how to use it, and will need tutorials and documentation....well......maybe I found a new source of income and I can make my son available for BB10 training sessions for those idiots. $10 a session for Android users, and maybe $20 for iphone users (you know, because of the extra whinning they will do while learning)

lol im in the same boat my baby 6 year old sister has been using my Playbook and my parents playbook constantly since she was 5 she picked up all the gestures games folders and apps in just a few mins. After she did that there was no way stopping her from picking it out of my hand swiping out of the app im in and using the way she wants.

she tried to do the same to my cousins iphones and androids lol and asked why is it so hard to get out of an app couldnt stop laughing.

PlayBook does make it simple indeed. Once you how to swipe up from the bottom bezel, you basically got the thing figured out.

The biggest problem with the swipe gestures is that once you are used to them you can't stop yourself using them on other operating systems too, which doesn't tend to work that well. :-)

My daughter, who just turned 3, has been blazing through my PlayBook for almost a year now! Although I think nothing but the greatest things of her, she is no prodigy. I even took a video of her navigating from App to App on command (from my 9930). It really is incredible to watch. Then I hand her my wife's iPhone 4s and watch her stumble trying to use swiping gestures. It makes my day every time!

NOTE: BB10 is the future device / platform of choice for my family and business. I am spreading the word to every person I know in NY. BB10 is coming and it is the REAL DEAL!Once people see these things in over!

We are all very ready. I hope RIM gives me something to spend all this Christmas cash on though. House is already littered with PlayBook's and handsets ....but no 4G PlayBook ;)

You have a Dev Alpha B device? I didn't realize you were a developer. What kind of Apps are you developing, or have developed?

The CBC just posted this article(advertisement) for iMore. It's pretty pathetic the stance a publicly funded media outlet such as The CBC has taken when it comes to Apple. Not sure why I posted it here or at all, I guess Im just tired of the CBC bashing ALL things RIM/Blackberry and swooning over Apple and running ads for them with my tax money. I Bleed Black & Berry

your link does not work so I can't see who wrote the article.

Yes the CBC is partly funded by the public, but that doesn't mean that those who work there aren't biased towards one product or another (people like that are EVERYWHERE)

And though I understand it's the editors job to filter it out, sometimes the editors can also be biased, and at other times stories just get published on the web.

But thank you for holding the CBC to a higher standard, it's what they aim for. :)

I'll agree, it sucks when bias is found in their reporting...

my 2 cents

Acutally that's my mistake, the CBC doesn't "write" artiles. It uses pre-written articles from sources like The Canadian Press etc.

I Bleed Black & Berry


Kevin doesn't need to develope to get a Dev device. I'm surpirised RIM didn't offer him 2 of each just cuz.

I Bleed Black & Berry

I think BlackBerry has a new world record in the Guiness Book of World Records for having the longest ever leak/rumor of all time in tech history.!!


I have a BB Torch, and one of the things I find most useful about the physical keyboard is the ease with which I can write in Spanish using the trackpad to add accents. I do this for work as well as chatting to friends. With the touchscreen keyboard I find it such a faff to do what is so easy with the physical one.

Kevin, can you review the BB10 devices for non English language input too?

I would be interested in this as I write in English, Spanish and French at times, mainly English. I understand the keyboard allows three language inputs at a time so very curious how this would work.

I am also wondering if there will be emoji support as that will turn off consumers if there is not and if that will take up one of the three dictionary inputs

I'm glad to hear you say that ios6 seems outdated compared to the flow of bb10(a stripped down version). I get more and more excited about the upcoming berries the more I read these stories and can't wait for your theory about smartphone keyboards.

Kevin, forgive me if I missed it, but a while back you said you would be doing an article on the physical keyboard; I believe it was in response to someone's concern over the straight-line arrangement . . . Is that article on the way or did I miss it?

Just wondering I hope the iOS version of bb10 predictive virtual keyboard is less smooth just so they knw berries are better fruit B)

This is my first post on CrackBerry although I've been following the blog for over a year. Swipe gesture interfacing has been showcased for years in the movies and on tv, and it's shown to be a natural, fluid experience. "Minority Report", "The Avengers", "V", "NCIS" and "Hawaii Five O" are a few examples where this can be seen. Some games also use a form of swipe gestures in their UI. QNX has simply brought that experience from the cinematic and virtual worlds to everyday real world devices in the form of the BB10 OS. I smiled when I read a number of posts stating that children as young as 3 years old master the BB10/PlayBook swipe gestures in a matter of minutes, yet adults (most likely iOS and Android fans) complain about the difficulty of the learning curve. Hmm... "And a little child shall lead them."

With all the children of Crackberry nation members already using BB devices I'd say are future seems bright lol.

Living Bold-ly!

What is up with some people complaining that BB10 requires some learning to use? That it is complex? Every new device requires some learning to use. Has the thought of actually increasing our intellectual capabilities becomes that atrocious?

Anyway, back on topic, the BB10 all-touch keyboard will be my first venture away from a physical keyboard. So looking forward to playing with it.

~I am BlackBerry by choice~