Glance and Peek - Two of the key gestures delivering the "Flow" experience in BlackBerry 10

By Kevin Michaluk on 22 Jun 2012 02:49 pm EDT
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Peek. Glance. Flow. These are three of the words we have heard Research In Motion use frequently in describing BlackBerry 10 since since the first demo at BlackBerry World. 

Flow describes the ability of the user to seamlessly traverse between application experiences on the device (as opposed to the more common open / close paradigmn of iOS).

Glance is the gesture that allows you to preview notifications easily within BlackBerry 10, by swiping up at an angle from the bottom right corner of the display. This pulls in the vertical notification bar from the right. Continuing the glance gesture to the left hooks you into the unified inbox. So from anywhere on the OS -- no matter what app you are in -- you are never more than a quick gesture away from jumping into messages.

Peek is the in-app gesture that allows you to view multiple layers of an app at once. The classic demonstration provided of this is when viewing an attachment such as a .pdf within the email app. By peeking back, you can view the attachment, the email and the inbox all at once to quickly flow to wherever you want to go.

My descriptions don't do these innovations justice, so check out the video above recorded by CrackBerry's Chris Umiastowski along with RIM's Gary Klassen yesterday at the BlackBerry 10 Jam event in Toronto. Oh, and for those of you still wondering why the time is always showing on the clock on these demos, it is because this isn't a live demo of the actual working BlackBerry 10 OS. RIM built a special wrapper for this preview - a smart way for RIM to only show off what they want to show right now. As for why they chose 13:37 for the clock time, I can only assume it's because BlackBerry 10 is going be elite! If you don't know what leetspeak is, you can learn here. I'm sure it was somebody on the QNX team that tossed that time in there. Hardcore. :)

60 comments

axllebeer

Boldly sent from my 9930
Ahh it's going to be sooo awesome!

WinningWithLogic

Ok, I have to bring this up.

We've seen these exact same screens again and again and again in countless videos now. I'm actually starting to wonder if these are even real apps running on the device or just mocks of how the functionality "should work". For example, is that actually a real email client running in the video?

Also, you mention the video was recorded in Toronto. And yet on the home screen the weather widget is still stuck to Orlando, Florida...where this was first demonstrated. Theory: they're not real home screen widgets, just mock ups for demonstration purposes.

Every single time we see these videos the *exact* same thing is demonstrated, without any variation at all.

To be clear as well, I did read what you wrote Kevin " a smart way for RIM to only show off what they want to show right now"...honestly, I think all we are seeing is flash mock-ups and RIM hasn't even built any of these apps yet at all.

Foreverup

I noticed that too exact same email and pdf is opened each time. Same for the "Verge" and "Engadget" videos too. It has to be demo app not a working version.

WinningWithLogic

Yeah, it's all smoke and mirrors. Far from being a "smart wrapper" they're probably just quickly hacked flash screens. It's not smart - it's hugely concerning, and all just smoke and mirrors.

Puz_zled

Apply logic, logic man. If your unsubstantiated incorrect supposition remains unsupported by actual evidence then it is simply what you think, and no more worthy of consideration than any other uninformed comment around here, (mine included). A reasonable logical explanation has been given that fits the available evidence. A working, feature rich (and getting richer all the time) QNX Neutrino OS exists and has had over a year to acquire robustness(word?)As Kevin stated, a number of the enhancements between now (PlayBook OS 2.1) and BB10 will be graphical UI in nature and therefore copyable by the competition, so it's best not to give ANYTHING away other than the limited feature list that was strategically decided on and that we're getting now. This is a new disciplined RIM, with good German leadership!
Sent from my BlackBerry Neutrino powered Playbook

Kevin Michaluk

DUDE. Did you not just read what I wrote in the post?!

This was confirmed to be the case by RIM. They basically built a contained wrapper around this demo. Remember. BlackBerry 10 is still based on the QNX OS. It's the same OS. They're just putting a new UI and skin and some gestures to it. 

So for these BlackBerry 10 demos on the Dev Alpha device, they basically created a wrapper demo to show it off. That's why you see the same clock time, and the same apps on the homescreen, etc. It's a demo of the UI and some of the features. It is NOT a fully running BB10 OS.

The videos we've seen this week are the same things as shown off at BB World.

Pretty smart approach by RIM. Like Heins said at BBWorld - they want to keep some secrets for launch. Doing a demo this way they can't give away any more than they want to. But they're still giving a very good preview of what the experience will be like.

This was confirmed to us by RIM. No surprise here.

WinningWithLogic

I totally did read what you wrote.

I just think there's a difference between "a wrapper" and some pre-rendered screens. In effect, RIM is basically pulling up screenshots/pictures on the device and saying "trust us, it's gonna be just like this. Better even".

This is particularly concerning. Far from "keeping some secrets", I would bet that the secret they're trying to keep is that they haven't made any progress at all with building the real actual working apps.

mavsguy842

Why be concerned? We'll all find out in due time. Either way you're not getting a BB10 phone until later this year. So if you're right you'll buy a different phone. If you're wrong maybe you'll buy a BB10 phone, maybe you won't.

Personally, I think your concerns will be shown to be unfounded. I don't believe that the sky could be falling inside RIM and we wouldn't be hearing about it; especially with the layoffs that are happening. The vibe out of RIM is more positive now than it was 6 months ago - that'd be one hell of a trick if RIM hasn't "made any progress at all with building the real actual working apps."

We'll see.

Puz_zled

I would bet that you are incorrect. That would be the simplest explanation.
Sent from my BlackBerry Neutrino powered Playbook

berrybait

Kevin, remember. You can never outsmart an idiot.

XPEH

Ok, that's a bit harsh. He actually raises an important point. I for one didn't realize that this wasn't an actual functioning OS. It's better than showing something that doesn't work, of course, but showing something that already works would have been better. Discussion like this is healthy. I hope RIM can deliver.

mavsguy842

I think you found the crux of it. Either they're doing this to avoid showing us that even the most basic parts of the software don't work, OR they're doing this to avoid showing us a bunch of other stuff that they've added, or are in the process of adding, that they want to keep secret. I suspect it's the latter, but we'll see.

berrybait

Yeah, maybe a bit on the harsh side. However, the point is that so many don't seem to bother to read the article, then proceed to ask questions that are already answered.

Regarding the not showing.... The way they've done this is absolutely the right way. If I wanted to keep everything under wraps and not have anyone accidentally let something slip that shouldn't, this is the perfect way to do that.

Puz_zled

IF YOU HAVE USED A PLAYBOOK, THEN YOU HAVE USED THE BASICS OF BB10!! It's WORKING! Layer on the graphical UI enhancements, adjust display priorities for the smaller screen real estate (same pixel count, .·.greater pixel density)and a few other things and done! Simplistic I know,but to believe the Chicken Little comments above, is utter nonsense.
Sent from my BlackBerry Neutrino powered Playbook

erhan8

Oh dear god thank you! What's with the conspiracy theories?

Darlaten

The danger of packing the demonstration like this is that it gives fuel to fan the flames of doubt in the minds of consumers and reviewers.

Incidentally, when a video game developer demonstrates their game(s) at E3, Gamescon, or whatever other place they may be showing off their wares, if it is found out afterwards that the footage being shown was not actually live or in real-time; that is, it was pre-made and pre-edited, those developers are sharply ridiculed by the press, gaming websites, gaming magazines, and in online forums. The words "phony" "false" "misleading" "dishonest" and "inaccurate" can be heard. This has happened to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

Rather odd that we don't accept this type of behaviour from video game developers yet from RIM...well, apparently, it's the smartest move ever.

playbookster

Great let them doubt. Then they will look like fools when BB10 is actually unveiled.

axllebeer

Apparently someone missed the podcast... This was addressed there as well :)

BigBallsB

Yea Kevin whatsup with the video... lol it FRIDAY time to get shwasted and forget about the ignorant people.

black.rhino

I'm not sure I like the fact that we have not seen BB10 at all yet. All we have seen is an app that gives us a concept look. What's the difference between this and the TAT demos from the last year? I'm shocked that RIM hasn't even shown us the OS, and it seems a little misleading the way they have discussed and presented a glorified app as a functioning OS.

ice4u2

I gotta admit...I'm starting to get a little nervous about all this too. I'll be the guy that'll wait a few months after release to decide to pickup one. I love my playbook, but the road to this point wasn't a pleasant experience at all.

Let's just hope the Playbook release has been carefully documented by RIM as something to avoid. Having the device only to have to wait a year for something critical would be an epic fail.

black.rhino

I think RIM has learned its lesson on half-baked releases. I am looking forward to BB10, but yes, a little more nervous thanks to this news.

BlkBryFan_

Misleading...? Really? Nothing is "misleading" you just need to face the fact that RIM is tactical and know what they are doing. I back them up 100%.

black.rhino

And you knew all along that this was a glorified app? I get the strategy, which is great, but the fact is Thor was on stage showing off an app while saying BB10 works great, and in that regard, we have not actually seen bb10 in action. It's a fact that things are different. Not better not worse, different.

renownedanonymous

I don't understand the mentality that RIM owes you something - they don't. They're a company trying to produce the best product they can and they'll show it off when they feel it's acceptable.

black.rhino

Where are you getting this from? I don't feel like I am owed anything, nor do I think I have a better way of doing things. I AM saying I'm not a fan of this "wrapper", and would much rather see fully working BB10 before commenting on it, or it is the same as the TAT demos that didn't materialize.

Kekus

I would not get caught up on the wrapper around the demo, but focus on what we already know to be true:

- there are working BB10 alpha devices that are being used today by developers
- the tools that RIM promised in the past for developers have been delivered and are working
- these are developers saying this, not RIM
- we already have seen the power of the Playbook to multitask - so having the Flow, Glance, Peek capability quite honestly is not much of a stretch - it's basically looking at 3 apps at one time - I've had over 10 apps running at once on my Playbook - again easy to imagine
- I agree with Kevin on keeping things under wraps. They showed off the intuitive type keyboard and there was a copy of it (a crappy one) that came out soon after for android
- R&D (Ripoff and Duplicate) is huge with technolgy - they need to learn from Apple and keep things under wraps until it's ready for prime time.

Just my 2 cents.

mavricxx

+1- I would even go as far as to say they should patent the gestures, the peek....

JPMorgan_

This looks great every feature we see of BB10 makes it even more desired, but we desperately need a release date!

mavsguy842

I disagree about needing a public release date. Until the release is imminent (2-4 weeks) there's no benefit to announcing it; while you give yourself an opportunity to look bad by missing it.

Underpromise/Overdeliver > Overpromise/Underdeliver.

JR A

It LOOKS cool, but practicality is baffling me.

Why do I want to use a gesture to view notifications?

Why not just put them in the notification bar at the top of the screen so I can see them by just actually glancing and not having to gesture?

HorizonXP

Ok, let me explain why this freaking awesome, and why you might/could/should/will want it.

Say I'm using my BB10 phone to play some game. I get an audible notification indicating that I received a message. If I set things up correctly, I should've set up a different sound for each e-mail address or message type, but let's say I didn't. Or, let's say the phone is muted, and I didn't hear the sound.

Now my phone's message indicator LED is blinking. So I start thinking, what's the LED blinking for? I peek into the notification area to see what types of messages I might have received. I can either ignore them and go back to my game, or peek further to take me into my unified inbox. My game is paused, I respond to the message, and then I go back to playing the game.

BB10 will be taking all of the tenets of the existing BlackBerry experience and making them stronger and more polished.

Does that make sense?

Founder of Pulsecode Engineering and taab

Desktop Bridge for the BlackBerry Playbook
twitter: #DesktopBridge

SurrealCivic

Yeah, that is definitely what I got from the presentations as well. Great flow!

So your the guy behind the taab payments?

BlkBryFan_

Why be the same? Change is good! RIM wants to revolutionize the way we interact with our phones. I like the whole concept of BB 10, it definitely a game changer.

renownedanonymous

I don't want change that's not functional. Like the keyboard, that seems useful.

peterallcdn

The ability to glance at notifications is great because then other apps can be full screen without wasting space at the top of every screen.

However, I would still like small notifications across the top (like bb 7) when viewing the home screens(s).

iamthiagosilva

I actually like the way how Playbook handles notifications, with a swipe in the top left corner to see all your notifications.

But I'm also not a fan of Playbook hidden app menu, which can be accessed with a gesture at the top of the screen, and as implemented in BB10 seems to be more satisfactory, at least from my point of view.

renownedanonymous

I think the flow idea of being able to look back at your inbox is a neat feature but nothing ground breaking or really useful. I've watched this same demonstration on multiple sites and I keep asking myself.. but why would I "flow"/"peek" (not sure which is the correct term) back to my inbox if I'm reading an email? Guess we'll have to wait till BB10 is fully shown off to appreciate such gestures.

LuayS

I thought about this for a while myself, then it occurred to me. I was viewing a picture and I wanted to copy a certain text from it w/o emailing the picture. with flow I'd be able to read the text then continue typing w/o actually leaving the text/bbm application in essence it keeps my workflow continuous.

On a current bb you need to hold the menu button open up task switcher and switch the two screens.

ClassyBOLD

Let's say ur typing an email or reading a really long email. Then a new message comes in (whether it be an emaill, bbm, or text). With the peek gesture u can quickly glance back into ur inbox to see who it's from and if it's important (like an email from your boss or wife) all without having to leave the current composition or email you were working on. That's the power of multi-tasking that no other mobile OS has.

Camfella

Do you even know what you're talking about? Both Android and IOS have a Notification Center that can be accessed(pulled down from top of the screen) from any app. that you may be in. From there I can see who it's from and determine if it needs to be addressed. Also what happens with alerts other than messages? Like reminders or alarms, or breaking news etc?

gregorylkelly

It's not nearly as smooth on iOS as it will be on BB10. On the PB, the notification gesture is insanely smooth at any time. With iOS I have to swipe twice when in an app to see the notification bar, and even then it is slowish.

Signed,
IPhone 4s and PlayBook user

ClassyBOLD

Another use case...being able to peek from an attachment back into an email contianing instructions or details about the document easily.

Camfella

I don't believe, as some here do, that they are having difficulty getting the OS to run. Like Kevin said, it's basically the same OS that's running on the Playbook. What I don't get is the newness of the "peek" functionality. Isn't it the same ui we see om some IPad apps(twitter, myipad, etc)?

BlkBryFan_

HEY! Leave ios outta this. And no, its not the same :)

iamthiagosilva

I agree with you, and the interface seems to be very similar to the dead Web OS (not that this is bad, it's a very nice interface).

belfastdispatcher

Does it matter as long as that's what it is going to look like when it's ready?

goku_vegeta

Again, stating that obviously the press/media does get a bit of playtime with these devices. By creating this "wrapper" or only showing off some functionality and leaving others out on purpose is done by design. You can't control what someone does or opens when you give them demo time on the unit, so like Kevin said it's a smart way to show what you want to show and no more.

cooleddie

At 0:34, the time magically changes to 5:14PM on the peek screen, then back to 13:37PM back in the email.

Definitely not a working model.

Sulfuric

Does anyone know if that pdf reader has a search function? It's something that's lacking in the Playbook.

Alex_Hong

Love how at the end Chris Umi just ended with one word, "awesome".

I think it has already known that at this point RIM do not want to show off more than necessary than how the basic OS works. Thats probably them trying to demo to as many people as possible as to how the gestures work without revealing too much. They still have the problem of discoverability of the gesture base navigation for first time users. So if they can get a simple UI demo for the tech review sites to try out, when BB10 actually hits, they will already be familiar with it while reviewing it. Thus, it avoids having the review sites complaining that the UI is too confusing to use.

According to Thorsten, BB10 is still on track for released later part of the year. So I would think that they definitely have more than what they shown in the demos at this point. When Apple don't show anything much prior to launch people say they are secretive, when RIM don't show much, they say RIM is behind schedule and failing. I understand the sentiments brought over by the previous administration, but give Thorsten at least the benefit of a doubt. This is now RIM under a new leadership.

Alex_Hong

Love how at the end Chris Umi just ended with one word, "awesome".

I think it has already known that at this point RIM do not want to show off more than necessary than how the basic OS works. Thats probably them trying to demo to as many people as possible as to how the gestures work without revealing too much. They still have the problem of discoverability of the gesture base navigation for first time users. So if they can get a simple UI demo for the tech review sites to try out, when BB10 actually hits, they will already be familiar with it while reviewing it. Thus, it avoids having the review sites complaining that the UI is too confusing to use.

According to Thorsten, BB10 is still on track for released later part of the year. So I would think that they definitely have more than what they shown in the demos at this point. When Apple don't show anything much prior to launch people say they are secretive, when RIM don't show much, they say RIM is behind schedule and failing. I understand the sentiments brought over by the previous administration, but give Thorsten at least the benefit of a doubt. This is now RIM under a new leadership.

2wheeltim

I don't get hype about 'gestures'. Do these ever work for people? I'm not picking on RIM here, cause my original problem was with a iPod touch. Tried writing a short email, and after 15 minutes, threw it across the room and typed it on my 9700. Touchscreens suck! I hate that my playbook doesn't have keys. Takes me 3 or 4 tries to wake it up, scroll the screen, type a letter... It sucks, and the iPad sucks worse.
I'm a carpenter and mechanic, so my fingers are well scarred and caloused, that may be the problem, but I don't see any excitement over 'gestures' when my 9900 works so much better with physical keys and the trackpad!

cbvinh

Not to worry! There will be a physical keys version... though not sure about the trackpad... I like the trackpad too. It's much easier to place the cursor precisely with it.

berrybait

Gestures do work, but your calloused hands/fingers can definitely affect performance. Also, the wake-up feature requires that you reach at least reach 3/4 of the screen width/height for the bezel to bezel swipe to be recognized.

dirm

Why are there no Tab and Cursor Keys on touch keyboards??? Would improve the usability! I hate to zoom in to get the right possion to correct a typo.

mavricxx

The only thing I've seen about the unified inbox that I don't like is that my missed calls show up there too and it annoys the hell out of me on my 9900 cause that another thing I have to delete in my messages inbox. RIM please remove missed calls from showing up there!

gregorylkelly

You have the option to not show them on the 9900.