Many hands on BlackBerry 10 Phones: Ten things we're looking forward to so far

Many Hands on BlackBerry 10!
By Kevin Michaluk on 30 Aug 2012 03:56 pm EDT

Research In Motion has been on a World Tour of their own these past two weeks, offering a sneak peek of BlackBerry 10 phones to select partners and members of the media.

As I proclaimed on Monday in my From the Editor's Desk post, the CrackBerry team has been fortunate to be there every step of the way, having now handled both the first full touchscreen and physical keyboard variations of BlackBerry 10 phones in no less than three countries. Between Zach in Waterloo, Canada, Adam in New York City and James in London, UK, there's a lot more to this post than just my impressions. When we say many hands on BlackBerry 10, we mean it.

Similar to the handful of other BlackBerry 10 preview articles that have emerged throughout this early BB10 roadshow, we can't provide too many specific details on what we saw and no photos or video were allowed during our sessions.

But don't panic. There is still lots we can and will talk about. Many of you have told us that more important than knowing every little spec and detail at this point, you're most interested in knowing how we felt after spending some quality time on BlackBerry 10. In other words, Was it love at first touch?

The answer to that question was the same for all of us... HELL YEAH! Keep reading for more on what we saw and to learn the ten things that have our hearts racing for BlackBerry 10 so far.

Setting the stage and guessing the names

Previous looks at BlackBerry 10 in action, including the on-stage demo at BlackBerry World in May as well as CrackBerry's initial hands-on, were delivered via the Dev Alpha device running a canned preview version of BlackBerry 10. Though this provided a great visual of BlackBerry 10 and how the flow, glance and peek experience would work, it was more of an interactive demo of BlackBerry 10 than it was BlackBerry 10 up and running. We were of the understanding this was RIM's way to be able to show off BlackBerry 10 without taking the risk of unveiling more than they wanted. A smart approach, but it was one that the naysayers of the world could still call "vaporware" on and get away with. Not anymore.

While BlackBerry was busy showing off the preview build in May and June, it's clear that behind the scenes the teams have been hard at work pushing BlackBerry 10 further ahead every day. Much progress has been made. We witnessed BlackBerry 10 software running on the two BlackBerry 10 phones that will be first to hit the market in 2013. As we learned from our interview with RIM CEO, Thorsten Heins, and CMO, Frank Boulben, RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 in 2013 with two flagship phones, marketing the full touchscreen and physical keyboard variations together. Both will be announced at the same time, though the availability dates will be staggered slightly with the full touchscreen model up for sale first.

RIM wouldn't provide any details on what the devices will be called, but personally (Kevin's opinion) I'm starting to think, based on my Vulcan-like logic, that we will see BlackBerry 10 phones get slotted into the existing Bold, Torch and Curve product families. We know, according to RIM's CEO, that "BlackBerry 10 will proliferate RIM's product portfolio." We also know that RIM plans to release more than just two phones next year. While the first full touchscreen and full keyboard phones will be positioned as high-end devices, we will also see entry level devices running BlackBerry 10 before the year is through.

Kevin's Vulcan-like BlackBerry logic 

Currently, Bold is firmly planted as the full keyboard flagship of the BlackBerry lineup. Torch is positioned as the all out touchscreen experience on BlackBerry. And Curve is well-established as the entry level device family rounding out the BlackBerry phone portfolio. When we asked Boulben during our recent interview Why call it BlackBerry 10? he responded that while he wasn't at the company when that decision was made, that his understanding was that previously BlackBerry was single digit (OS 5, 6, 7) and that because the new phones are on the next generation QNX platform that it made sense to go double digit.

Assuming BlackBerry wants to keep things simple while transitioning away from the legacy BlackBerry OS to the QNX-based OS, it just makes logical sense that we'll see these first two BlackBerry 10 phones launch as Bold and Torch devices.

We could be wrong of course, but when it came to picking up the first full touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phone, we couldn't help but think we were playing with the newest Torch, and with the keyboard device, the newest Bold.


What we observed that we can tell you about 

RIM told us that the BlackBerry 10 hardware we were looking at was pretty much final form. We've heard that before over the years, which means there may be some small tweaks that occur as the hardware ramps up from prototype to full scale production, but for the most part the hardware design and components are set.

The full touchscreen phone (what we're currently thinking of as the newest Torch) has that understated yet classy BlackBerry look. It's familiar to the Dev Alpha, but more refined and polished. We like the look a lot. It feels good in the hand. There's nothing disappointing about it. The 4.2" display with 1280x768 resolution hits a sweet spot. It's big, but not too big. Like the Dev Alpha, in the hand the phone is extremely comfortable to hold. 

The full keyboard phone (what we're currently thinking of as the newest Bold), was along the lines of what we've been hoping for and expecting to see. The phone's footprint is similar to the Bold 9900, featuring a 1:1 ratio at 720x720 resolution. As has been previously posted on, we were stoked to see with our own eyes that both devices had removable battery doors.

Both the full touchscreen and keyboard models have that unmistakable BlackBerry look to them, which we all agree is a good thing. In today's sea of smartphones, BlackBerry 10 phones should have no trouble being recognized from a distance. The real magic of BlackBerry 10 happens though in your hand, once you power the device on.

We were blown away with the BlackBerry 10 experience. Considering we're still over four months away from these phones hitting the market, we would have handed over our hard earned cash right now to walk away with one. Between now and January RIM will spend the time polishing up the software so it's perfect, but what we handled was a complete operating system. It was fast, it was fluid and it was FUN to use.

10 things we're looking forward to in BlackBerry 10 so far... 

Prior to our hands-on time with BlackBerry 10 phones, we were already working on our list of the top ten things we're looking forward to in BlackBerry 10. Having now experienced BlackBerry 10 for real, we can tackle this list with conviction. Here it goes, in no particular order... 

1. BlackBerry 10 by Choice

BlackBerry 10 By Choice! 

When RIM showed off the BlackBerry 10 touchscreen keyboard at BlackBerry World (and not a physical keyboard version), it had some people incorrectly assuming this meant that BlackBerry would be abandoning the physical keyboard moving forward. RIM's CEO was quick to go on record the next day and tell the media that there will be a full keyboard version of BlackBerry 10.

We love the fact that BlackBerry is giving users the ability to choose how they want to experience BlackBerry 10. Among the existing BlackBerry user base, for many the physical keyboard is specifically what has kept them from switching to another platform. Having both full touchscreen and physical keyboard models available from the get go makes sure everybody is happy.

As for which model most people will end up migrating towards, we're not so sure just yet. Historically, all of us on the CrackBerry team are huge fans of physical keyboards. After going hands-on with both BlackBerry 10 phones, both Adam and Zach said they're 100% going for the full touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phone when available. On the other hand, James was sold on the physical keyboard model. As for myself... well, I'll just buy both and keep one in each pocket. :)

2. It's all about the "Flow"

I don't think we can overstate just how much we're loving the "flow" experience of BlackBerry 10. It's unlike anything on the market today. One of the previous criticisms against the BlackBerry PlayBook's operating system user interface was that it took a little too much inspiration from webOS. Of course we'd argue that the average person on the street doesn't even know what webOS is, but it was hard to find a review of the PlayBook (CrackBerry's review included) that didn't make mention of the similarities. In our opinion, this previous resemblance goes away with BlackBerry 10.

In BlackBerry 10, RIM has created a user experience that is truly unique. And it's not just unique. It's better. Wayyy better. Taking advantage of the multi-tasking power of the QNX-based software and the high performance hardware under the hood, BlackBerry 10 delivers an "always in" app experience that is faster and so much more compelling than the "open and close" experience which is standard today on other mobile platforms.

There's a big difference between seeing the flow demonstrated and actually putting it to use. Once you start to experience the seconds saved during every interaction with the phone, going back to any other mobile UI feels almost painful by comparison. It only takes a moment to learn the touchscreen gestures that pull the flow experience together. And that's ok. As we've said before, RIM isn't trying to out Apple Apple here in the simplicity department. Rather, they are addressing the needs of BlackBerry People - people who want to get things done while on the go. And it's clear to us that a little bit of time invested upfront in learning a new user interface is well worth it in terms of the enhanced user experience it delivers.

Let us be clear here. We don't want to scare anybody into thinking BlackBerry 10 is complicated either. It's not. Any former or current BlackBerry user will immediately find it familiar. And any first time BlackBerry owner will be able to learn the ins and outs of the new operating system quickly. The flow rocks. PERIOD.

[ Note: The video at the top of this section is from the Dev Alpha demo, and isn't totally "accurate" anymore but at least gives an overview of the concept of Flow ]

3. Unified Messaging FTW

BlackBerry 10 Unified Inbox

BlackBerry phones have a reputation for being the best communication tools on the planet, and thanks to the accessible from anywhere unified inbox on BlackBerry 10, that accolade isn't going away. With BlackBerry 10 you have the ability to jump into your inbox from anywhere on the device -- literally from within any application -- with a quick swipe gesture. We all love this feature and it's one that again makes BlackBerry 10 unique. There's no need to pull down a notification box and tap into a different app. There's no need to go back to the home screen or go into a task switching mode to then jump into another app to check your message. With BlackBerry 10 it's always right there, instantly accessible. Zero time wasted. We love this.

4. The BEST keyboards, whether physical or touch

BlackBerry 10 Keyboard on the Dev Alpha

BlackBerry is already known for having the best physical keyboards on the market (the Bold 9900 has the best phone keyboard of all time), and with BlackBerry 10 they also want to be known for having the best touchscreen keyboard on the market. From our experience so far with BB10 keyboards, they're definitely on track.

The BlackBerry 10 touchscreen keyboard was pretty good on the Dev Alpha demo, but the performance is much improved on the actual BlackBerry 10 hardware and software (on the Dev Alpha device the touch keyboard was actually written in Adobe Air. Since then it has been re-written in OpenGL which combined with actual BB10 hardware makes a big difference - it's much faster, responsive and smooth). The physical size of the touchscreen device makes for a spacious keyboard that permits comfortable and speedy two thumb typing. As we mentioned earlier, we are longtime physical keyboard guys but we had no trouble adapting almost instantly to the BlackBerry 10 touchscreen keyboard.

Overall, it's a great touchscreen typing experience. RIM is working with SwiftKey for the predictive text engine, but the UI and design of the keyboard is all RIM. They've taken what they've learned from over a decade of making the best physical keyboards and applied that knowledge to the touchscreen. RIM knows people are looking at the keys when they type, so they have placed suggested words near the keys you'll be hitting next (having to break eye contact from the keys to look up at a row above the keyboard breaks your typing flow). Brilliant. When typing with two thumbs we actually found our cadence so fast and typing so rhythmic that we didn't feel the need to use the suggestions that appear on the keyboard all that often unless it was for bigger and harder to spell words (for the most part our thumbs are typing faster than our brains can process the suggestions). However, when holding the phone in one hand and typing with one thumb we found the placement of these suggested words to be extremely useful at increasing our typing speed. Again, BlackBerry 10 offers choice. Whether you type one handed or two-handed, you're supported.

The touchscreen keyboard is also smart and continually learning. As you type it learns where you actually strike on the glass and refines your strike targets over time for improved accuracy. The keyboard can scan your communications to better learn names and vocabulary that you use regularly. The touchscreen keyboard can support three languages simultaneously too. So for those people who tend to mix languages in while messaging will easily be able to do so. And yes, Chinese will be supported at launch. Like we said, so far it appears this touchscreen keyboard has the ability to make believers out of the most hardcore physical keyboard people.

As for the physical keyboard, we have to keep the details limited. But let's just say RIM knows how high a bar they set with the Bold 9900's keyboard, and that's something they don't want to go any lower on.

5. Optimized for one-handed ease of use

Another hallmark of the traditional BlackBerry experience that users love is the ability to use the phone one-handed. Back in the day I'd cite examples such as using the phone inconspiculously under the board room table during meetings or in the car while driving (not cool, we know). These days, as I learned from Gary Klassen, Principle Architect at RIM, on my recent trip to Waterloo, a better illustration of the need for one-handed use takes place in the grocery store. You need to be able to message back and forth with your wife to figure out what you're supposed to buy for dinner while holding your grocery basket and screaming toddler in one arm. This means you need to be able to communicate and carry out important tasks effectively with just one hand.

BlackBerry 10 is designed and optimized for one-handed ease of use. If you want to use the device with two hands you can, but you absolutely can have full control over the phone holding the phone in one hand, comfortably using one thumb on the touchscreen to get things done. We can't get into all the specifics, but we can say this notion is continued throughout BlackBerry 10, beyond the home screen and flow experience.

This is yet another unique to BlackBerry 10 feature that we are gaga for. Other mobile platforms think of mobile as meaning "away from your computer." BlackBerry takes the meaning of being mobile literally - you need to be able to really use your phone while literally being mobile, while doing things. It's a phone and OS designed for people on the go. BlackBerry 10 does not require that you stop what you're doing to use your phone.

6. QNX Performance, Stability and Simplicity

There are 78+ million BlackBerry phone users in the world. In comparison, there's (approximately) two million BlackBerry PlayBook owners out there. This means the vast majority of current and former BlackBerry phone owners have never fully experienced how different a BlackBerry device built on the QNX platform is compared to the traditional BlackBerry OS. The difference is HUGE. The QNX-based BlackBerry OS is a power house among mobile operating systems. All of the historical gripes about BlackBerry phones -- hour glassing, the need for battery pulls, not enough app memory, pain in the butt OS updates, etc. -- all go away with BlackBerry 10.

In terms of underlying code, BlackBerry 10 is all new compared to BlackBerry 7 and older phones. Visually there is continuity -- people who know BlackBerry will recognize it as BlackBerry -- but none of the baggage is carried over. And while the traditional BlackBerry OS was never designed from the get go for touchscreen input (RIM adapted it to be touchscreen friendly), BlackBerry 10 has absolutely been designed as a touchscreen OS.

It's a next generation platform for BlackBerry, and those making the jump from the old platform to the new are going to be extremely impressed by the performance, stability and simplicity that come with this change.

7. Designed for people who value their time and want to have fun

"We need tools, not toys." The Martinez brothers dropped that line during a Be Bold BlackBerry commercial earlier this year, and the message resonated with the CrackBerry community. Over the years BlackBerry has always been seen as a communication and productivity tool first and foremost. With BlackBerry 10 phones, BlackBerry can now be as unproductive as it can be productive, equally well. It still excels at productivity and communication. But you can most definitely use it to have fun and kill time, whether it's playing games (BlackBerry 10 is a great platform for gaming) or watching a movie. What we're loving about BlackBerry 10 is that it never loses sight of its priorities. It's a tool first, toy second. But it does everything 100%.

All of us who went hands on with BlackBerry 10 have also spent plenty of time on the competition, be it Android, iOS and even Windows Phone and webOS. And though there are things we like about the competition, when we use these other devices we always feel like there's something missing from the experience that BlackBerry does a better job of delivering. Our collective realization is that the other platforms don't think enough about how you will actually use the phone while out and about and they tend to treat all apps equally. They don't prioritize the mobile experience enough.

BlackBerry historically, and even more so in BlackBerry 10, doesn't lose sight of the fact people first and foremost want a smartphone to communicate and get things done. We've already mentioned the many ways BlackBerry 10 pays attention to these priorities. The BlackBerry flow experience saves you time. Unified messaging that's accessible from everywhere does too, and it makes it painless to always stay on top of your correspondence even while doing other things. Designing a user interface that's friendly to one handed use is another example where BlackBerry is paying attention to how people will actually use their phone in the real world. Heck, even the ability to swap out a battery if need arises is a nod to this notion of being a tool before a toy.

BlackBerry 10 is for people who value their time. Not everybody out there does, but we're sure happy RIM is building BlackBerry 10 phones for people who do.


8. Working Smarter, Not Harder 

On the current BlackBerry phone OS, there are a couple of areas where RIM has tried to be really clever in terms of helping out the user. The best example is on the BlackBerry menu. When you hit the menu button, though multiple options are available it's often the one you want that's already selected (this was more prevalent on older devices and versions of the BBOS). Heck, with the old track wheel BlackBerry devices like the 7290 and 8700 these pre-selected actions were so freakishly accurate you could almost use the phones with your eyes closed. It's a subtle feature, but these kinds of details make a world of difference on device like a phone which gets used literally 100+ times per day.

BlackBerry 10 makes a marked return to this notion of working smarter for the user. We already mentioned the intelligence behind the learning keyboard. Another thing we're liking (that we can talk about) is the way BlackBerry 10 tries to pull in useful information for you without making you go look for it. The prime example is in the calendar app. If you have a meeting scheduled with an individual, BlackBerry 10 pulls in everything it can find about that contact from the various social sources connected to it so it's right there. Again, we can't get into the details, but there are a lot of little things like this in BlackBerry 10 that users will appreciate.

9. Quality App, Gaming and Multimedia Experiences

The BlackBerry 10 platform is capable of delivering app, game and multimedia experiences that are best in class across mobile platforms. It's a massive difference comparing BlackBerry 10 phones to current BlackBerry phones. While BlackBerry phones to date don't technically lack much in the way of features and capabilities, the experience delivered trying to use these features to their fullest is often frustrating. Because of this, you find a lot of "average" BlackBerry users don't use their BlackBerry for much more than the basics. It's clear that BlackBerry 10 phones will deliver a great experience across the feature set. You're going to want to download apps and play games on your BB10 phone. You're going to want to snap a bazillion photos and videos. You're going to want to watch movies. And way more.

The ongoing challenge for RIM of course is getting as many quality third party apps and games on the platform as possible leading up to the launch of BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry is doing everything they can to woo developers. The app development tools available are much improved. RIM is giving out Dev Alpha devices to developers who attend BlackBerry Jam events. RIM is proactively working to get those must-have apps onto the platform.

Mobile apps are out there today and they are expected. That being the case, we don't think it's the app selection in App World come January that will cause people to run out and buy a BlackBerry 10 phone, at least not initially. But a lack of apps might prevent potential customers from buying it. We really hope developers continue to jump on board and support BlackBerry 10. There's no doubt to us that BlackBerry 10 has legs and the people who buy the phones are going to be hungry for apps, games and content. Next month RIM is holding the BlackBerry Jam Americas conference in San Jose, where we'll hopefully get a good update on how they're progressing. If you're a mobile developer and reading this, listen to us... you need to get your apps on BB10!   

10. Putting the crack back in CrackBerry... in a good way 

BlackBerry got the nickname CrackBerry for a reason - because it's addictive. In our limited time spent on BlackBerry 10 so far, we all agree this is the most addicting smartphone experience we've used.. well... EVER.

It's not just the blinking red light that pulls you in anymore. The device is addictive because it's literally so fun and enjoyable to use.

You just want to turn on the phone and aimlessly flick at it even when you're not doing anything. The whole BlackBerry flow, peek and glance experience is not only productive, but fun (and to use Adam's words, "it's swipey"). Even the lock screen, which we can't give any details on, is something you just want to play with. Typing on the touchscreen keyboard is actually addictive. Swiping up words becomes a game.

Historically, and especially in enterprise where individuals have been handed their BlackBerry as a work phone, fun and enjoyable would be the last words used to describe a BlackBerry. But we think that all changes with BlackBerry 10. You can have fun while getting work done. And if there's one thing we all love more than being productive, it's having fun.

We could tell you more but we'd have to kill you

CrackBerry Colt... don't worry, it's a toy gun ;)

Seriously, we could tell you way more and would love to, but we've probably already said too much.

The bottom line is that all of us on the CrackBerry team who went hands on with BlackBerry 10 are genuinely more excited having used the phones than we were going into it (and were pretty excited for it to begin with).

There's no doubt in our minds that BlackBerry 10 will win back a lot of mobile mindshare when it's officially unveiled. We live in a world where every phone will soon be a smartphone, and with BlackBerry 10 RIM will show the world they've created a smarter smartphone experience.

When BlackBerry 10 hits the market it won't be BlackBerry by Choice. Our new mantra will be BlackBerry because it's Better.

Reader comments

Many hands on BlackBerry 10 Phones: Ten things we're looking forward to so far


Kevin: great article thanks a lot!

I have a couple of questions, will BB10 get to the PlayBook and if so, when?

Se habla QNX

iwho? sorry dude I got a real tablet not a toy


I always knew it BB10 is gonna rock!! I will buy both phones upon release..BB10 FTW!

Some interesting observations, Josh Topolsky(harsh RIM critic) opined in theverge postcast that "RIM is still in-play" after he previewed BB10 phones and BB10 a couple of weeks ago. That says a lot about BB10 and what it means to the Blackberry faithfull.

Great post, Kevin!
I can tell you put some real thought into it, given your constraints and its importance.
It is as I have believed.
It is excellence.
It is beauty.
It is the future.
I am excited. I want to collect the whole set
The world will know what they have been wanting, what they have been missing, when RIM releases the future.
Now for some 10 year old BourBon and a drink to BB 10!

Was hoping the touchscreen version would not be so large. 4" max. Last thing i want to do is lug around something like those big android monsters.

I'm really hoping for BB10 for PlayBook, and for it to come out nearly in conjunction with the BB10 handsets. As it stands, PlayBook is severely crippled. I've used it on 1.0, 2.0, and now 2.1. The software is still basically half baked. The hardware is nice though. A software refresh as BB10 would turn my barely usable tablet into the best one out there.

I think BB10 should be avail on PB also. Due to core being QNX, it should be straight forward.

Did any one imagine, which platform is powerful,flexible,scalable amongst android/ios/qnx. no one shall have doubt, it is qnx. so, future is BB10, just matter of some consumer friendly 2-3 apps skype,netflix etc..

BlackBerry 10 WILL be coming to the PlayBook.

Will be shortly after the phones are released according to BlackBerry.

Thanks CrackBerry for the amazing article. You are definitely a league apart when it comes to BlackBerry, bringing it to us in such neutral light. It was great to be a part of the BlackBerry10 unveiling experience through your words.

BlackBerry PlayBook 32GB & Torch 9810

Oh, this is so freakin' amazing! Can hardly wait!!

Curious about the keyboard - is there still the option of a reduced keyboard vs the Qwerty keyboard in portrait view?

My gigantic thumbs definitely appreciate the larger buttons of the reduced keyboard on my Storm (yes, still limping along w/ my creaky Storm) and that is the main reason why I don't go w/ a physical keyboard. The buttons are so small, I usually hit several at once trying to type. Frustrating, to say the least.

Any chance you could say one way or the other on this?

Thanks for the great article!

What would i do with out you guys (Crackberry). I just cant imagine my day without reading crackberry.
Kev and team,
Excellent article. this is why this is the number 1 fan site.

And ohh...touch or qwerty........ im with u going to get both.....hahah

super exictedddddd

RIMPIRE strikes back

I can't wait to see one or both in carrier stores the time they're officially released!!!! Then i'll be testing them like a storm and having so much fun!! I also CAN'T WAIT to have BlackBerry 10 on my Playbook! GO GO RESEARCH IN MOTION!!!!!!

You asked them why the name BB10?

I am surprised more people don't seem to get this: its because it IS BB10.

1. BB OS1
2. BB OS2
3. BB OS3
4. BB OS4
5. BB OS5
6. BB OS6
7. BB OS7
8. PB OS1
9. PB OS2
10. BB10!

Can't wait to get my hands on the new BB10 phones. I love using gestures on my PB, I was using someones ipad and they were looking at me like I was mad as I kept trying to use gestures! They had a go on my PB and were very impressed with how the gestures and multi-tasking worked, and were critical of the ipads home button. I hope the physical keyboard BB10 is the John Anastasiadis one featured on here!

You do know that onthe iPad you can swipe directly into the previous apps, and vice versa, no home button needed?

Wow, so you don't know anything about the PlayBook AND you don't know anything about the iPad. Like, are you the World's Worst Troll, or what?

Like, Where am I wrong about the IPad. Like, dont worry I'm not expecting an answer because, like, you don't know what you're talking about.

Go on, be a hero, describe the iPads gestures for multi-tasking for us. And please try to keep it under a thousand words will ya; after all this is a BlackBerry forum. A fact that seems to have completely eluded you.

I already told you, when you're in an app. all you have to do is swipe(4fingers) to the left to get to the previous app(s), and then swipe to the right to go back, but you knew this right? Now be a hero and tell me where I'm wrong!

Oh no please... enlighten us some more. Now can you place your four fingers just anywhere on the screen and swipe across? Or do you have to twist your hand to a very weird and uncomfortable angle, place all four fingers along the right or left edge of the screen and then drag them across the screen? When I think about it, I don't think I'd call that kind of a gesture a "swipe," but it really is a drag.

Of course once you've "dragged" your current app off to the left, or the right of the screen, the app continues to run in the background and isn't paused or anything like that? Of course not, what am I thinking, that wouldn't be Multi-tasking, that would be more like "Faux-tasking" so forget I even asked that. I mean you wouldn't embellish the facts just to make the iPad look better then it actually is, would you?

A couple of final questions. Considering that sheep have hooves and not fingers, don't you think you should amend your description to reflect that fact?
What kind of screen protector should be used when the sheep start dragging their four little hooves across the screen?

P.S. I tried this four fingered (sorry I don't have hooves) gesture on my PlayBook and it worked quite well, although I think I sprained my wrist. At first the background applications weren't being stopped, but luckily with the PlayBook I can set it up to stop those apps and mimic an iPad perfectly. Man, that is such an elegant gesture, I wonder if the PlayBook will ever have that?

To keep it as simple as possible: it's not a "swipe" and it's not "multi-tasking."
Sorry but I can't make it any clearer then that.

Wow! You are truly a moron making the most idiotic argument I've ever seen. To answer your question, YES, you can place 4 fingers anywhere on the screen of an iPad and swipe left or right to switch apps. As far as "true" multitasking versus "pausing" the app, perhaps you have a technical point there, and I won't be enough of an idiot to argue. But the end result works just fine for most people, I imagine. The Playbook also has its merits indeed.

I find it ironic that someone who so readily uses the "iSheep" insult is so vicious in blindly defending the Playbook and ruthlessly bashing the iPad based on false information and assumptions. So many Crackberry members like you seem to be worse than iSheep!

Your whole conversation did give me a laugh though.


One of the few not-crazy, normal consumers who does not base his existence on which phone he uses, but would like to see BB10 succeed.

Did anybody make a copy of the original post without Kev's edit concerning the trackpad and menu buttons?

Pt. 9. Quality App, Gaming and Multimedia Experiences
Yes, but too less useful apps. Give Me SKYPE & INSTAGRAM plz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To Kevin & CB team:
You sure set expectation very high for us all...
I just wonder if the review is actually reflecting only the positive sides of the devices/ I didn't read any real letdown from the OS and devices.
For me that looks odd,
surely there are negative points you can already point to, especially comparing BB10 devices with the Iphone & Androids phones.
Am I only one who sees things this way?

Well, I was hoping to hear about what the team didn't like as well.
for me that will make the review less "fannish" and more balanced.
don't know anything in life which is perfect, but by reading the review it sure seems the BB10 is close to that...
and while I hope as everyone else it delivers, surely we should be aware it will have it's shortcomings as well.
make for a better set of expectations that's all.

Welcome to Crackberry!

P.S. Just warning you elic18, if you point out negatives, you will be attacked as a troll!

I came here because I was interested in the RIM story, and how it's going to play out. What B.B.10 is going to be about, and will I be convinced to try it. It quickly became evident that there seems to be some sort of inferiority complex or something going on here, criticism is not taken well here, and there seems to be a need to put down the other platforms, and their users, in order to feel good about Blackberry. I'm just not the type to shy away from confrontation, I'm going to speak my peace. I'll admit, I'm also guilty of giving some shots in retaliation. If that makes me a troll, so be it.

As a blackberry fan the scarist thing for me is that the playbook has amazing hardware and amazing qnx software but yet the sales have been lacking relative to the competition. Even if these phones are great it doesnt mean that blackberry will have great sales or survive as a hardware maker of mobile phones. I hope it turns out good.

I think when it comes down to it, it's all about the marketing and the apmosphere. I'm not sure how many people are like this but I didn't buy a PB because I never liked the size of it. I'm still hoping there will be a 10" model.

Then you're competing against the IPad and it's appmosphere, they would have to beat it big time on Price!

True. One thing is certain. You can sell snow to an Eskimo if you market it properly. I'm hopeful that RIM past marketing strategies will be a thing of the past.

I'm just starting to appreciate the BB7 phones and how fast they are. They make my 9800 look,well like the hardware compromise it was. This makes me think that BB10 can live up to the hype.

As another trick RIM should produce a 4.25" Playbook to compete with the iPod. I think it would do very very well. I know I showed my PB to a lot of my nieces and nephews and they were very excited and didn't want to surrender it.
I may need to check the Crackberry forums app to see if there is a thread.


There are a few mentions of WebOS, but let's not forget that "Flow" was "inspired" by Nokia's Swipe UI... Granted, RIM did a good job at refining the experience and has added its own touch.

Oh, and "BlackBerry phones have a reputation for being the best communication tools on the planet". Only on BES! The email client is so limited on BIS, with no access to folders and no option to secure messages and the lack of syncing option is very 2005. I'm glad they're switching to Activesync in BB10, but they will have to do better than on the PB with its limited support for Exchange 2010 features.


Please RIM, don't mess this one up with a marketing strategy similar to the Playbook 4G...

BB by choice.

As always Great BB10 Review Kevin....

What I'm wondering about in all of this is - WHEN is Rim going to start it's BB10 marketing campaign?? Only 4 months til January now and you know Rim will have to hit the ground running and really push ads to get consumers aware and excited about the new BB phones.

I can't see them starting in September or October with the slew of announcements coming from Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Microsoft etc?. And if they start in November that only leaves RIM 2 months to get the word out??

I'm sure Kevin has information on this but can't/won't say anything right now. I just wanna see BB10 given the best chance it can to succeed!!

CMO Frank Boulben stated in a recent interview that the marketing for BB10 will begin in Q4. This is the right move, and I think you will see the start of the campaign in mid to late October. Hopefully at bbjam America in less than 30 days, they show some more features of the OS to prep the launch.

I am excited and looking forward to the coming months. Rim needs to get it right, so they need to use the next 4-5 months to prepare and execute the launch at a very high level.

i will be purchasing both of the devices when they drop!!!! is the burning question:

Is it going to have glass or plastic for the touchscreen?

I am hoping that RIM is moving to glass.

Two reasons:

1) Plastic touchscreens feel cheap and is more of a perception thing for the average Joe consumer.

2) Plastic scratches easier.

Can you please comment on this?

From the various other reviews that are out there its seems glass is what is CURRENTLY on the devices. Remember that glass was also on the Torch 9850/9860 pre-production devices and we all know that there are plastic now. I'm pretty sure though that they will stick with glass on the high end devices at launch.

The Keyboard experience sounds fantastic. I use a Torch 9810 and I do a lot of touchscreen use but I still like to have my physical keyboard and my trackpad. I wonder if they will have a slider phone with a trackpad. Am all for it!!

i think you miss one of the ten things and thats BATTERY LIFE im not hearing anything about it but i do hope that rim doesnt crew up like they did with the bold 9900 battery life is very important and when ever i think about battery i think about the moto razr.Secondly im very disappointed to hear that they phone looks similar to the dev alpha but yet classy the dev alpha is one ugly phone their were so many concepts that looked sooo much better than the dev alpha and yes i know concept and practicality is different .

Any info on what the camera will be like? I'd really like to carry one device, instead of my Cannon camera, my ipod (for apps), and my blackberry for awesomeness.

This review did nothing but increase my appetite for BB10 and further cement my spot with the crackberry nation.

Living Bold-ly!

RIM: Do not, under any circumstances, continue the Torch brand name with BB10. I'd even advise caution with the Bold and Curve names. BB10 is all new, remember? If you continue the existing names the public will continue to associate the new phones with the old operating system and the old phone range. You've already made one huge mistake, calling the new OS BB10. Who would guess that it bears no legacy with OS 7.0? Not the ordinary guy in the street.

No amount of persuasion or advertising will make them think otherwise. 99% of your customers are not geeks and will not understand that under the hood it is all new. All they will see is a new Torch, Bold or Curve which appears to be just a warmed over version of the old. And the old, like it or not, has a poor image now. Here in the UK, I only know two people with a BB, and one is my brother. Everybody else has iPhones or the latest must-have Android.

If BB10 is to succeed, everything must be all-new, even the phone names, and you must have a massive promotional campaign to get people talking about them. And what they talk about must be good. In fact it must be more than just good: it must be "must-have". So make sure that BB10 is flawless. No stupid mistakes this time or RIM is finished.

Hey Kevin, great write up!

Couple questions for you if you can about the new devices.

1) Are either or both going to be global devices?

2) Is the boot-up time on the phone going to longer like the playbook, around the same time as OS 7, or even faster?

3) Have they mentioned anything about number of devices they will be making of each. If there is going to be a big draw for the phones, will we have problems with them being out of stock and on back order?

Thanks again Kevin. Really looking forward to seeing and getting a BB10 phone.

Have to admit that I am very excited about what RIM might release. I have every intention of buying a BB10 handset, with a keyboard, when released. I don't see myself leaving my iPhone, but my 9700 will surely be upgraded when available.

So I'm hearing from someone I know in Sprint management that Sprint will have exclusivity to Blackberry 10 in December, and then other carriers starting in Jan. Am I late hearing this??? DAMN I can't wait!!!

Not sure what the point of the trackball is if your finger can just touch the app on the screen or swipe to get to the page with the icon on it.

I imagine the trackball comes in handy when there are very small targets or text to be tapped/highlighted.

Sounds great, but I'll be waiting for the Torch slider complete with the 3.1" screen (or whatever it is) and trackpad.

Try to position the cursor in text on the PlayBook. It's a nightmare.

First off, let me just say how stupid "BlackBerry by choice" is. Of course it's by choice. Is anyone FORCING you to use your smartphone OS? Is anyone holding a f!&*ing gun to your head and making you use your phone?! NO. No they are not. Some people say that apple has a cult following, I think that BlackBerry is worse. Much worse and scarier in terms of stupidity and blind following.

Secondly, BB10 looks cool. I will say that. If it actually is as cool and useful as it's hyped up to be, then people won't need to "force themselves" to use a dying and outdated OS. They will want to because it is useful.

That being said, I have never owned any BlackBerry handset. I do however own a PlayBook, but I may consider moving on to bigger and better fish to fry (read: anything made recently).

I Might be wrong, but I think it has to do with being "forced" to use B.B. for enterprise and how it's changing to B.Y.O.D.

Thanks for all the comments. Saved me for having to read the full article. Of course comments are as long as the article. Is this a win-win?

How would you compare the OS to the Playbook. While the Playbook's OS is quite smooth for the most part it's sort of "slow" especially launching certain apps and there is no this touch-and-open right away feel to it. A lot of things take a while to launch and it's quite frustrating.

Would you say this OS is quick? snappy? or average for say launching the browser, calender, mail ,etc.

More CrackBerry fluff! Do they ever stop to chart the fall in RIM's share price after each device peep show?

Heins talks of an inspirational device but it's hard to be inspired by what he's done for this shareholder of 6 years.

Still a BB believer and Kool-aid drinker. All I can say is BlackBerry mo Bettah!

Typing on my PB will be so much better when we have word substitution. I'm assuming it will be there in our BBX experience. Go Team BB!

RIM950; Ho-hum; Curve 8320; Torch 9800; PB16G; PB64GB

What's nearly killed RIM are those things that the phone "can't do" such as skype, netflix and such.....
....It appears RIM has finally realized what's got it positioned and is trying to do something about it.
...I think SKYPE will be a deal breaker if it's not on RIM devices at launch, period.

I'm with those who are in high hopes there will be a trackpad on the new Bold - I use the trackpad on my 9930 WAY MORE than the touchscreen and absolutely love it that it has both. I also think the 9930 is the perfect size and form - it screams high quality and the only thing that held sales of it back was the expected functionality that comes with Droid and IOS.

If the gods smile on us we will see a trackpad AND SKYPE on the new Bold! I'm also expecting that they ditch the current fisher price camera for a real one with AF.

Kevin, please tell me that the new models will have completely different names than the old Bold, Curve, Torch etc. This is the time for something NEW. People do not want a re-vamped Bold phone. New users don't care if the old Bold was good or not.

On a Crackberry post I saw someone had suggested Phoenix (rising from the ashes) as a name for a BB phone model. This is the type of exciting name BB needs. And the names must have some connection to each other - not random as they are now. What has a torch got to do with Bold? (I admit, I like the name 'Curve' but even this should be dropped now).

Also, BB10 OS has absolutely NO magic in its name. There's nothing wrong with having the OS as version 10, and updates numbered 10.1 etc.etc. but once again, BB needs something new. QNX is what they should be using. It's QNX in autos, appliances, phones, tablets.

Truthfully, which sounds better... powered by QNX or powered by BB10?

I even like the names Milan, London etc. for the phones - any theme is better than Bold, Torch etc. which have no connection to each other.

BB is up against savvy competitors using OS upgrades like Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Unfortunately this type of naming works.

The thrust should be to ensure that everybody understands at first glance that the new BB Phones and Tablets are NEW and EXCITING - that is in look and in name. Android vs. BB10... it's not going to work! The QNX name would completely revolutionize the BB product line.

I feel so strongly about this I will forward a copy to RIM but don't think it will ever get to the people involved.

Kevin, if you believe in any of the above, please send word to the people at RIM.

I'm rooting for the new models to take off and wish everybody at RIM the very best.


I beg to differ.

Firstly, the names of the phones to me are classics, when I bought my Bold 9930, I was excited because I was getting an iconic classic Blackberry. I understand why some people such as yourself want new names, but for me, a Blackberry Bold ten-hundred or 11-hundred sounds mighty fine.

As far as BB10 goes, again, here I'm going to have to disagree with you for two reasons:

1) Blackberry to me is all about professionalism, efficiency, and communication. I don't want a magical name. If my IT guy comes into the room and says we are all getting new Ice cream phone updates I'd switch to iPhone.

2)Just because the competition dumbs down their software to things like Pineapple to satisfy the masses (I personally don't think that the majority of Android users like these names), I don't think RIM should follow, RIM use to be a powerhouse and got to that point by doing things there way, not following the competition like sheep.

Hi Alireza27

I respect your opinion and being a fellow Blackberry owner (Curve 8900) I agree with you that in a perfect world, RIM should stick with the current crop of names that have built up a reputation. But I've spoken to quite a few BB owners who just want something completely new so offering them what they consider to be a revamped Bold just won't fit the bill.

However, much more than that, it is perception - especially by potential customers around the world that has now become more important to RIM. RIM desperately needs to sell to first timers. You and I know that the reality is that the new BB10 phones will be new from the ground up. So why not emphasize this fact by renaming the models and the operating system? If BB was switching to Java (another dumbed down name) then surely they would be advertising it as 'powered by java' and not calling the OS BB10?

I think that most Android users know that these dumb names are for the masses and anyway - they're only made up for the code writers etc. and add a little humour. This kind of naming projects has been done in the military for generations - Neptune was the code name for D-Day for instance.

I'm not suggesting RIM goes with dumbed down names at all. I want to see intelligent names that mean something and that immediately create a desire to know more about the product. Slogans do mean something and 'Be Bold'... when referring to buying a phone doesn't make any sense. You state that Blackberry Bold is a 'classic'. Continuing to use this 'classic' Bold name is exactly what will turn off millions of buyers who want something completely new. If the Bold were renamed the Milan - it would be perceived as new. (Please don't jump on me for using the Milan name - it's just an example - just something to prove that RIM is out with the old and in with the new).

You mention that RIM used to be a powerhouse. That statement says it all. They can be a powerhouse again... but not if they continue in the same marketing mould.

Nobody wants RIM to dumb down their software name. QNX is not dumbing down. It sounds high-tech and ahead of the curve. It also just happens to be magical sounding. Plus it's new and will be perceived as new whereas for some people, BB10 will appear as just an upgrade to what BB has had all along. It's only perception I'm talking about.

I doubt you would throw away your BB phone and switch to iPhone if your IT guy said you'd be getting the new Ice Cream Sandwich update :) This being because you're smart enough to know that it's only a dumbed-down name for the masses. Of course, the masses don't know that - they think it's an attractive name and buy the phone or the pad with the latest dumb-sounding OS - haha! But behind it all is the Android operating system - a name that people appear to admire. I've always liked it myself... but I prefer QNX.

We all use Google or Yahoo. What kind of names are these? How far would they have got with 'HTML Search Engine' or something similar?

Exactly the assurances I was looking for.
Renewal date is December..... I'll actually have to wait for these to land!
Thanks CB.

Whose job is it? How many average everyday people think RIM is near death? Have you ever had anyone question your BB use and think this? I have and don't have the time to explain their pending new mobile computing platform launch. It is someone's job however and they earn an "F" doing it. Heins, Stymiest et al.

Well done RIM, I am really looking forward to this device... As I read this article I had to stop a few times and air punch.

On poing #6 "In terms of underlying code, BlackBerry 10 is all new compared to BlackBerry 7 and older phones.[...]"

Well, actually BB10 is a fully compliant POSIX OS which is really old, stable, mature, complete technology. While BB7.x has a Java-based Kernel which is pretty new so not as stable, mature and complete.

OK, it's a new thing for BlackBerry. Saying out loud the underlying technology is brand new is more appealing for the average user that doesn't care/understand about mature technology.

Anyway, good post! Waiting for it too!

Definitely Excited about BB10. Was previously sceptical about anything new from Balckberry but these last few articles have reinforced by faith in BB and am waiting for Q1 2013.

Really want some buttons on the all-touchscreen device, along with the trackpad....real genius, especially for a communication device; the touchscreen and enhanced apps portfolio can hopefully enhance the "toy factor" that is so vital for any smartphone to succeed.

Again, pls find a way to keep the 4 classic BB buttons and the glorious Trackpad in the touchscreen device.

720x720 for the new Bold: I think its dpi is not as high as the BB Touch. So the screen'll be a 2,8'' one? I hoped it was 3''...