Research In Motion’s Blackberries used to be the go-to gadgets for every professional, from sales associates to United States Presidents. But then the iPhone and Android operating systems came out and suddenly the once mighty phone manufacturer found itself on a downward spiral. Sales of the stubborn OS fell off and before long RIM found itself holding just 9.3% of the mobile market.
But now the berry is back. Recently, RIM underwent a major overhaul – including a name change to – and has now begun to issue new Blackberry phones with a revamped, revitalized OS in the hopes of competing with iPhone and Android. So how does the new version of blackberry stack up to its competitors? Let’s take a look.
Reviewers say that the new Blackberry 10 OS feels slick and intuitive. Rather than mashing the home button as you do on iOS, the Blackberry system uses swipes and other gestures. The overall feel of the system puts it in competition with Android and iOS, though it may not be unique enough to make or break a Blackberry phone.
Android Jelly Bean still reigns supreme as the most customizable mobile OS on the market while iOS 6.1 is still characteristically rigid with its screen aesthetics. Blackberry 10 lands somewhere in the middle. Users can switch between “home” and “work” screens with the Balance feature, but they can’t totally redesign their home screen like they can with Android or even Windows 8.
The new Blackberry comes loaded with a slew of features that some users will find useful. Most notable is the Blackberry Hub notification bar on the left side of the screen, which collects messages and notification alerts similar to the dropdown menus of Android and iOS. The big advantage of the Hub is that it allows users to check notifications without exiting the app they’re currently running.
Like Android – and unlike iOS – Blackberry 10 supports Near Field Communications, which means that you can pay for transactions just by waving your phone at a receiving hub in a store. There aren’t many of these hubs yet, but this will be a boon to many users in the future.
Additionally, Blackberry 10 comes pre-loaded with certain apps that iPhone users have to pay for. This includes Story Maker, an automatic video editor, Docs to Go, a document editing app and Time Shift, a camera feature that allows users to choose the best photograph from a quick-fire succession of shots.
If there’s one field where Blackberry is lacking, it’s the app market. Apple continues to dominate the field with a wide offering of high-quality, paid apps. It’s still the preferred platform for developers, and as long as that remains true Apple will retain the throne. Android is a solid second, and the quality of its app market – now deemed Google Play – is constantly improving.
Blackberry, on the other hand, is trying to play catch up. The Blackberry World market is new, and while developers have already produced a good number apps for the new OS – 100,000 so far and counting – the company will still be playing catch up for some time.
The new Blackberry OS is a welcome breath of life into a company that many experts once deemed to be teetering on the verge of collapse. The tenth iteration of the famous operating system is no revolutionary product, but it’s at least gotten with the times. Blackberry 10 may not be competing with the iPhone for the number one spot on the market any time soon, but its many business-based features should make it a popular choice for expatriated BB fans and any other professionals seeking a smart phone.
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