Looking Through Windows: Two Things BlackBerry Can Learn From Microsoft

    By Andrew Meadows | Small Business

    It has been months since the new BlackBerry phones were released on the market, along with the much-awaited operating system, BlackBerry 10. For many critics, BlackBerry got everything right, providing a great smartphone experience for many consumers, both old and new. However, we still want more.

    Obviously, BlackBerry took a look at smartphones running iOS and Android, the two leading smartphone operating systems on the market. What BlackBerry did not study was Windows Phone, a fast growing operating system from Microsoft. There are several areas BlackBerry can improve on its smartphones if it takes a look at the Windows Phone smartphones. Here are some of the things that BlackBerry can borrow (or steal) from Microsoft:

    Easy Access for Notifications 

    Although the notification feature on Windows Phone is not entirely perfect, we can still say that it is superior to BlackBerry. Windows Phone has an alert center in line with its customizable Live Tiles. I’m not saying that BlackBerry’s notification program isn’t great. It is: It has an excellent Hub feature that stands as unified inbox, not to mention the “peek” gesture, which gives you a quick look at the inbox. The problem is that if you receive a message or e-mail, the phone’s red light flashes. Just that. No clue whatsoever on the screen. You don’t even know whether it’s a text message or e-mail. Sure, it’s not that big of a problem, but the fact that BlackBerry prides itself as having messaging prowess, it should have noticed this issue in the first place. In other words, if Blackberry wants to stand strong in its position as the ultimate messaging device, it has to improve its notification feature.

    Customizable Home Screen

    One of the great developments found on the new BlackBerry operating system is its fresh home screen. It has “Active Frames” which show active apps and act as a kind of widget, letting users multitask. However, the problem is that the “frames” are not really consistent, in such a way that they constantly change position even if you just want to take a look at another active app. Sometimes it is irritating when you go back to the original app, and you realize that it’s in a different position. This can be a hindrance for an effective workflow.

    This is why BlackBerry can look at Windows Phone as an example to follow. On a Windows Phone device, the home screen tiles let users position them anywhere. They don’t change position, unlike the ones on BlackBerry. This is better because you already know where to tap when you want to go back to the app. If BlackBerry wants to provide productivity, then it should redesign their Active Frames to be like Microsoft’s.


    It might not be fair for BlackBerry to be compared with Microsoft Phone, since the latter is relatively new. However, now that new operating systems are coming out of nowhere, it is important for good operating systems to stand out, and currently, the ones standing out are iOS, Android, and Windows Phone (in that order). BlackBerry has to battle Microsoft for third place if it wants its limelight back, if it wants to regain the hearts of smartphone users.

    Just like BlackBerry, Microsoft had downfalls years ago. However, Microsoft was able to get back on its feet and fight in the smartphone market. Now, it is continually gaining consumers, despite still being in third place. If BlackBerry needs a paradigm of success, they should look to Microsoft first. Defeat Microsoft and BlackBerry can eventually focus on Apple and Android.

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