By Jonathan Charles | Sep 27, 2012 01:18 PM EDT
RIM Chief Executive Officer Thornsten Heins announced the third beta of BlackBerry 10 on Sept. 25 along with a developer device, expected to encase an actual for-release BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Videos of the operating system present interesting features; here is what we liked.
The problem with multitasking in iOS is that it does not reflect the state of the app without opening it; users cannot see at a glance where the app is paused. RIM solves this problem by displaying thumbnails of running apps, meaning that users can see information without opening apps. It is important to remember that multitasking is not just for closing apps, it is designed to increase productivity.
RIM introduces BlackBerry Hub, allowing users to effectively configure separate profiles for work and personal use. It is a smart, yet obvious, callback to feature phones having multiple profiles for different situations. The feature seems to be appealing to enterprise users. Functionality may be disabled depending on the context, like copy and paste. A "Hybrid" mode combines work and personal functionality. However, the Verge suggested in its hands-on preview that most users will not use the feature. While the concept is intriguing, RIM needs to improve how to enable the functionality. Currently users swipe from a blank space on the screen.
Unlocking a device on iOS is a simple; "Swipe to unlock" tell users what to do. RIM goes a step further by not using hardware buttons or instructions: user intuitively swipe up to transition into the home screen. Unlocking a device needs to be quick and effortless.
Questions still linger over whether RIM can convince developers to come to the rebooted platform. The market is changing, with developers increasingly turning to iOS and Android, and Windows Phone 8 is launching early in 2013. BlackBerry 10 launches in the first quarter of 2013.
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