The new BlackBerry 10 based Z10 is finally here. Was it worth the wait?
BlackBerry 10 is a completely new OS for RIM and is based on the QNX platform they purchased and first introduced in the PlayBook. If I could compare, I would say it is somewhat like what Microsoft did with their Windows Phone OS- a reboot that was pretty much worked upon from scratch. That’s a considerably tough challenge for any company and especially for RIM. Not only do they have to please their existing user base but also attract ex-users that are now on competing platforms. Their challenge was to introduce something very new and modern without losing the essence of BlackBerry. And to a large extent, they have succeeded in doing that with BlackBerry 10.
Getting around the OS relies almost completely on swipes and gestures which is certainly a novel, and sometimes natural way of doing things. But I’m not convinced that it’s always the most efficient way. For example, switching between applications is like iOS where you need to go to the task switcher screen and select the app. while both Android and Windows Phone on have a back button that is very helpful in that regard. Also, there are times where within an application you can swipe from any of the four sides to get to different menus, options and screens which can get a bit confusing.
Where you can see the OS shine is how gracefully it handles transitions and flicks- everything is butter smooth on the Z10 which shows the beauty of an optimized hardware/software solution. Not only is everything very smooth but the fact that applications in the background are actually running versus entering paused state they do on Android, iOS or Windows Phone is mighty impressive. For example, on any phone I’ve tested based on the above OSes, try playing a YouTube video and then load another app- on the Z10, you continue to hear the audio from the YouTube app as it continues to “run” in the background whereas every other phone will pause that.