The tech world has been waiting for Research In Motion to unveil its new operating system for Blackberry, and yesterday they finally did. I was fortunate enough to have a brief stint with the new goods, so I'd like to share my first impressions. Ready? Here goes...
Well, first of all, let me tell you... the phone is NICE. REAL NICE. From my limited experience, the BB10 (OS) is great, IMO. To me, it's a mix between Android and Apple's iOS, and that's alright. The hardware isn't Apple quality (nothing is), but it is great. IMO (again), it makes any other non-Apple phone look like crap. To say I'm shocked at Blackberry's latest offerings is an understatement.
Now, on to the OS. I didn't have a lot of time with it, but I will say it's pretty nice. IMO it's as iOS-friendly as you'd want, with a lot of nice Android features. The virtual keyboard is great once you get used to it. My only gripe is that there's so many touch gestures, you really have to learn it. What I mean is, it's not intuitive as iOS for the advanced gestures, but it has advanced gestures. It has more than Android and iOS, which is cool, but again, not intuitive. Like, swiping from the top left corner brings up 'this', swiping from the top right 'that', etc.
As for the hardware - it's still plastic, but it is very well made. It's hard to believe that you can still change a battery with a device that has little seams (like a 4S). It's solid in the hand like an iPhone, and there's no "crunching" like a Samsung. How long it will last I don't know - crunching may come after use - but the unit I played with was excellent. What is going to kill them - is what is currently killing them... their inability to compete in an 'App' and 'Media' "Store", like Google Play and Apple's App Store. That, to me, is the saddest part of it all. Blackberry has a great enterprise infrastructure, and this OS and hardware is fantastic. So that's why it's sad - but it is what it is. All in all, the more I played with it the more I liked it - and I didn't really "want" to. It was a refreshing change from iOS, and not ugly or convoluted as Android (and Windows... well, let's not go there).
As a disclaimer, I will say that I have not yet used the product for an extended period of time. Only time will tell if it's a flop or not. At first glance, if they can market it well and get a dang 'App Store' and good developers for it... it could be a hit. I sincerely hope so, as iOS and Android (and I guess Windows) needs good competition. I mean, iOS 7 has to be BIG this year. If it's not... I fear it will be the official start of the decline of Apple's footprint, (against already circulating, unproven, ridiculous, rumors). But hey, at least we'll all have front row seats to see how it plays out!