Research in Motion is in the middle of BlackBerry Jam Americas right now. This is an event for developers, but given the heat that RIM has constantly found themselves in from the media (especially in North America) it comes as no surprise that they would demo their next generation software to the media. Although BlackBerry 10 isn’t expected to launch until early next year, CrackBerry went hands on with the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B loaded with pre-release BlackBerry 10 software.
We get a first look at the BlackBerry 10 lock screen and delve more into the flow interface than we’ve ever seen before. Like many lock screen implementations you can easily jump right into the camera app. You unlock the device by swiping from bottom to top. We’ve seen a similar implementation on the PlayBook that even works when the display is off. Wonder if we’ll see that when the final product lands. The lock screen also dumps you back into whatever you were doing before.
We also get our first look at the “Hub” which is the evolution of the “Universal Inbox” seen on BlackBerry handsets today. You’ll see BBMs, Text Messages, Emails, Facebook and Twitter messages, emergency alerts, and voicemail. Swipe gestures are very important in BB10. In the hub by swiping left to right you will see all these different “inboxes” and by swiping down when at the latest message you can see your next calendar appointments. Something that might seem familiar to anybody crossing over from Android is the BB10 menu button. It’s three dots arranged vertically.
Minimized apps now have a name in BB10, they are called “Active Frames”. When the apps are minimized, they’ll take on a second state. Developers will be able to specify what their app should show if minimized. Think BBM showing you your latest message.
We also get a look at BlackBerry Balance implemented in the new software. BlackBerry Balance allows work places to install work apps on your device, and they will not cross information into your personal apps. For example you wouldn’t be able to take information from a work excel sheet and paste it into a Facebook message. While not a big deal for your average consumer, your workplace ITs will tell you just how big of a deal that can be.
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