Two weeks ago today I received my evaluation BlackBerry 10. To say the least it has been everything I expected of a device with the promise of true multi-tasking and powerful mobile hardware. In a recent post I mentioned several reviews that go into extensive detail and gave it good marks for its performance. Here I will focus on a few specifics of my own user experience.
While I have found a few reviews that try to define the BlackBerry 10 based on the hardware, the real differentiating focus needs to be on the overall user experience. It’s the combination of both hardware and software resources that is integral to the device’s performance. BlackBerry 10 uses much of the most recent processor and display hardware available. I’m sure we’ll see new models in the future that incorporate Qualcomm’s newer processors featured in the CES keynote. My overview comment in this regard comes from working with the BlackBerry Z10 that is here in my hands today – it’s fast in many respects. Let me repeat – it’s fast!
In practice I have encountered several interesting features that contribute to this overall user experience. I’ll cover them over a few posts; today I want to talk about the display and “Share”.
As we have seen new smartphones come out we have heard about Retina Display on iOS devices and AMOLED on Samsung’s Galaxy devices running Android. They are impressive.
The Z10’s 720p OLED display compares very favourably and is, in my subjective opinion, quite stunning, matching or exceeding the viewing experience of any of these devices. While I put an example of the lock screen on the left, PC displays cannot do it justice. In his very detailed review of the BlackBerry Z10, CrackBerry.com’s Kevin Michaluk notes:
The BlackBerry Z10′s 4.2-inch display sports a resolution of 768×1280, clocking in at 356 pixels per inch. The iPhone 5 in comparison has a 4-inch display with 326 PPI. The hardened display glass features a new technology called Touch On Lens, where the touch technology is applied to the back side of the cover glass to eliminate the need for a separate touch panel. This allows BlackBerry to achieve a thin design. Under the finger, the display was always extremely responsive.
This sunset photo was originally taken on my 12.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot SX40HS camera with a telephoto lens. It catches the smallest ripples in the water of the infinity pool and reflections of the setting sun of both the pool and ocean. (Location: Tamarindo, Costa Rica where watching the sunset is a bit of a ritual.)
For the lockscreen and wallpaper I have used the LockScreen Wallpaper application.
Comparison of the New York Times app provides some interesting points:
|New York Times Top News
(1280 x 720)
|New York Times Top News
(640 x 1136)
|NYT Higgs Article
|NYT Higgs Article
The BlackBerry 10 display:
- uses the Slate font as its primary font throughout to deliover a crisper, easier read than a Serif font.
- provides slightly more content on the Top News Page as a result of its slightly higher resolution
The good news is that both deliver a format suited to the display size.
Bottom line: the combination of the display hardware and the Slate font, along with its overall graphics speed are one major contributor to a unique user experience. You have to see the actual device to fully realize its richness.
Share is probably the most under-promoted feature of BlackBerry 10. It was certainly promoted as a feature to incorporate into third party offerings at developer events during discussions involving user interface design.
Many of the inherent apps, such as the browser, File Manager, photos and videos, include a “Share” button in the action bar or action menu. Third party apps such as News applications (New York Times and CBC News), have incorporated the Share button.
Clicking on the “Share” button will suggest sharing an item, whether a web page, news or sports story to multiple destinations:
without the need to go into any associated application. Select your networking mode, if necessary select a contact, and send out a link, Tweet, Facebook update or view it on your Playbook, amongst other choices.
Bottom line: The Share feature and its tight integration with these applications is one more feature that contributes to making use of the BlackBerry 10 “faster”. Hopefully more third party applications will recognize the value of Share, if appropriate in the context of the application, and incorporate it via the developer tools available.
These are only a couple of the features that I have found of significant value in the unique BlackBerry 10 experience. I am still finding new features involving the messaging integration in the Hub, learning all you can do with Voice Control, watching video (movies, sportscasts) on my HDTV screen, listening to the UK’s ClassicFM 0n my office stereo radio/CD player and many other nifty features. Next: the browser and using the Hub with Peak and Flow.
Bottom line: After taking a day or two to learn the new user experience, did I say ‘it’s fast”? (And the learning curve is much less onerous than for starting up with Windows 8.)
Full disclosure: the author has a small holding of BlackBerry shares. But he also has iOS and Android devices in order to experience a cross section of the smartphone and tablet market. These observations are based on publicly available information combined with his own past business experience at senior management levels in high technology markets. His main interest is in seeing several thousand jobs maintained in not only the Canadian economy but also in BlackBerry organizations around the world.