If you would have told me that I would be starting a report with that title 3 weeks ago, I would have said you were nuts. A necessary evil of my work, I have been carrying around a BlackBerry for several years now and have never been impressed. I am sorry but it is true. Right now, I have in my hands the BlackBerry Z10, as well as the Z30, and you will be hard pressed to get either away from me any time soon. The only reason that BlackBerry hasn’t stolen millions of smartphone sales away from IOS or Android is an unfortunate amount of bad press, and bad timing with respect to release of this phone.
Don’t believe me? Three days ago I was traveling at just under 300km/h on the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) from Taipei to the Fo Guong Shan Temple on the south end of Taiwan and I received a call via Skype. Normally that wouldn’t be such a feat, but for the fact that I happened to only then realize how many programs were open on the Z30 at that time. All active and available with a quick swipe and tap were Skype, the camera for both pictures and video, my Facebook, my wife’s Facebook, a translator program and a money conversion program. This was the most intense multitasking that I had ever seen from a smartphone, and something that neither IOS or Android devices are capable of.
This was always the thing that bothered me about, not only BlackBerry, but all smartphones in general. Multitasking was very limited. I can’t tell you just how many times I had to end a call to find info and then call back with that info. BlackBerry has solved this…and then some. Not only have they improved on the truly limited multitasking we have come to know in all cell phones, but better yet, one can use up to eight programs simultaneously and each is just a quick swipe to get back to without having to close down the other. Now even completing the easiest task of forwarding the info of any of our contacts to a person that you are speaking with on the phone, won’t intimidate us any longer. The BlackBerry Z30 is here.
SEPARATING WORK FROM PERSONAL USE
Admittedly, I hit you with the hardest punch to get your attention right off but let’s examine just how we got where we are. Without warning a few weeks back, my BlackBerry Bold was replaced with a new BlackBerry Z10 as part of our corporate IT structure; the OS of the new Z10 had greater security features for our company needs. What that meant in laymen’s terms was that ‘they’ didn’t like the visiting of social sharing sites along side of sensitive work data and a solution was now available in the BlackBerry 10 OS. This ‘fix’ maintains separate business and personal areas on the device where work data is off limits while one checks personal sites such as FaceBook , these sites still being technically off limits in any case.
For me, that meant that I was now carrying a BB Z10 alongside my own Samsung Galaxy Note II, the Note II being a necessary evil for website business. Admittedly, the larger screen and fonts were also more suiting to my 50 years and slightly jaded vision. I had some hesitation with BlackBerry and this was compounded by the fact that I was a phone junkie who had previously moved from the iPhone to the Galaxy Note II. My work BB Bold (and all versions prior) had always been a paperweight that had to remain by my side 24 hours a day.
BLACKBERRY 10 FOR DUMMIES (MYSELF INCLUDED)
Within that first week with the Z10, my Samsung Galaxy Note II was parked at the office, the number and all e-mail accounts forwarded to the BB. The Note II had now become the paperweight and one that was being fought for by both of my children. It seems that the new BlackBerry 10 OS had won me over, but trust me; it wasn’t a walk in the park. The BB 10 OS is totally different than that of Android and IOS. If you are used to either, get ready for a learning curve but once you get things going, watch out because no other device can run anything like this. BB 10 is based on swiping in every direction from the outside of the screen to the inside.
Let’s start with the home screen. It has several icons and many more can be found if you swipe right to left across the screen. By swiping left to right, you return to where you started. Now, if you continue to swipe left to right, you come to the notification area where you can instantly access all notifications including such things as e-mail, text messages FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BBM and PIN messages. Swipe back right to left to get back to your home screen.
If you now swipe from the top down, you get easy access to all settings and device information. If you quickly swipe up from the bottom, you will notice that the left notification screen becomes visible where you can see if you have any new notifications. Swiping up also changes the battery meter on the top left to the percentage of the battery life remaining. Now press the phone icon. The phone is now active and you can swipe from the top to see any ‘extra’ settings that may apply to the phone, or other app.
Swipe up and watch the phone reduce. This is the beauty of BlackBerry. Regardless of what program you reduce, it remains active and you can swipe from the left to check notifications or from the right to access other programs. You can keep up to 8 of your most used programs available at all times. Open a few programs and pull up to reduce them and then swipe left and right to understand the access you have to notifications and programs. Remember when we said we had two instances of FaceBook, a translator, money converter, camera and Skype all in use; we weren’t kidding. You can close the active programs easily by pressing the ‘x’ bottom right when they are reduced in the active screen.