On November 12, 2012, CEO Thorsten Heins announced a January 30, 2013 launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system version 10.0 and the first smartphones running it. The operating system, as well as two devices, the Z10 (a full touchscreen device), and the Q10 (a device equipped with a physical keyboard), were announced simultaneously around the world on January 30, 2013. The company also announced that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet would receive an update to BlackBerry 10 later in 2013. Subsequently BlackBerry stated when releasing their Q1 2014 financial results that the BlackBerry PlayBook would not be receiving an update to BlackBerry 10, citing that the hardware would not provide a good experience of BlackBerry 10 and are focusing on future devices. BlackBerry has continued to support and develop the PlayBook with its separate Tablet OS.
On 14 May 2013 BlackBerry OS 10.1 was launched. This brought improvements to many features requested by users.
On 13 September 2013, in Asia, BlackBerry announced the launch of BlackBerry OS 10.2 and a new BlackBerry 10 device, the Z30, providing performance increases over the previous BlackBerry 10 devices.
BlackBerry Hub being viewed from BlackBerry World on a BlackBerry Z10
On 1 May 2012, Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry officially unveiled the BlackBerry 10 platform. The features shown off at the BlackBerry World conference included a unique platform-wide flow interface, a new intelligent keyboard, as well as a camera app which allows the user to time-adjust the whole photo and also time-adjust individual faces one at a time to optimize picture quality. The user interface also includes the ability to run 8 “Active Frames”. BlackBerry Passport can run 16 apps as “Active Frames”. Unlike iPhone, BlackBerry multitasks in real time. Active Frames are applications that are currently running within the operating system, but minimized. These applications can either be running or paused while in “Active Frames” to help with battery longevity. Some are capable of showing a feed of live information on the home screen. The operating system also features the ‘Hub’, a message center accessible from anywhere in the OS where all notifications including emails, social networking notifications, text messages, and other notifications are displayed and are actionable.
BlackBerry 10 uses Slate as its main typeface.
Gestures are largely integrated within the BlackBerry 10, featuring four main gestures for easy navigation. Quick swiping up from the bottom edge of the bezel will result in users returning to the home screen. From there, users can view and close active applications. Users can also swipe from the top edge, to bring down a quick setting shade on the home screen, or an option shade on other supported apps. Also, while using any application, the upside down J-hook (starting from the bottom of the bezel and moving upward and right) allows users to peek at any notifications or messages on the BlackBerry Hub. Finally, swiping left to right (or vice versa) scroll through the available screens. It is possible to navigate around and through the apps using gestures and without needing navigation buttons.
Similar to BlackBerry Tablet OS, BlackBerry 10 OS also supports multitasking with gesture integration. Swiping up from any application brings up the running application screen, which functions as an application switcher and a task manager. Users can switch through running applications by tapping on any of the apps or close them by tapping on the ‘X’ on the lower right of the app itself. Some apps also offer widget like functionality, similar to Android. Examples of this include, picture app cycling through a photo album or calendar app showing upcoming events and meetings. Though the limit on the number of applications running in the background has been removed in the latest os updates, the number of Active Frames displayed is currently limited to eight with the most recently accessed application appearing in the top left position of the Active Frames screen. On BlackBerry 10, multitasking is done at the kernel level with each application running in real time in memory protected space. In the multitasking center of BlackBerry 10, you can run up to 8 applications simultaneously. If an app crashes or hiccups, it’s dropped from memory protected space and the rest of the OS runs as if nothing happened — one fault doesn’t cripple the entire system, a pain point for most other OS’ aside from BlackBerry’s.BB10
BlackBerry Hub acts as a notification center, with the user’s entire social and email accounts integrated into one app. These include, at launch, standard Email client, Twitter, Facebook, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), and LinkedIn (with options to turn any of these services off). Standard notifications like missed calls, voicemail, and system updates also appear on the hub. The hub can be accessible from any app/lock screen, by performing an upside down j-hook gesture. Users can perform various tasks like compose emails, send emails, and browse social networks, without accessing other apps. Developers are also given options to integrate apps into the BlackBerry Hub.
BlackBerry Balance is a new feature introduced in BlackBerry 10, enabling users to keep both personal data and office work data separated in its own spaces. Using BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, IT departments can allow users to set up work-spaces that automatically install applications and email accounts. After completion, users can navigate between personal and work profiles, by swiping down on the apps page. All of the user’s data is secured via 256-bit AES encryption, and any files created will stay within the profile partition.
Time Shift Camera
BlackBerry 10 features camera software that takes multiple frames of every photo. This feature allows users to adjust a photo easily to correct issues such as closed eyes.
BBM Video/Screen Share
BlackBerry’s messaging application (BBM) in BB10 includes the ability to video chat and make VoIP calls as well as the ability to share the contents of a user’s screen with others for free on WiFi or on your mobile data plan.
BlackBerry 10 introduced an Android runtime layer, which allows users to install Android application on their BlackBerry. When introduced, it was capable of running apps up to Android 2.3 Gingerbread. This was upgraded to support Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean apps in BB10.2 (along with android drivers and native code applications), and another update introduced in BB10.3 upgraded the layer to support Android 4.3 (to enable multi-core CPU support in the Android runtime).