BlackBerry 10 (BB10)

Tech thought

The new BlackBerry 10 (BB10) is different from Android and Apple smartphones. It’s an improvement on the old BlackBerry, but still equipped with what users know and love: tools to keep them organized and facilitate communication. Here are some of the new features.

Hub and Flow

The new device recognizes people communicate through more than just phone calls and email. So, instead of separate screens for each function, such as email, Twitter, call history, chat log, and Facebook, the BB10 now has the Hub.

The Hub keeps all communication methods together. You just have to swipe from the left to check your calls, calendar, or email. It also automatically recognizes your contacts’ names and will sync someone’s Facebook details to her contact in the address book.

Then there’s the Flow feature, which lets you peek at items in your Hub without being forced to leave the email message, website, or the game you’re in the middle of. All you do is swipe from the left slowly. Release the swipe and everything snaps back in place.

Keyboard

The onscreen keyboard is fast and easy to use. Like other keyboards, it suggests words when you’re typing. But the BB10 pops the suggested word within the keyboard, above the letter you’re most likely to type next. It can also automatically remember common words you’ve used in the past. For instance, if you type “a-d-v” and the word “advisor” pops up instead of “adventure,” it’s because you use that word more often. BB10 even remembers sentences, allowing you to complete a whole phrase by typing only half-a-dozen letters.

Email and documents

The email software automatically opens common attachments and you can jump easily between messages by scrolling or swiping sideways. You also can search emails, contacts, files, apps, the app store and the web all at once simply by typing in a word from the main screen.

The Word, Excel and Powerpoint editor, Documents To Go, has almost desktop-level capabilities. But you’re still better off using a computer for any serious changes.

App interconnectedness is the best feature. Being able to shift easily from an email message to the calendar, for example, makes both much more useable.

Camera

The 8-megapixel camera includes a feature called Time Shift. It lets you take a rapid set of photos of a group and then choose people’s best expressions for the final photo. People standing close to the camera, though, are easier to edit than those further away.

There’s also the Photo Editor and slideshow app. The built-in editing and cropping don’t stand out compared to some third-party photo apps, but my friends who own BB10s raved about this function when I asked which were their favourites.

Web browsing

The screen is sharp, bright and large. It’s responsive and can easily handle graphic-heavy sites. Also, it can run Flash (unlike the iPhone) and HTML5.

App Store

It has many of the hottest apps for music, movies, books and games. Skype will soon be added, but those wanting Netflix will have to wait.

Should you buy?

While the web browsing features are impressive, if you’re someone who wants five different photo apps you’re better off with an iPhone or Android. But if your main concern is being organized, this is the device for you.

Kevin Cork, CFP, is President of TheAbsoluteGroup.com and a best-selling author.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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