The BlackBerry 10 Jam, happening around the world brought us closer to a smartphone with a purpose. Which is, to confuse us by not being baring any semblance to an official BlackBerry 10 handset, as RIM explained to us.
What we have though, is a decent slice of BlackBerry’s future. It’s not our place to judge an alpha product, but on looks alone the BB 10 Dev Alpha unit is a cleaner, leaner device that’s primed to correct past mistakes. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s 10 000 words of encouragement.
Yes, it’s a BlackBerry PlayBook, condensed into a phone. The OS we got to fiddle with was a rejigged BlackBerry Tablet OS. Obviously, we love the look of the phone. The PlayBook is already the best looking tablet on the market.
This is a very alpha interface of the fairly-choppy OS. In a very Windows OS-like move, the user is presented with apps in a tile format, up to eight at the most. It looked fairly slick but in practice, was very buggy. Again, in this state that is to be expected.
This shows off the 4.2-inch screen beautifully. While RIM wasn’t going to tell us what the specs are for this device, similar devices showcased a month ago rocked a 1280×768 HD screen with a 356DPI res. Very, very nice.
Ah, the keyboard. It’s pretty much the best part of this package. Type, and the BlackBerry suggests words which users can “flick” onto the screen. Sounds wacky, but in practice it’s highly intuitive. Apparently, the device learns the user’s writing style and predicts text based on common patterns. Put plainly, it rocks. Here’s the known specs:
Display: 4.2-inch 1280×768 HD LCD (356dpi) touch screen.
Storage: 16GB Internal.
Network: Quad Band HSPA+, No LTE support enabled. microSIM.
Connectivity: Bluetooth, NFC
Cameras: Front Facing with no flash. Rear Camera with Flash.
Ports: 3.5MM Headphone Jack, microHDMI, microUSB.
The device was locked out for a while, but eventually was cracked open by a wide-eyed developer.
Right side of the device. The PlayBook influence shines through with the volume rocker and play buttons.
Left-side of the alpha unit. For those wondering what the strange notch is on the top, it’s just a design test, not a microSD card slot. That is supported though, but the cover has to be removed to access the card. Expansion for the win!
The journey ends where it began. It’s so PlayBook it hurts, and we love it for that. Initial BB 10 devices launch first quarter 2013 and we pray that it keeps its PlayBook asthetics.
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