I’m ready to buy a BlackBerry again.
I just got back from a meeting with Research In Motion to check out the latest build of BlackBerry 10. And, even on a developer device without final hardware, I’m confident in saying I’m ready to move back to using a BlackBerry. Look, I don’t know what the application selection is going to be like at launch, and applications are huge, but I’m incredibly, incredibly impressed where RIM is going.
The entire user interface is blazingly fast. The only place I saw a single stutter was inside BlackBerry World, the store where you can purchase songs, music, videos and applications. Speaking of BlackBerry World, RIM promises that carrier billing will work at launch with more than 50 carriers, and that in-app purchases can also be applied to your monthly phone bill.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss BlackBerry Messenger. The application supports animated images for each user now, and I can’t help but imagine the funny .GIF images my friends are going to outfit their profiles with. If you meet someone and want to add them to BBM, you won’t have to fumble trying to remember your PIN or theirs, simply tap your phone and NFC will take care of the rest. Bam.
The camera application is super cool, too. BlackBerry Time Shift allows you to take a picture of anything, and then move forward or backwards in time to pick the best shot available. It works by grabbing a burst of photos in just a second, and then you can save the one where everyone is smiling. Or where there isn’t blur from movement. Sure, I knew the feature existed already, but this is the first time I’ve seen it first hand.
The lock screen is even compelling. There are notifications for messages and other clients, but the really cool part is that you can slide your finger up from the bottom at any time, using a feature called BlackBerry Flow, to unlock the phone. As you move your finger up, the lock screen begins to vanish and the home screen appears. It’s a really clean UI, and you don’t have to tap the power button just to get to the unlock screen. Nice work, RIM.
The weirdest part? I’m writing all of this based on my opinions on unfinished software and without even seeing the final hardware. I’d be pretty happy carrying the developer device, given the great software I’m already seeing.
RIM needs to impress a lot of people on Jan. 30 with its new devices and its final software. I can confidently say, however, I’m already drooling.