Building up to its BlackBerry 6 OS rollout, RIM continues to share details in an effort to build excitement. Users can expect a new home screen design.
Research In Motion continues to work to build excitement
for BlackBerry 6,
the newest version of its operating system, slated to
debut in the third quarter. Slicker than its predecessor, BlackBerry 6 is part
of RIM's plan to more effectively compete against the Apple iPhone and the
growing number of high-powered smartphones running Google's Android OS.
RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis introduced
at the phone maker's annual
Wireless Enterprise Symposium April 27. Most recently, RIM's official
blog, Inside BlackBerry,
Q&A with Joey Benedek, director of the RIM User Experience group. Benedek
shared his favorite BlackBerry 6 features, offered a few explanations about
decisions that were made and went into some detail about what BlackBerry fans
In regard to the BlackBerry 6 home screen, Benedek said he and his team
wanted a design update that felt "fresh, but familiar, much like a home
renovation that 'feels' like home, but is actually new." This resulted in
"cleaner and sleeker" visuals and more fluid transitions
"between and within the applications."
The biggest change to the home screen, however, is that "there are now
five separate views that a user can easily switch between using the Navigation
Bar, depending on their preference and the type of information they're looking
for," Benedek explained.
Those views are Frequent, for users' most-used apps; Favorites, for favorite
applications and shortcuts to Contacts or Web pages; Media, for media content; Downloads,
a landing place for downloaded applications; and All, the big vertical list of
applications that users are currently accustomed to on a BlackBerry home
Benedek said ideas for changes came from "focus groups, usability
testing ... customer feedback" and other sources. For example, the UX team
realized that "it wasn't always intuitive where to find newly downloaded
applications," which led to the Downloads view. Another new feature-a
Universal Search application that can find any kind of content on the device,
or expand a search to the Web as well-resulted from diaries that the team had
users keep over the span of a few weeks about the searches they performed.
Other new bits of helpfulness regarding the way users search for information
are two "'quick access areas' that are built into the home screen,"
the post said. The first offers one-click access to Connections, Alarm and
Options-features that users "frequently want to adjust or change."
The other area is more socially focused. It's "designed to enable you
to view your most recent messages (such as e-mail, text [and] BlackBerry
Messenger), phone calls, upcoming appointments, [and] Facebook and Twitter
notifications simply by tapping the Notification Bar in the middle of the top
of the Home Screen," Benedek said. "If you click on the Notification
Bar, it drops down to show who the notifications are from, along with the first
few words from the title. This feature makes it much easier to prioritize which
notifications you want to respond to first."
His favorite new thing about the BlackBerry 6 home screen?
Benedek found it hard to choose between the Notification dropdown-"It's
great for multitasking"-and "swiping between application panes (I
like watching the animation-it's fun!)"