BlackBerry 10: What Smartphone Buyers Should Know About RIM's New Mobile OS

NEWS ANALYSIS: Research In Motion has started showing off the features of BlackBerry 10 on a prototype handset. But enterprise users and consumers will need to learn a lot more before the first production model hits the market late in 2012.

Research In Motion is officially getting its act together and starting to show that it wants to compete far more effectively in the mobile space. The company on May 1 unveiled more details on BlackBerry 10 and released it to developers who want to start building applications for the platform. The mobile firm also showed off a prototype handset running BlackBerry 10 that it is using in the development process.

For developers and investors, May 1 was an exciting day. RIM had been keeping BlackBerry 10 and its associated plans close to the vest, causing some to second-guess whether the company had what it takes to be successful in the mobile market again. Now that RIM has shown at least a bit more of its hand, it may be able to at least slow the defections of BlackBerry users until they get a look at BlackBerry 10 production models later this year.

But now a host of BlackBerry 10 details are already out there, and anyone interested in the future of RIM and its BlackBerry smartphones should learn all about them to make the most informed buying decisions.

Read on to find out what everyone should know about BlackBerry 10:

1. Touch screen-only to start

Interestingly, RIM decided against showing off a physical keyboard with BlackBerry 10. The move was a not-so-subtle confirmation of earlier reports claiming the company would onlylaunch touch screen-based BlackBerry 10 devices this year. It€™s a nice departure for RIM, but those who want physical keys shouldn€™t worry: They€™re likely launching those models next year.

2. The €œPull€ gesture is rather neat

One of the biggest issues with mobile platforms today is the inability to quickly glance at a window behind the one that€™s active. With BlackBerry 10€™s €œpull€ gesture, users will be able to slide the active window aside and take a glance at another. It€™s something other companies, like Apple, should consider bringing to their platform.

3. The camera improvements are huge

Arguably the biggest enhancement to BlackBerry 10 is its camera feature. The camera has the ability to record several versions of the same image the instant a picture is taken. This gives users the ability in effect to go back in time to edit and change the image. Users can tap any place on the photo to see how that particular part of an image looked in an earlier slice of time. So, for example, if you take a photo of a person who closed his or her eyes at the moment the camera flashed, it€™s possible to tap the eyes to go back to a slightly earlier version when the person€™s eyes were open. Neat, huh?

4. RIM is focusing on developers

RIM has made it clear that developers are taking center stage with BlackBerry 10. In fact, the company on May 1 launched its toolkit in beta to help developers start creating applications for the operating system. The launch also includes support for Cascades, which RIM says, should help developers create far more €œgraphically rich€ apps.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...