Feature Article

May 07, 2013

Looking Good, BlackBerry Q10

The Blackberry Z10, launched last January, sported some signature features. It was the first smartphone to run on the company's revamped operating system, and – perhaps most radically – lacked a physical keyboard. This keyboardless keyboard, so to speak, was inspired by the term "BlackBerry Thumb," a medical condition caused by repeated tapping of the tiny buttons on mobile devices. In its latest offering, the Q10, BlackBerry merges its new OS with a physical keyboard.

The Q10 resembles the last-generation models Blackberry Bold and Blackberry Curve with its rather small 3.1-inch LCD display. The smartphone comes with some conveniences not yet available on the Z10, including a high dynamic range (HDR) mode to help its 8-megapixel camera take better pictures under crummy lighting conditions, a simpler touch-screen method for placing the cursor within text more precisely, and the ability to compose messages from the home screen by simply typing "e-mail Hector" or "text Philomena," or even people with less obscure names.

Soon the Z10 will get these cool new features, though exactly when has not been established. The keyboard of the Q10 is reportedly well-spaced and distinctly shaped. It touts many convenient shortcuts, such as pressing the "S" key to initiate searches, the "T" key to scroll to the top of a list and the space bar to skip down a page. Hmm, command shortcuts are something we don't get a lot of on iOS. This could be a big breakthrough for Blackberry.

The Q10 features a strong cursor control. The cursor appears when you lightly tap changeable text, and is surrounded by a precise circle you can drag to other parts of the document with your fingertip. For more exact positioning, you can nudge the cursor one character forward or back by tapping the right or left side of the enclosing circle.

On the keyboard, there were some evident space-saving measures taken. Numbers share keys with letters, requiring you to press the Alt button for access. That could pose as a pain when someone is typing an alphanumeric string, such as passwords.

BlackBerry 10 OS invites users to separate professional and personal information and interaction with BlackBerry Balance, which puts personal e-mail accounts, photos and apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on one desktop, while corporate email and other accounts managed by one's business live on the Work desktop.

Users can also maintain and access separate work and personal accounts for a single app, as will come in handy with social media.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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