This week is all about the BlackBerry 10.3 OS SDK beta that arrived for the developer community. Developers can read all about that in a technical overview post by Tim Neil. This post recaps for smartphone users what will eventually be coming in the BlackBerry 10.3 OS update.
Last week was an exciting week for those following me on my BBM Channel [MichaelClewley C00014277]. I offered an advanced preview of the nearly 20 small but useful features we have planned for BlackBerry 10.3 OS. Here’s a look back at what was covered, and also answers to some of the common questions posted in the BBM Channel comments. You may have noticed the posts were broken down into some themes: New UI, Home Screen, Hub, Calendar & Remember and a catch-all Miscellaneous bucket. I’ve broken this blog post into the same themes.
- ‘Signature Action’: The action bar at the bottom of the screen has been updated for a simpler, cleaner experience. The most commonly used action is in the center of the bar and highlighted with blue color to give it focus. The secondary actions flank the primary or ‘signature action’ for functionality. The main action is static for each app/screen. For all you developers out there keep an eye out for how to take advantage of this feature in your app!
- Updated Icons: While the SDK doesn’t include all the updated icons for the new 10.3 look, all apps will receive a fresh new treatment. We listened to your feedback to remove the box around the icons in BlackBerry 10. I’m happy to let you know we are doing this to give icons a clean, new look.
- Endless Folders: That’s right, now you can jam more apps into a single folder, as you can have pages and pages of applications. For those of you who have multiple folders that you want to combine into one . . . we’ve thought of that! Just drag and drop a folder onto another and it will merge the apps into a single folder. Sorry, no folders within folders for this release.
- Empty Home Screen: One of the changes made to the home screen is making the “running apps grid” always there even if you close your last application. Less confusion, more predictability for end users. Also, it’s a great way to show off your wallpaper!
- Fast Quick Settings Access: Changing system settings from anywhere is only a two-finger-swipe away. From within any application a two-finger-swipe from the top will pull down the systems quick settings menu. Why two fingers rather than one? Well, simple, one-finger-swipe is already in use. To make that work would require all third-party applications being re-written. Don’t worry, you can still use one-finger-swipe from the home screen itself.
- Blog Bonus — More Apps on Screen: You noticed that the screenshots provided had some more icons than you are used to. The BlackBerry Z3, Z10 & Z30 now get an extra row of apps. For my QWERTY friends rocking out on a Q5 or Q10, you get an extra column of apps.
- Download All Attachments: We’ve added a button to the email screen that allows you to quickly download all email attachments. This is handy when you’re heading offline onto, say, an airplane and want to have all your attachments on your device.
- Delete Original Text: When replying to an email, you can now delete all of the original text.
- Remote IMAP Search: Even if e-mail items are no longer on your BlackBerry they are still always available for you to find and view! Just customize your account sync window.
- File Sent Messages: Allows you to file sent messages into specific folders defined in the mail box.
- BlackBerry Hub “Reset”: The BlackBerry Hub will now close / auto-save open content and default to the list after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Calendar & Remember
- Weekly Agenda: We’ve had many comments about wanting an “endless” agenda view. We’ve taken a step in that direction today and have added a weekly agenda view. The weeks are outlined at the top and you have a total agenda view for that week below. As this is still in beta you’ll notice the color is slightly different, so don’t mind that for now.
- Tasks in Calendar: Pretty simple addition that lets you create a task from within the calendar app itself, and of course see those tasks listed in the calendar. Tasks created in Remember will show in the calendar. Calendar-created tasks are also listed in Remember.
- Notifications Meeting Mode: Ever been in a meeting and had your phone go off when it shouldn’t have? Well here’s a neat feature that should allow you to save face. The notification profile will be tweaked automatically based on your calendar. This, of course, is an opt-in feature, so don’t worry that you’ll start missing desired notifications.
- Remember Updates: Are you a Tasks person or a Notes person? Well, we’ve made Remember easier to use for those who really like to organize. The tasks and notes are separated by a tab and as a user you’ll have the ability to set what your default view is.
- Camera: An updated UI makes it simpler to take a picture, switch between cameras and toggle certain features.
- Filer Picker Album View: When sending a picture from the file manager in BlackBerry 10.3, there’s now an album view, just like within the Pictures app.
- Settings List Re-arrange: In BlackBerry 10.3 you’ll be able to re-arrange the order of the Settings menu, allowing you to move your most frequently-used items to the top.
This is a developer beta – there may still be some changes. Also, I’ve only talked about what is in plain sight and found in the BlackBerry 10.3 beta SDK. There’s much much more to come! We encourage developers to download the tools and the SDK and to provide feedback. A quick word of warning for the average user: this OS update is not yet ready for you. It is a stripped-down version of BlackBerry 10, with many features removed. So if you expect this to be fully functional you’ll have a sad face. For screenshots and additional details be sure to follow my BBM Channel [MichaelClewley C00014277].