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Comeback Gambit

Print Edition: March 3, 2013

With a nomenclature change and a brand new operating system installed in its latest offering, BlackBerry Ltd, earlier known as Research In Motion, has struck back. Fighting a losing battle against rivals Apple and Samsung, it unveiled the much awaited BlackBerry 10 on January 30. So, how is the new BlackBerry different from earlier versions? Nidhi Singal takes a look.

1. BlackBerry Flow: The trackpad is now literally on the screen as the new operating system (OS) eliminates the need for hard buttons for navigation. With Flow, out goes the old grid-based user interface and in come 'active frames' that fetch information from particular apps, all launched by tapping. The new OS can display up to eight active frames. A simple swipe opens the app list.

2. BlackBerry Hub: In the earlier OS, the social networking apps were scattered under the main menu with a notification bar just under the clock. The new BB Hub keeps everything in one place, a bit like the People Hub on Windows Phone 8. It has a universal inbox for all forms of communications, from calls to texts to emails to social networking updates.

3. BlackBerry Messenger Video: BBM has for years been one of BlackBerry's unique selling points. Now, its secure chat comes with video, helped by the front cameras on the new devices. Apart from instantly switching between the chat and a video call, the Screen Share feature lets users share photos, browse or review a business document together.

4. BlackBerry Keyboard: The QWERTY keyboard was BlackBerry's forte even as it failed miserably with its earlier all-touch devices. But the new BlackBerry touchscreen keyboard provides an effortless typing experience. It even picks up the user's writing style and suggests words to help type faster. You can just flick the word in with the thumb.

5. Time Shift: Imaging has never been BB's focus area. The best it had was a 5 MP camera in its flagship 9900. The new models show a distinct change for the better. The BB10 OS has a time shift feature in its camera, which captures multiple frames and then lets you select the best one by scrolling back on the dial.

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