Posted in: Latest News & Views, mobile technology
After becoming nearly an afterthought in the smartphone market behind top competitors Apple and Google and third-place Microsoft, the company formerly known as Research in Motion (now just BlackBerry) has unveiled two new devices it hopes can change the course. The biggest thing the smartphones have going for them: They may strike the best balance between personal gadget and business tool.
The unveiled its new BlackBerry10 operating system on January 30, along with two new phones:
- The BlackBerry Q10, with a physical keyboard in a style similar to the traditional BlackBerry design (but with a touchscreen, too), and
- The BlackBerry Z10, an all-touch phone with a 4-inch screen and a style similar to the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy line.
In terms of software, it appears the company is looking to appeal more to the consumer market that has made its competitors so successful, with a new app store featuring 70,000 apps (although 40% of those are converted versions of Android software), a stocked music and movie store, and an overall sleeker and more stylized design.
But all that’s in addition to the features designed for the business users that have always made up BlackBerry’s target market. Most notably this time around, the company announced a new feature called BlackBerry Balance, which aims to help users neatly divide their phones into two halves — for work and personal tasks.
How it works, in a nutshell: If a phone has BlackBerry’s corporate software suite installed, the user can up a separate work-focused profile, featuring a distinct calendar, address book, wallpaper and other items, and even completely different sets of available apps. The user must enter a password in order to see the work profile.
That could help keep corporate information secure if a user’s phone is lost or stolen, and it will make it easier to remove those corporate artifacts from a personal phone when the user leaves the company. Also, the feature should appeal to those who want to use only one device but don’t want a total lack of work-life separation.
The feature even allows for two separate instances of an app to be installed in the different profiles. So, for example, someone can have app logged into a corporate Twitter account on one side, with a different version logged into a personal account on the other.
The bottom line: There’s no telling whether the new BlackBerry smartphones will be hit, but if they’re used, they could make support personal mobile devices a lot easier for IT departments.
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