A peek at BlackBerry OS 10's browser, messenger, and flow (pictures)

A day before RIM kicked off its BlackBerry Jam Americas conference, CNET got to see more of the new BlackBerry 10 OS Beta 3 than ever before.

Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Jessica Dolcourt
1 of 19 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

A 'Peek' at BlackBerry OS 10

SAN JOSE, Calif.--With BlackBerry OS 10, RIM is redesigning seemingly every aspect of its former operating system, from the browser to the lock screen. "Peeking" is one design theme. Here, sliding up a thumb or finger from the bottom of the phone slowly dissolves the lock screen, giving you a full or partial view of what's underneath. You can commit and unlock it all the way, or lower the veil once more.
2 of 19 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Active frames

I know you've heard it all before: a home screen experience characterized by thumbnail views of programs that update with recent activity. RIM seems to have followed in Microsoft's "live tile" footsteps here with "active frames," but there is at least one difference. The large frames correspond to open apps that you can invoke or minimize with a tap.
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Home screens, continued

Swipe beyond the active frames and you'll see a few pages of the traditional icons laid out in a grid. These are large, square, and finger-friendly.
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HTML5 browser

The Web browser is based on HTML5 standards, which RIM says will let Web surfers do cool things, like open the camera app within a site, without leaving the browser. For pages heavy with ads and other distractions, enabling reader mode with a few gestures will give you a clearer view of your story (pictured.)
5 of 19 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Universal inbox, returned

RIM kept the idea of its universal message box for notifications and events, and turned it into an omnipresent element that's just under the surface. Peel back the page you're on, or more accurately, slide it back, and you'll be able to quickly check for new notifications. Calendar events, social networking updates, calls, texts, and e-mails all count.
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BlackBerry Hub: The layer beneath the layer

RIM has really embraced the idea of layers in the design philosophy often referred to as "flow." You can use gestures to further reveal the newly dubbed BlackBerry Hub, a sort of catch-all navigation for accounts and settings. Currently in the beta product, there are two methods for peeling back the layers. You can simply peek back by moving a finger on the screen, or view a deeper layer by swiping a different "root back" arrow on a different part of the screen.
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If there weren't enough menus

Further challenging you to stay focused on the new OS is what RIM calls a "cross cut menu," which you call up by pressing and holding something, say a contact entry in your address book. Here, you can forward or reply to the e-mail, organize it, and so on.
8 of 19 Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

BlackBerry Messenger

For a long time, BlackBerry Messenger, an app that lets you communicate nearly instantly and for free with other BlackBerry users, was unique to RIM (Apple followed suit with iMessage). In OS 10, the communications staple is decorated with the new smart keyboard and an emoticons keyboard that pops up and disappears when you're done.
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Group chat

The group chat interface in BlackBerry 10 OS also gets an updated look and feel; setting up a new group seems straightforward.
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Clever camera

RIM's first reveal of the camera wowed me with its neat timeshift trick, which virtually rewinds photos to let you pick an expression you prefer most. "Rewinding" in this case lets you pick from several snapshots taken in burst mode. It's smart, but once you make your pick, there's no going back.
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Face detection

The icon-heavy camera will detect faces and let you manipulate photos.
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Keep tabs on your contacts' companies

RIM added this feature just for its corporate users: Enter the company name of a contact into your address book and you'll be able to keep tabs on the latest news about him or her. According to RIM, business professionals asked for this feature to stay up-to-date on clients and partners before meetings. It's powered by a database RIM acquired with a third-party company.
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Facebook native app

RIM and Facebook showed off the new native app for BlackBerry 10 OS.
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Facebook profile

A quick look at the Facebook profile page.
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BlackBerry App World

The new App World experience opens for submissions October 10. It'll include new content, like music, and a never-ending list of top apps.
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Another look

We'll get clearer images soon, but here's an idea of the layout for games.
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NFC capabilities

What NFC sharing capabilities, similar to Samsung's S-Beam, will look like on BlackBerry 10.
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BlackBerry Balance switches profiles

A new feature changes your BlackBerry App World profile from work to personal at the press of a button.
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App swapping in live demo action

You can separate apps for work and for play.

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