RIM Announces New Features For BlackBerry 10

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Today marked the start of the BlackBerry Jam developers' conference. This is the failing company's last big chance to remain relevant in the smartphone world. It also marks the first public unveiling of BlackBerry 10, the company's new smartphone operating system.

The two main new features going into BlackBerry 10 are Flow and Hub. The two new apps are indicative of RIM finally embracing what smartphone owners want out of their devices. They offer a one-stop shop for all of their apps and communications.

BlackBerry Flow is an activity monitor of sorts. It minimizes all of the currently running apps on one screen. It's somewhat similar to Microsoft's Live Tiles in Windows Phone 8. In this case, the app is contained in a small window that provides the most recent information from that app. RIM uses the example of seeing the most up-to-date BlackBerry Messenger update on the Flow screen.

From there, users can access the BlackBerry Hub. It's a all-encompassing message center that collects communications from multiple email accounts, BBM, social networking, and text messages. Once again, it seems like BlackBerry is taking a page out of Windows Phone here. It's nice, however, and a much needed improvement over previous BlackBerry OS versions.

You can check out both new features in action below:

RIM is once again playing catch up by announcing that the Blackberry App World will begin offering music and movies. They have also redesigned App World to be easier to navigate. You can get a brief glimpse of the new App World below:

Finally, RIM also announced a new Web browser that will be shipping with BlackBerry 10. The browser has been built around new Web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. It also promises faster loading and built-in sharing. One of the more unique things about the browser is that it can access on board hardware and interact with it via HTML5. Check out the demo below to see for yourself:

Overall, RIM hasn't shown anything groundbreaking. These are features that should have been present in BlackBerry ages ago. RIM has been constantly playing catch up with iOS and Android in the past. Now they're playing catchup with Windows Phone. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

With that being said, the browser is really nice. I hope Apple and Google get it together in pushing better HTML5 support. Being able to access hardware functions through a browser is pretty cool.

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