Blackberry 10 UI Improvements for 10.2.1

Posted on 28. Jan, 2014 by in Mobile, Technology

I have owned a Blackberry Z10 for nearly a month now and I can say without a shadow of a doubt the best phone I have ever owned is my Blackberry Z10. Having upgraded from my Blackberry Bold 9700 nearly two months ago I have found few flaws in my new phone (ignoring the issue of whether or not a hardware keyboard is necessary). With the Blackberry 10.2.1 update slated to be released this week, now is a good time to look at some of the issues and improvements I hope to see with this update.

The lower navigation bar, which holds icons like the back button, tabs, and options in apps allows for easy access to many of the features an app has to offer. This functionality is great while the bar is populated with tabs, menus, but is a huge waste of screen space when there is only the back button in the bar. This back button is not necessary as the native Blackberry apps allow you to swipe back without touching a back button. By removing this button (and the rest of the empty bar) the overall flow of the app and screen space will be increased.

The Blackberry browser is already amazing, with class-leading HTML5 support and a simple, but powerful, UI. The only improvement that I would like to see is the ability to set whether I would like to see frequently opened tabs (as is shown now), bookmarks, or history, on the news tabs page. This would bring the New Tab Page functionality on par with that of the BB OS and desktop browsers with little change to the overall app.

Blackberry 10 apps’ ability to play music in the background is an amazing feature I am just staring to take advantage of. With the overall experience with music and media on my phone has been great I would like to see an improvement in the accessibility of the music controls when not in the music app. Although you can use the volume rocker on the side of the phone to adjust playback, I would like to see music controls added to the pull-down Quick Settings Menu. This would make playback control to be a more seamless part of the OS.

Being a university student I have many different classes and commitments at different times on different days of the week. This makes organizing when to get up in the morning a constant concern. I would like to see the ability to have the clock automatically set an alarm based on when my first scheduled event of the day is. This would mean that as long as my calendar is up to date I will be woken up at the right time without having to worry about setting a separate alarm for each day.

While NFC has begun to take over as the predominant standard for quick mobile exchange, sharing things using QR codes has not died out completely. BB 10 currently has a QR code reader in the BBM app for scanning in new contacts, and in the Smart Tags NFC app. Unfortunately, neither of these places are terribly convenient to access as I both rarely have them open, and forget where this functionality is hidden. So when I need to quickly need to scan a QR code I spend more time trying to find a QR code reader than actually scanning anything. I would instead like to see a shortcut to the QR code reader in the browsers pull-down menu in the browser as not only is that a logical place to have a feature that scans in links.

While none of the mobile operating systems on the market today are perfect, it is a testament to Blackberry that my only real issues with their current offering are minor tweaks. Blackberry 10.2.1 is slated to be bringing tweaks and upgrades to features all across the operating system and I, along with many others, cant wait to get out hands on it.

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