BlackBerry 10
Blackberry Logo.svg
Blackberry Hub being 'peeked' at from Blackberry World on a Blackberry Z10.png
BlackBerry Hub being viewed on a BlackBerry Z10
DeveloperBlackBerry Ltd.
Written inC, C++, Qt
OS familyUnix-like, QNX
Working stateFormer, succeeded by Android in May 2019
Source modelClosed source
Initial releaseJanuary 30, 2013; 7 years ago (2013-01-30)[1]
Latest release10.3.3.3216 / April 4, 2018; 23 months ago (2018-04-04)[2]
Latest preview10.3.3.3216 / April 4, 2018; 23 months ago (2018-04-04)[3]
Available inMultilingual
Update methodFirmware over-the-air, BlackBerry Link (carrier dependent)
PlatformsARM
Kernel typeReal-time microkernel
Default user interfaceGraphical
LicenseProprietary
Preceded byBlackBerry OS
Succeeded byAndroid
Official websiteca.blackberry.com/software/smartphones/blackberry-10-os.html

BlackBerry 10 is a proprietary mobile operating system for the BlackBerry line of smartphones, both developed by BlackBerry Limited (formerly Research In Motion). BlackBerry 10 is based on QNX, a Unix-like operating system that was originally developed by QNX Software Systems until the company was acquired by BlackBerry in April 2010.[4]

It supports the application framework Qt (version 4.8) and in some later models features an Android runtime to run Android applications. Prior to version 10.3.1, BlackBerry 10 also supported the Adobe AIR runtime.[5] The user interface uses a combination of gestures and touch-based interactions for navigation and control, making it possible to control a device without having to press any physical buttons, with the exception of the power button that switches the device on or off. It also supports hardware keyboards, including ones which support touch input.

On October 26, 2015, BlackBerry announced that there were no plans to release new APIs and software development kits (SDKs) or adopt Qt version 5. Future updates, like versions 10.3.3 and 10.3.4, would focus on security and privacy enhancements only.[6][7] The BlackBerry Leap is the last smartphone from BlackBerry to run the BlackBerry 10 operating system.[8]

In 2016, BlackBerry Limited ceased making smartphones and licensed TCL Communication to manufacture them under the name BlackBerry Mobile. BlackBerry Mobile smartphones abandoned BlackBerry 10 in favor of the Android operating system, beginning with its 2017 BlackBerry KeyOne.[9] The first BlackBerry phone to ship with Android, however, was BlackBerry Limited's Priv.

On December 15, 2017, BlackBerry announced that there would be at least another two years of support for BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS devices; however, in August 2019, BlackBerry stated in a press release that they would continue to support "critical infrastructure" for BlackBerry 10 beyond the end of the year.[10]

History

The operating system was originally called BBX, but this was changed when BlackBerry was blocked from using the BBX trademark after legal action from BASIS International, who already used it for their software.[11]

On November 12, 2012, CEO Thorsten Heins announced a January 30, 2013, launch of the BlackBerry 10 operating system version 10.0 and the first smartphones running it.[12] The operating system, as well as two devices, the Z10 (a full touchscreen device), and the Q10 (a device equipped with a physical keyboard), were announced simultaneously around the world on January 30, 2013.[13] The company also announced that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet would receive an update to BlackBerry 10 later in 2013.[14] Subsequently, BlackBerry stated when releasing their Q1 2014 financial results that the BlackBerry PlayBook would not be receiving an update to BlackBerry 10, citing that the hardware would not provide a good experience of BlackBerry 10 and were focusing on future devices. BlackBerry continued to support and develop the PlayBook with its separate Tablet OS.

On 14 May 2013 BlackBerry OS 10.1 was launched. This brought improvements to many features requested by users.

On 13 September 2013, in Asia, BlackBerry announced the launch of BlackBerry OS 10.2 and a new BlackBerry 10 device, the Z30, providing performance increases over the previous BlackBerry 10 devices.

On June 18, 2014, BlackBerry announced an official relationship with Amazon.com, which resulted in the 10.3 update bundling the Amazon Appstore.

On 15 December 2017, BlackBerry CEO John S. Chen announced that there would be at least two years of support for BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS devices. The operating system is expected to be end of life at the end of 2019,[8] with many built-in software packages having their support ended (such as Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, LinkedIn, etc.).[15][16][17]

Features

Controls

The touchscreen is the predominant input method of BlackBerry 10, in addition to hardware keyboard for devices that have one. Users can use gestures and keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the system. For instance, a user can unlock the device or return to the home screen by swiping from the bottom to the top. Some gestures offer additional modes of interaction when they are used differently. For instance, the same gesture can be used to show unread notifications when the user swipes from the bottom edge to somewhat the middle and slightly to the right and also keep the finger on the touchscreen. Similarly, when the finger is moved from the bottom to the right in a curved motion, the user can enter BlackBerry Hub immediately.[18] Devices with a hardware keyboard can use keyboard shortcuts to reach applications or perform specific functions more quickly.

Multitasking

When a user returns to the home screen from within an application, the application is minimized into a so-called "Active Frame". An Active Frame is a miniaturized window of the application which keeps running in the background. A user can return to such an application by tapping on the Active Frame or close it by tapping on the X icon. Active Frames can have widget-like functionality and show small bits of information, similar to widgets on Android. For instance, the calendar application can show upcoming events and meetings. BlackBerry 10 limits the number of active applications and it varies per device.

BlackBerry Hub

BlackBerry 10 collates emails, SMS/MMS, calls and notifications into the BlackBerry Hub. It shows all messages and notifications in a continuous list, sorted by date. The user can filter results by application or, in the case of email, also by inbox. The user can create, view or act upon messages or notifications directly from the Hub. For instance, when the user opens a Facebook message, the Hub will open a small part of the Facebook application and allow the user to perform the same actions as the Facebook application itself. Applications need to support the Hub specifically to use most of these features, which is only possible for applications written with the native SDK. Notifications from unsupported applications are collated in the generic notifications tab.

Miscellaneous

Other notable features of BlackBerry 10 include:

  • A virtual keyboard with support for predictive typing and several gestures.[19][20]
  • Voice control and BlackBerry Assistant (10.3.1 and later), a virtual assistant, with which the user can perform various tasks by voice input or typed queries.
  • BlackBerry Balance, with which the user can separate personal from work data, if enabled by the device's enterprise server. The user can switch between two workspaces, each with their own applications, files and accounts.
  • BlackBerry Link, with which the user can synchronize data between the device and a computer, update the device or make backups. It supports iTunes and Windows Media Player.

Applications

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BlackBerry 10 has a number of applications that help users perform various tasks and activities. These include a web browser, as well applications for notes, reminders, calculator, clock, music, media, weather and file management. Cloud services like Box and Dropbox are also integrated by default. In addition, BlackBerry's messaging service BlackBerry Messenger is included, which supports video chat, VoIP and screen sharing.

Third-party applications

BlackBerry 10 can run applications that were written with its native SDK, Android applications compiled for API levels 10–18[21] (support varies per version) and applications written for Adobe AIR (only supported until version 10.3.1). BlackBerry 10 provides the distribution platform BlackBerry World as well as the Amazon Appstore (on version 10.3.0 and later).[22] Since version 10.2.1, Android application packages can be installed directly, whereas on previous versions Android applications could only be installed through BlackBerry World or by sideloading, which required packaging such applications into a native package format (BAR).[23]

At release in January 2013, BlackBerry 10 had 70,000 third-party applications.[23] At the 2013 BlackBerry Live conference, BlackBerry announced that they had more than 120,000 applications.[24]

Some developers have offered applications to access the Google Play Store, although this is not sanctioned by BlackBerry or Google. Applications which depend on the Google Play Services framework may not run. Similarly, Android applications which require a newer API level than 18 cannot run on BlackBerry 10.[21]

Devices

Released Devices

BlackBerry 10 supports the following BlackBerry smartphones, all of which can run the latest version. The BlackBerry Leap is the last smartphone from BlackBerry to run the BlackBerry 10 operating system, as BlackBerry devices are now running Android instead.[8]

Device Characteristics Release date Minimum OS
Z10 4.2" Touchscreen January 2013 10.0
Q10 3.1" Touchscreen and hardware keyboard
Q5 May 2013 10.1
Z30 5" Touchscreen October 2013 10.2
P'9982 4.2" Touchscreen December 2013
Z3 5" Touchscreen February 2014 10.2.1
P'9983 4.5" Touchscreen and hardware keyboard September 2014 10.3.0
Passport October 2014
Classic (Q20) 3.5" Touchscreen, hardware keyboard and dedicated buttons December 2014 10.3.1
Leap 5" Touchscreen April 2015

Canceled devices