BlackBerry has made some drastic changes with its new BlackBerry Z10 flagship and the all new BlackBerry 10 (BB10) software that powers it.
The Canadian manufacturer’s devices have always been highly regarded amongst business users thanks to their email functionality and QWERTY keypad, and the enterprise market has always been a fruitful hunting ground for the company as a result.
But, BlackBerry’s full touchscreen Z10 marks a significant departure from previous hardware seen from the firm, and despite ditching the physical keyboard, BlackBerry hasn’t completely forgotten about its loyal followers from the business fraternity. The firm’s new BB10 software includes Documents To Go Premium, a new office suite that enhances working, emailing and sharing straight from a smartphone.
The premium version of the popular app builds on the original Documents To Go application, which allows users to view, edit, create, manage and synchronise Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and email attachments from their devices.
This latest all-in-one application also comes with an extra helping of functionality so users can now check word counts, copy and paste text, change the style and size of fonts and format cells in spreadsheets.
BlackBerry has said it is keen to integrate a more up-to-date version of the app into BB10 to achieve “an end-to-end experience that’s greater, more productive and more secure than can be typically achieved as a stand alone app.”
But it’s the way the individual elements of the office suite work with BB10 that gives the user the feeling that everything is going on at the same time and all their work is laid out on a desk in front of them.
Here are five key features of BB10 that make the firm’s latest offering perfect for business use…
- BlackBerry Hub seamlessly brings notifications, contacts, messages and calendar entries together into one sliding menu. The hub is divided into two parts consisting of a main menu which displays emails and text messages, and a second part listing communications and detailing where each has come from.
Peeking at updates without having to leave the app that’s currently open can be done at any time simply by swiping up and to the right from the bottom of the display in one gesture.
- BlackBerry has incorporated what it calls InTact Technology in to the Z10 to further enhance the office suite. The technology works to preserve the original format of a document when editing or making updates on presentations or files, ensuring that they can be picked up and worked on using other devices. InTact ensures that any complex elements that might not translate to a smartphone, such as Macros in Excel, will be maintained so your work looks the same whether viewing it on a mobile device or a laptop.
- BBM Video with in-built Screen Share functionality extends video chat by sharing your phone’s screen with the person you’re video calling. This is especially useful for showing off work presentations and getting instant feedback from colleagues, hopefully improving communications as well as the speed at which work can be shared.
- BlackBerry Balance was first seen on the BlackBerry 7 OS and accommodates business users who want to use their own BB10 device for work purposes. The app ‘splits’ the handset in two so that work emails, apps and contacts can be kept separate from personal data. Switching between the different interfaces can be done instantly with a tap of an icon, and if at any point you need to download a work attachment, the Z10 will ask where you would like it saved. Rather than assuming that you want to store the file using one of the many cloud-based storage solutions such as Dropbox, the prompt is designed to ensure confidential information is kept safe in the device’s internal storage.
In the event of you changing jobs, your IT administrator will be able to wipe the work section of the handset without affecting the section housing personal digital information.
- A HDMI port means the BlackBerry Z10 can be connected to projectors and external screens and used to display documents and presentations, so there’s never any need to lug a heavy laptop around. Documents To Go also includes a ‘presenter mode’ that shows the user notes and upcoming slides on their handset during the presentation, while the audience will only see the presentation slides.
Regardless of the huge changes in software it’s great to see that BlackBerry has continued to remain faithful to its core of business users. Applications such as Documents To Go make working on the move a much more productive and efficient process, and the hardware only enhances this even further.
Since the BB10-toting Z10 was unveiled in January the Canadian manufacturer has seen an influx of new customers adopting the handset. As the firm continues to update its operating systems and introduce more hardware throughout 2013, its users will no doubt continue to reap the benefits of BlackBerry’s considerate approach to those for whom a smartphone is an essential business tool.
Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone, the home of all the latest smartphones.