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Inside the BlackBerry Z10 – Part 1/6: BlackBerry Hub and Peek

Technoodling is working with Globe Telecom to provide you with a close-up look at BlackBerry’s latest and greatest – the Z10 smartphone.

It’s a six-part saga, with each episode taking an in-depth look at one or two of the Z10’s special features to help you learn more about this sharp new phone.

This month, Chris talks about BlackBerry Hub and Peek, the convenient messaging system that allows users to quickly and thoroughly explore their messages and conversations with one swipe of a finger, within any app and without leaving the said app.

When I heard months ago that BlackBerry was going back to the drawing board in an attempt to re-enter the white-hot smartphone fray with a real contender, I was expectant but, that said, a mite skeptical. This is, after all, the smartphone market – perhaps the single most white-hot, balls-out, pedal-to-the-metal-competitive market in tech nowadays. And in many people’s opinion, BlackBerry, nee RIM, hadn’t distinguished itself with its last few products, had been seen as taking its own sweet time to craft its new entrants to the game, and had also been perceived to be paying the stiff price for doing so in the form of lost marketshare and, more importantly, the more nebulous yet perhaps more vital ‘mindshare’.

And so it was that I patiently awaited the introduction of BlackBerry’s new product range while trying to ignore the sniggers of the fanboys who automatically dismissed the upcoming smartphone as being the company’s swan song. And when it finally broke cover in the US market, I pored over news releases, online galleries and reviews in an attempt to get a feel for BlackBerry’s new take on the smartphone.

Now we have a Z10 of our very own, courtesy of Technoodling’s friends at Globe Telecom, and I’ve had some days to put it through its paces. So how do I find it? It’s intriguing and very much a breath of fresh air, quite a departure from the company’s past offerings, and in many key ways it’s very different from what the competition offers as well – refreshingly so, in some particular areas.

Through this series, we’re going to go feature by feature in an attempt to show you exactly how different BlackBerry’s magnum opus is.

In a nutshell, the Z10 is a large-ish but not overly heavy smartphone that boasts a bright and beautiful 4.2-inch screen (768×1280 pixels, ~355 ppi pixel density – nothing to sneeze at at all!) and rocks a Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset and a dual-core 1.5GHz Krait CPU. Ours is one of the LTE units, and we intend to make full use of this key feature – more on which in a succeeding post.

Right now, though, I’d like to tell you all about the Z10’s BlackBerry Hub and Peek features – our focus for our maiden episode.

BlackBerry Hub and Peek

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said some time ago, “Nobody should have to worry about opening apps. They should just be there.”

He was alluding to one of BlackBerry 10’s, and thus the Z10’s, key features, and one of its main selling points: the ability to use the Hub and Peek features to quickly and easily take a gander at what you need to have a look at, or just take a quick peek at what might have come in while your attention might have been elsewhere.

You can check notifications, access some of the services or apps that you use more frequently, such as your work or personal email inboxes, or some of your social networking accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

And you can easily and quickly do so with no more than a swipe of your finger.

The BlackBerry Z10 takes usability to the next level by providing users with a unified inbox – this is the BlackBerry Hub. All the messages and notifications that you get in or regarding your various accounts and email addresses can all be viewed and opened in just one easily accessed ‘place’.

How do you access the Hub? From within any app or the ‘home’ screen, just position your index finger at the base of your screen and swipe up and slide to the right.

Welcome to the BlackBerry Hub!

What can you do in the Hub?

You can check and respond to email (whether work or personal), BBM chats and text messages.

You can view any notification that shows up on your social networking accounts – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – and respond to it if you need to or want to.

You can see if you have any missed calls or voice-mail messages.

You can have a look at meetings and events that you’ve scheduled, and even check friends’ birthdays via Facebook.

Moreover, whatever you’re looking at on your Z10, wherever you may be, checking any of these things without needing to open your Hub is a cinch.

Place your index finger at the base of your screen and swipe up and slide to the right, as if you’re checking out your Hub. If you don’t let go of the screen, you’ll be able to sneak a peek (okay, Peek) at your Hub without actually opening it per se.

Globe’s Powersurf 499 – The perfect plan for the Z10

I use my Z10 as a secondary phone with a prepaid microSIM card, but of course a phone like this is only maximized if it’s got an internet connection of its own. I’m now constantly connected using Globe’s Powersurf 499 plan, which is pretty good value for money. For just PhP499 for 30 days, you get 1GB of data and access to Globe Telecom’s network. It’s really helped me make great use of Hub and Peek. Give it try if you’re in need of a data connection for your own Z10.

So there you have it – Technoodling’s feature of the Z10’s Peek and Hub features! Tell me what you think in the comments below. I’m especially interested to hear from fellow Z10 owners; what do you think of the phone so far?

Six parts, six features of the BlackBerry Z10. Watch for our next installment!

Chris

Chris

Chris is into writing, tech, travel, photography, architecture, art and food - not necessarily in that order... He loves crispy Chinese noodles.

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