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BlackBerry 10.2.1: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

BlackBerry 10.2.1: Is it all it’s cracked up to be? 

The device itself is a touchscreen/keyboard hybrid. The Q10 strikes a nice balance between the two; it’s easy to type, but it’s also easy to navigate the menus by touch.

BlackBerry has added some new features the interface to bring it up to date with other smartphones on the market. You can now swipe to accept or reject incoming calls, or tap an icon to mute the ringer. The software responds quickly, meaning you won’t have to stab at the screen repeatedly with your finger to carry out actions.

One of the more innovative features is the picture password feature. In a world populated by devices offering pattern and PIN unlocking mechanisms, the picture password is an unusual but effective capability.

When setting up the picture password, the device asks you to select a number. After you’ve done so, it asks you to select an image. For example, you can choose an image showing buttons of different sizes, shapes, and colours, and the phone will then instruct you to drag your chosen number onto one part of the image.

On the lock screen, the device lays out grid of random numbers on top of the image. You then have to move the grid around until your chosen number is centered on the part of the image you selected in the setup menu.

Such a feature might strike some as annoying, but the security it provides can’t be denied. Thanks to the grid of random numbers, anyone looking over your shoulder would be unable to figure out the solution to the puzzle.

The best new feature for enterprises, however, is the pinch filter in BlackBerry Hub. Some people regularly receive dozens or hundreds of emails per day, across a number of accounts, which greatly amplifies the possibility that some messages will get lost in the shuffle.

Thankfully, the Hub is perfect for helping professionals manage large volumes of messages in a simple way. Here’s how: You can set filters in the settings menu and select whether you want the Hub to display only unread, flagged, or priority messages, which can then be activated in the Hub with a pinch motion.

Other smartphones just don’t have anything as efficient as the BlackBerry Hub. Android, for example, has a pull-down notification window, but there is no real way to customize how messages are displayed. Moreover, the user can’t keep the messages in the notification window once they’ve been read.

As for security, the reality is that anyone could look over the shoulder of an Android user and memorize the PIN or security pattern at first glance. With 10.2.1’s picture lock feature, the solution isn’t quite so obvious.

So is the new version of BlackBerry 10 good for enterprises? The answer is, unequivocally, yes.

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