The innovative lockscreen that Research in Motion demonstrated during the announcement of the release of BlackBerry 10 has made an appearance elsewhere. The lockscreen, called “curtain”-style, is now available for some Android devices that run on Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich. When locked, the screen shows merely the time and date against a black screen. However, when users place a finger at the bottom, that portion of the screen lights up, brightest at the point of contact and receding outward and upward into darkness. The user needs to slide his or her finger up the screen past a certain threshold point to light up the whole screen and unlock the phone.
Though the lockscreen is largely an aesthetic development, it is a security feature designed by a company with a very high reputation for mobile systems security. The lockscreen now enters the small—but growing—territory shared between RIM-designed programs and other major mobile operating systems. Especially since news has started leaking about features of the BlackBerry 10, mobile app developers have emulated many of its features. The lockscreen mimicry is only the latest.
It comes on the heels of an announcement that rogue iPhone app developers mimicked another cutting-edge feature of BlackBerry 10, a predictive keyboard feature that places suggestions on the actual keys rather than within the text. iPhone users who uploaded a video of this feature referred to it as an “Octopus Keyboard.” While the Octopus Keyboard didn’t function as smoothly or as consistently on the video as the BlackBerry 10 touch-key system had in demonstrations, the ideas and concepts behind the Octopus Keyboard were, according to some members of the mobile communications community, taken directly from BlackBerry 10 technology.
In addition to the adaptive keyboard and curtained lockscreen, devices with BlackBerry 10 will feature BlackBerry Balance (a module for keeping personal and professional information separate), Flow and Hub. If the appearance of the BlackBerry 10 lockscreen on Android devices is any indicator, then it seems technology consumers are already appreciative of BlackBerry 10’s new features.
The iPhone or iPad must be “jailbroken”—a process that allows it to access apps and manipulate devices in a manner not necessarily supported by Apple—in order to utilize the Octopus Keyboard. Those in the BlackBerry camp wondered what the response from BlackBerry would be, speculating that RIM may have filed an intellectual rights claim over the keyboard. Thus far, there has been none, but multiple sources have confirmed its resemblance to the BlackBerry 10 keyboard.
BlackBerry 10 is due for release in late January 2013. Its critical and commercial reception is very important to RIM’s success as a company. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has extensively outlined the role he imagines BlackBerry 10 will play in the mobile market, saying that he envisions it as the keystone of a decade-long growth plan for the company, recently named Canada’s top research spender.
Guest article written by: Phil Cohen is a graduate from San Diego State University, with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Public Relations. He is currently working with a computer firm in Houston, Texas. In his free time he enjoys freelance writing about technology products, as well as Scuba Diving, White Water Rafting, and taking Road Trips.