RIM Reveals Blackberry 10

RIM has finally shown off the long awaited (and delayed) Blackberry 10 and the interface looks like a mix of a little Windows Metro, a little WebOS, and even a little Facebook thrown in for good measure. Overall it looks like there are some solid ideas and a heavy reliance on gestures, but based on the limited reveal it’s hard to tell how well it’s all coming together.

Check out a video overview of Blackberry 10 from The Verge below:

It’s still a ways from launch but right now the home screen tiles, messaging, and phone calls all have different feeling UIs and seem like they could each be from a different operating system. The camera app certainly has a lot of “wow factor.” The reliance on gestures is also interesting, as a tech geek it appeals to me but studies show the average user has an incredibly difficult time with gesture based interfaces and gesture discoverability is low.

From a development side of thing, Blackberry 10 will support apps developed with C/C++ but is also pushing their WebWorks SDK hard. WebWorks will allow devs to build apps that integrate with core Blackberry functionality using web technologies such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. If WebWorks works as advertised it could lower the barrier of entry and help bring app developers aboard that would otherwise ignore the platform.

Blackberry 10 is awfully late to the party. With WebOS already dead and Windows Phone struggling to make a sales dent, will BB10 be able to be keep up at all with iPhone and Android? It’s going to take great software, hardware, app and media ecosystem, and a whole lot of marketing to spur renewed interest from either consumers or app developers. They’ve got a long way to go and good interface ideas won’t be enough.

Google Chrome Coming to Android Devices*

Google Chrome is finally coming to Android phones and tablets. A beta is available for download now if you’re one of the lucky few already running Android 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich (hence the asterisk* in the post title.) No word on when (or if) Chrome will come to other Android versions or become the operating system’s default browser.

In general the user interface looks very intuitive and clean, particularly the tab view and tab switching functionality. Chrome for Android will also reportedly bring improved performance and better rendering of pages. Plus if you’re signed in with a Google account you can sync things like tabs and bookmarks across devices (phone, tablet, and desktop.)

Get more information and some hands-on impressions over at The Verge.

Update: Chrome for Android won’t support Flash. From Adobe, “Adobe is no longer developing Flash Player for mobile browsers, and thus Chrome for Android Beta does not support Flash content.”

YouTube Mobile Redesigned, Now Using HTML5 for Video

YouTube has updated the mobile version of their site with several important improvements, including now serving videos using the HTML5 video tag. If you’re using an HTML5 compliant mobile browser, which includes the iPhone and Android phones, you’ll get the new and improved site. If you hit m.youtube.com with an older phone (or a desktop web browser) you’ll get the older, more basic version instead.

The redesigned mobile site features touch-friendly interface changes, speed improvements, and much higher quality video than the previous Edge-optimized version. The original mobile site launched in 2007 and the native iPhone YouTube app has hardly been updated since the first iPhone was released, so many of the changes revolve around getting the mobile site on the same page as changes to the full version of the site. Most importantly, users can now choose to watch the high quality versions of videos when available.

Continue reading → YouTube Mobile Redesigned, Now Using HTML5 for Video

Cisco Show and Share: YouTube for the Enterprise?

Last week at an event in Las Vegas, Cisco surprised the tech blogs when they announced their new Android-based tablet dubbed the Cius. Without a cool new gadget to go with it, their new social video system didn’t cause as much of a stir but may end up having the bigger impact on the way companies communicate, collaborate, and educate their employees. Cisco Show and Share could be YouTube for the enterprise.

Show and Share looks to make it easy for employees to upload, share, and edit videos within the security of the corporate network. Videos can be synced with presentation slides making them great instructional tools or a way to archive meetings for those who could not attend. Uploaded videos can be made available only for certain users and extensive viewing statistics are available, great for making sure everyone has seen the important video from HR or the marketing team has watched the new training video.

Perhaps most importantly, speech to text technology can automatically create searchable transcripts of uploaded videos. Once videos are transcribed, categorized, and labeled in Show and Share, employees will have easy access to the knowledge of coworkers both down the hall from them and across the country.

Knowledge sharing is one of the most important components of the modern corporate intranet and that doesn’t just mean making files available in a central repository. Increasingly, multimedia and connecting employees to each other to encourage communication are becoming the preferred way to promote knowledge transfer and to stay on the leading edge. Video tools such as Cisco Show and Share could go a long way in not only making the information available, but also making employees actually want to use it.

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