Top 10 New BlackBerry 7 Features Ranging From Awesome To Helpful

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blackberry 7 logo

The new BlackBerry 7 devices are out in the wild and being tested and there are reviews starting to pop up today as RIM’s review embargo is lifted. What really makes these devices is a combination of hardware and software and while the hardware review will be up shortly, here is a glimpse at some features that you’ll appreciate from the software side of things. There were a few features that we’ve left out of this Top 10 list because they were hardware dependent. Features such as HD video recording are really awesome, but it may be more hardware than software at work.

Here are some fun features of BlackBerry 7 in no particular order:

blackberry 7 panels

Manage Panels

One thing we liked about BlackBerry 6 was the introduction of panels, but there was a lot of redundancy. For example, many of your Favorite apps would also appear in your Frequent apps. In BlackBerry 7, you can customize which panels are visible.

To use custom panels, go to:

Homescreen > Options > Manage Panels

add to existing contacts

Add to Existing Contacts

One of the more frustrating elements of adding contacts with your BlackBerry is there was no “add to existing contacts” field and you would have to either create a new contact or navigate to the contact and copy and paste. Now the feature is baked right in.

default search engines

Custom Search Engines

It’s great to see that custom search engines are built into BlackBerry 7. One of the downsides is that it isn’t all that easy to add custom search engines and it would be nice if it were as easy as Firefox. We’ll have a tutorial coming on how to add a variety of search engines for those not sure how to enter the search fields properly.

Device Switch

The device switch options located in the Setup app, has some really helpful features for backing up and restoring your device. The app allows you to backup and restore using the SD Card which helps if you’re not big on using data. Another great backup tool is BlackBerry Protect which is preloaded on the device (more on that later).

To access the Device Switch app, head to:

Setup > Device Switch

voice activated universal search

Voice Activated Universal Search

Voice activated universal search is a fun feature if you’re on the move and don’t feel like looking down at your device and tapping away. Now, it can also be a pretty embarrassing feature if you’re searching for something you don’t want others listening to. This feature is also available in the Google Mobile app but now you also get the added benefits of searching your device.

To use the Voice Activated Universal Search app:

Tap Search then tap the mic icon

Liquid Graphics

Liquid graphics is a somewhat vague term but it’s pretty clear that RIM needed something to describe the fact that the latest devices use a combination of increased processor power and OpenGL 2 to create a fluid and lightning fast homescreen. This is also the reason that BlackBerry 7 isn’t backwards compatible – because the BlackBerry 6 devices didn’t have the OpenGL 2 support. When you pick up a BlackBerry 7 device, you can really feel the difference.

blackberry html 5 video player

HTML 5 Video Support

HTML 5 is fast becoming a great new standard for the web and many sites are specifically adopting HTML 5 video. Popular video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion and others have either already implemented HTML 5 video or have a beta player available to the public. We’ve taken the browser to some great HTML 5 video sites including the above at videojs.com and the browser performed tremendously.

BlackBerry ID Integration

One of the more frustrating elements of BlackBerry 6 was having to constantly re-enter your BBID. Now, the BBID is baked into the BlackBerry experience and apps can access it. We’ve also experienced App World has had a huge improvement with this new feature as you don’t have to constantly enter your BBID each time you download an app.

Great Suite of Preloaded Apps

BlackBerry 7 comes with a host of awesome apps that make the overall BlackBerry experience more enjoyable. These apps include:

Social Feeds 2.0
BlackBerry Messenger 6
Wikitude
Docs to Go Premium
BlackBerry Protect
BlackBerry Balance (for BES users)

Browser Speed Improved by 40%

Last and CERTAINLY not least is the fact that the Browser in BlackBerry 7 is now 40% faster than it was in BlackBerry 6 and 100% faster than it was in OS 5 (official percentages from RIM). The new browser may not be faster than the iPhone 4′s, but it certainly is fast enough to make browsing a pleasant experience. Remember on OS 5 devices when you didn’t even bother using the browser? Those days are completely gone.

  • Anonymous

    Breaking News…….  RIM to release new MySpace App for Blackberry 7 devices.

  • http://www.securitydirect.co.uk/acatalog/Protector_III_Personal_Alarm_from__3.39.html Personal Alarm

    Seems very easy to use but is it the best option for previous users of the iphone.

  • http://www.securitydirect.co.uk/acatalog/Protector_III_Personal_Alarm_from__3.39.html Personal Alarm

    Seems very easy to use but is it the best option for previous users of the iphone.

  • http://www.securitydirect.co.uk/acatalog/Protector_III_Personal_Alarm_from__3.39.html Personal Alarm

    Seems very easy to use but is it the best option for previous users of the iphone.

  • http://ca.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberry-bold-9900-9930/ BlackBerry Dakota

    Very useful. Thank you for the info.

  • http://ca.blackberry.com/smartphones/blackberry-bold-9900-9930/ BlackBerry Dakota

    Very useful. Thank you for the info.

  • Torch User

    But what about apps?  I’m getting so tired of getting excited when a company offers a new app, only to read that it is not available for BlackBerry.  Will 7 assure that apps are as available to BlackBerry users as they are to iPhone and Droid users?

  • DjBeenie

    Far from it mate, I have the bold 9900, there are less apps avauilable for BB7 than all the other blackberrys, I’ve had this since it came out and they have only just updated the ebay app.
    Don’t get me wrong, the phone is amazing but for those that would like lots of apps that could compete with iphone and android, your wasting your time.

    And don’t believe any video that says the horrid egg timer loading thing doesn’t come up, the more apps you have the slower the bold goes and that randomly pops up for sometimes 10 mins.

    Where blackberry exceed in so many ways, they fail hugely in others.