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BlackBerry was once the king of smartphone makers. With its latest OS, BlackBerry 10, the company made a huge effort to bring the platform up to par with Android and iOS, yet BlackBerry remains perilously close to extinction — even its CEO John Chen only gives the company a 50-50 chance of survival.
A recent campaign from T-Mobile in the US encouraging BlackBerry users to trade-in their devices for rivals' handsets raised Chen's ire. Initially, T-Mobile only offered users the chance swap to non-BlackBerry devices, but offered to make it up to fans with a new shipping deal for BlackBerry handsets after Chen blasted the carrier for its "inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion".
Sadly for BlackBerry, though, most people went to its competitors: an internal T-Mobile document revealed 94 percent of subscribers that took up the offer switched to a non-BlackBerry device.
Most were probably ditching their older BlackBerry 7-powered devices but soon enough owners of the current BB10 line will have to make the decision whether to upgrade — if BlackBerry is still around by then — or move on.
So if you're considering your next mobile move, what are the pros and cons of switching you should consider?
BlackBerry 10 Hub and Flow
The decision to not include a home button on the Z10 was a departure from iOS and many Android devices, and gave BlackBerry a chance to rethink how swipes and gestures could replace typical home button controls.
Two features of that decision were BlackBerry Hub and Flow.
BlackBerry Hub provides a centralised access point for all BB10 messages, whether they're emails, calls, SMS, BBM or other messages on Twitter, Facebook and so on. Hub can be brought up by swiping a finger from the left of the screen.
iOS and Android of course have their own native notifications centre, but there are a few differences. For one, their notification centres are not quite the central feature that Hub is in BB10 (more on that later).
BlackBerry Flow isn't really an identifiable feature in the same was that Hub is, but rather a term BlackBerry uses for how, using slides and swipes, BlackBerry owners can navigate between apps without relying on either Apple's double-click based home button or Android's multi-task soft button.
In BB10, Flow operates within the context of apps running side by side, which can be accessed by swiping left and right to flick between apps. It's meant to make it easier to jump out of a half-finished email to find contacts and then pop back in to complete it.
The two BB10 features are about saving time and re-thinking control without a home button. If you're a fan of either, don't expect to find exactly the same features on either of the two most popular smartphone platforms.