With Canadian mobile manufacturer RIM keeping schtum beyond stating a Q1 2013 launch date, we could only estimate that their brand new mobile operating system; BlackBerry OS 10 would emerge around March 3rd next year. It now looks as though delivery of the new OS and compatible devices to market is going to take place much sooner, January 30th in fact, with both Three and Vodafone confirming that they’ll be offering new BB10-powered handsets off the bat.

BB 10 L-Series

Key features of BlackBerry OS 10

It’s not just a new number that’s gracing BlackBerry OS; the devices set to run the system will offer a number of key new features, some never before seen on BlackBerrys with others having never been seen on any smartphone.

Advanced keyboard - We’ve already seen technical demos of the keyboard technology coming to BBOS 10. Although tradition dictates that RIM will produce both all-touch and touchscreen/hardware keyboard-laden handsets. The on-screen keyboard appears to have impressive text prediction capabilities as well as being able to support up to three languages simultaneously and exhibits elements taken from SwiftKey Flow, with its drag-to-type text entry option.

BlackBerry Flow - In developing a more modern mobile user experience and interface, RIM have dubbed the key elements of BBOS 10’s UI as BlackBerry Flow. This refers to consistent elements between apps and services on the device making for a more unified experience, with consistent design elements and the ability to quickly ‘flow’ between applications.

BlackBerry Hub - A unified hub which will feature on all new BB10 handsets. BB Hub will serve as a single location displaying new messages, emails, social interactions, calendar appointments and more.

BlackBerry Balance - With the long standing history of BlackBerrys used in business, BlackBerry Balance will serve as a way for a single user to switch between work and personal modes. Each can have its own layout and wallpaper as well as its own firewall and encryption.

Time Shift camera - One of the ‘wow’ features at BlackBerry Jam earlier this year was BBOS 10’s new camera, or rather, the Time Shift feature. When the user takes a photo, the BB10 device will be able to pick out faces and let the user scrub forwards and backwards in time by a few frames either side of the photo. This feature is useful to capture more accurately a smile, remove blinking and more.

All-new web browser - BBOS 10’s web browser is anticipated to be fast, really fast, benchmarking of the current build already scores it above the likes of Google Chrome for mobile with regards to HTML5 performance for example. We’ll know more when the OS actually arrives in January.

Better app support - Thorsten Heinz, RIM’s head honcho has already revealed a diverse list of companies and developers looking to offer their own applications to the cause that is BBOS 10. We can expect to see apps from big names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare and eBay and Adobe as well as brands such as E! Entertainment, CBS, TopGear and ESPN.

Gaming is also anticipated to be a more enriching experience on new BlackBerry 10 devices with Gameloft already confirming a lineup of 11 premium games, costing nothing up to about £4.99.

When will BlackBerry OS 10 become available?

As was stated up top, our initial suspicions led us to think that BBOS 10 would arrive in early March, but RIM have have now officially revealed that their new mobile OS is hitting the UK and other major countries from January 30th, 2013.

Three and Vodafone were the first to confirm earlier today that they’d be offering up the first batch of BB10 handsets running BlackBerry OS 10 and subsequently EE have also chimed in stating that they’ll be offering devices from both Orange and T-Mobile on their 3G networks as well as on their new 4G EE plans as well.

Along with EE, Phones4U have stated that they’ll be stocking BB10 handsets, but neither have confirmed that they’ll be launching their respective ranges on 30th January like Three and Vodafone.

Which devices will support BB10?

From leaks, as well as RIM themselves, we’re expecting to see at least two launch handsets. The main device will be the first of the new L-Series products which will utilise a full length touchscreen design, whilst a more convention hardware keyboard-toting handset will follow up under the N-Series.