The new BlackBerry 10 operating system (OS) which was released on March 22, 2013 in the United States has already surprised many of the company’s customers with its new features, one of which is the introduction of the on-screen touch keyboard which can handle typing in more than one language at the same time. With BlackBerry’s familiar keyboard gone, the company was forced to produce a replacement that was up to the standard after what is considered to be one of the biggest changes in its history.
BlackBerry has paid special attention to user multilingualism, introducing a new multi-language system which is capable of handling typing in more than one language simultaneously. Users can now introduce words in a second language in the middle of a sentence without having to change any settings. The new keyboard recognizes the language used and picks up words in up to three different languages.
How to Enable this Feature
To take advantage of this new feature, BlackBerry 10 users have to configure the phone’s language once before starting. In Language and Input within the Settings area, users get to pick three languages from the extensive list of possibilities. Once the settings are saved, users are free to write in all three languages at the same time.
Features for Today’s Multilingual Societies
A multilingual person is one who can and does communicate in more than one language. In the early 20th century, languages are considered something only the educated higher classes could have access to. Today, after the process of economic and political unification which has taken place worldwide, they are part of people’s everyday lives. Languages now:
• Provide access to increasing amount of information, especially those available online
• Aid tourists and travellers, allow interaction between cultures
• Are used in training and work to communicate with customers and co-workers due to an increasing number of companies operating internationally and hiring workers abroad
Because knowledge of language also means knowledge of the culture behind it, BlackBerry chose to turn multilingualism into a tool. This will probably attract new customers in the same way companies use language to improve business dealings with others by making use of their possible customers’ mother tongue rather than resorting to English as a lingua franca.
More on the New Keyboard
BlackBerry’s new prediction system is certainly above par. The company has stated that the new keyboard adapts progressively to its user – suggested words can be flicked up onto the screen and entire words can be deleted by swiping them left. The entire keyboard can be hidden by swiping down the screen with two fingers and brought up again by swiping in the opposite direction at any time. Customizable keyboard shortcuts can be added to the existing ones like “mypin”, to display the personal BlackBerry PIN, or “mynumber” to display each user’s phone number.