Leaked BlackBerry 10 Images Show Android-Like Widgets, iPhone-Like Apps

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BlackBerry 10 is looking a little bit like an iPhone and a little bit like Android in a batch of leaked screenshots.

Images of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, published by CrackBerry.com, apparently surfaced in a document prepared by an external ad agency that was working with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion. One of the images shows a grid of apps, arranged 4-by-4 on the screen, much like Apple’s iPhone. The image also shows folder support, with four apps previewed within the folder icon.

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More interesting, perhaps, is the use of widgets, which appear as 2-by-2 tiles on the home screen. The ones pictured don’t seem as interactive as Android’s widgets–there are no settings toggles or quick Twitter post buttons, for instance. They’re more like Windows Phone’s live tiles, showing a bit of information directly on the home screen.

Other BlackBerry 10 screenshots show a universal inbox that combines several e-mail sources in a single view, and a stylish contact screen that lets the user take notes or initiate a video chat. As CrackBerry points out, some of the contacts listed are RIM employees, lending legitimacy to the screen shots.

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RIM is pinning its hopes of a comeback on BlackBerry 10, with the first BB10 smartphones due to arrive in the second half of the year. The OS is a clean break from earlier BlackBerry software, with support for more modern smartphone apps.

Still, RIM doesn’t yet have a great answer for why someone should buy a BlackBerry 10 handset instead of an iPhone, Android phone or Windows Phone. A nice-looking, smooth-running operating system is table stakes. RIM will need a better proposition than that when the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones launch later this year.

(MORE: 4 Reasons to Remain Worried About RIM and BlackBerry)