Research in Motion’s new operating system, BlackBerry 10, offers vast improvements from the company’s previous mobile phone OS. While BB10 gets RIM up to speed with the competition, is it enough to make a splash?

I recently had a chance to spend almost an hour with a prototype touchscreen-only handset: Dev Alpha B. The RIM spokespeople were quite clear that this is still a non-production model I was previewing, and that there would be improvements before the Jan. 30 launch.

That being said, there is no home button. RIM says it’s all about swipe gestures to navigate around the phone.

After a few minutes spent learning what each gesture does, I quickly got the hang of it and was soon jumping from app to app, from contact to inbox.

With BB10, RIM is introducing a feature called BlackBerry Hub. It’s a centralized inbox for everything from email to social media updates to a quick-glance calendar.

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