Today Blackberry have just released their fresh new smartphones and operating system, Blackberry 10. Itâ€™s obvious that they are merely playing catch up, but could these new devices and OS breath new life into the declining company? Â Could this be a fresh start fromÂ re-brandingÂ to be simply called Blackberry?
Blackberry kicked off the event by unveiling two new devices, the Q10 and the Z10. The Q10 is essentially the Bold 9900 minus theÂ track-padÂ a few other buttons, with slightly different hardware, and of course with the new BlackberryÂ OS 10. Â Die-hardÂ Blackberry fans will adore the Q10 as it fully blends a physical keyboard with a beautiful 3.1 touch display, similar to its predecessor. The Z10, however, is a candy bar shaped device which features a 4.2â€ screen. Both devices have a gorgeous screen with aÂ 356 PPI, which is thirty more than the iPhone’sÂ 356 PPI.
AestheticallyÂ the devices looks great, seem well built and with the Z10’s glassÂ weaved glass back for great feel andÂ soft touch when holding it. The Z10 itself features a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage which can be expanded using a microSD card. Both the devices feature the connectivity features you expect from any phone nowadays, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and of course 4G cellular capabilities.
UK customers can Â pick up the Z10 tomorrow from most of the major networks like Vodafone, 02, EE etc, however potential US users must wait until March. Most other countries will get the device from the 5th of February especially in Canada.
Some of the features:
Perhaps the most interesting and unique feature of the new Blackberry OS is the Blackberry Hub. The Blackberry hub is essentially a notification centre, perhaps the most complex on a mobile device. It allows users to send and receive messages in any app, from straight within the Hub itself. It truly looks great for handling mass notifications from different apps as there is no hassle to open and close multiple apps, it can all be done from within the Hub.
Blackberry devices are famous for a few things, one mainly being their ever popular and much adored keyboards. The Q10 features a physical qwerty keyboard where as the Z10 has aÂ touch screenÂ keyboard with a slight twist. The Z10’s keyboard predicts the next word you are going to say and it appears above a certain letter, you simply swipe up and the text is added in the text box. It is exceedingly fast paced and accurate, and has a potential to perhaps be the best software keyboard to date.
Another thing Blackberry devices are famous for is their use in the ecosystems of many businesses, this is where â€˜Balanceâ€™ comes in. The new Balance feature allows users to switch between their personal life and business life, all from the single device, essentially allowing you to use the device for both personal and business reasons. The Blackberry World on the business side of the device can be catered to fit the needs of your business, for example they may only let you download certain business apps.
Video calling andÂ Â screen sharing
BBM now has a video calling which allows a somewhat unique feature on a mobileÂ deviceÂ screen sharing. Yes, you can now share your screen with another BB10 user over Blackberry Messenger. Personally I think this is a great little feature and I have used it many times over Skype.
Another new and interesting feature within BB10 is Remember. Remember is a place on the device where you can move content, you can do things like add notes, set reminders, add photos, videos and essentially â€œbuild an entire projectâ€ as said in one of their demo videos.
Time Shift Mode
The camera within BB10 is interesting because of itâ€™s brutal simplicity. Tap to take a photo, and drag the focus box to re-focus. It also has a â€˜Time Shift Modeâ€™ which enables the device to take a burst of photos so the perfect one can be found. Picture editor allows BB10 users to edit pictures by adding effects and styles and of course the ability to crop. Itâ€™s like a built in Instagram, minus the photo sharing abilities.
Story Maker is a built in video editing app which does most of the hard work for you. In the demo given we see various clips and pictures alongside an Alicia Keys song added together to make a great looking montage which was made in about a minute or so by the software itself.
AppsÂ catalogueÂ is still lacking just like previous Blackberry OS and partly to blame forÂ Blackberry’sÂ fall. Blackberry World, previously called App World, is now a multimedia digital store where music, videos, books and apps can be purchased. Blackberry have really tried to push it here as they are getting content from a majority of labels, producers, and publishers around the globe. In terms of apps Blackberry World will kick start with a total of 70,000 apps and you can expect to see some of yourÂ favouritesÂ such as Whatsapp and Angry Birds in the store.
The UI itself looks good and seems to flow pretty well from the videos, but until I am able to get my hands on one I wonâ€™t be able to produce a good enough verdict.
Blackberry OS10 is not doing anything new its competitors aren’t doing veryÂ well inÂ their own way, however the new OS10 is a new and improved way of doing those things like multitasking perhaps Blackberry are only just getting it and may have left it perhaps a little to late, but time will tell; share pricesÂ plummetedÂ further during the Blackberry Experience, but still early days.
Question is have they done enough to persuade those Blackberry users who moved to Android and iOS to come back? Will they get queues at the doors when they are available? Will the business succeed and take the mobile podium once again? Time will tell.
Over to you, what do you think about Blackberry 10? Will you be getting one?