BlackBerry excites its fan with the launch of new BlackBerry Z10.
BlackBerry has not been able to keep pace with iPhone and Android phones and its market share dropped to 4.3% (2012). Now with its completely revamped operating system and hardware BB plans to revive its global fortunes again. However, after years of lagging behind there is lot of catching up to do.
This year BlackBerry puts some serious work with its phone from minor detail to some solid features. But can it compete with giants like iOS and Android? And is it a viable option to Android, iPhone, and Windows 8 phone (which is still new)? Let us find out what BlackBerry Z10 has to offer.
Design: BlackBerry 10 overall design does not do anything different. It would be fair to say that this phone has some features to compete against iOS and Android but design is not one of them. BlackBerry body has plastic clip on plate at the back side clearly missing a solid luxury flare and it did not make good use of its size. This phone is equipped with 4.2 inch display and has 1280 x 768 pixel resolution, which represents 355 ppi count. The glass is made up of different material, not the same as Gorillas glass.
Operating System BB10 0S
Processor 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470
Screen resolution 1280×768 pixels
Internal Memory 16 GB (Expansion up to 64GB via Micro SD card slot)
Main Camera 8 Mega pixel with AF and BSI sensor
Front camera 2 Mega pixel with fixed focus
Blue tooth 4.0
Dimension 130 x 65.6 x 9mm
Weigh 137.5 g
Connectivity Wi-fi, Bluetooth, NFC, 4G LTE
Pre-loaded apps BB hub, FB, Twitter, BBmaps
(It also comes with preloaded BlackBerry Hub, Contacts, BlackBerry Browser, BlackBerry Calendar, BBM, Text Messages, BlackBerry World, BlackBerry Remember, Docs To Go, Pictures, Music, Videos, Story Maker, Face book, Twitter, Linked In, Foursquare, BlackBerry Maps, Games, You Tube, Voice Control, Weather, Clock, Calculator, Compass, File Manager, Box, BlackBerry Connect for Drop box, Print To Go, Smart Tags, Settings, Adobe Reader, Phone, Camera/Video Camera/Time Shift, Setup, Help, SIM Toolkit, Search)
Key Board: This phone offers touch screen keyboard. It might surprise some users that BlackBerry raised the bar with its keyboard that enables fast typing. BlackBerry has swift key features that learns the words when you type and gets smarter as you use it often. As you type you get suggestion and contextually relevant word
(image source Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal)
The way of operating other keyboard functions might be different then Android or iOS. E.g. for caps off unlike old BlackBerry you have to keep pressing it for getting letters in upper case. Overall, typing is a pleasure experience on Z10.
Hub: This is an interesting feature. What would you say if all electronic mails and message, lands in one email box without over loading and looking cluttered? That is what hub does! BlackBerry strikes a perfect balance in organizing messages from different social networks and sources.
Some people might not want to check hub every time they have new twitter or Facebook message, but it’s definitely unique and add-on. The calendar is integrated with emails, which is useful for business professionals. It automatically detects the related emails and contacts.
Apps and Messenger: This phone has number of apps that are preinstalled. The success of smartphone depends on its ecosystem. A phone can have a great hardware but without apps it will not attract users to buy. The biggest challenge in front of BlackBerry is to attract developers to get quality apps. BlackBerry is offering approximately 70,000 apps at the beginning and hope to add more. Where Kindle, Amazon, Skype, Whatsapp have promised an app soon, Netflix, eBay and Amazon have a long way to go. The quality of some apps is not as good as iPhone or Android. Once famous BlackBerry Messenger BBM now has screen sharing and video chat feature which I am sure business users will love for their meetings. While video chatting you can share your screen in the same way you share your desktop by showing presentations, documents, and pictures.
Maps: BlackBerry Z10 offers the navigation but lacks the flare. BB10 does not find close by locations as good as Google maps and according to reviewers feedback in UK and Canada (where the phone is available for sale) distance calculation is not accurate. Google is dominant in Maps and even iPhone has to face backlash from customers for their maps. To use features like 3D or street view BlackBerry users might have to wait for long till either Google launches its Maps on BB10 or Blackberry add these features.
Camera: There is 8 Megapixel camera on rear on Z10. BlackBerry introduced a clever shooting mode called time swift. Thanks to BSI sensor, it captures many images in series and lets you choose the best shot for each face in the images creating a perfect shot for each individual in a group. As compare to other smart phones, BB10 camera is little behind especially when it comes to low light performance, but overall it has something different to offer. Front facing camera is 2 megapixels which can be used for video conferencing or self portrait. I would say pictures taken from camera on Z10 are above average but not excellent.
Battery: Battery backup is the one of the key thing to consider. Any smart phone is of nearly no use if it cannot last the distance. BlackBerry battery does not last long especially on battery hogging 4G LTE network. The only alternative is carrying an extra battery. This reminds me of phones used a decade ago, when carrying an extra battery was not anything unusual. As compared to smart phones, BlackBerry is behind with battery life being so poor.
Price: Price and availability date in US is yet to be known. It is expected that it will be at stores in mid-March at a price of $199 or $149 on a 2-year contract with all major cellular carriers. Those who want it early can buy it unlocked from relatively new phone carrier Solavei. Officially BlackBerry Z10 is available in Canada, France, and UK and more information is coming out about pricing, carrier, and launch date for its major markets as Saudi Arabia, India. I look forward for its launch in US.
Feel free to follow The Tech Erra on Twitter.