Before we took the device apart, we took a few moments to actually use the BlackBerry Z10. What immediately stood out was the touchscreen keyboard. Unequivocally, I would say that this is the best touchscreen keyboard I have ever experienced. The predictive typing is great and composing emails, texts and BBM notes comes with ease and intuitiveness. I applaud the designers of BB10 for creating a touchscreen keyboard that would make the move from the plastic keyboards of previous BlackBerry handsets very easy for legacy owners.
The screen is also quite vibrant. In terms of the visual to the human eye, it is very competitive with the Samsung Galaxy S3’s Super AMOLED screen and Apple iPhone 5’s Retina display. Overall the BB10 OS flows very well. I experienced no bugs from the first update (which is a marked improvement from the day I booted up my Playbook for the first time) and BB Hub, BlackBerry’s all-encompassing message manager, actually does simplify all messaging on the handset. It just takes some time to get used to the deluge of information that initially might seem overwhelming.
Truthfully, however, there is one noticeable drawback. Nothing in particular stands out as innovative about this handset. Mind you, one can point to Apple and Samsung and state that innovation there has been replaced with iterative improvement design. But the problem in that comparison is that both Samsung and Apple have had months of advance sales on their latest offerings and a huge library of applications from which they are able to build leverage from.
The Z10, on the other hand, lacks some key apps such as Netflix, Instagram, and others that the average person would want in a phone right out of the box. If some of these applications are missing, there needs to be a “wow-factor” that would encourage a Samsung or Apple user to make the switch to the BlackBerry Z10. As it stands, this handset is going to be a huge leap forward for you if you are an existing BlackBerry user. You'll finally have a phone that is comparable in many ways to the market leaders.
However, if you've already made the switch to an Android device or an iPhone, there's really nothing here to make you want to come back, unless you really miss BB Messenger.
The front of the BlackBerry Z10 communications board (click on image to enlarge and expand).
As an engineer I can appreciate the clean construction design of the Z10. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy N3 is a total disaster - requiring special tools to disassemble it. Also, I love the QNX OS that the Z10 uses - I've been a QNX user/developer for 30 years, and hands-down, it is the best (and most reliable) commercial real-time embedded OS available. Android and Linux? Not hard real-time, which may explain their occasional "glitches" - I have a Nexus One given me by Google several years ago at the Linux Collaboration Summit, and it was my main phone for 2 years. These days I am using a Nokia Lumia 900, which all things considered, is a nice bit of gear. Of course, it is a company-issued phone... :-) When I am ready to purchase a new personal phone, the BB will be high on my list of candidates!
I just bought a Z10. It is not bad and lives up to expectations -- except the Z10 does NOT operate under the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) in North America (nor I believe in Europe). This is something that Blackberry appears to have kept silent. It means that small business operators such as myself, who have relied on Blackberry's well respected and proven email filtering and control, have been abandoned by Blackberry. In effect, without this differentiation Blackberry has become just another "me too" smartphone maker pushing bells and whistles instead of solid and useful communications functionality that Blackberry users have become highly dependent on. With no apparent substitute for BIS, I might as well join the Android or iPhone crowd where I can at least have more apps and models to choose from -- or get my old Blackberry Torch fired up again.
I miss my blackberry. I've been using a Droid X and tried an iPhone 5. Because of company security concerns, I have to use additional software on these other phones (Good technology) and it isn't as convenient as BB. I also store password hints and equations in my contact lists. Outlook and BB allow be to store a series of letters and numbers in phone fields. When I transfer these to Droid or iPhone, I loose all the letters and now my PW equations are gone! Had I known this was to happen, I might have placed the equations in the "notes" field, but how was I to know. Now I have way too many entries to fix. If BB is there when my current contract is up, I may well return to them. It just seems to be a better business solution.
I might have missed it, but don't see any Broadcom (BRCM) design wins. Interesting, could take this two ways:
1) Blackberry sees BRCM too much in Apple and Android phones, so where possible Blackberry tries to use "other" suppliers to keep them loyal.
2) BRCM knows its mobile market so doesn't see the gain from a focus on Blackberry, yet.
My vote is #2.
In the very competitive consumer technology sector, where timing is everything, I hope BB is not shooting themselves in the foot by delaying US roll-out of their new/late offering until March 2013!
Dare I ask; haven't smartphones already become a commodity, like the proverbial microwave ovens and laser pointers?