Building off the momentum of an international product launch in New York that featured not only a corporate re-branding and the naming of a Grammy-award winning artist as its new global creative director, one had to wade through a lot of flash and sizzle to get down to what was really important—the announcement of the first two handsets that would incorporate BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion)’s latest OS–BB10.
BlackBerry hasn’t had much good news lately, as a seemingly endless series of product delays pushed out its latest handsets from an April 2012 release all the way to Jan. 30. In that time, competitors such as Apple and Samsung have continued to erode whatever market share BlackBerry had left. Many analysts wondered if it was “too little, too late” for the Canadian smartphone manufacturer.
It didn’t help matters that BlackBerry’s last product launch was an understated one for the Playbook LTE and was met with a lukewarm response from the consumer base. Many are hoping that the staggered launch of the BlackBerry Z10 (launching first in the U.K. on Feb, 1, in Canada on Feb. 5 and in mid-March for the U.S. and other countries) won’t encounter the same issues that the last high-profile BlackBerry launch (the original RIM BlackBerry Playbook) met when it was released.
The back of the BlackBerry Z10 communications board (click on image to enlarge and expand).
The BlackBerry Z10 is the first BlackBerry handset to feature a dual-core processor. Notable is the inclusion of 2 gigabytes (GB) of internal RAM. From a “bells and whistles” perspective, the Z10 claims to feature a display of higher resolution than Apple’s “Retina” technology while also incorporating an 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with backside illumination (BSI) and a 2-megapixel camera for use in video conferencing. It also features BlackBerry’s answer to Apple’s Facetime, called BBM Video.
The Z10 is LTE-enabled and features the usual gamut of sensors found in the modern smartphone (MEMS accelerometers, gyroscopes, etc.) BlackBerry isn’t selling the Z10, however, on its technical merits but on the fluidity of the new BB10 operating system. How well BB10 resonates with consumers remains to be seen. However, taking a look inside at the components of the BlackBerry Z10 will give us a good idea as to how technologically comparable it is to the current market leaders, the Apple iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Not sure what you do with wow these days. There is something to be said for the wow of balance if you work in the corp world, and the feature set as a whole is pretty good. 3D camera with measurement? ...that would be fun.
I really just want a smartphone that works... easy, intuitive, etc.
Crazy techy with a BB and an Android and a couple iPhones in the family too. Love the apps/screen on the Android and iPhone, but some things about the BB are just way better ... like proper unified message box and push email on several accounts, a light I can program to match contacts, flexible notification profiles (and I do use them) ... including a mode that turns off all but super urgent messages when on the charger between 1 and 7 am, etc.
You get the impression it is designed by people who use it for business/personal in real life ... but unfortunately completely missed the portable computing aspect.
I smell a lawsuit from Apple because the Z10 has a rectangular shape with rounded corners, a black box, and an icon with a telephone, three of the design patents infringed in the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit.
While RIM (Blackberry) has been sued by the usual groups of patent trolls, I have to imagine that someone like Apple would be careful going after RIM. In the specific smartphone space, RIM likely has as large a patent portfolio as anyone even likely bigger than Samsung. I am sure a lot of countersuits could result.
As with the windows phone, the delay in introduction resulted in many loyal users "flying the coupe." This phone would have been very nice 1 year ago.. But better late than never. It'll be interesting to see if they can land some serious government contracts to help keep them alive.
"the BlackBerry Z10 is powered by the MSM8960 baseband/applications processor."
Only in the US/LTE markets. The rest of the world gets Z10s powered by TIs Omap4470, making it a big win for TIs app pro.
And a lose for non-LTE countries.. the Qualcomm chip is a better SOC... faster cores. Yeah, a good win for TI, but they don't seem all that interested in smartphone and tablet anymore.
It's curious that this shares so much with the Galaxy SIII. For anyone else, that would be a step back, debuting your flagship based on a near clone of a platform about to be replaced. But on the other hand, this is the first time a Blackberry phone has been even close to current in ages, so Blackberry fans have reason to cheer. And it's also sharing that core with the Windows Phone flagship, the Nokia Lumia 920. The real contest this year will be between Microsoft and Blackberry for third place.
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?
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.
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 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.
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!