After a tumultuous couple of years, BlackBerry has finally released their long-awaited new operating system BlackBerry 10, along with some spanking new devices- the Z10 and Q10. Now that we have had time to look at BlackBerry’s new offerings, what do we make of them?
BlackBerry 10: This new operating system is based on QNX, acquired by BlackBerry some years ago. I first experienced QNX more than ten years ago when it was still available on a floppy disk and could be used to boot up a PC. I was impressed then, but that was a long, long time ago and I wonder why BlackBerry felt the need to spend so much time tinkering with it rather than just spinning up their own heavily modded version of Android- surely the easier option? But they haven’t actually done such a bad job because while good-old UNIX-like QNX might be the backbone, BlackBerry 10 is a very modern beast. The slick GUI is accessed via a variety of swipes and gestures with no horrible, clunky home button necessary (are you listening Apple?) From looking at screen-shots of the operating system in action, I can tell you that it looks like it has combined the best aspects of IOS, Android and Windows. For example, there are both IOSesque-sized application icons and Windows-like active frames. Although there are only one-tenth of the apps available from BlackBerry compared to the vast sea of apps available for IOS and Android users, given the amount of junk applications out there, I don’t really see this as a problem.
Z10: Quite apart from the fact that this thing looks like a cooler iPhone 5, this isn’t the first time BlackBerry have tried full touch-screen interfaces, remember the ghastly Torch? BlackBerry used to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market by being THE go-to company if you wanted a decent QWERTY keyboard. Let us hope BlackBerry don’t alienate what few customers they have left with this move. That being said, in my opinion, this phone is much better looking than the freakish iPhone 5. In fact, now that I have mentioned the iPhone 5, I should also tell you that the Z10 has a bigger and better 4.2 inch, 1280 x 768 resolution, 356ppi display than the iPhone 5’s 4-inch, 1136 x 640 resolution, 326 ppi screen. There is also a handy MicroSD socket to add storage, something never present in any iPhone, and a standard MicroUSB port for transferring files. Other than that, hardware-wise, there is not much to differentiate any of the top smartphones, be it Samsung’s Galaxy SIII, Nokia’s Lumia 920, Apple’s iPhone 5 or BlackBerry’s Z10.
Q10: This little brother to the Z10 is similar to the BlackBerry Bold, but with a larger 3.1 inch, 720 x 720 display. Thankfully, a nice physical keyboard is also present, thereby not completely abandoning the old-school BlackBerry loyalists. Internally, the tech specs are similar to the Z10, other than the constraints of having to fit a physical keyboard into such a small case. Cosmetically, the phone is a little different though, with BlackBerry’s “woven glass”, grippy, soft-touch material used at the back.
- Samsung Galaxy SIII: MUR 19,644.50 (GBP 409.95)
- Nokia Lumia 920: MUR 26,355.02 (GBP 550.00)
- Apple iPhone 5: MUR 25,348.06 (GBP 529.00)
- BlackBerry’s Z10: MUR 25,589.46 (GBP 534.00)
- BlackBerry’s Q10: No price yet, but should be considerably cheaper than the Z10
My personal take on the situation, as a consumer not a tech guru, is that they should have priced their flagship Z10 smartphone lower; much, much lower. The smartphone market is saturated at the moment; the old Apple-BlackBerry rivalry has long gone with other hungrier sharks like Samsung and Nokia bloodying the waters. I wish the company well though and, at least from a purely aesthetic point-of-view, the Z10 beats the weird, too-narrow iPhone 5 hands down. For diehard physical keyboard users, the Q10 looks like a good bet too. The Z10 is out now and the Q10 should be available sometime in April.