BlackBerry finally unveiled the BlackBerry 10 platform to the public yesteday, with two flagship phones—the all-touch Z10 and the QWERTY keyboard equipped Q10. The OS is a fresh start for the company, which has been battling for survival since the past few years during which iOS and Android took the smartphone market by storm.
So how does BlackBerry 10 hold up against the competition? We summarise reviews from prominent tech bloggers.
Walt Mossberg over at AllThingsD says:
The Z10 and BB10 represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry. The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting BlackBerry back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps.
Joanna Stern over at ABC News writes:
The Z10 is a fully modern BlackBerry. It’s fast, has a mobile browser that beats many of the others and an outstanding software keyboard. No, its battery life and camera are not as strong as the competition, but its bigger issue lies with the fact that it runs a brand new operating system. The new software does offer something different than the others, but overall it (the maps and other features like voice control) and its app store lack the robustness of Apple’s, Google’s and even Microsoft’s offerings.
It’s 2013 and it’s going to be very hard for BlackBerry to build up that BBM list of mine again. BlackBerry might have caught up with the times, but so have we. BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 are the right steps, but it’s going to take even more for it to bring those users back.
From Tim Steven’s review for Engadget:
It’s challenging to put down a final verdict on an operating system that’s just emerging after such a long period of incubation. Like Microsoft with Windows Phone 7 back in the day, BlackBerry is basically starting from scratch here, and that’s a difficult thing to do when the two biggest competing platforms, iOS and Android, each have millions of users deeply entrenched within their respective ecosystems, users happily sated by the hundreds of thousands of apps from all the major players.
As a replacement for older versions of BlackBerry OS, BB 10 is a huge step out of the dark ages of mobile OS design. It’s something that finally feels intended for a modern, full-touch device, yet still offers the core productivity focus we think BBID-holders will like. Does it have mainstream appeal? Yes, it does, but we’re not sure a great stock keyboard and some trick gestures are enough to unseat the current kings of mobile devices.
Over at TechCrunch, Darrell Etherington writes:
With the Z10, BlackBerry has created a smartphone that’s worthy of being mentioned in the same conversation as the latest Android devices and the iPhone. That alone is an accomplishment for a company that has seemed on the verge of extinction for quite a while now. But a lot of what they’ve provided with this flagship device is narrowing, or at best, eliminating the feature and hardware gap between it and the two mobile platforms that have legions of users already, including a number who have already migrated away from BlackBerry devices.
More than RIM’s name changed when they launched this phone. However, even more needs to change – app availability and battery life being tantamount – before this can truly right BB’s sinking ship.
BlackBerry focused blog CrackBerry’s Kevin writes:
For many years I’ve said that if you want an uncompromised mobile experience — the best of everything — that you need to carry two devices in your pocket. A BlackBerry smartphone for best in class communication, and a second device like an iPod or iPhone for the app, games and multimedia experience.
With the BlackBerry Z10, I can finally start walking around with just one device in my pocket without feeling like I’m missing out. BlackBerry 10 retains the best features of the BlackBerry of old, plays catch up in the OS and apps department to the competition, and with features like Hub and Flow actually push the smartphone experience further. It’s a BlackBerry that is equally good at getting work done and having fun too.
BGR’s Jonathan S. Geller:
As the software capabilities grow with a much better browser, all-touch keyboard and other features, it feels like RIM loses it’s core. The company is forced to try to reinvent the smartphone and in the process just seems to end up making an iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone competitor that isn’t as good as any of them. And in several ways, it isn’t even as good as the BlackBerry before it.
The good: The BlackBerry 10 OS looks terrific, and comes with many of the world-class features you’d demand from a modern OS. It also adds a few of its own signature tools for security and business users.
The bad: Despite the grown-up look, RIM’s new OS is riddled with perplexing omissions and behavioral inefficiencies that wear on you over time.
The bottom line: BlackBerry lovers who can get past the rookie mistakes will find a polished-looking OS that’s packed with interesting and useful features, but happy Android and iOS users won’t find a reason to switch.
The Verge’s Josh Topolsky:
The Z10 is a fine device, well made, reasonably priced, backed by a company with a long track record. But it’s not the only device of its kind, and it’s swimming against a massive wave of entrenched players with really, really good products. Products they figured out how to make years ago. Products that are mature.
If you love RIM and the BlackBerry brand and really want to keep supporting them, buying a Z10 wouldn’t be a mistake. But I think there are better phones on the market, and I don’t yet see a compelling reason for most customers to choose this phone over those better ones.
Can BlackBerry still count on its enterprise market to buy these phones, especially when the company’s own enterprise servers have added support for iPhone and Android devices?