The BlackBerry 10 shows SO much promise… but is it a gamechanger?
I think the answer is a solid ‘maybe’.
Let me list my past experiences with BlackBerry:
- I’ve heard of them.
There, that’s it, in its entirety.
Actually, that’s not true, I’ve even seen some BlackBerry’s before (I may have even used my brother-in-law’s one a few years back.
My life has been somewhat devoid of RIM (now just called BlackBerry).
So… with the soon coming all new phones from the company, I decided it was time to get my toes wet, so to speak.
I bought a BlackBerry Playbook to try out their Tablet offering and some nice folk at BlackBerry sent me a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha B, which is basically a rough version of the Z10 they’re releasing in the UK today (January 31, 2013).
Breaking it Down
Ok… so BlackBerry 10 is actually the name of the operating system that runs on the phone and it has been completely redesigned from the ground up.
Blackberry claim it doesn’t share a single line of code with the previous operating system, BlackBerry 7. (Wait… what happened to 8 and 9?)
I can’t comment (yet) on the hardware because the unit I have is a development test unit which, while it resembles the finished product, is not a completed, production-ready device.
What I CAN tell you though, is that I REALLY like the operating system.
A lot waits to be seen with the production models and, to be honest, I doubt the first model to hit the stores (the Z10, reaching the US in March, 2013 at a price-point of $199 on all four major networks) is going to be great.
Sorry, BlackBerry, but you’re not Apple and even the mighty Type-A design freaks at Apple didn’t always get it right (e.g. the maps situation on the iPhone 5).
However, this operating system shows promise… in fact, there are features in it that I really miss when I use the other devices we have in our house (iPad, iPod touch, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC Windows 8X).
That in itself says a lot to me. It tells me that somehow BlackBerry have come up with an OS which is in some ways more intuitive and easy to use even than iOS, which I’ve been using for years rather than the few days I’ve had BlackBerry 10.
What They Did Wrong
There in a nutshell though is what I consider the MAJOR error BlackBerry have made here.
The company used to be called Research In Motion (RIM) and everyone knew their major device family was the BlackBerry.
RIM chose to rebrand the entire company as BlackBerry and that re-branding might come back to bite them.
You see, if I tell you I’ve been testing a new smartphone which has an operating system that I think, initially at least, beats iOS, Android and Windows Phone for intuitiveness and usability and they have a couple of handsets coming out, one fully touch-screen and one which has a keyboard as well, it might pique your interest.
If I tell you that OS could, in my opinion be a legitimate fourth contender in the OS market and could even take third or maybe second place in a couple of years, you might really want to try it.
As soon as I say, “it’s a BlackBerry” though, you will immediately start judging it by what you know or think you know about their past devices… and that’s a shame.
This device was planned and built from the ground-up to be a fully touch-screen device offering a great user experience – It’s NOT a BlackBerry in the traditional sense and I fear the name might drag it down, not because Blackberry have made bad products in the past but because the name is associated with being behind the times and irrelevant to the consumer market.
Yes, the app store is pretty sparse but they’re working hard on it (I even have two apps up for approval for the store).
Yes, I think the Z10 will be an OK device, but there will be some teething issues.
And Yes, it’s VERY late in the game to try to catch and challenge Apple and Google….
But I hope those early-adopters come out in their droves and grab a Z10 on launch day because, given a chance, I think BlackBerry 10 could be a contender!
I’m going to try to get my hands on a Z10 so I can give you a full review of the hardware, so watch this space…..
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