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Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Quick Review of the BlackBerry Z10 with BB10 Operating System

A Quick Review of the BlackBerry Z10 with BB10 Operating System

We have waited over a year for this smartphone and the wait has been worth it for BlackBerry fans. It has a faster web browser, bigger screen than the iPhone, an 8MP camera, and some new apps that will simplify your life. The Z10 Touchscreen edition does not have a keyboard but that version is expected to be released in a few months. The Canadian cellular carriers will start offering this device starting February 5, 2012. Looks like it be the usual $150 on a 3 year deal.

What’s to like?

BlackBerry Hub: This app allows all your voice mails, texts, emails, Twitters, Faceboo to appear in the Hub. If you are working on a document and a message comes in the Hub, you can slide your finger up and respond or let the Hub fade away. You do not have to close the document app to go to the message app. This can be interesting as on my iPhone I need to close the app and then go to the email app to respond to an email.

BlackBerry Messenger: BBM is the joy of the BlackBerry and now in addition to the text and multimedia messaging adds video conversation to the app. They have also added a collaboration feature that allows you to display the document you are working on to the person on the other end. If you have changes to make to a sales presentation then the other collaborator can see the same document you are working on. The sales person can no longer hide from the sales manager when he BBMs the Sales Funnel spreadsheet asking for his monthly commit numbers. 

Virtual Keyboard: Like every other smartphone, the Z10 has the virtual keyboard and the new software tries to guess what you are typing in and auto-complete. I would not use this but others may like it. The bigger screen means bigger virtual keys to type on. 

Improved Camera: The 8MP camera seems to be the norm but a built in photo editing software app can be handy. Also there is a rapid photo function that takes a series of shots and you can pick the one you prefer in the timeline to keep. This could be great to take portraits and choose the one where Grandma has her eyes open.

Multi-Tasking: RIM calls this Cascades. You can swipe apps from the screen while leaving them open in the background. It is so easy to switch back and forth between two apps.
Balance: This is a great BYOD app where one can toggle between their personal mode and secure work related apps.

What Needs Improvement:

BlackBerry World App Store: The disappointment is the lack of brand name apps. Many are expecting to find Skype, Angry Birds, Zite and Goodreader in the store in order to enhance their smartphone. There are a lot of apps and many are useful and are really more business oriented but the coders will come around when they see the Z10 gaining or maintaining market share. The Apple and Google App claim more apps but there are a lot of junk and what’s important is if the apps that are useful to your needs are available. I find the apps from the store for my PlayBook to be OK. I have an ereader, document, spreadsheet, and PowerPoint, recipe and pdf reader. For business use that’s enough. Play Angry Birds on your iPod Touch please.

The Z10 is not a game changer, it’s nothing mind blowing, it’s a solid and fast smartphone that will make a proper upgrade for the users coming up to the end of their cuurent 3 year plans. Business users will enjoy the new phone and enhanced functionality and IT management will be happy with the security of corporate information.

I doubt too many teenagers are going to line up for the Z10 as many didn’t line up for the iPhone 5 and looking around these days the Galaxy seems to be more popular. I continue to see the Z10 as the safe and secure business smartphone that is still relevant and fully expect bigger demand when the Z10 Keyboard version comes out. I miss the physical keyboard immensely on my iPhone and am constantly annoyed on how the virtual keyboard doesn’t work too well when the temperature drops.

We just went through this at lunch when a colleague was trying to answer his Galaxy…swipe….swipe….swipe….swipe….rubs the display on his shirt….swipe …..swipe….

He couldn’t answer the important call…..virtual keyboards can be annoying.

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