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Published 31 January 2013 11:33, Updated 26 November 2013 18:35
A user tries the new Backberry Z10 during Research in Motion’s product launch in New York.
BlackBerry’s release of its new Z10 and Q10 smartphones will either make or break the company as it attempts to recover from its dwindling sales and bleeding profits over the past few years. While many tech commentators are impressed with the new offerings, others say it’s a case of, “too little, too late”.
Tech writer Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch tested the Z10 and says that while it is a solid offering, there is room for improvement. If it can’t match iPhone and Android’s app offerings, it will most likely fail.
“BlackBerry has come a long way but . . . [it] still has a very long way to go and whether or not users will continue to stick around for the remainder of that journey will depend a lot on how fast the app ecosystem can grow,” he says.
Once again the company’s primary target is business owners and professionals but it also aims to attract a new personal phone user market with its new music and movies store, similar to Apple’s iTunes.
Introducing the phones at a press event in New York, BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins showed off its operating system, dubbed BlackBerry10 and claimed the products’ functionality for accessing emails and messages on social media is superior to that of its competitors.
The new phones will have a catalogue of more than 70,000 apps, including 1000 popular “top apps” such as Twitter, Skype and Kindle.
Some tech experts suggest this latest offering from BlackBerry is a last ditch attempt by the company to regain some of its shrinking market share. In the first quarter of 2010, BlackBerry had 20 per cent of the global smartphone market. Two years later, it had just 7 per cent. Apple’s iOS operating system over the same time has gone from 15 to 23 per cent, while Android has grown from 10 to 56 per cent, according to JPMorgan estimates.
The BlackBerry Z10
This is a full touch screen phone, similar to an iPhone, with a 4.2-inch screen. The phone, which can easily be used with one hand, has a 1.5 GHz duel-core processor, 16 GB of storage, 2 GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera. It also has MicroSD, MicroUSB and MicroHDMI slots and support for near field communications.
The BlackBerry Q10
This phone was designed with traditional BlackBerry users in mind. It has a built-in keyboard, similar to the old BlackBerry design, a 3.1 inch screen, a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage and a microDS slot.
The new software
The new BlackBerry 10 operating system is the main jewel in BlackBerry’s crown. It is a breakaway from its outdated technology used in previous models. A key goal of the new system is to keep all communication, including emails, text messages, Twitter and Facebook, easily accessible. Users can swipe from the left side of the screen to see all notifications in an area called the BlackBerry Hub. By sweeping up users can see upcoming calendar events.
The operating system offers professionals a separate section within the phone especially for business, called BlackBerry Balance. Password protected, it has its own apps, settings and inboxes, removing the need for users to have separate phones for personal and work use.
The BlackBerry Z10 is available in the UK now and in Canada and the United Arab Emirates in early February. Plans for release in other countries, including Australia and the United States are unclear, however it is rumoured to be released in March. BlackBerry expects the Q10 to be released in April.