Blackberry, formally known as Research In Motion (RIM), announced today its much anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system in a press even that was streamed on the Internet. RIM claims that its Blackberry operating system has been “Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented”, as it announced two devices the Z10 and Q10 that are sporting BB 10 on which the Canadian company’s hopes are so urgently pinned on. Here are the facts fresh from the stream, let’s see how well it compares to our first look.
The Blackberry 10 release has suffered delays, and is seen by most in the industry as a last-ditch attempt to keep the once enterprise-focused smartphone platform afloat. Blackberry has seen numerous setbacks in recent years. It’s much valued end-to-end encryption of email and its proprietary Blackberry Messenger (BBM) system were seen as being compromised when the company had to comply with draconian demands for access by Middle Eastern governments. Further to that, the Blackberry name was on the tips of many in the UK after the London riots where it was claimed that young rioters had used the BBM system to coordinate criminal activities.
The new Blackberry operating system is a complete makeover of the old OS, which was largely based on candy bar form factor devices with front facing full QWERTY keyboards. Whereas the new devices are touch slabs, as has become standard by every other smartphone manufacturer.
Early looks at the new operating system suggests it’s a completely touch-based OS, and a cursory look at the new operating system seems to borrow elements from from existing mobile user interfaces. For example the ‘Flow’ feature for swiping between different applications is reminiscent of WebOS and MeeGo Harmattan, while the emphasis on tasks rather than apps and the social and contact Hub is very much like what is seen in Windows Phone.
The new operating system may be enough to retain existing users, to whom the new touch interface will be new and fresh. However, RIM needs to introduce a new unique innovation that might tempt users away from Android and iOS.
CEO, Thorsten Hines, emphasised productivity and business, and alluded to true multitasking and mobile computing.
Two devices were announced, the Z10 and Q10. The flagship Blackberry Z10 is a 4.2-inch touch slab device sporting an 8MP camera. The Blackberry Q10 is essentially the same device as the Z10, but equipped with a 3.1-inch AMOLED screen and full physical keyboard, as demanded by Blackberry customers and supporters.
Blackberry say that its new devices will ultimately be available via 650 global carriers.
- 1.5GHz dual-core CPU
- 2GB RAM
- LTE, HSPDA, EDGE, GPRS
- 4.2-inch 1280 x 768, 356 ppi, LCD screen
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual-band
- Camera, 8MP autofocus. LED Flash
- Front Camera, 2MP, 720p, 30fps.
- Battery: Li-Ion 1800 mAh
Blackberry’s CEO, Thorosten Hines, stated the following availability details for the Z10, as the company is lab testing the Z10 with 110 carriers globally.
- USA – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile announce pre-orders and price plans today
- UK – Available tomorrow from EE, O2, Phones4U, and more.
- Canada – February 5 retails $149.99 on 3-year contract
- UAE – February 10
The Q10 is essentially the same device as the Z10, but is restructured to accommodate a full QWERTY keyboard – a feature much loved by Blackberry fans. The differences to the Z10 specifications are as follows:
- 3.1-inch AMOLED screen
- Biggest battery in a BlackBerry smartphone (according to an official video, but size not confirmed)
- Physical QWERTY keyboard
- Glass weave body for strength and weight reduction.
No availability details were announced by Blackberry for the Q10 during the media event.