The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone was just announced two days ago by RIM (henceforth known as BlackBerry) and we were pleasantly surprised for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it seems like BlackBerry is being selective about its approach which is evident from the fact that the Z10 smartphone launchec yesterday in the UK while American customers will have to wait until March. With this, I feel the Canadians have missed a trick and it could prove to be very costly for the company when devices like the HTC M7 and the Samsung Galaxy S IV arrive in the coming months and people completely forget about the Z10. As for the markets outside of the U.S and UK, it seems like only Canada and the UAE will be getting the device in the coming days (February 5 and February 10).
So why is BlackBerry so favorable towards the UK initially? Well, the answer is simple. Its series of QWERTY phones have received immense popularity in the region and with the kind of hype surrounding the launch of the first BlackBerry 10 devices, it made sense for BlackBerry to launch its all new handset there first. However, we expected the company to show some allegiance to its home country Canada, but it has instead made them for a little over two weeks to get their hands on the first BB10 smartphone.
A Potential Threat?
Now for the real question that’s going to be discussed a lot in the coming days. Will the BlackBerry Z10 manage to pose a threat to the Android and iPhone marketshare? A few analysts have answered these questions, despite playing the cards close to their chest. While many believe that this is easily the best BlackBerry smartphone ever made, some feel that it’s a little too late in the day for BlackBerry to make an impact on the market. This is partially true especially when we take into account the kind of sales Windows Phones are seeing, despite the aggressive marketing by Microsoft.
The BlackBerry Z10 however, provides an alternative to those people who want the best of BlackBerry minus the bells and whistles of a standard Android/iOS or Windows Phone device. BlackBerry is particularly popular with corporate users as well, and the BlackBerry Q10 should fit in perfectly with these users. They will however have to wait until April to get a whiff of this QWERTY BlackBerry 10 smartphone. There is no doubt in one’s mind that BlackBerry 10 is a terrific operating system and the all touch user interface without any hardware buttons works seamlessly with no lag whatsoever. Regardless of this, BlackBerry might have just hit itself in the foot by not launching the device everywhere simultaneously. The Z10’s main competitors are going to be the Sony juggernaut, the Xperia Z and the yet to be announced HTC and LG flagships. Samsung’s next Galaxy flagship is scheduled for release in May, so BlackBerry shouldn’t be all too worried about that.
The Smartphone Itself
The main challenge for the company is to convince Android/iOS and WP users that the BlackBerry 10 platform is a viable option if not better. Sure, the platform “only” has 70,000 apps as of now and isn’t available at a wider scale all at once, but one cannot argue that the company has done a very good job in creating a smartphone which is more than just a slab of plastic. Hardware wise too, the Z10 is pretty well powered. It packs a 4.2-inch 1280×768 resolution display with a respectable pixel density of 355 ppi. There’s also a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip clocked at 1.5 GHz along with 2GB of RAM which will handle all the background tasks and the core of the BB10 multitasking without skipping a beat. The standard array of camera sensors are onboard too with a 8MP snapper and a 2MP sensor on the back and front respectively. So one would say that the BlackBerry Z10 is pretty much on par and in some cases even better than Windows Phone and rightly so.
Microsoft should be seriously concerned with this announcement as these smartphones might as well prove to be another alternative for new users, and that’s exactly what BlackBerry wants. Let’s hope the platform succeeds and manages to sustain in the highly competitive market. But we don’t see it posing any threat to Android or iPhones as of now. Not because it’s a bad smartphone, but simply because it’s just a little too late. The company has made it fairly clear that it aims to be the number three platform by the end of the year, so it’s not aiming for the top just yet. What’s your opinion on BlackBerry and its new offering? Sound off in the comments box below.
We’re still coming to terms with the change in name from RIM to just BlackBerry, but I guess it’s easier this way.
Update: As pointed out by one of our readers, the BlackBerry Z10 is launching on contract in Canada on February 5. The error has been fixed. Thanks Jamie!