It Will Beat the iPhone! It Will Beat the Android! It Will Beat Eggs!!!

We’re kidding. The Z10 might not actually beat eggs but for all the hoopla following its launch, the new device joins the race as a serious contender.

Everyone who believed in Blackberry might find that their faith was not misplaced. Following wave after wave of disappointing–sometimes dire–news about the pioneer of mobile business communication, there’s good news for Blackberry. ‘They seem to love the new BB10. Following the principle that their lifeboat could have no leaks, Blackberry appears to have delivered. At the time of this writing–a day after the international announcement–we, here in India, were not able to get our hands on a device to review it ourselves, so we are doing the next best thing–bringing you a summary of reviews from the US. Whatever market share Blackberry might garner from its new offering internationally, we know that the Blackberry has been the device of choice for thousands of businessmen in India. If the BB10 is everything the experts say it is, they should be delighted.

Much of the hype surrounding the phone seems to have stemmed from The New York Times’ David Pough who thought the phone was ‘really impressive’, calling it ‘RIM’s Hail Mary pass’. Pough, like many other reviewers, was enchanted by the phone’s typing system and the Blackberry Hub. However, what he found a little less magical was the ‘fauz Siri’ and the abysmal battery life that ‘barely makes it through the day.’
Reviewers from The Times particular liked the phone’s dual profile function that allows users to switch between business and personal configurations with a just a swipe and a tap. They also raved about Blackberry Flow, a feature that allows for multi-tasking with several apps open at a time, and the effectiveness of the virtual keyboard.

The Z10, according to Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal is still a ‘work in progress’ although he did appreciate the virtual keyboard, calling it “the best and fastest out-of-the-box virtual keyboard I’ve used”. He was also appreciative of  the camera and Blackberry Hub, a feature that gather all messages (email, social media, SMS, BBM, etc.) within a single interface. On the flipside, Mossberg was unimpressed with the weak selection of apps and the lack of significant cloud-based features.

Market Concerns

Colin Gills, a financial analyst over at BGC, wasn’t very optimistic about the phone’s sales performance. Gills remarked that the Z10’s ‘impressive features’ might not be enough to translate into strong sales, although he did float the idea that it could give Blackberry a shot at the third new ecosystem for smartphones, while Shawn Wu of Sterne Agee questioned whether carrier interest and third party application developer support would be enough to guarantee high sales figures.

Indian analysts suggested that the phone was a significantly high end product and would most probably not rise to dominate the mainstream smartphones market in India, although it did have future as a niche business communicator.

The folks at CNET also gave the Z10 positive ratings and noted that while the phone was unlikely to convert dedicated Apple and Android users into BB fans, it would work wonders with the existing Blackberry user base. Tech blog Engadget concurred and thought it improbable that the phone’s features, although nifty, would allow it to capture competitors’ market share.
The Best Feature

It’s safe to say that a lot of the praise surrounding the Z10 appears to focus on the phone’s amazing virtual keyboard, the ‘Hub’ feature and the fact that it is more powerful that an iPhone, giving users speedier access to communication and multimedia. The virtual keyboard, in particular, has garnered inordinate amounts of attention, perhaps because Blackberry long been associated with a physical set of buttons and reviewers are simply surprised to see them release a super-functional virtual variant. What remains to be seen is whether the Z10 will pave Blackberry’s return to the apex of the smartphone market or will it simply be the most functional of Blackberry’s many failures.

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