BlackBerry is on stranger tides and as it searches for a dock to anchor, we take a thorough look back on the Z10 device, the first all touch BB10 phone. The company was in a better position last year and was certainly a billion dollars richer as it stands today. Even going far back in the past, we saw for the first time an American president use a BlackBerry Device while in power at the White House. So how did the company land in the spot it is today? Well, there are many arguments about this but for us, we studied the Z10 inside out and found something interesting.
BlackBerry Z10 is a candybar all touch device introduced with the BB10 OS. It is clean, simple and stylish with straight edges and rounded corners. It has LTE support and expandable storage. It’s popularity was off the charts at BB10 Jam events with a possibility to turn the company around. But with a hindered global rollout and many minor speed breaks it fell short of its self created expectations. But for us it worked great.
The LTE version of the Z10 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus which has a dual-core CPU running at 1.5 GHz, and an Adreno 225 GPU for LTE-capable units. Externally its a thin-and-stylish rectangular slab of black plastic with removable back cover. It measures 66x130mm and is 9.2mm thick. It’s nice and light at 135g. On a whole it has a less premium feel than some current smartphones. The screen size coupled with the resolution of 768×1280 gives the device a higher pixel density (355 ppi). The battery has a capacity of 6.7Wh (1800mAh) and will last up to 13 days on standby and 10 hours talk time, but it usually drains out by the evening with moderate use.
The BlackBerry Z10 uses the new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system. The user interface of BB 10 is based on the concept of direct manipulation, using multi-touch gestures. Interaction with the OS includes gestures such as swipe, tap, pinch, and reverse pinch, all of which have specific definitions within the context of the BB10 operating system and its multi-touch interface. The main home screen is blank until you launch an app. Tapping an app opens it and swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen navigates back to the home screen. Apps remain running unless you actively close them. An app menu sits to the right of the main home screen only a swipe away. Swiping from the top of the screen brings up phone settings or options. The Z10 is a workhorse smartphone, designed to travel everywhere and fulfill a variety of work and play functions without breaking.
The main camera is 8MP with an LED flash and can record video in up to Full HD 1080p quality. But photos are just okay for a high-end smartphone. It could have been better. Low light photos are a total catastrophe.
The BlackBerry Hub is a great feature of the device. Its the social epitome of all you activity. This is an all-in-one inbox and notification centre for all your accounts. Swiping from the bottom of the screen minimizes what you have open and shows you notifications on the left. You can then choose whether to open the Hub by swiping to the right, swipe back down to return you your app or go straight up to head to the home screen.
The BlackBerry World is a one stop shop for you apps, games, music, movies, news and more. Contrary to the belief, many big names in app industry are there and the selection is pretty large. On comparing the basic top apps in various other OS stores, it was concluded that, more or less they were the same.
The keyboard on this device is a winner. The more you use it the better it can predict which words you need to construct your sentence.
The Z10 is the best all touch strictly business device with heavy multimedia capabilities. (But this does not mean that its all work and no play. Infact the HDMI TV out is amazing and so is the NFC. There is more to discover than what you can see.)
What went wrong?
The Z10 has a strong portfolio but it was not able to capitalize the market. The major issue we feel was, lack of power promotion. The business and server client capabilites of this device are great but on the other hand it does have a social element with a huge collection of apps in its pocket. It’s comparable to the android market. So on a whole the OS was not a problem but the hardware had lacunae. The camera and the external finish needs a major overhauling. If I could get BB10 in an iPhone 5s gold exterior, I’d buy not one but two of those. So the point I want to emphasize is that, BlackBerry should try to produce an equally complementing hardware as it did with its software. (Hints: I love the Porsche line of products.) And as of today, the first step should be to address everyone (present stakeholders, consumers and prospective buyers) about the future of the company.