Digital Crave

Hands-on with the new BlackBerry Z10

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

View gallery

.
blackberry 10

You know the ‘ol adage -- good things come to those who wait – and if you’ve been patiently waiting on BlackBerry’s Next Big Thing, you’ll no doubt fall in love with your next device.

While not a perfect "10," the new BlackBerry Z10 -- available in the U.S. by March for $199 on 2-year contract -- does manage to impress, if my nearly two weeks with the phone is any indication.

Without abandoning what made BlackBerry so sought after to begin with –effortless typing, fast and reliable messaging, the best battery in the biz and rock-solid security – BlackBerry 10 adds a ton of new features you’ll care about, such as blazingly fast performance, smooth multitasking, smart cameras, a killer web browser, and much more.

In other words, this ain’t yo daddy’s BlackBerry.

To offer you a glimpse into BlackBerry 10, the following is a look at some of the coolest new features worth getting excited about - and then I'll share some areas of improvement, too.

BlackBerry Hub

Imagine you’re watching a video, browsing the web or playing a game and you notice that blinking red light on top of your phone. Instead of exiting out of what you’re currently enjoying, simply swipe up and then in from the left side of the screen to the right to peek into your BlackBerry Hub. Consider this your command center for all incoming messages, be it email, text (SMS), BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone messages, voicemail, app alerts and more. Once you peek into your hub, you can choose to reply or call, or let the screen snap back into place if it can wait. Accessible from any app on your BlackBerry 10 device, your convenient BlackBerry Hub can help you stay on top of what matters to you – and it’s just as swipe away.

BlackBerry Keyboard

While your friends fumble over words on their so-called “smart” phone – autocorrect nightmares, anyone? – your new BlackBerry device features the same comfortable keyboard you’re accustomed to. OK, so the BlackBerry Q10 with a physical keyboard won't be ready for April or May, but you’ll be able to type quickly and accurately on the Z10's 4.2-inch screen right from the get-go. In fact, the new virtual BlackBerry Keyboard learns how you type and cleverly adapts so you can write faster, and with the least amount of effort. Your BlackBerry will suggest words as you type and if you’d like to use them, simply swipe up on the screen and keep going.

View gallery

.
blackberry 10

BBM Video with Screen Share

By now you’re probably familiar with BBM Voice, which lets you chat for free with other BBM users anywhere in the world over Wi-Fi -- but what about video? Called BBM Video, you can easily switch from a BBM chat to a BBM Video conversation with a simple tap. Not only can you catch up with someone face-to-face using the BlackBerry’s front-facing camera but you can also initiate Screen Share, which lets the person you’re chatting with see what’s on your screen, be it a document, photo, video, game, web browser, and so on. Or tap to share what your rear camera sees. BBM Video and Screen Share works with compatible BlackBerry 10 devices over Wi-Fi, 4G or HSPA+.

Time Shift, BlackBerry Story Maker

All smartphones take photos, but only BlackBerry 10 devices have a Time Shift mode that captures a few milliseconds before and after you snap the photo. This allows you to scroll back and forth through time to select the perfect shot – perhaps one where your eyes aren’t closed and another, a split-second later, where your friend isn’t sticking his tongue out, and then combine them into the same photo. Once you’ve created the perfect shot by turning a couple of dials with your fingertips, tap to use Story Maker -- which lets you weave those moments together to create a movie in just a couple of swipes -- before sharing it with the world. BlackBerry 10 devices can also shoot sharp HD video.

Miscellany

We’re just scratching the surface on what else BlackBerry 10 devices are capable of. There’s also BlackBerry Remember, which lets you easily create, view and organize your interests, ideas and projects in one single location; BlackBerry Balance, to help you manage both your personal and professional lives on your one device (all your personal apps and info are kept separate and private from work data); a completely redesigned BlackBerry Browser that’s fast, powerful and versatile enough to handle whatever you through at it; and a new BlackBerry App World to browse and buy apps, music and videos, including handy app recommendations, easy sharing to social media sites or touch your NFC-enabled BlackBerry to another to exchange content with others.

View gallery

.
blackberry 10

And now for the not-so-good news...

If you’ve been patiently awaiting the launch of BlackBerry 10, but you prefer a physical keyboard, you're out of luck with the Z10 as it's touch-only. BlackBerry's Q10 -- which will have a QWERTY keyboard on the lower-third of the device -- didn't get a launch date. This will no doubt frustrate some. BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion) should’ve had both options at launch.

Next, BlackBerry World offers a notable number of downloads for a new platform — as high as 70,000 — but they’re not as easy to find and they seem to be more expensive compared to the same apps on another platform. For example, why does the game Babel Rising 3D cost $2.99 when it’s $0.99 cents on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play? And where’s Netflix? Instagram? Flipboard? Prices for media are comparable to other stores, however: The Dark Knight Rises is $4.99 to rent or $19.99 to buy, for example, which is the same as iTunes and Google Play.

Finally, there are some stability issues: BlackBerry Z10 froze on me twice over the past week — so I had to remove the battery from the back in order to fix the issue. This reminded me of this reboot “game” on my old BlackBerry Torch and Curve. Sigh. Hopefully they'll iron out these problems with a software update.

Overall, BlackBerry 10 is one heck of a device. But it's not going to be easy for BlackBerry to regain the kind of market share they once enjoyed. Give it time, however, and it'll likely win back customers and gain some new ones.

Plus, it would be remiss not to mention iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users who’ve purchased software (such as apps or media) or hardware (like cases or speaker docks) over the past few years might be reluctant to leave all that behind. In other words, investing in a smartphone goes beyond the four corners of the device itself. Windows Phone users can start a Word document on their phone and continue it on their PC, while Apple users might use iTunes and iCloud to manage all their content. BlackBerry desperately needs to build and sustain a viable ecosystem to help lure people back to the platform.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Defense Secretary Mattis' first message to the troops tells you everything you need to know about his leadership style

      Defense Secretary James Mattis put out his first all-hands message to everyone in the...

      Business Insider
    • Attempted Murderer ‘So Proud of Herself’ After Randomly Stabbing Nurse 21 Times

      Pearl Moen, who was 17 at the time of the seemingly random November 2015 attack in Austin, Texas, will serve 15 years behind bars, the Travis County District Attorney said in a news release. Prosecutors said Moen’s diary entries show she stabbed her 23-year-old victim, a nurse, because she wanted to see what it would feel like to kill someone. Moen has a history of drug use and psychological issues but no previous criminal record, the DA’s office said.

      People
    • Dear Abby: Mother-in-law pops in without warning

      DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law has begun doing the “pop-in.” My husband passive-aggressively hinted that he wished he had known she was coming over. Her response was, “I’m your mother; I don’t need to let you know when I’m coming over.” I regard this as total disrespect. She has done this plenty of times — including popping in when I was having a dinner with my parents and children, which made her mad because she and my father-in-law hadn’t been invited. She did the pop-in again last week. My husband, four children and I were about to sit down to a family dinner when she rang the doorbell. I didn’t have enough food for her and my father-in-law, which made us all uncomfortable. She made a sarcastic

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • A Plea to Trump Fans: This Man is Dangerous

      The president is not just lying to you and me—now he’s lying to himself.

      GQ
    • China says will protect South China Sea sovereignty

      By Ben Blanchard and David Brunnstrom BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday it had "irrefutable" sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea after the White House vowed to defend "international territories" in the strategic waterway. White House spokesman Sean Spicer in his comments on Monday signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China's assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia. "The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson.

      Reuters
    • See What Little Ricky From "I Love Lucy" Looks Like Today

      When Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz welcomed a son into the world, so did the characters they played on I Love Lucy. Lucy Ricardo gave birth to "Little Ricky" in season two. But real-life Lucy and Desi didn't want their baby on screen for obvious reasons, so they cast a wide net in search of a set of similar-looking twins. (Having two children alternate for one role helps shows adhere to child-labor laws that limit camera time for the industry's youngest actors.) Desi Arnaz chose15-month-old Joe and Mike Mayer based on a photo he'd seen of them at a Twins Club picnic, where their mother was president, the Idaho-Press Tribune reports. The newspaper caught up with the men, age 64, who both live in

      Good Housekeeping q
    • WWE Raw results: Goldberg bleeds, Seth Rollins out of Royal Rumble match

      The Raw before a big WWE pay-per-view usually includes a twist or two, and Monday night was no different with a massive showdown to close the show and Seth Rollins losing his spot in the Royal Rumble match within the first hour of the program. Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon put Rollins' spot in the match up for grabs in a match with Sami Zayn, and though Rollins looked to have the victory in hand, it would not be that easy. Instead, after hitting Zayn with the Pedigree on the ring apron, Rollins was distracted as Triple H's music hit. When Triple H never appeared, Rollins turned around to cover Zayn but was instead rolled up in a small package for a 1-2-3. While Monday night's result takes

      CBS Sports q
    • Monica Lewinsky Speaks Up for Barron Trump as SNL Writer Is Suspended for Mocking the President’s 10-Year-Old Son

      Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich has been suspended after posting a negative tweet mocking Donald Trump‘s 10-year-old son, Barron. Although all past tweets have since been deleted, Rich issued an apology to her Twitter account on Monday. After learning about the cyberbullying that was aimed at Barron, Monica Lewinsky came to the defense of Donald’s youngest son.

      People
    • Cramer: Here is why Target's shortfall is so frightening for retail

      Jim Cramer explains why Target's own self-cannibalization is the scariest of all for retail.

      CNBC
    • A former model starved to death, but not from anorexia

      In her late 20s, Lisa Brown had it all—the 5'10" former model married her college sweetheart, had attended grad school, and loved to cook gourmet meals and take spins in a classic Mustang convertible. But at 28 she began to mysteriously lose weight and vomit after eating. By the time she stepped on a scale to check her weight, she was 112 pounds, down from 140 pounds, reported Good Housekeeping in 2015. Her eventual diagnoses a few years later? Superior mesenteric artery syndrome, a condition in which her small intestine was being pinched and not allowing food to pass through, and gastroparesis, which kept her stomach from emptying correctly, reports People. On Saturday, after many therapies

      Fox News q
    • Christina and Tarek Have Their Biggest Fight Yet on ‘Flip or Flop’

      In the latest episode of "Flip or Flop," the tension between Christina and Tarek El Moussa reaches new heights. The post Christina and Tarek Have Their Biggest Fight Yet on ‘Flip or Flop’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Advice | realtor.com®.

      Realtor.com
    • Ivanka Trump's Inauguration Weekend Style (6 photos)

      Everything she's worn as the official first daughter. From Cosmopolitan

      Cosmopolitan
    • Trump Doubles Down on Promise to Give Americans a Tax Break

      On Monday, President Trump doubled down on his promise to cut taxes "massively" for the middle class. Here's a look at what that means for your wallet.

      Fox Business
    • Man convicted of 3 murders as teen kills himself in prison

      CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — A man who broke into a classmate's home in 2007 and stabbed the teenager and his parents to death has killed himself in prison, authorities said Monday.

      Associated Press
    • Tom Brady says he was up until 1:30 am studying the Atlanta Falcons roster just hours after advancing to the Super Bowl

      Tom Brady helped the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday to advance to...

      Business Insider
    • Trump claims 1.5 million people came to his inauguration. Here's what the evidence shows.

      On Saturday, President Donald Trump excoriated the media for — in his view — massively understating the size of his inaugural crowds. “I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field,” Trump said at a speech Saturday afternoon at the CIA. “We had 250,000 people literally around in the little ball we constructed.” In other words, 250,000 people had been given tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, which is what the Joint Congressional Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies told CNN.

      Vox.com q
    • Gavin Rossdale opened up about his divorce from Gwen Stefani, and what he said is heartbreaking

      We know that divorce can be a tricky time, but we’re still feeling pretty emotional over Gavin Rossdale’s words about his divorce from Gwen…

      Hello Giggles
    • Giant underwater goddess found off Turkish coast in ancient shipwreck

      A giant goddess sculpture has been found on the sea floor off the south-western coast of Turkey. The 2,700-year-old artefact was found by archaeologists investigating the contents of a 43m deep shipwreck uncovered in November 2016. Researchers from Dokuz Eylül University sifted through an area of approximately 300 sq ft off the coast of Bozburun, in Turkey's Marmaris district, hoping to uncover Mediterranean relics.

      International Business Times UK q