RIM Officially Launches BB10, Changes Company Name to BlackBerry
The Canadian national nightmare is finally over. RIM has finally officially announced the launch of its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system and the first two phones to use their new OS, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.
Oh, and Research In Motion decided that now was a very good time to rebrand the whole company. From today, RIM is dead. Long live BlackBerry! I mean, RIM has changed its name to BlackBerry. Makes sense. Everyone called it that anyway.
The big feature in BB10 is the BlackBerry Hub. This is basically the heart of all communications your phone receives, be it calls, texts, BBMs or a message from an app. It lists emails, texts, voice mails, missed calls, Twitter DMs and replies, Facebook messages, system updates, et cetera. If that seems overwhelming, you can filter the list of messages to just the accounts you’re looking for. Not only does it aggregate everything to be read but you can send messages for all the compatible apps from the Hub as well. It’s available from any app with a quick swipe up and to the right.
BlackBerry 10 also comes with their own voice recognition system. You can use it for the usual voice control and voice dictation of messages. It’s said to be pretty good at transcribing some less common words which is supposed to be a plus over Siri. However, it fails to meet Siri’s knowledge database. While Siri can answer basic questions for you, the BB equivalent is willing to Bing any question you want an answer to. And apparently that is ANY question.
The iconic-ish BlackBerry Messenger is back. This time, though, it gets video chat which is pretty much par for the course on big mobile phones. There is also a feature that lets you share your screen with the user on the other end. Well, BB10 was getting a Skype app so why not borrow all their functionality anyway.
On the app front, BB10 is looking a little healthier than its predecessors. Apps have been confirmed for all the standard major social networking websites, WhatsApp, Kindle, news apps from the likes of the New York Times, BBC and Wall Street Journal, and game apps from EA and Gameloft. And they were quite keen to note that Angry Birds would be available for BB10.
The Z10 is BB’s full touchscreen device. The vast majority of leaked photos of phones and the BB10 OS from the developer model were based on the Z10 device. The hardware isnt’ too dissimilar from what you expect from the rest of the flagship smartphones of today. It has a 4.2-inch screen that has resolution just better than 720p HD. There are front and rear facing cameras but the front’s video maxes out at 720p while the back can do 1080p HD video.
The Q10 is a more traditional BlackBerry as it has both the touchscreen and the trademark BB QWERTY keyboard. The screen is 3.1-inches with 720 x 720 resolution. That’s a bit bigger than the hybrid touch/QWERTY Bold 9930. What it doesn’t have that the Bold had is the touchpad and classic BlackBerry physical buttons (though they’ve also been done away with on the Z10). What is clear from early impressions is that the Q10 means business. Well, at least more so than other smartphones with QWERTY keyboards.
The Z10 comes out today in the UK, “this week” in Canada (though Telus says the earliest I can get a Z10 is next week) and is targeting a mid-March release in the US. Talk about dropping the ball. There’s your biggest market and you say “Sorry, love. You’ll have to wait a bit.”
The Q10 doesn’t have a set release date but it will be out after the Z10 in all markets. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins says he expects an April launch for the Q10 in America. I would guess that means a March release elsewhere.