RIM (now BlackBerry) has been having a tough time of late – its phones have quickly fallen out of favour from even die-hard crackberry fans, and the competition is more stiff than ever. Users of high-end smartphones have flocked to Android and iPhone, and even enterprise customers have moved to these alternative devices.
Problem was that until now BlackBerry devices have had to do with sub-par software, poor app selection, slow browsers etc. But fans lived with these issues for the benefit of having flat-rate data in the form of BIS. But time has moved on, and the potential benefit of having flat rate data is just not relevant anymore in the high end smartphone world.
BlackBerry’s BB10 devices hope to convince users that they should give up BIS for the benefit of a completely new operating system.
I went to the launch of the newBlackBerry 10 devices – it was a high profile affair, with Johannesburg being one of the six launch cities worldwide. I had some hands-on time with the BlackBerry Z10 phone, and I walked away impressed.
Here are some of my initial impressions -
this is not meant to be a review. You can expect a full review of the Z10 the moment it lands in SA.
Overall – I think its a phone that brings Blackberry up to par with other smartphones, but it does not necessarily exceed its competitors. There are aspects of it that show some real innovation out of Waterloo, but only time will tell whether the Z10 is a success – it is clearly a major bet for
RIM BlackBerry. The question is whether existing BlackBerry users will upgrade to a non-BIS BlackBerry, and also whether BlackBerry can convince its old fans to return to their new operating system.
My suspicion is that yes, the BlackBerry 10 OS will be a success, and it will give Windows Phone good competition. Whether it will convince users to switch from Android and iPhone is a different matter entirely.