The boss of the firm formerly known as Research in Motion showed off two new handsets, the full touchscreen Z10 and physical keypad-sporting Q10, and the whole new platform that his colleagues have been busy creating.
BlackBerry 10 is an impressive piece of software, taking some of the best elements from platforms such as iOS and Android and adding its own touches. There is a heavy focus on multitasking and a brilliant, flowing interface that feels very different to the constant opening and closing of apps that occurs on Apple and Google’s platforms.
But what has happened since and has the public taken to the idea of a revamped BlackBerry platform that aims to compete with the major smartphone players on their terms?
The Canadian firm certainly hasn’t skimped on its marketing budget, with high-profile TV ads airing during the Superbowl in the US last weekend. But American buyers won’t be able to get their hands on a new BlackBerry until next month, whereas the Z10 went on sale in the UK on the day of its announcement.
We put questions about BlackBerry 10 out to Dialaphone blog readers and our Facebook audience, to see what impressions people have of the new platform and its associated handsets. The response was mixed and the comments received were peppered with some very encouraging words about BB10.
Several respondents think that BlackBerry 10 could take on Windows Phone 8 and become the third platform in the line up behind Android and iOS. Gordon Christie put it simply by saying “Think it will be OK, probably do better than WP8″.
But some people were less encouraging, arguing that Microsoft’s mobile platform has the edge with the range of hardware that has been launched alongside it, in particular Nokia’s flagship. “The Lumia 920 is pretty convincing with its fast screen and higher than iPhone/S3 resolution” said Connor Jackson on Facebook, adding “and the optically stabilised camera beats everything currently available and the new BB Z10”.
Another Facebook user, Ben Hanson, agreed that Windows Phone could win on the strength of Nokia’s imaging technology, but that BlackBerry does have its advantages: “Spec wise they’re about the same, Z10 has better screen, Lumia has way better camera. The Z10 camera is about as good as a 2006 Curve…yet BlackBerry has better apps”.
However, when it comes to the thought of BlackBerry 10 taking on iOS and Android, many people weren’t as optimistic and can see the platform struggling. Cha Lusa said: “Gonna be hard for BB10, iOS has its strengths” whereas commenter Alex Sutton simply said: “Not a hope in hell, too little, too late”.
However, while talk and commentary certainly gives an idea of how people are responding to a new venture, nothing says as much as hard sales and in this respect, BlackBerry has been doing well. The Independent reports of the Z10 selling out amongst some retailers, and that should be very encouraging for Heins’ company, especially since the firm’s share price is also said to have slumped following last week’s launch event.
While the new OS may be unlikely to cause serious worries for Apple and Google in the near future it will be interesting to see how the battle for third place in the smartphone market pans out. Executives at Microsoft and Nokia are no doubt paying very close attention to the performance of BlackBerry 10.
Should global sales of the Z10 and Q10 match those so far seen in the UK, the Canadian firm could well find itself clawing back some of status that it once enjoyed.