Blackberry Z10 Product Review – Blackberry comes out swinging

The latest salvo in the smartphone wars by Blackberry (formerly RIM) through the BB Z10 launch on January 30 in Canada has the risk of any product launch…you hope you have a hit. It looks like they the did their homework and followed a textbook product launch of a market leader with a big marketing budget.

In a previous blog post, last June, 2012 on the Blackberry Playbook I said they were doing some good things in their product design and the BB Z10 user experience was built upon that foundation. The user experiences are very similar with the use of a swiping motion to navigate through the device versus the button approach. You can say that it is the smartphone version of the Playbook.

BB10slide

The BB Z10 is a fast machine with a 1.5 GHZ dual core , 2 G of ram, a 4.2 inch screen, weighing 135.4 grams and its dimensions are 130 mm x 65.6 mm x 9 mm. It has a durable rubber textured metal shell giving it a sleek rugged feel.

After playing with the BB Z10, I felt that the hardware feature set in smartphone in general  is starting to plateau as all devices are doing the same things. Smartphones are settling into a standard hardware configuration: it is a cell phone, camera, mobile computer , touch interface and voice controls. They have created a product with their core customer in mind – governments, corporations, SMBs and women. But, they need to make it a better user’s experience than the Apple iPhone to move ahead. Let see if they were able to do that. Here are some of the key new features that make the BB Z10 different.

Talk, Text, Email, Social Message Hub
The BB Z10 has a communications hub feature where all your messages and calls can be logged into a single feed. In today’s 24/7 speed society you may use voice, text, email or social to communicate and this can be all collected in one inbox to make your life a little less complicated.

Big Fingers, Little keys syndrome
The touch keyboard design of the BB Z10 offers fewer typos when typing and an artificial intelligence feature called predicative typing. This feature provides contextual words suggestions of your most used words. The 4.2 inch screen is bigger than the 3.5 inch Phone models which makes typing easier through more screen real estate., yet it is still pocket sized. A physical keyboard model ( Blackberry Q10) will be coming in the next product release.

BB10Screen

Blackberry Balance
The BB Z!0 enables companies to have a business and personal partition in the device which allows IT departments to have better security and control of company secrets. This is a smart play to address the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend for large corporations.

Photo-Editing Software for Picture Lovers
Women love pictures and to get this user more engaged with their camera, Blackberry is offering a photo editing suite software to manage photos and posting them on social network sites. The big social media trends right now is picture sharing.

One new software feature that I noticed was the ability to support mobile payments. I discovered at the recent DX3 Digital trade show this March in Toronto, Pay Pal account holders will be able to purchases products via their smartphone with an online ordering and store pick-up system with participating retailers. The mobile wallet is coming next to your smartphone.

The BB Z10 allows you to multitask as you can have two or more apps open at once. In Apple and Android you can only have one open at a time and you need to hit the button to switch on most devices. In the BB Z10 it is a swiping motion between apps which makes the navigation experience easier when multitasking.

Ryan Winsborrow of http://www.Nerds4hire.com gives the BB Z10 a 4 out 5 rating, he liked that it was fast and powerful but because he cannot get all the apps he wants resulting in the lower rating. The app selection is changing fast and as of this writing there are now 100,000 apps in the Blackberry World store to choose from, up from 70,000 when the BB Z10 was announced on January 30 . There is still some work to do for Blackberry in their reinvention into a consumer electronics company. They have created a smartphone that is a player, but it is not a category killer or creator.

As the utility of the smartphone increases, publishers will have to be mindful of the increase of picture sharing as part of their social media strategy and examine how to be a key content partner in the mobile e-commerce wave as part of their business model of the future. Some of the buzz in the digital ad community is “ Real Time Marketing”. technologies, but that is next month’s blog.

Rating – 4 out of 5

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