With BlackBerry Z10 and its new operating system, most long-term users of the BlackBerry brand would argue that BlackBerry is back!
RIM (Research in Motion) now re-branded BlackBerry knew this was one last opportunity to bridge the increasing gap between Android and iPhone at one end and BlackBerry Smartphone at the other end. BlackBerry has always been known as a phone designed for users in the corporate world with emphasis on security and functionality that enhance communication performance in the work place.
Hence, the need for BlackBerry to come up with devices that would stay true to its pedigree as a trusted corporate brand as well as meets the new and emerging personal needs of Smartphone users all over the world.
However, the advent of social sharing and networking and the increasing preference for the use of handheld devices for operations and experience previously limited to PCs seem to have caught BlackBerry unaware. Sadly for BlackBerry, its inability to appropriately respond in this context was just the platform needed by iPhone and later Android phones to not only break into the market, but also captured substantial size of the market for themselves.
Today, phone users not only want a phone that facilitates and enhances corporate communication and productivity, but they also want one that meets personal needs such as those for social networking, social sharing, internet browsing, games, fun and general entertainment, etc. Hence, the need for BlackBerry to come up with devices that would stay true to its pedigree as a trusted corporate brand as well as meets the new and emerging personal needs of Smartphone users all over the world. So far, BlackBerry Z10 has been applauded for achieving significant result in this regard.
One of the amazing and standout features of the BlackBerry Z10 is the HUB. BlackBerry Hub is the new messaging center on the Z10. Every type of message including email, text messages, instant messaging, social networking and many others is funneled into the highly customizable Hub, giving users one place to view all their messages.
The new web browser is another major improvement. It is fast, intuitive and superbly displays both mobile-optimized and full-HTML web sites. It also supports features such as multiple tabs and private browsing. Some have even gone as far as describing it as better than the popular PC web browser – Google Chrome.
The keyboard is another highly improved feature of the Z10 when compared with earlier models such as Torch and Storm. Many reviewers and users have specifically applauded its ease of use and the accuracy of and word prediction tool.
Appearance and Hardware
Physically, Z10 does not look strikingly different from its competitors. It is however solid and compact when held and its’ display excellent and less fragile.
In this world of ever present and increasing IT security threat, Z10 offers even better security than its predecessors and successfully maintain the BlackBerry brand reputation as the global leading brand in Smartphone security.
A new feature in Z10 is the ability for users to share their Smartphone’s screen with other BlackBerry users in real time without bothering about taking screenshots. The potential here is greater not only for friends and family but especially useful in providing IT assistance.
Other pretty cool features of the Z10 includes BlackBerry Balance, HDMI port, removable battery and the Camera Time Shift feature. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app also got a significant upgrade in BlackBerry 10. You can now use BBM in BlackBerry 10 for video calls, in addition to voice and text chats, over Wi-Fi and 4G cellular networks
Like any new products, it takes time to get used to, more especially for existing and long-term BlackBerry users.
The most noticeable drawback for now is the limited number (70,000 at the start) of applications when compared to its competitors even though BlackBerry tried its best to start off with the popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Many more are still missing nonetheless and many of the ones existing even for previous BlackBerry OS still need to be upgraded to work with the current BlackBerry 10 OS.
Since BlackBerry loss of market share to iPhone and Androids in the past few years, most Smartphone application developers have shifted their focus and time to the later. If Z10 and other upcoming BlackBerry 10 powered OS can grab back its market share, it might just be enough encouragement for developers to start investing in BlackBerry compatible applications again.
Yet to be seen
It is still left to be seen however how long-lasting the new phone’s battery would be in the course of time. Stability and consistency of performance of the new OS is another area it might be too early to draw conclusion on.
The Z10 current price in Nigeria when purchased from the major GSM phone operators is averagely
N100,000. That is quite a hefty sum for an average BlackBerry user in Nigeria and would definitely slow down the market knowledge and impact of the new BlackBerry 10 OS to a degree and for some time. Hopefully, BlackBerry would go ahead with its plans to release Q10 and other low priced BlackBerry phones powered by BlackBerry 10 OS in coming months.
You can however get it at slightly cheaper rate from other stores.
The new BlackBerry 10 OS comes with new BIS plans. Many Nigerians should be aware of this by now because it also affected the price of BIS plans for existing non BlackBerry 10 OS phones across the networks – although on positive notes. We would review the new plans soon in a future article.
Be that as it may, a quick review of the new plans across the different operators shows that maximum cost to get maximum benefits from the new OS peaks at
N3000 per month. There are also cheaper options even going as low as N70, depending however on number of days and size of data bundles.
For many Nigerians and African users who have arguably played their part in re-igniting the brand’s spark and belief in its ability to recapture its fading glory, BlackBerry has just delivered more to strengthen its increasing dominance of the African market. In other part of the world like US, the battle would be more intense and many would need to be strongly convinced to shift their allegiance from current Apple iPhone as well as Androids.
Time, however will tell if the BlackBerry brand is indeed back again.