BlackBerry 10 Software Review

8

Daniel Bader

February 5, 2013 8:34pm

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One can’t even begin to write about BlackBerry 10 without acknowledging its near-mythical importance to RIM BlackBerry as a company. From its roots as an embedded operating system at QNX to its unused potential as the brains behind the PlayBook, the underlying code of BlackBerry 10 is a legacy unto itself, a proud and lasting statement of steadfastness in the face of certain bankruptcy.

But here we are, and as we glimpse something special in the opening of a new door, BlackBerry 10 needs to stand naked and resolve itself to evaluation and criticism. After two long years of development, does the operating system scream BUY ME! at the hordes of skeptical Android and iOS users? Does it whisper tantalizingly at the 80 million current BlackBerry users to “upgrade, upgrade!”? Recognizable as both a modern operating system and a subtle homage to the existing BlackBerry OS, BB10 is not necessarily a revolution, but a polished and focused evolution of what we understand as a communications platform.

Interaction & Hub(ba Hubba)

A new operating system is nothing without a clean, intelligent method of interaction, and BlackBerry 10 feels about as fluid as any out there. It is not only consistently smooth, but that it relies heavily on gestures affords it a sense of pace, a constantly moving organic thing that is truly satisfying to behold. The home screen is broken into three main areas: an horizontal app list with optional folders on the right, an eight-pane multitasking window that scrolls vertically (two sets of four Active Panes) and the Hub, a constant reminder that the blinking red light will never go away.

The Hub is where you’ll spend much of your time, composing emails, texts, Tweets and BBMs. There native apps for each of the aforementioned actions but for email, which is firmly entrenched in the depths of the Hub as the Ring was bound to Mordor. It’s a place you’ll come back to, and often: the ease at which you get to the Hub is why BlackBerry 10 feels so darn addictive.

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At any time, and from any app, you can swipe from the bottom of your phone’s screen to “peek” at your notifications (a familiar BlackBerry “Spark” star will alight any unread notifications) and, from there, swipe to the right to enter the Hub. You can glance at your consolidated content or take a deeper dive; much of the Hub is customizable, from which accounts appear in the larger list to how often each account is checked. More accounts = shorter battery life, so be cognizant of your addictions. Of course, for worker bees, the Hub will also be the place to check your BES emails and other client-related content.

Documents such as PDFs, DOCs and XLS files can be opened natively, while other file formats rely on third-party applications for compatibility. In addition to swiping left and right — BlackBerry Hub contains a number of nested screens that omit the regular on-screen back button; this is only an issue at first, and becomes second nature once you acquire a taste — you can often swipe down from the top of the screen to access any menus.

On the home screen, you swipe from the top as well to see the quick settings menu, which is sure to confuse the heck out of Android loyalists. There will also be the occasional right-side swipe, such as in the case of text selection. Then there is the occasional… eh, you’ll figure it out.

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The whole enterprise takes a few hours of adjustment and, in the case of the accidental virtual back button, there’s a whole lot to be confused about. It seems intuitive until you realize that some apps are Android ports that implement an entirely different set of gestures. There’s no doubt that BlackBerry thought through its design ethic here quite well — nested left-side navigation bars and horizontal gestures are consistent throughout most apps, first-party and otherwise — but there is definitely a sense of discombobulation, jabbing at the display violently until it does something.

That’s not to say this is worse than how we find things on Android or iOS: the former created a virtual menu bar that few developers care to use, and the latter buries the majority of its app settings outside the app itself. Ultimately, though, BlackBerry 10 feels new because it feels fast — quicker than any mobile operating system on the market.

After the adjustment period — you’re going to miss a Home button for a while, trust me — it actually becomes much more intuitive to swipe from the bottom because, once finished, your thumb naturally rests in the middle of the screen, waiting for its next task.

blackberryz10-11Multitasking… Wait, what did you say?

The multitasking menu takes its cues from the PlayBook OS, but improves upon it in a number of substantive ways. Referring to its eight (potential) panels as Active Panes, the windows have the capability of showing pertinent information depending on the context. For example, the Weather Network app displays the current temperature, while the Phone app shows the last three callers. The problem with this is that not all apps tap into this API, so you’ll see just as many static, blown-up app icons as you will interesting content.

That said, the fundamental multitasking system is the best in the industry. Apps re-open quickly, always back in their previous position, and though there is a limit to eight processes, I rarely felt disadvantaged by this number. It strikes the right balance between Android and iOS.

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BlackBerry KeyBoard

At the core of every BlackBerry user are two twitchy thumbs. While the virtual keyboard won’t have people screaming, “I don’t need QWERTY,” it’s pretty damn good. In fact, it’s like the best software keyboard currently on the market.

It has SwiftKey technology that does two things: it predicts your next word, often with eerie accuracy; and it has an uncanny ability to autocorrect even strings of misspelled words. BlackBerry took everything into account here: quick access to the symbols menu by swiping down quickly on the keyboard; hold down on a key to quickly capitalize; swipe to the left to delete the last word; double tap the space bar to insert a period. This is a BlackBerry keyboard, down to the satisfying virtual “tap” sound. It’s a truly satisfying experience, and I found it to be more conducive to long-form typing than the iPhone or Windows Phone keyboards. Its only true competition is SwiftKey on Android.

The only issues I had with the keyboard were above the keys themselves: text selection is hit and miss, often acting erratically depending on the app being used. Ideally, selecting text should be easy: hold down on a word to select it; continue holding it for a right-select menu to appear. These toggles include mainstays like Select All, Cut, Copy, Paste, etc., but the actual text selection mechanism is finicky. I often couldn’t move the blue cursors to cover the text I wanted, or once I lifted my finger it would disappear. Usually, after selecting the text I wanted the keyboard would disappear (tapping on the screen clears the selection) so the only way I could delete the text was to cut it. Older BlackBerries never had this issue, as the trackpad was fantastic for this purpose. I’m sure BlackBerry can fix these issues with an update, but the broken text selection really hampers the “getting stuff done” motif.

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Apps, traps and lacks

There is no shortage of apps on BlackBerry 10, especially for a platform that just launched. But the quality of the apps varies wildly in quality, and you don’t know whether you’re downloading one created specifically for the new platform using BlackBerry’s native Cascades architecture, or if it’s an Android or HTML5 port. In other words, there are some great apps but — and this is not unique to BB10 — most of them are terrible.

Launch titles such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare, which are installed on the device, integrate well into the Hub, but there are some serious problems with each.

Twitter doesn’t have multiple account support, and while the app performs well, its touch targets are extremely finicky. It uses the gesture-based Cascades to slide back and forth between screens, but tends to miss or misrelate certain taps. Notifications also take a while to come through to the hub; when receiving mentions or DMs, they’ll always come through immediately on iOS and Android, but there is a several minute delay when pushing to the BlackBerry Hub.

Facebook is even worse with notifications, making it impossible to have a real-time conversation over the service. Status update comments and private messages only refresh every 15-30 minutes, and they’re all clumped together using the same timestamp. Going into the app reveals a design similar to iOS and Android, and the performance is excellent, but the feature set is lacking. Like early versions of the Android and iOS apps, you can’t directly access Facebook Events, pushing you to the (admittedly excellent) browser. The problem is that, by default, Facebook still considers BlackBerry 10 to be a “basic HTML” browser, so you have to deal with a low-bandwidth mess.

Foursquare often doesn’t find a GPS signal; Google Talk signs you out after a few hours. There are plenty of other examples of bugs in native apps, but the big issue is developer laziness.

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All those “port-a-thons” sounded great in theory, but it looks like many of the 70,000 apps are merely ports of Android apps. Companies like CBC seem to have gone in both directions, creating native programs for News and Radio but porting over its almost-unusable CBC Music app from Android.

It’s impossible to tell whether you’re downloading, or potentially paying for, an Android port. IM+ Pro, for example, is taken from Android despite its hefty $4.99 price. The BlackBerry 10 Android runtime is fast but it by no means emulates native performance. And, due to its lineage, it doesn’t play nicely with notifications in the Hub. You’ll occasionally get pinged on new messages, but more times than not you’ll have to re-open the app to force a notification. It’s a bit of a mess.

There’s no doubt that BlackBerry taught man to fish instead of just giving him a nice supper — there are so many ways for developers to create apps — but at the end of the day this may discourage well-known devs from writing good code. If it’s easier (and equally profitable) to port an Android app, why build one natively? Cascades is so good — just look at the Hub itself for proof of this — but there are too many examples otherwise. There are also a number of PlayBook apps that are available for download, unchanged, on BlackBerry 10. These apps just don’t work; they are usually formatted for landscape, with tiny assets and no unified design ethic.

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Maps

BlackBerry comes with its own set of tools, one of which is a Maps app with turn-by-turn navigation. It’s good, but not great, with an awkward design and no vector-based graphics. There are also no walking or biking directions. Basically, it gets the job done.

Remember

With Evernote integration, Remember is a decent little to-do app. All my previous Evernote notes were not formatted properly, so they are basically useless to look at. Any note can be saved locally or to Evernote for future reference, but it’s not a sufficient replacement for a dedicated app for the service.

BBM

The new version of BBM is definitely the most thoroughly-realized messaging tool on any platform. It includes instant messaging with read/write receipts, VoIP audio calls and a new BBM Video mode with screen sharing. Putting aside the fact that total usage has dropped considerably as consumers turn to multi-platform solutions like WhatsApp and Kik, not to mention the rise of iMessage, BBM is still the strongest game in town.

Its interaction with the Hub is also extremely useful, as it’s a cinch to check whether you have a new message without having to disrupt what you’re doing.

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Dropbox and Box

One of the most rewarding features of BlackBerry 10 out of the box is integration with cloud storage services Box and Dropbox. These tools have become increasingly important in the daily lives of “productive” mobile phone users, and BlackBerry 10 allows users to upload photos and video to the services as well as access important files through the integrated file browser.

There are some limitations, namely the inability to automatically upload photos on Dropbox (Box has this function for some reason), as well as an inability to set a default storage folder (it always default to the root folder, which is annoying) but their presence is definitely appreciated.

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Sharing menu

You can share to BBM, SMS, Email, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Box and many other services straight from the many apps in BlackBerry 10. This includes the excellent photo gallery and editing suite, which makes it easy to quickly share your photos, videos and edits to various social media hubs.

The sharing menu is also open to developers who want to integrate the feature into their own apps, or allow users to share to those apps from other places in the operating system.

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Email

BlackBerry 10 deals with email like a ninja. It supports nearly every standard imaginable, consumer and enterprise alike, and automatically synchronizes calendars and contacts based on the what the service supports. For example, when you first sign in with a Gmail account, it adds email with IMAP, calendar with CalDAV and contacts with CardDAV. No manual settings at all. BlackBerry does have Gmail label support, though, but it does have extensive IMAP folder options as well as nested conversations (off by default).

Email notifications are adjustable to some extent, but the granularity you found in BlackBerry OS — different types of notifications for various alerts or alternate email accounts — is coming in a future update. Nevertheless, the red LED blinks until you show the phone some attention, and the ability to check email via the Hub from any app is certainly a boon to the ecosystem.

Despite a lack of a hardware keyboard, the Z10 proved to be far more conducive to long-form emails than the iPhone or any SwiftKey-powered Android device, and that’s owing to the care BlackBerry took in crafting the overall system.

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Calendar & Contacts

Like email, BlackBerry 10 has excellent calendar and contacts apps, the latter of which consolidates your various email and social network contacts into a single contact card with status updates and “live” activity.

The calendar will only sync with the main CalDAV calendar, but otherwise displays an extraordinary amount of information in a small space. Navigation can be broken into day, week, month and your next event is always available in the BlackBerry Hub by swiping down at the top of any screen.

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Camera, Gallery & Story Maker

As stated in the Z10 review, the BlackBerry 10 camera is powerful, but the first BB10 phone does not take great photos.

The method of taking photos is extraordinary simple — one touch on the screen and it’s done. There are a few things to tweak, but you’re not going to find ISO/metering/contrast/brightness settings here, just a few Scenes to choose from, and the ability to shoot in Burst or Stabilization mode.

TimeShift is an intriguing feature, but is unlikely to sway many users to use it as it must be explicitly enabled; having it as a setting within the main camera mode would have been more conducive to using it, in my opinion.

The Gallery and Story Maker apps are highly-polished, but the former only shows a small number of the recently-shot photos, and pictures are separated between those stored on the main device memory and on the microSD card. It becomes a bit messy and confusing after a short time, especially if you’re swapping storage locations.

I also encountered a strange bug where all my friends’ Facebook avatars were stored in a Miscellaneous album that polluted my main photo feed. I could not delete the album despite trying several methods; it seems that the photos are considered part of the BlackBerry’s system files and cannot be removed.

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Story Maker is a lovely little app that takes advantage of the BlackBerry 10’s new high-quality 1080p video capabilities. That it’s free and comes with the phone is delightful, but it’s not going to replace anybody’s desktop suite; it’s simpler than Apple’s $4.99 iMovie for iOS, but you can’t complain about the price.

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BlackBerry 10: Business or Pleasure?

Ultimately, the success of BlackBerry 10 lies in its ability to court not only the increasingly app-hungry business market, but the millions of former users recently defected to other camps. It’s encouraging to see, at least in Canada, that up to 50% of BlackBerry Z10 preorders are from non-BlackBerry users, but those early adopters will not win the company back its market share.

BlackBerry 10 is a well-designed operating system that caters to the twitchy-thumb, blinking-red-light-obsessed market in ways that iOS and Android never will. After using it daily for two weeks it has become not only familiar but comfortable to use as a daily driver.

Its app selection is still lacking, and that is unlikely to change soon, even with the proliferation of Android on the platform, but its core feature set is extremely solid. It still does productivity as well or better than BlackBerry OS, but is no longer encumbered by performance issues. The BB10 virtual keyboard is a miracle and will go down as the best in the industry; combine it with a fantastic set of first-party apps, extraordinary email support and a Hub that keeps all your important data in one place and you have a heck of a foundation.

But BlackBerry 10 is still quite buggy. Rotation from portrait to landscape takes too long on most occasions, and returning to the multitasking window from a landscape-only app is more trouble than it should be. Android-based apps sometimes don’t start until you reboot the phone, and text selection is finicky and inconsistent. The menu system on BlackBerry 10 lacks coherence: sometimes you swipe from the top of the screen; some apps integrate it as a three-dot menu on the right side.

Media playback, while reasonably smooth, doesn’t play nicely with some apps: TuneIn Radio often muted itself after a few seconds, while YouTube videos were often choppy in the browser. Speaking of the browser, it is full of excellent design but lacks a “close all tabs” feature, and HTML5-based websites still serve up basic HTML versions.

These are issues that will be worked out over time; more importantly is the need for native versions of our favourite apps such as Instagram, Netflix, Flipboard and others, to grace the platform.

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$BBRY: Buy or Sell?

BlackBerry 10 is going to be successful, of this I have no doubt. But whether it will find success in the smartphone market is still up in the air; it’s more likely to fit in within car dashboards and embedded systems. It’s not that the operating system doesn’t impress — it surely does — but it doesn’t do enough things better than the incumbents, iOS and Android, to unseat them. Canadians will flock to the first two BlackBerry 10 devices because they are great products, and because the carriers are behind them.

But, once the hype dies down, will these phones — and software behind them — change the smartphone industry? I hope so, but I remain cautiously optimistic.

What Works

* Intuitive navigation using gestures
* BlackBerry Hub is an amazing notification centre
* First-party apps are top-notch
* Email support is still industry-best
* Virtual keyboard is incredibly accurate and adapts to your typing over time
* Native apps made with Cascades are nicely-designed and perform well
* Has potential to be disruptive to the market if the app catalogue is sufficiently built up

What Needs Work

* Camera software is simple and finicky
* Lots of bugs remaining in final software
* Third-party app selection relies too heavily on Android ports and shortcuts to HTML5 web pages
* Not as tweak-friendly as BlackBerry OS
* Initial reports point to underwhelming battery life in first devices

8

Final Score

  • Brian

    What Needs Work:

    The battery is GARBAGE

    • Steven

      I wanted to like it but I’m returning it tomorrow for that reason. It’s pretty and somewhat polished but the battery life is undoubtedly terrible. Not impressed with notifications either, I wish I hadn’t held out on the Note II purchase to try this BB10 out

      Good try BB. Sorry but this isn’t going to cut it

    • QC_Al

      Okay Brian, we all understand you hate BB. Easy to see by your bashing and trolling at every opportunity. That being said if the little battery meter says your battery is dead, it probably isn’t. It takes a few days to a week for the battery to break in and for the meter to calibrate. But keep on hating, because no other OS has ever launched with bugs or with not quite completeapps/programs.

    • Maps and Battery make it a return

      I just got mine today: no need to pre order it, there is plenty of stock at Rogers.

      I like it and wanted to like it but between the poor BB maps ( I do use the google maps, streetview navigation, POS etc) and the battery life, I think I will return it.

      IMO the only thing I will miss from BB is the Centralized Email ( having all your mail in one place rocks! Koodos to BB for that) but apart from that, I think I can find the maps, the apps, the performance and the battery life in the Android ecosystem.

      As a final point: BB needs to iron the initial wrinkles that any other Ecosystem had at the begining; the problem is that BB arrived 2 years late and while Android and iOS are stubborn teenagers; Windows is in the “Terrible two” (Stuborn as hell trying to sell tablets with keyboard for $700); BB is in diapers!

      I hope BB drops the price of the Z10 FAST! that will give owners patience and create interest for people to make the jump into the BB ecosystem. Otherwise they will stay with their tried and true-phone. Which is what BB used to be: everybaody around you had a BB so you would simply buy one. Now the same applies for iOS, Android and even W8.

      Good luck BB; hope you can drop the prices soon to create critical mass.

    • Maps and Battery make it a return

      “BlackBerry 10 is going to be successful…it’s more likely to fit in within car dashboards and embedded systems”
      – Agreed! QNX is here to stay!!

      “BB10 doesn’t do enough things better than the incumbents, iOS and Android, to unseat them”
      – That seems to be the final Consensus of the Industry Reviews.

      “Canadians will flock to the first two BlackBerry 10 devices because they are great products, and because the carriers are behind them”
      – This contradicts your point above
      -Most Canadians are on Either Android and or iOS
      -Most Canadians are on CONTRACT!

      “..but I remain cautiously optimistic”
      -Me too!: Good luck BB, good luck Waterloo; good luck Alicia.

    • Sid

      When you drag the bar to find a free slot of time for an appointment and it changes colour based on your schedule…that is wicked.

    • StephenBB81

      The Battery life will be terrible for your first 3-7 days.

      The BlackBerry word prediction engine is very active in scanning your emails and social media to learn your vernacular and be better at predicting the next word.

      Also the Keyboard remaps the strike points as you type to adjust where you consistently hit letters, if you always are hitting W when you meant to hit Q the keyboard learns that and adjusts the W and Q hit points.

      These eat battery, EAT it, I found after 4 days ( yes I got a device early) the Battery life has greatly improved. still not at the level I would like, but it is on par with my iPhone4S running OS6

    • sp

      well I cant say anything at this time but I know that the battery from when I got the phone yesterday was pretty damn good.

      i was using it on wifi and such and had it turned on from about 2pm. Set it up, did some other things to it. Set up emails, downloaded things and streamed music via wifi.

      Battery died around 2am. This was from initial charge of the battery when I put it in.

      So battery seemed okay so far. But will give it a try on network and see what happens.

    • Fequet

      I returned this phone after 1 day – garbage. Reset on me and browser crashed several times loading simple pages (espn, and cnn).

      the entire software is garbage.

      going back to my nexus device.

    • Tom

      The battery life of every new smartphone is garbage.

      Know what’s awesome battery life? My monochrome Nokia dumbphone that lasted over 2 weeks on standby without touching a charger, back in high school. It was tiny too – I bet some batteries are bigger than the whole phone.

      As long as you put your smartphone on the charger every night before going to bed, battery life will rarely be a concern.

  • Brian

    From CNET without a Canadian bias.

    Should I buy the BlackBerry Z10?
    The BlackBerry Z10 is a poor choice for most smart phone buyers, as it offers few extra features over rival high-end smart phones, but is just as expensive

    • Brian

      You guys really didn’t check on the maps much. Pretty bad review.

      CNET speaks the truth despite their garbage CBS ownership.

      “The only way to get a comprehensive mapping service on the Z10 is to use Google Maps’ mobile site, which obviously isn’t ideal. Frankly this dodgy app is reason enough to opt for a rival smart phone over the Z10, so here’s hoping BlackBerry gives this application a major overhaul, and soon.”

      The people reading Apple the riot act about their crappy maps are of course going to champion BB10. I’m no Apple fan but apparently even its maps program is better than the POS on here. Please go more in-depth on your maps review MobileSyrup because it’s a big deal and an inexcusably bad mapping program IS a deal breaker.

    • Tom

      I don’t know why you (Brian) have such an issue with the BB, but I agree that maps is a big problem, based on the reviews I’ve read and based on my experience with my Playbook.

      I read that they took money from MS to force Bing Search and Bing maps on their users (force == bake it into the OS). I don’t have a reference for that and am keeping my eyes open for verification.

      Hopefully they will make a deal with Nokia or Google to bring some real maps to BB10. Maps is just too important.

    • Oscar

      A Canadian bias? Just because MobileSyrup is a Canadian based website? It’s only a bias if the review is leaned toward a particular side, which this review did not do. They acknowledged the fact that there would be a hype among Canadians, however there is much Blackberry has to do before it can reach it’s potential.

    • QC_Al

      Without a canadian bias but with a known affection for another given platform. Nice try again. Search the web, you’ll find everything from raving to shunning reviews. Fact is it is impossible to be unbias, EVERYONE has an opinion and/or preference on EVERYTHING.

    • Daniel Bryan

      You’re using CNET as a source? The same company that had to drop the hopper as best product at CES because of their parent company (CBS).

      I wouldn’t trust them for anything.
      Total fail Mr Goodman.

  • Felix

    ZED10, NOT zee10

  • Kevin

    Record sales on day 1 for bb 10 in Canada according to the financial post…. good news for a Canadian company.

    • monsterduc1000

      …And by the sounds of it, record returns.

  • Alex Marz

    Does the email client happen to support IMAP IDLE?

  • wdwdwdwdwdw

    I’m loving the new way you guys set up headings and such for your reviews. It makes the whole page look much nicer and is easier to skin over for info

  • Eric

    Any updates for Whatsapp support?

    • KL

      On its way.

  • xenrobia

    It’s as good as anything the competition is offering (all the fancy quad cores included) and it has many features not found anywhere else. Sounds like Joe Consumer has just found himself another option in the smartphone arena – a very good option at that. All the simple minded detractors will point to this flaw, or that weakness and pronounce the end of BlackBerry, but if that kind of flawed logic held any sway then Apple, Android and MicroSoft would have disappeared years ago. The BB10 OS and the Z10 phone are the most advanced system and hardware available. Will it remain that way forever? No, because that is the nature of competition. So if all the detractor would spend their time and energy asking their favoured phone manufacturer to meet, or beat what BlackBerry has done, then who knows, you might end up with a phone as good as the BlackBerry Z10.

  • Tom

    The problem you experienced with notifications in an Android app must be an issue with the way the app was ported or with the Android runtime – in other words, fixable.

    There is no reason that an Android app can’t be properly integrated with BB push notifications.

    You shouldn’t pay less just because something is Android – you should pay more or less depending on how good the app is. Hopefully BB will provide Java API’s that will allow Android devs to better integrate their Android apps into BB10.

    In the years since the decision was made to support Android apps, the # of those has mushroomed – no reason to back away from that decision.

    • Tom

      (responding to my own comment – sorry)

      On the other hand, their decision to support Flash/AIR apps now appears to be a mistake. They should demote that runtime – but work to further integrate the Android runtime.

  • chillwiston

    Brian you lost me when you started quoting CNET. You made me laugh when you said they speak the truth.

    • Tom

      Cnet reveiws are terrible. They praise every single apple product and it’s even more evident in their reviews of non-apple ultrabooks and all-in-one PCs.

      And holy s**t, their automobile reviews… it’s pretty much singing praises of luxury cars and completely bashing the standard cars that the majority of people actually drive.

  • screamer

    It’s only another smartphone on the market what nobody need. I think you have 3 maybe 4 phones they are top seller and the rest is only trying. .. for me iPhone and galaxy are top. For sure nexus 4 is a wow but takes to long to get and what else???

    • Tereas

      An iPhone?
      That this is ancient.
      It has been behind the curve for over 2 years now.

  • chillwiston

    Ya that galaxy phone is sweet.

  • Steve Dion

    I’m gonna return mine as Bell’s version locks APN settings thus force u into a Blackberry Plan to get data.

    • joe public

      @ Steve dion. I’m with bell and I don’t have to have a blackberry data plan as the z10 works on the SAME plans as all the other smart phones, stop being a angry trolling android user and get over it as competition is GOOOOOD. I bought the z10 I’m happy with it no major complaints just the normal stuff that new product have. Curious to see what the updates bring which android has no clue how to do other than make you buy the newer phone to get an update..

  • Steve

    While I can agree that the battery life leaves a lot to be desired coming from a 9900 I had the same issues so leaped at the chance to purchase that battery adapter accessory and so far it has solved that entire issue for me. Overall I like the blackberry z10. Does it need polish and some serious work? Yes I will not deny it does but it is a new operating system in its infancy knowing that they are upgrading the Android environment to 4.1 and are actively trying to seek out app developers to partner with I personally think that overall the device has a good chance to grow beyond these initial limitations (minus the battery).

    I have owned iPhone’s and Android phones galore, I have sampled Windows Phone 8 and despite all that I actually really like this device and hope that the next year shows a lot of growth for Blackberry as both a product and ecosystem as a whole.

  • shadyguy

    @screamer iphone…. lol. The iphone is the most over priced joke of a phone. Blackberry Z10 1800 MHZ Battery – iphone 1400 MHZ. iphone 4 inch screen – Z10 4.2 just those 2 specs alone that people scream and cry about the Z10 has the iphone beat. Funny.

    • Daniel Bryan

      Specks specks specks blah blah blah, typical fandroid r****d its how the software is optimized to the hardware that matters.

  • simbob

    I tried one out in a Rogers store today. It feels like giant feature-phone. I can’t believe Nokia had a better OS with MEEGO two years ago and still went for Windows phone. RIM will never catchup with Android with a phone like this. What’s the plan after Z10 ? Is there a continuity ?
    Yes I’m still mad the N9 was never released in Canada.

    • ile2010

      I had an N9 here in Canada. It was a beautiful phone. I loved MeeGo more than any other mobile OS. I’m happy to see BB10 finally arrive, because it seems to bring back the gestures I loved with MeeGo.

      But the N9 was far from perfect. If you think that WP or BB app stores aren’t up to par yet, you should check out the MeeGo app ghost town. But what killed MeeGo for me wasn’t the lack of apps. It was the horrible web-browsing experience. Its stock browser (and all available 3rd party options) was just way too slow compared to iOS, Android, and WP competition. It was on par with browsing on Symbian Belle, which is hardly an endorsement.

      Still, getting rid of the N9 was hard. The OS was so fluid and intuitive. The hardware design was gorgeous and no phone felt better in the hand (my Lumia 800 is obviously equal in this regard, but the hardware buttons take away from the beauty).

      I’ll be picking up a Z10 to see if it can replace the N9 in a way that no other phone has managed to do.

  • Paul Q

    BB10 dont got s**t on my Nexus 4.. Nexus 4 is way faster, smoother.. Saw a video comparison of speeds.. NO INSTAGRAM EITHER and NO GOOGLE MAPS </3 $350(Nexus4) vs $650(BB10)Nexus 4 is a way better phone and way cheaper! and Rooting your Nexus 4 with OTA UPDATES! LOOK MA, NO PC!

    • Paul Q

      Rooting your nexus 4 will give you more options + OTA updates **

    • KL

      You sound like a pimply teenager. It’s users like you that gives Android a bad name.

  • shadyguy

    @ Paul Q – do you think Blackberry gives a “XXXX” as you would say about having the alstest and greatest specs. Not alot. They don’t need to. QNX is all they need. The OS takes care of everything. look it up. Google it- it is so much more advanced than Android it is ridiculous. It does not need your quadruloid processor to keep 2 apps running well enough to keep you happy. There is no need to have jacked up specs. They are not trying to appeal to gamers either – no need for freaky specs.

  • yeswecan

    Baahahahahahaahahaha

    How much were you paid to post that “review” Bader? The email support is NO LONGER the best, because email NO LONGER runs off BIS servers! Also deleting multiple emails is a really big chore. You have to go through several menus and steps in order to select multiple emails. Such a basic thing and yet RIM messed up BADLY on that front.

    Also as already pointed out by others, maps is a total JOKE.

    The UI really is not that intuitive. All other competing OS UIs still are easier to use.

    Also laughable your comment about the multitasking being the best on the market. WRONG. The BEST multi-tasking on the market is the Nokia N9. You can have DOZENS of apps open simultaneously and the phone still runs smooth.

    Also the keyboard is NOT the best when it comes to two-handed typing. Looking at neutral reviews on the internet, the keyboard is good for one-handed typing, but NOT for two-handed typing.

    So this new Z10 comes with a strange menu for emails, a strange UI overall, poor battery life, a shitty maps app, a mediocre camera … and oh something that you paid berry posters conveniently failed to mention … there is NO Gorilla Glass on the Z10.

    I repeat everyone, there is NO Gorilla Glass on the Z10, meaning it will easily get scratched.

    So overall, it is a VERY mediocre device selling for a high-end price.

    • simbob

      I have to agree on the Shill calls from all over. For some reasons, most “payed for” review sites (read: Cnet)gave it a very poor rating because they didn’t got payed and neutral sites didn’t even bother talking about it.
      Canadian press. wow. I see so much half-truth and overly optimistic bullshit it’s sickening. It’s like they all had an untold agreement to help RIM sell the Z10 because it’s a Canadian company.

    • sp

      so because this OS’s maps doesnt make you drive into a lake, or drive into a tree.. it makes it a joke?

      or did you all forget already the horror of Maps from Apple.

      Google Maps will be available for this. Dont you people worry. I saw someone online using it on the Z10

      So please dont make it seem like the maps app is the end all and be all of why the phone will fail.

    • Johentie

      email is still the best cause if ur using an imap-push or active sync email based service it’ll be instant.. BIS compressed data… you think the carriers were going to allow Blackberry to continue to offer people devices that only need 500mb of data? PUHAHAHA!! i don’t think so!! that’s like saying the gas companies want everyone to drive hybrids!!

      and to mark all message read u just have to hold down the date and u get that option!

      and it has been confirmed that it does have gorilla glass .. and it uses a new technology where the screen and touch sensors are one piece and it has heat sensors built in to detect touch on your keyboard so it can learn how you type and where you press each button.

      so please go back to your cave!!
      two handed typing is the best i have used on any touch screen phone.. i have had the nexus 4, S3, iphone, etc etc..

      and from the sounds of your comment you don’t even have a z10!!! your just trolling aren’t you?

  • yeswecan

    I forgot to add, your heading of “$BBRY: Buy or Sell” is pathetic.

    What, is every berry sheep obsessed with Blackberry stock? What is it with sheep and stocks?

    You people follow Blackberry stock almost as sheepishly as people in Toronto follow the Maple Leafs.

  • yeswecan

    *or ANY MLSE team for that matter

  • BIll Murray

    5 clicks just to get to turn your data off? common, i got excited when i seen that boss pull-down notification menu but was very disappointed to see no data toggle!

  • blackprince

    I see nothing that makes me want to switch away from WP at all. Nokia maps are much better and the UI looks way better. Plus the Z10 is fugly damn phone, two years to make that phone and looks like garbage. Where is the innovation? I expect more from Blackberry with two years to work on BB10.

    • Johentie

      puhaha cause WP is a joke! i think ur the only person in Canada that has one!

  • Mathieu

    Buying one once my galaxy nexus is dead. Maybe by then there will be bb11. Or not….

    I do miss the keyboard (physical)

  • nexus lover

    no gorilla glass so i think i will pass. the rip off price of $650 is definitely not justified. scratch resistant glass should be a standard considering this is an all touch and “gesture” device.look out for the ugly hair line scratches in a few weeks. they are most noticeable in the sun light.

  • Tom

    I find that all modern smartphones need to sit on the charger every night, particularly if they’re dual-core with LTE and large screens and all the power-hungry features people want.

    I have yet to come across a new smartphone that would go into the red zone at the end of a day of average usage – however almost every smartphone I’ve seen can’t last more than a few days on standby because face it, those components take their toll. You see the same with laptops – those top of the line desktop replacement gaming laptops are lucky to have even 3 hours of battery life but the low-voltage CPUs used in ultrabooks can have 10 hours.

    Now older BBs like the Bold had significantly less power hungry components than the competition, hence their batteries were almost as good as dumbphones. I used to have a dumbphone in high school that lasted 2 weeks on standby. That’s not possible anymore.

    I have a dual core Android myself, and I can go out for a whole day, taking out the phone whenever I get a notification or want to take photos, and I don’t even pay attention to what my battery meter shows at the end of the day. It just goes on the charger until I wake up the next morning.

    Also, micro USB cables are dirt cheap. I bought four for $10 – whereas an Apple charger costs $30. I also have the cable from my old phone. Thus, I’m able to keep spare cables in my travel bag, my work bag, my work desk, my car, even my coat pocket. If you’re the type who uses his phone a lot for videos and games, it’s a good idea to carry a spare cable along.

    • ile2010

      Yes, Apple’s new Lightning cables are expensive – if you buy from Apple.

      I happen to sell generic versions of them on Kijiji for $8 and still make a profit, so it’s possible to get them cheap online.

      I do prefer a standard micro-USB though.

    • Tom

      $8 isn’t bad for a third party Apple cable I suppose. But it’s still over 3x the price I paid for each of my micro USB cables. And it’s not a 30-pin cable so you can’t share it among friends with older iphones.

      On the other hand friends with Androids, BBs, even WPs and Symbians can easily share cables with me when needed. I had a co-worker grumble when he needed to charge his iphone 5 in the office but the only Apple cables the others had were the 30 pin ones. If he had a non-apple phone, I and others could have immediately lent him a cable. Micro USB definitely wins here for convenience, regardless of price.

  • ld

    Taking away push email by no longer sending it through BIS is a deal breaker for me. What this means is that if you are a corporate employee with a BES server you are fine. But for average Joe, this phone now has to compete with IOS/Android and I am sorry to say, the Galaxy Note 2 looks a far better option to me.

  • ld

    The BIS servers are already there. Cannot understand why RIM has discontinued push email support because they were unique in being the ONLY company with that feature. I think this is a huge blunder on their part. They would have got a lot more retail customers such as me who were sitting on the fence, even if other features on the Z10 were a wash or slightly inferior to Apple/Android, push email would have made the difference in the decision. I thought I would go back to a BB with this launch, but think I will now stick to Android.

    • bblol

      Gmail on Android uses push technology… I’m not sure why people think that feature was Blackberry only.

  • John

    I think its a good OS, i think it shows some promise. But i still think Android provides a more intuitive OS. This OS looks like it would take a long time to get used to all the gestures and swypes required. I dont like that it doesnt have hard buttons for going back or for settings, i think that is a big fail.

    I hope BB does well because its nice to see Canadians with more options, but i still think Android is the best OS out there.

    • sp

      it takes all of 5 minutes to get used to the swipe gestures and methods to acclimate yourself with the phone and the OS.

      if you have used a smart phone in the last year that has anything to do with swiping to the left or right… this will NOT feel out of place.

      im actually trying to swipe everything right now on my S3 because I got used to not having a back/home button

  • Joe Jim Bob the third

    Gorilla glass is not always the best thing for screens. It protects against scratches, but not shattering. It is worse for shattering than regular glass. For a corporate phone that is going to get banged up a bit, you don’t want a screen that is prone to shattering.

    • Herpdingle DerpBerry

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA you’re a really big Dingleberry.

      Gorilla Glass shatters easier than regular glass? What are you, an id*ot or simply a paid RIM poster?

      Gorilla Glass is strengthened glass, it shatters JUST THE SAME as regular glass! It is however MUCH stronger in terms of scratch resistance.

  • Angela

    I don’t like this review…

    Me and my colleagues are playing with BB10 right now and both of us are equally impressed and loving it.

  • Tom

    Correct, blackberry-specific plans no longer exist for BB10s. A lot of BB7 users were getting the full data plans that people get for iphone/android anyways. I never knew any BB owner who settled with the “semi-data plan” that just filters all packets unless they’re BBM/email/IM.

  • 0defaced

    I love how people seem to have such a strong opinion without even trying the device……seriously, get it in your hands.

    Also Brian, shut up already. Your mom should have swallowed.

    It’s a HELL of a device, and probably enough to save Blackberry from going under……for a while……the maps app is balls.

  • Phil

    I am not sure who is who in this post. It seems like a lot of people are going out of their way to trash this phone. Makes me wonder if they are really bored or paid. I would suggest that anyone interested in this phone should go to the retailer and try one.

    I have been to 4 retailers in 2 days. They have all been sold out. Granted this was at the end of the day, however they had fresh stock coming the next day.

    The most impressive thing was that every sales person loved the phone and couldn’t wait to get one. If anyone has seen a lot of phones, it would be them.

    I will try again tomorrow.

  • Amy

    erm…I use my Blackberry Z10 for an entire day WITHOUT any battery issues.

  • Johentie

    for those saying battery life is horrible and then say they want an android are just .. well not very smart!! the battery life on my Z10 is WORLDS better then my nexus 4 or SG3 were! and those batterys were BIGGER too…

    funny funny way to funny!! i love this phone and minus the minor bugs and things they need to iron it it’s GREAT..

    android has been out for how long and they still have bugs.. Force Closes etc!

  • Johentie

    i am really tired of people complaining about ANY phone not just the Z10 after the first day of launch! let me tell you something about software development and mass produced products
    1) there will always be bugs at launch! ALWAYS!
    2) your adopting a BRAND NEW OS! like people clam down! iOS/Android/WP/Windows PC, OSX all have bugs to this DAY!
    3) battery life is always bad on any device that initially launches…i think that is the first thing people noticed..
    4) u go from a beta testing group of less then 4000 people to hundreds of thousands in a matter of a day.. there are so many ways to use ur device people will ALWAYS have gripes with ANY os, device on the market!

    do u know how BAD the S3 was when it was first launched? and they didn’t release in N.A. for 2 months!! Svoice was HORRIBLE!

    so all of you technically spoiled people out there need to just understand how technology works!!

    It doesn’t just POP out of a magic oven and works perfectly on day one!! not 1 gadget i have owned was flawless on day 1..

    i’ve had first iphone on day one
    i’ve had the first android (G1) on day one

    and they were HORRIBLE! and just like those OS’ BB10 will get better and better!

    you people that are so negative just don’t know how to adopt a new platform and expect things to be perfect!

  • Damreal

    Brain Stop Trolling man!! I love CNet but they are so far up and PRO APPLES a*s it’s unreal !! Of course one of the U.S affiliates in TECH is gonna bash another countrys product !!! Get real will yeah !!

  • ingress

    @simbob Couldn’t agree more

  • Mark Wasyk

    Got phone first day.Havn’t encountered a bug yet.On my android I’d get bugged out regularely.Hard reset 4-5 x daily.Half battery left after full days heavy use.You must play games or watch porn all day,if the battery doesn,t cut it.Some of the aps are duds,but so are thousands of ios and android aps.Fastest browser that exists today.Speed test with your freinds ,everyones jaws drop ,it’s awsome!

  • trert

    You don’t even know what your talking about and its a shame really. The picture clarity is sub par at best and the processing speed is resoundingly incoherent of processing your moms face covered in my man love!

    • Houshinto

      Seriously, if you’re going to troll can you do it somewhere else. Adults are trying to have a rational conversation here.

    • Heinz Ketchup gone bad

      The whole series is a sorry tale of metooisms. And it’s been done using ancient (by today’s term) technology. Remember, they are using old SoC bins from the HTC One S, a midrange phone from last year.

  • Joseph Cacoilo

    Hope BlackBerry does well, came close to getting a BB10 device but ended up getting the Nexus (no regrets). If BB keeps it up I could end up getting one, love the look of BB10 itself but this device needs some improvement. Will be following them closely.

    • Doobiedoo

      What’s wrong with your face dude?