[sc:mobile-category ]The Blackberry Z10 has been out for a while and a friend of mine picked one up a couple of weeks ago. I had a chance to use it a bit and my initial thoughts are kind of mixed.
The hardware is quite nice, a well-built phone that can pretty much compete with other phones that are out there. The display, while a little small in comparison to the monsters that are out there these days, is still large and bright, especially if you are coming from an older BB. My work phone these days is a BB Bold and in comparison to that the Z10 has a monster display 😉
In reality, no one is going to buy the Z10 due to its hardware. It’s nice and all, but it’s really no different from any other smart phone these days. Smartphone hardware has pretty much plateaued. If the Z10 is going to be successful, then its the software that has to do it.
And that’s where the problem really is. The OS just doesn’t pop out at you, it looks kind of visually boring. It all works, the gestures are kind of neat and it runs quite smoothly but it doesn’t feel like a brand new OS.
Thinking back using it, it kind of felt abrupt. Transitions between apps and screen happen quickly (which is normally good) but almost felt too quick. That might be one of those things you get use to after a while, but it was just something that felt a little off while I was using it.
BBM is there, but that’s not nearly as big a deal as it once was. With falling market share, most users have moved away from BBM to other cross-platform messaging clients. In fact, the other day when WhatsApp was released for BB10 my friend was more exited about it than BBM.
I asked him why he choose the Z10 over and Android or Windows Phone device (an iPhone was never in the running and he does have a second Android phone) and for him it came down to having several Playbooks that he could use the BlackBerry Bridge functionality with. I guess vendor lock in wins again 😉
The Z10 I was playing with also had the Otterbox and that was not a good thing. I have had an Otterbox for several of my phones and I am a big fan in general, but the Z10 box has a couple of design flaws atypical of them. First the case doesn’t come anywhere close to being flush to the display so there is a good 1/4 inch raised lip around the entire phone. This makes it seem much thicker than the phone actually is.
As well, the Z10 uses a swipe from the bottom up to bring up the home screen, the case has a tapered edge down to this but it interferes with the swipe quite often and I found myself having to swipe two or three times to get it right.
Overall I imagine I’ll get a Z10 (or its successor) at work at some point, but there’s nothing that it brings to the table that makes me excited to get it. And that’s probably its biggest issue, there’s nothing to drive new users to the platform and that spells trouble in the long run for the company.