WITH BlackBerry’s share price sinking faster than the Titanic, the Canadian company had to come up with something special to combat the hordes of customers jumping ship to Android and iOS-based smartphones.
Apart from some minor aesthetic flourishes, the new BlackBerry Z10 looks like any other pedigree smartphone, its 4.2in 1280 x 768 resolution screen, 16GB of internal storage and 8 megapixel rear camera competing favourably with Apple and Samsung; so no big surprises there.
The leap forward, at least for BlackBerry, is the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The killer feature is BlackBerry Flow, which according to BlackBerry “shares your train of thought” to speed up completing tasks and moving between apps. In essence swipes and gestures replace the home button on the iPhone. A quick swipe from left to right reveals the BlackBerry Hub, which aggregates all of your latest emails, BBM messages, Facebook posts and meeting reminders all in one place. Emails can be turned into calendar reminders and photos into Facebook posts without the clunky process of clicking into specific apps. It’s evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but it does work well.
If you hate work life blending into home life, BlackBerry Balance separates information, contacts and apps into two separate profiles. Nice.
The main problem is that Android and iPhone users need more than ‘nice’ to switch. While BlackBerry Flow is slick, half of the most popular apps such as Netflix, Google Maps and YouTube are missing (at the moment). BlackBerry Flow and its bevy of beautiful features will save you time, but time is money and I’m not sure that enough time is saved to justify me switching from Android.
• Available on multiple mobile networks for around £35 per month, see http://uk.blackberry.com for more.