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“ Well, BlackBerry’s Hail Mary pass, its bet-the-farm phone, is finally here. It’s the BlackBerry Z10, and guess what? It’s lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas.”
BlackBerry announced two new phones today: the Z10 and the Q10. The Z10 has a large touch screen with on-screen keyboard; the Q10 has a smaller touch screen and a “real” physical keyboard. These new devices are the first to use the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 software.
Things that make you say “hmmm”: the Q10 gets its name from the built-in QWERTY keyboard, but why is the touch-screen model the Z10? That presents a marketing challenge since the letter Z may be pronounced “Zed” or “Zee” depending on which English-speaking country you’re in.
(Thorsten Heins pronounced it “Zed Ten” during his presentation in New York.)
Press and partners at today’s launch were given a shiny new Z10 to take home. It was a lot like going to a taping of Oprah where everyone gets a car, except in this case Thorsten Heins was Oprah and the new car was a BlackBerry Z10 phone. Also, I’ve never been to a taping of Oprah, so I can only imagine the similarities.
First impression of the Z10: it looks and feels a lot like an iPhone 5. Fit and finish are very nice, as is the big, bright screen. Startup time is longer than expected (i.e. longer than iPhone). The on-screen keyboard feels less responsive than the iPhone keyboard to me but makes up for it with the cool predictive text feature that lets you “swipe” to select suggested words.
I’ll have more to say about the Z10 when I’ve spent more time with it. For now, I’ll just say that the news today was good for BlackBerry, and I think it was good for BlackBerry customers, too.