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BlackBerry Z10 launches first in the UK

  • BlackBerry Z10
  • Alicia Keys - BlackBerry's new creative director (!)
  • The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones - the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10
  • The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones - the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10
  • The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones - the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10
  • The new BlackBerry 10-based handset
  • BlackBerry 10 launch
  • BlackBerry 10 banner

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 30 Jan 2013 at 16:52

The BlackBerry Z10 - one of a pair of handsets based on the new BlackBerry 10 OS - will be launched in the UK tomorrow.

The touchscreen Z10 is coming to the UK first, ahead of a February launch in Canada and March in the US. It will be joined later by the Q10, a device with a traditional Qwerty keyboard.

The new phones and operating system aren't the only big news: RIM is also changing its name entirely to BlackBerry.

The Z10 boasts a 4.2in touchscreen, with a 1,280 x 768 resolution. On the inside it has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Unlike most modern smartphones, it has a removable back cover allowing users to swap the battery and supplement the built-in storage with a microSD card.

BlackBerry is pitching the new devices as suitable for work and play, and that's reinforced by the connectors on the Z10, which include not only a micro-USB port but a mini-HDMI output too.

Several UK networks will be offering the device from tomorrow, with Vodafone pricing the Z10 at £29 on a £42 per month contract. That pitches the device straight into the high-end territory of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III.

BlackBerry has yet to announce a launch date or pricing for the Q10.

Below you'll find a transcript of our live blog of the BlackBerry 10 launch, with more details on the handsets and operating system.

  • And after the most awkward goodbye kiss from Heins to Alicia Keys, it's finally all over. Very little detail on the new handsets, but we're expecting more on those at a press event tomorrow. Bye for now.
  • Alicia Keys is taking autocue reading to a whole new level.
  • "I was in a long-term relationship with BlackBerry... and I broke up with you for something with a little more bling," says Alicia. "Then you called... and we're exclusively dating again." This is why Alicia Keys isn't a professional comedian.
  • BlackBerry's doing an Intel - it's appointed a celebrity creative director: Alicia Keys. Presumably she's only working on the Q10 handset with the full Qwerty.
  • BlackBerry will complete testing of the new handsets for all international markets by the end of February. US partners taking pre-orders today. Expect Z10 to launch in US by March, and on 5 February in Canada. $149 on a three-year contract. In the UK, Z10 will be available tomorrow - we're getting it first!
  • "You can install multiple apps simultaneously, and there's no need to reboot your device!" screams BlackBerry demo man. Yes... welcome to 2013.

The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones - the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10

  • More big name apps: Facebook, Fox, Jetpack Joyride, The Economist... the names go on. BlackBerry has done a decent job of getting all these names signed up, given its coming from such a lowly position in a ridiculously competitive market.
  • BlackBerry claims to have more than 70,000 apps available for BlackBerry 10 today. That's impressive. Now starting roll call of big names: Skype, Amazon Kindle, SAP, Whatsapp, Angry Birds.
  • Showing off an app that allows you to create mini-slideshows containing photos, videos and music. Looks smooth.
  • Now showing off the camera. There's a white version of the Z10, by the way. This gets the mildest ripple of applause you've ever heard. Camera has a rewind-style feature that allows you to wind back and find a snap where the subject wasn't blinking. Intelligent idea.
  • Interesting new feature of BBM: screen sharing. It's essentially remote desktop for smartphones, allowing you to show your screen to someone else over the internet. Presumably they'll lock this down for corporate email accounts and apps.
  • BlackBerry Messenger now includes video calls. This is going to make organising riots much easier.
  • Now introducing BlackBerry Balance. Showing how work and personal apps can sit side-by-side, but are isolated at the system level, meaning corporate data can't be compromised, according to BlackBerry.
  • We're sorry, but Thorsten Heins has all the charisma of a cheese sandwich. CEOs need to learn when to step aside from presentations.
  • BlackBerry software keyboard allows you to "flick words" to the screen - using one thumb to land on letters and then swipe suggested words upwards into the message. Words can be deleted by swiping left. BlackBerry automatically recognises which language you're using as you type - which could be a deal-breaker for the Del Boys of this world.
  • BlackBerry contacts pulls down photos from social networking sites, such as LinkedIn - handy if you're meeting somebody you've never met before, although hardly ground-breaking. Contacts' company info, social network posts and meeting history is all available from the BlackBerry hub. They're clearly playing for the business market here.
  • Demo now showing off multitasking. Video playing on the handset continues playing in the background, as the user swipes in and checks their email inbox. Very smooth, although we wonder what effect that's going to have on battery life. And what happened at the end of the film...

The first BlackBerry 10 smartphones - the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10


  • And now the handsets: BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. Z10 is a full touchscreen device. Q10 has the regular Qwery keyboard you associate with BlackBerry devices. "We know there are a lot of physical keyboard lovers out there," says Heins.
  • First big announcement: RIM is changing its name to BlackBerry.
  • Heins thanks former CEO Mike Laziridis "for guiding us into the future". A little rich, given he nearly led the company to no future.
  • "We intended to lead the move from mobile communications to mobile computing," says Heins. "You will be in the middle of your personal internet of things. We will be a leader in connecting you to your internet of things."
  • And finally we're properly off... BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is on stage. "It has been the most challenging year of my career to date," says Heins, who took over as CEO 12 months ago. "Innovation is at the heart of RIM and that opportunity I saw was BlackBerry 10." Let us see it then, Thorsten!
  • RIM taking product launches to a mind-warping low by cutting the hair of a desperately sad man who said he wouldn't cut his hair until BlackBerry 10 launched. Good. Grief.
  • RIM appear to be treating this launch like a low-rent version of the X-Factor. It's all big stages, cheesy presenters and pitches to camera. No actual details of anything important yet.
  • We're off. We're currently getting a barrage of video testimonials from people who've been paid to be excited about BlackBerry 10. Great.
  • Looks like RIM, like BlackBerry 10, is running a little late...
  • The journalists are being told to turn their 3G Wi-Fi hotspots off. RIM's clearly learned from bungled iPhone demos of yore.
  • The audience are being invited to take their seats - we'll be off shortly...

2:30pm - getting ready for the big launch

The BlackBerry 10 press conference is due to kick-off at 3pm. PC Pro's reviews editor Jonathan Bray is in the hall and will be delivering live updates, so keep coming back for all the latest on the new handsets.

It seems a selected few people are being given early access to the devices. Well, we say "people". Does Piers Morgan count? "I have the new #BlackBerry10 in my hands...and it's VERY cool," he just tweeted.

Looks like he can't tell the difference between an OS and an handset.

12pm - RIM's radio blunder

RIM Europe's managing director has been touring the radio and TV studios, trying to drum up excitement around BlackBerry 10. He may regret having stopped off at Radio 5 Live, where the (ahem) renowned technology expert, Nicky Campbell, repeatedly grilled the RIM executive on what he'd learnt from Apple's iPhone.

RIM's Stephen Bates continually dodges the question and sticks rigidly to his pre-prepared script of "unique features" and "transitions". As Campbell notes, it makes it sound as if he's "reading a press release".

You can listen to to the full, painful interview here.

10:50am – What RIM needs to do today

Despite the positive reception BlackBerry 10 has received thus far, RIM needs to deliver a real burst of inspiration to grab the attention of an iPhone and Android-obsessed market. The new OS has been delayed so long that smartphone enthusiasts have slowly drifted away, losing interest in an increasingly drab, uninspiring BlackBerry handset line-up.

If the rumours are to be believed (and there are plenty around), we might be disappointed. The Z10 touchscreen model looks set have a flagship price – around the same level as the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III – with a bank of familiar-looking specifications. Recent “leaks” put the screen size at 4.2in, the resolution at 1,280 x 768 and the camera at 8 megapixels, with a dual-core TI OMAP processor under the hood.

There’s less information about the keyboard-based X10. Inevitably, the screen will be smaller due to the Qwerty keyboard, with some putting the resolution at 720 x 720.

Perhaps RIM will unveil some magic feature that no other phone has. Maybe the predicted pricing is way off-beam. We hope so, because RIM needs to come up with something miraculous to make an impact today.

8:50am - BlackBerry 10 background

BlackBerry 10 was mostly detailed last year, when RIM handed off the mobile OS to developers, in the hopes of spurring app development.

The OS is a major break from previous versions, and is based on the QNX system that was used on its PlayBook tablet. Key new features include the "flow" interface that allows users to jump between apps without returning to a home screen, an on-screen keyboard that's already winning praise from reviewers, and Balance, a dual-profile system to keep business and personal apart.

With the software already fairly well known, the BlackBerry 10 launch will likely focus on the hardware. Two devices are widely expected, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry X10.

The BlackBerry Z10 is a 4G touchscreen smartphone. It's expected to arrive in stores today, letting RIM capitalise on any immediate buzz around the handset. The BlackBerry X10 features a qwerty keyboard, more in keeping with traditional RIM efforts.

The company earlier this week revealed a list of big-name content producers that had signed on to create apps and sell music or video via the BlackBerry store, including Disney, Sony, Universal and Warner Music.

RIM also extended a programme designed to attract developers to work with the OS by guaranteeing approved apps $10,000 in income in the next year, and held a "porting party" over the weekend to help developers move existing apps over, reaching a goal of 15,000 ahead of the launch.

Will it work?

BlackBerry's market share is down 9.6% over the past year in the UK, but it still holds third place with a 6.4% share - just holding out over Windows Phone, according to data from Kantar WorldPanel.

Its position leaves many wondering if the once dominant BlackBerry is set to go the way of Palm, or if it has the ability to rebound - possibly not knocking iOS or Android out of the top two spots, but staying alive in the bottom rung of the rankings with Nokia on Windows Phone.

The new BB10 offers the best UX on the market – not perfect, but certainly a rival to the iPhone 5, with even greater performance

The slick BlackBerry 10 OS has raised optimism among analysts - even if investors have driven RIM's share price down this week.

Gartner's Phillip Redman said that while the handsets matter, RIM was right to focus on the mobile OS - and could very likely find success.

"It’s the user experience that will make the difference, which is where RIM focused its energies. From what I have seen, it pays off," he said in a blog post. "The new BB10 offers the best UX on the market – not perfect, but certainly a rival to the iPhone 5, with even greater performance."

"The question is: will the market take it?" he asked. "So I’ll go on record here saying that it will. Now I don’t expect it to surpass iOS or Android sales, but I think this device has great comeback potential."

If RIM's comeback doesn't succeed as hoped, the BlackBerry platform has a backup plan: licensing the OS out to other manufacturers. Indeed, CEO Thorsten Heins has said it's "conceivable" BlackBerry might be licensed out even if it's a success, suggesting RIM was right to focus on the software rather than only the hardware.

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User comments

bbc news this morning

Did anyone see the regional manager on the BBC this morning?

Interviewer: What went wrong?
BB Rep:
Interviewer: Yes, but what went wrong?
BB Rep:
Interviewer: Yeah, that's.. err. all very well, but what went wrong?
BB Rep:
Interviewer: I guess we'll never find out what went wrong...

The guy just looked like a complete twat in front of millions. How about some honesty in front of the general public RIM? Why should anyone believe anything you say about your products if you can't be up front on a simple question. Excruciatingly bad PR from that guy.

By TigerUnleashed on 30 Jan 2013

There is an article on the BBc that is rentlessly negative about RIMs chances. Nice to see someone reporting about the other side of that coin.

By JamesD29 on 30 Jan 2013

BBC

It is a known, that the BBC have resoundingly negative editorials on anything ANYTHING that isn't made by Apple.

By nickallison on 30 Jan 2013

BBC

@nickallison No they don't.
There, one unjustified opinion negated by another.

By The_Scrote on 30 Jan 2013

Why are the knives out for RIM?

There seems to be a real tone in a lot of what I've read around the net. That tone is that BB10 will fail, RIM is going down in flames, and people are queuing up to dance on the ashes. Funny how these same outlets trip over themselves to suck up to Apple and give them free coverage. (Or is it free?)


This schadenfreude seems to extend to Nokia also. I don't get it. For years people loved the products provided by these two. The iPhone came along, shook things up, and they were a bit slow adjusting to the new paradigm. That doesn't mean we should gloat over their troubles as if they were a dictator who has finally got his comeuppance.


As an iPhone user I'm half tempted (before I've even seen anything) to give BB10 a go, just as an exercise in getting away from idiotic, marketing controlled, techno group think.

By SirRoderickSpode on 30 Jan 2013

Regarding the BBC interview, I reckon that RIM just want to keep the focus on their own product, as really it is their job to obsess with their own thing. It’s very short sighted to view the world as an extension or alternative to the apple experience. I would think they want it judged in its own light.

Besides if RIM say they learned something from Apple they may be opening the doors to complaints about patent infringement.

By PhilGQ on 30 Jan 2013

@SirRoderickSpode

Same thing happened when Windows Phone came out. Everyone seemed to really enjoy pouring scorn on it and preaching how useless it was.

When it comes to consumer kit, the press seems to be increasingly tabloid in the way they talk about stuff.

Seems to be a very odd bitter superiority in the press of late.

By Grunthos on 30 Jan 2013

What did you learned from Apple?

He really should of answered the question instead he sounds like a childish fool with all the meaningless buzz words. He should have said anything. Getting developers on-board to create apps. Creating a visually appealing product. Making sure the UX is good. Then he could have said but we are going on better, we want useful apps, a choice of devices to be proud of, synchronising with other products a breeze, great deals for carriers to promote to public, fabulous security for companies. Not a too difficult question to answer really.

By stephen_d_morris on 30 Jan 2013

What RIM are doing wrong.

Having interviews before the event. Thats the simple answer. Everyone that is interested in Blackberry, or technology in general know that there is launch today. Destroying the hype by avoiding questions just gets rid of any credibility they have.

I'm not going to lie PC Pro readers, I own a lot of Apple Products. But I've seen the renders of the Z10, like the interface and generally like what I see.

However, BB need to launch this thing in an Apple-esque way. That means absolute silence before - and when the main man has shown us its salt, then you have something to talk about.

So Blackberry. RIM. Shut up. For now.

By willdamien on 30 Jan 2013

Interview technique and The BBC

It was pretty poor interview technique even if, IMHO, the interviewer was being a pain. He could have said, "Our company doesn't exist in a vacuum. We look at ALL of our competitors, many of whom do excellent work. We evaluate what they do well, what their weaknesses are and where we can bring something unique to party."

As for the BBC, their interviewers ask some of the most inane questions. On yesterday's 5Live Breakfast show, Bill Gates was interviewed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p014c9ft

He was asked, "Do you really think that you have lost all the ground now to Apple...." completely neglecting, or not appreciating, that the markets in which Apple competes with Microsoft only represent a portion of what Microsoft does.

By SirRoderickSpode on 30 Jan 2013

He'd obviously been 'media trained', but either trained badly, or else he doesn't have the skills necessary for that training to be effective.

He may be a brilliant MD, but he needs a media spokesperson, rather than doing these things himself. Should have learned from Lazaridis and Balsillie.

By PaulOckenden on 30 Jan 2013

I saw the BBC interview this morning, it wasn't a Paxman like grilling but the BBC business lass (who is pretty hot actually) asked the logical questions and he ignored everything and spouted a load of marketing BS and sounded like a fool.

RIM needed to be honest and admit they didn't get everything right over the past few years but they've taken that experience onboard and will be delivering a better product, experience etc. etc.

I mean how a company like RIM could produce a tablet which on paper looked pretty good but fail to include an email client is beyond belief.

I like to have alternatives in the market to make things better for the consumer and provide more choice but I would be quite happy for RIM to disappear into the ether as they haven't innovated for years and deserve to be left behind.

By Deano on 30 Jan 2013

The Lightning Connector...

..was the best thing Apple could have done for its competitors.

Now, if I want to replace any of the kids iPods, my wife's iPad or my iPhone, then I will have to buy new car chargers, docks, iTrip, etc.

So if I'm doing that anyway, why not look at the competition? Regardless of faults, it's almost certain to be a lot cheaper.

So I WOULD like to know the pros and cons of a BB10 vs an iPhone, because it is a relevant question.

The BBC cannot be taken seriously with regard to technology. They are the "public service broadcaster" and yet have not made a single computing programme since "Micro Live" in the eighties. Because nobody has PC's these days, so there would be no interest...

By cheysuli on 30 Jan 2013

@Grunthos

Agreed about the negativity that surrounds everything that isn't Apple. PCPro had numerous articles about Nokia's impending doom. Thankfully Nokia's main problem was that they couldn't make handsets fast enough.

By tirons1 on 30 Jan 2013

Galaxy S3

Who's paying £42 per month for a Galaxy S3?

By KevPartner on 30 Jan 2013

@KevPartner

Try to renew on Vodafone, and that is what they will charge you. That is why I swapped to O2.

By tirons1 on 30 Jan 2013

seriously!!

"Unlike most modern smartphones, it has a removable back cover allowing users to swap the battery and supplement the built-in storage with a microSD card" is Nicole Kobie stuck in Apple land, try using a competitors phone, if you want to write articles about them. Most smart phones do offer changeable batteries and SD expansion slots!
On another note, Apple will probably sue them, I mean....it has rounded corners and a touch screen....obviously a copy of an Iphone

By sandman652001 on 31 Jan 2013

seriously!!

"Unlike most modern smartphones, it has a removable back cover allowing users to swap the battery and supplement the built-in storage with a microSD card" is Nicole Kobie stuck in Apple land, try using a competitors phone, if you want to write articles about them. Most smart phones do offer changeable batteries and SD expansion slots!
On another note, Apple will probably sue them, I mean....it has rounded corners and a touch screen....obviously a copy of an Iphone

By sandman652001 on 31 Jan 2013

seriously!!

"Unlike most modern smartphones, it has a removable back cover allowing users to swap the battery and supplement the built-in storage with a microSD card" is Nicole Kobie stuck in Apple land, try using a competitors phone, if you want to write articles about them. Most smart phones do offer changeable batteries and SD expansion slots!
On another note, Apple will probably sue them, I mean....it has rounded corners and a touch screen....obviously a copy of an Iphone

By sandman652001 on 31 Jan 2013

What about "Click" ?

@cheysuli - what about "Click"? I can't remember how long that's been going and I crtainly don't see it every week, but when I do, it's always unbiased and there's pretty much always something I didn't know about that sends me off to download a new program / app / whatever.

By pike_by_nature on 31 Jan 2013

Galaxy S3

@Tirons1
When I told Vodafone I wanted my PAC I got a call back that day offering a 50% discount on the £46/month package which included free S3 handset. I was previously on £21/month but this is a much better deal!

By Gers1969 on 31 Jan 2013

Galaxy S3

and I apologise that this thread is veering away from the subject of the BB10.

By Gers1969 on 31 Jan 2013

Galaxy S3

and I apologise that this thread is veering away from the subject of the BB10.

By Gers1969 on 31 Jan 2013

No UMA / Signal Boost

I've have been waiting ages for this phone, but have now noticed that I'll have to stick to my old Blackberry as it has much better coverage! This new Blackberry Z10 does not have the 'UMA' / "Signal Boost" technology. The reason why the Old Blackberry's sold so well in the country is because they could use your wireless broadband signal to make/receive calls and text messages, where we have no mobile coverage in our homes. Some of you will reply that the BBM can make calls. Yes to other BBM users only! But a lot of companies use text service to notify you of updates and also on-line banking uses texts. Why oh why have Orange and Blackberry not included Signal Boost with these latests Blackberries!!!!!!

By tonyhoward2 on 31 Jan 2013

No UMA / Signal Boost

I've have been waiting ages for this phone, but have now noticed that I'll have to stick to my old Blackberry as it has much better coverage! This new Blackberry Z10 does not have the 'UMA' / "Signal Boost" technology. The reason why the Old Blackberry's sold so well in the country is because they could use your wireless broadband signal to make/receive calls and text messages, where we have no mobile coverage in our homes. Some of you will reply that the BBM can make calls. Yes to other BBM users only! But a lot of companies use text service to notify you of updates and also on-line banking uses texts. Why oh why have Orange and Blackberry not included Signal Boost with these latests Blackberries!!!!!!

By tonyhoward2 on 31 Jan 2013

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