BlackBerry 10: Hands-On With the BlackBerry Z10
The Z10 features a 4.2-inch touch display and a button-free front facade. It's thin enough—as thin as the iPhone 5—and attractive enough. The front glass is slick, but the texture on the back makes it comfortable to hold and feel secure in the hand. It looks neither cutting-edge nor out-of-date. It's a perfectly nice, neutral envelope for what's inside.
The BlackBerry 10 platform and BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones were introduced at a live streaming-around-the-world event Jan. 30. Two years in the making, the new mobile platform will usher the company through its next 10 years, executives have repeated, but first it will need to save it from what has least delicately been called a "death spiral." The company needs to delight current users and attract away—or back—those more interested in the Apple iPhone or Android-running devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy line. Can BlackBerry do it? It would seem to have a good shot, as it isn't fighting back with hardware, where Apple and Samsung excel, but with its meticulously crafted software. In a smartphone market focused on ever-thinner widths, boundary-pushing screen sizes and display specs that read like eye charts, the Z10's hardware seems rather secondary—respectable housing for the tremendous software tucked inside. BlackBerry 10 is unlike anything we've seen before. It's like a modern, smartly designed city that—even as one loses one's way, exploring—feels exciting and original and like a place where one can make things happen. The Z10 went on sale in the U.K. Jan. 31, and will arrive in Canada Feb. 5 and in the United States around mid-March. The QWERTY-equipped Q10 will follow a few weeks later. Below is a quick introduction to the Z10.