New BlackBerry in SA soon?

2013-01-30 20:22
The new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

The new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

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News24 on BlackBerry 10

2013-01-31 07:55

The BlackBerry 10 has been unveiled. Check out the new News24 app.WATCH

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Johannesburg - BlackBerry on Wednesday launched it’s long-awaited new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 worldwide, including Johannesburg, but South Africans shouldn’t rush out to queue for the new model quite yet.

Although all the mobile operators have indicated that they will be stocking the handset, they have given no indication as yet when they will be avaiable.

They are also keeping mum on the price.

The Q10 will feature a physical keyboard like previous versions of the phone, while the Z10 will only have a touch-screen keyboard, like Apple's trend-setting iPhone and other handsets running on Google's Android software, including Samsung's popular Galaxy.

The company renamed itself to BlackBerry to align itself with the brand and announced that the new platform would focus on applications.

"From this point forward, RIM becomes BlackBerry. It is one brand; it is one promise," said CEO Thorstein Heins.

In SA, 24.com announced its BlackBerry 10 News24 application that focused on multimedia content delivery.

"In terms of audience engagement, BlackBerry devices far outstrip any other mobile or tablet platforms," Geoff Cohen, CEO of 24.com told News24 at the launch.

The mobile ecosystem has been critical to BlackBerry and the company has partnered with several developers to ensure that popular apps like Angry Birds and Skype are available on BlackBerry 10.

All the mobile operators in SA have indicated that they will carry the new device, but pricing details are unclear.
Heins indicated that the new platform represented a change in direction for the company.

"Today is not the finish line, it's actually the starting line."

Partition

Geekinfo now reports that the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will also get a BlackBerry 10 update.

Matt Egan Matt Egan@MattJEgan tweeted from the London launch that BlackBerry 10 is:

Re-designed Re-engineered Re-invented. With a single swipe you can share, and consume, and connect
 and
BBM video calling now being demonstrated. Hot damn, they are calling us in the UK! IT'S TRANSATLANTIC! (People are clapping this.)

Some of the other interesting features include the choice of touchscreen or keyboard, and you can 'flick' words to the screen - "writing without typing". A really good element for business users is the ability to switch between your private partition and business. In effect you can keep your business and private content apart.

AP reports that BlackBerry aims to target... users with a system that allows for separate spaces on a single device for work and personal data. Such an option means that if a user changes jobs, an employer can disable the device's corporate side without affecting personal data.

Other features include the capacity for users to share in real-time screens and complex data from two different locales on a messaging system. The phone also features an efficient writing device in which writers can flick a single character and generate an entire word in English, French, German or other languages.

Availability

Tech Report, Tech Report ?@TechReportSA , tweeted:

According to an unofficial statement, the #Blackberry10 should be available in South Africa in March 2013.

The Z10 will be released in the UK on 31 January and in Canada soon afterwards.

In general comment the new system drew some positive reviews, [but] others noted that the smartphone market is a cutthroat competitive space and questioned whether BlackBerry could make a significant dent.

Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, praised the new BlackBerry offering as "a differentiated user experience in today's crowded and homogenous smartphone market" but said the company may have trouble winning back customers and end up as a "niche player."

Tech analyst Jeff Kagan said in a note that he was impressed with the lofty number of applications and the overall impression of the device. But Kagan said it was too soon to say if BlackBerry 10 will emerge as a major competitor to Apple and Google.

"This is the first step in Blackberry's recovery and I think they did a good job so far, but there are still so many more steps," Kagan said. "We'll have to wait and see, but so far, so good."

The Guardian's technology editor Charles Arthur has done a video review of the Z10 in which he dissects the new model.

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