BlackBerry banks on the Z10 to reinvigorate its fortunes

2013-02-03 10:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

After two years of bad press for outdated phones and notorious outages that hammered its share price, BlackBerry has unveiled its long-awaited new operating system and smartphones.

BlackBerry 10 is at the heart of the turnaround strategy for Research In Motion, which on Wednesday renamed itself BlackBerry, a long-wished-for rebranding that asserts the name of the most famous product the Canadian firm makes.

It is as powerful an operating system as either Apple’s iOS, Google’s market-dominating Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

It is quick, easy to navigate and impressively slick overall.

It’s like BlackBerry is all grown up now, but whether it can recapture market share is still as hard to predict as whether Nokia can do the same with its equally impressive Lumia range.

The first BlackBerry 10 handset – the Z10, which is a large 10.6cm touch screen phone not unlike the iPhone 5 or Samsung’s Galaxy S3, its main competitors – is superb.

It’s slick, fast and full of features that have been missing from BlackBerrys for too long.

The best of these is the improved browser, which is at last what you’d expect on a device that calls itself a smartphone.

BlackBerry’s App World now also offers many of the top apps: Angry Birds, WhatsApp, Amazon Kindle, as well as local apps from FNB, Nedbank, DStv mobile, News24 and that clever little start-up, WayTag.

Along with the Z10, a qwerty-keypad phone – the G10 – was announced.

There are millions of people who justifiably prefer the reassuring touch of those rounded buttons and the equally reassuring click movement each makes when you push them.

You can text without looking at the keys, you’re never at the mercy of autocorrect and it’s just plain faster.

Speaking of autocomplete, BlackBerry – which invented the qwerty keyboard and still earns royalties off all the other phone manufacturers who make them – has radically improved this function.

Start typing and it suggests numerous words it suspects you’re about to type. How it does this is ingenious, and better than anything else I’ve seen.

It’s slick. Yes, we’re talking about BlackBerry being slick.

And, speaking of which, the new navigation technology BlackBerry is punting in BlackBerry 10 is called “flow”.

Instead of a home button – the phone has no on-screen buttons at all – you slide your finger up from the bottom edge of the handset.

It reveals the home screen. Swipe left for the other apps and swipe right to see the last app you were in.

In most apps, swiping from the right edge on to the screen gives you the equivalent of a right mouse click.

Doing the same from the left edge gives you a bunch of options.

All your messages are integrated into a new stream called Hub, including email, Facebook and Twitter updates, and messages from LinkedIn and BBM – the stalwart of BlackBerry’s overall offering.

The chat service now offers voice and video calls with other BBMers with Skype-like quality.

BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 are impressive, but whether they can save BlackBerry won’t be known for at least a few months and it will be based on sales.

The other key question is how much data bundles will cost as BlackBerry 10 will not have the same R59 a month BIS service that made BlackBerrys so popular.

Rumours of 1 gigabyte of data for R100 abound, as do others that BBM and email will be included in a monthly subscription, while other apps will be charged for.

The new Blackberrys go on sale in South Africa next month.

»Shapshak is publishing editor of Stuff magazine. Visit

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.