After months and months of waiting, I didn’t think
RIM Blackberry would ever get to this point. Earlier today, they finally announced two new devices; the Z10 touchscreen phone, and the it’ll-get-here-when-it-gets-here Q10, complete with keyboard (ewe). They also previewed their new Operating System – Blackberry 10.
At first, I didn’t really care…like, not at all. I even tweeted this earlier in the week:
Sorry RIM, but you can’t just say “whoa, we messed up – see you again in three years w something REALLY cool.”#TooLateInMyBook
— David Barber (@TechBarber) January 28, 2013
While most people were chatting up “BB10”, I couldn’t stop thinking about how they dropped the ball so badly just a few years ago. In my mind, this is a company that went from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the lake in one fell swoop, all because they were way too complacent in a market that eats complacency for breakfast. In just a few short years I saw my workplace, a Blackberry-dominated site, turn into a BYOD free-for-all. I mean, think about it; people were actually passing on a free Blackberry device in order to go out and spend their own money on an Apple or Android phone. That’s pretty telling. Personally, I never really saw the attraction to any of their devices. I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews about having a physical keyboard but it’s not something I’ve ever been a fan of. A touchscreen keyboard works just fine, and I’d rather own a phone that isn’t 1/3 consumed by keys. I always thought that space was better served by a screen, but that is of course my own personal preference.
A funny thing happened today though. I got home from work and decided I’d see what all the fuss was about online. After all, I do live in Canada so while I may not be their biggest fan, I really do want to see these guys succeed. Now granted, I didn’t get a chance to look at every little feature inside and out, but I did come across a few things you might be interested in. Here are a few that I thought stood out:
- Blackberry Balance – Do you use your phone at home and at work? With Balance, your phone stores your work and personal data separately. This lets you toggle between “Personal” and “Work” mode with the click of a button. Very, very cool.
- Predictive Keyboard – As you type, the keyboard displays what it believes your next word will be. With this feature, you may find yourself “sliding”, not typing. Very cool.
- Peek and Glance – A very cool feature that let’s you navigate through your phone with ease. Need to go back to a previous screen or something you were just looking at? No problem, it’s a swipe away. I can see this being a really cool feature for advanced users while the less technically inclined may have trouble with this.
- Time Shift Camera – This is one of those “holy shit, why didn’t anyone else think of this” apps. Sure, there are apps like this on Android and iOS. but kudos to the guys and girls at Blackberry for integrating this into the camera app. This one is a bit tricky to explain, the link above is your best bet if you’re at all curious about this one.
I’m not going to be making a switch anytime soon, but the new offerings from Blackberry do generate some interesting conversation. I think the true test for this company will be next week when these phones start showing up in the hands of Canadians. If they can live up to the hype, I think Blackberry has a real shot at one hell of a comeback. They just need to remember that you can never take your foot off the gas pedal in this industry!
If the phone’s release is marred with bugs and apps that don’t live up to their expectations, then this could very well be the swan song for Blackberry – only time will tell.
What are your thoughts? Are these guys coming back strong, or is this their final stand?
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