Some industry watchers believe the new BlackBerry devices introduced Wednesday just might help Research in Motion, now officially called BlackBerry, stay in the game.
Two smartphones models were introduced, both offering what CEO Thorsten Heins called, “simply the absolute best typing experience in the industry, period.”
A Z10 has a touch screen (4.2 inches) and Q10 version has a hard keyboard and 3.1 inch screen.
The Z10 will be available this March from Verizon at $199 on contract. The other leading carriers will also stock one or both of the new BlackBerry’s that use an all new BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The Q10 is reportedly due in April.
Some early reviews on the devices were favorable. David Pogue of The New York Times said BlackBerry’s “hail Mary pass” with the new devices may have worked.
The Z10, he wrote, is “lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas.”
Here’s one such idea: The phone indicates with a red light when any kind of message is waiting for you. Then it lets you swipe to view it without having to move out of your current application. It’s like a curtain that gets pulled back and forth with a one-handed thumb swipe. (You can see a one hour presentation here.).
One showstopper is a camera function called Time Shift. When you take a photo of someone you can scroll forward or back in a two second time buffer to choose the best facial expression within that time frame. You can do this for several faces in a group photo. Pogue called it “mind-blowing.”
The typing system predicts the words you may be spelling, offering choices just above the keys. You can flick these words up to the message you are composing.
There’s one master inbox that shows you how many messages you have in each service (Facebook, email, Twitter, Phone).
The phone can be divided into work and personal usage.
It works with 70,000 apps in BlackBerry World on launch.
Features for the phone include: dual core 1.5GHZ processor, high def video capability for both the front and back cameras (1080p back, 720p front), 16GB of storage and Near Field Communications.
Walter Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal said of the Z10 “I liked some things a lot, including the way RIM has designed its new virtual keyboard and camera, and the way it gathers all your messages into a single Hub.” He didn’t like the lack of a cloud service.