BlackBerry's Z10: The Good (sehr sexy) and The Not So Good (iterationen erforderlich)

The Blackberry Z10 touchscreen phone represents a milestone for Blackberry. It also represents a change in approach and style. In the past, the company has been content to ignore very obvious trends in the smartphone market and we all know what happened.

The Z10 borrows the most popular apps and features from competing devices and extends them in some new interesting directions. The Z10 is a collection of other people’s greatest hits – and surprisingly, Blackberry pulls it off and even managed to add a bit of it's own creative flair.

The Good The Not So Good

BlackBerry Hub

This is the fancy name Blackberry has given a feature that lets you check all your messages at once, painlessly. Whenever you’re using the phone and the familiar red light goes off to let you know you have a new notification, you simply slide your finger up the screen to bring up the Hub, which lists all of your e-mails, Twitter mentions, Facebook notifications and just about everything else. From there, you can either check the messages, or let Hub fade off-screen, all without ever closing whatever other applications you had open in the first place. It’s a simple but incredibly useful feature.

 

BlackBerry World App Store

At launch, the Z10 had access to  70,000 apps – one tenth of what’s available for the two other major smartphone platforms.

In fairness, Blackberry tried very hard to convince the biggest names in the app industry – from Skype to Angry Birds – to migrate to BlackBerry 10.

The BlackBerry World store also includes a healthy selection of movies, TV shows and songs. Nonetheless, beyond the highlighted, big-name apps, a lot of the software on BlackBerry World isn’t all that impressive.

It's a classic case of, iterative improvements as more apps materialize.

BlackBerry Messenger

The most popular app Blackberry has ever built gets a major upgrade on the company’s newest phone. In addition to text and multimedia messages, BBM users can now also hold video conversations. Another feature also allows one user to “project” their smartphone’s screen onto the screen of the person they’re chatting with. For example, if you want to walk a colleague through a change in a spreadsheet, you can do so by bringing up the document on your own phone, as they watch over your virtual shoulder.

 

Undeniable iPhone Similarities

The Z10 – like virtually all high-end smartphones – looks a lot like an iPhone.

The similarities extend beyond the minimalist, glass-pane design. 

Crank up the main screens on the phone, and you’ll notice the app icons arranged in columns and pages that look very similar to the iPhone.

When you want to move or delete an app, you tap and hold until the apps start shaking – just as you would on an iPhone.

To be fair, Blackberry is not the only smartphone manufacturer to copy the basics from the iPhone.

Blackberry's Keyboards (virtual and physical)

The first BlackBerry 10 smartphone comes with a virtual keyboard, but Blackberry has crammed that keyboard with all kinds of innovations.

While you’re typing, the software tries to guess not only what word you’re typing now, but what you’ll be typing next. Swiping up the keyboard inserts those words into the text. The system learns as you type, and eventually learns to guess your thoughts with a creepy accuracy.

In the spring, Blackberry launches a BlackBerry 10 phone with a physical keyboard. It appears to have one of the best keyboards on any smartphone.

 

Camera

The Z10 camera itself, with its 8-megapixel capability, probably isn’t going to blow you away, but it does come with a few cool features.

One tool lets you take a “photo” over a short period of time, and then scroll through the visual timeline to look for the best shot.

This works particularly well if you’re trying to, for example, shoot a group of teenagers, and you’re looking for the one moment when everyone is behaving. Only technology can solve that problem.Built-in photo editing software lets you quickly run a series of Instagram-like filters, and immediately share the results on the most popular social networks.

 

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