Available in the UK tomorrow. Gulp.
I have never owned an Iphone, only BB. I am so tempted.
BlackBerry launches Z10 which has no keyboard and looks just like an iPhone - but can it take a bite out of Apple?
- Firm unveiled two handsets, Z10 with a touchscreen and Q10 with a physical keyboard
- Available tomorrow in UK, and next month in US
- Shares fell 8 per cent following announcement
- Handsets run new Blackberry 10 software, with over 70,000 apps available
- Software allows people to switch between work and personal profiles
Blackberry has unveiled the Z10, a new mobile phones it hopes will revive its fortunes and take on Apple - and it looks just like an iPhone.
The handset, along with a second which has a physical keyboard, go on sale in the UK tomorrow, and elsewhere in the world next month.
The Z10 has a touch screen, and the Q10 has a physical keyboard similar to the old Blackberry handsets.
'We have been on a journey of transformation,' said Thorsten Heins of the firm, which also announced today it is changing its name from RIM to Blackberry.
But the handset maker was immediately accused of 'copying' the iPhone's design and software with its BB10 operating system.
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Spot the difference: The new BlackBerry Z10 (left) and Apple's iPhone 5 (right)
THE BLACKBERRY Z10
4.2-inch display with a 1280 x 768 pixel resolution
2GB of RAM
microSD card slot for expanding storage
Over 70,000 apps
'The similarity between BB10 and the iPhone has caused concern, but iOS is simple to use, so its no surprise they have gone down that road,' said Will Findlater, editor of Stuff magazine.
'If there is a cause for concern it could be around the shape of the Z10, the rounded corners look very similar to an Apple product.
'Apple has been notoriously litigious about that element - but I have seen no evidence they are going to take any action.'
The shares fell 5 per cent as the Canadian announced it was changing its name from BlackBerry from Research In Motion, and by the conclusion of the launch the shares were down 7 per cent.
'It's been one year since I was handed the reins, and it has been challenging, but exhilarating,' said Mr Heins.
'Now, finally, here we are - Blackberry 10 is here'
The firm also said it had signed up musician Alicia Keys as its 'global creative director'.
'Alicia Keys has come to BlackBerry because she believes in the product and technology, and subscribes to our overriding philosophy to ‘Keep Moving’: to empower people through mobile computing and communications,' said Mr Heins.
Mr Heins said the new handsets were for 'people who are hyper-connected socially, who need balance in both personal and professional lives.
'People who want to flow, who don't want a home button. Blackberry 10 will keep them moving.'
The new phones run an entirely new operating system called Blackberry 10.
The handsets do not have a home button, instead using a user's thumb to 'flick' across the screen.
It also has a new 'peek' feature that allows owners to see their email and other messages from anywhere in the phone's menu system by swiping from the left of the screen.
The firm also said it had worked to create the 'best typing experience' of any handset.
It also boasts a new feature called balance to switch between a personal and business mode - each with its own applications, wallpaper and settings.
'People run around with two phones, a private one and a personal one,' said Mr Heins.
'We wanted to address that, and people can switch with a single flick.'
Another new feature called 'active frames' allows people to have several apps open at once, and easily.
The Z10 will be available in black and white - just like Apple's iPhone 5
BlackBerry President and Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins (L) stands with new BlackBerry Global Creative Director Alicia Keys at the launch
The firm also boasted of over 70,000 apps for the device, including Facebook, Twitter, Linked, Angry Birds and MailOnline.
Alex Saunders of Blackberry said: 'There is a huge wave of support from developers, we are totally stoked and would like to say thank you to them'
'We have put together bar none the biggest number of apps for a first generation product.
'This is a day we have been waiting for for a long time.'
The firm also announced Alicia Keys as the firm's global creative director
Analysts were impressed by the launch.
Michael Gartenberg of Gartner said the handset 'definitely meets needs for launch.
'Momentum, execution and of course perception will be key.'
HOW THE NEW BLACKBERRY MATCHES UP
|BlackBerry Z10||Apple iPhone 5||Samsung Galaxy SIII|
|Dimensions||65.6 x 130 x 9mm||58.6 x 123.8 x 7.6 mm||70.6 x 136.6 x 8.6mm|
|Weight ||No info ||112g ||133g |
|Display||4.2in multi-touch LCD with 1290x768 resolution||4in multi-touch Retina display with 1136x640 resolution||4.8in multi-touch sAMOLED with 1290x768 resolution|
|Software||BlackBerry 10 OS||iOS||Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)|
|On-board memory||16GB flash||16GB / 32GB / 64GB flash versions available||16GB / 32GB / 64GB flash versions available|
|MicroSD slot ||Yes ||No ||Yes |
|Processor||Dual Core 1.5GHz||Dual Core 1.3GHz||Quad Core 1.4GHz|
|RAM ||2GB ||1GB ||1GB (international version), 2GB (selected markets)|
|Battery life||10hrs talk time / 305hrs standby (3G)||8hrs talk time / 225hrs standby (3G)||10.8hrs talk time / 750hrs standby (3G)|
|Rear facing camera||8MP with auto focus and 1080p HD video||8MP iSight camera with auto focus and 1080p HD video||8MP with auto focus, 1080p HD video|
|Front facing camera||2MP, 3x digital zoom, 720p HD video||1.2MP Facetime camera with 720p HD video||1.9MP|
|GPS||Assisted, autonomous and simultaneous GPS||Assisted GPS and GLONASS||Assisted GPS / GLONASS available|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy||Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy||Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy|
|WiFi||802.11 a/b/g/n enabled, 4G Mobile Hotspot||802.11a/b/g/n enabled||802.11 a/b/g/n enabled|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity, gyroscope and ambient light sensor||Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor||Accelerometer, geo-magnetic, gyroscope, barometer and RGB light sensor|
The firm has suffered in recent years largely due to the popularity of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S3.
But early reports say the new handsets, running new BB10 software, could give the firm a new chance of survival.
One expert who has used the device ahead of the launch said it would appeal to both businesses and consumers because it had ‘high specifications’ that allowed users to do ‘good stuff in a couple of clicks’.
Even Sir Alan Sugar has backed the handset, tweeting 'Getting a new Blackberry 10 on Friday.
'Had a preview,think this time they may have cracked it - very clever features all new operating system.'
Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, introduces the BlackBerry Q10, which has a physical keyboard
Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, introduces the BlackBerry 10 devices
Experts say the move could be RIM's last hope.
'Because of the fast-rising adoption of smartphones, 2013 represents the last, best hope for RIM's BlackBerry 10,' said said Ian Fogg, an analyst at IHS.
However, others believe the firm is too late with the delayed handsets.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
Jonathan Geller, Boy Genius Report: 'BlackBerry 10 is a great upgrade for BlackBerry users, but it’s not unique or polished enough at this point to grab existing high-end smartphone users.'
Jessica Dolcourt, CNET: 'BlackBerry 10 wasn’t some rush job; RIM all but suspended production for years to work on the hardware and software to make the Z10. For a future that hinges on this first device, shouldn’t there be fewer missteps?'
David Pogue, The New York Times: 'Well, BlackBerry’s Hail Mary pass, its bet-the-farm phone, is finally here. It’s the BlackBerry Z10, and guess what? It’s lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas. And here’s the shocker — it’s complete. The iPhone, Android and Windows Phone all entered life missing important features. Not this one; BlackBerry couldn’t risk building a lifeboat with leaks.'
Tim Stevens, Engadget: 'Does it have mainstream appeal? Yes, it does, but we’re not sure a great stock keyboard and some trick gestures are enough to unseat the current kings of mobile devices.'
Josh Topolsky, The Verge: 'The problem with the Z10 is that it doesn’t necessarily do anything better than any of its competition. Sure, there are arguments that could be made about how it handles messages or the particulars of its camera, but no one could argue that there’s a 'killer app' here.'
Walt Mossberg, AllThingsD: 'The Z10 and BB10 represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry. The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps.'
'There are so many amazing smart phones in the shops running Google's Android or Apple's iPhone software, it's hard to see why anyone would want to buy a phone running BlackBerry 10,' said Jason Jenkins, Editor of CNET UK.
'Perhaps if this had launched a couple of years ago, it might have had a hope.
'The one sliver of hope is that there might be some potential customers that like the new BlackBerry with a proper keyboard, rather than an on-screen version seen in most rival phones.
'But I'm not sure there's enough of them.'
BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins displays one of the new Blackberry Z10 smartphone
However, Jenkins admits the phones could keep the firm alive.
'The launch keeps BlackBerry in the game - just - but only as a niche player.'
RIM's stock has more than doubled to $15.66 from a nine-year low in September, though it's still nearly 90 percent below its 2008 peak of $147.
'We'll see if they can reclaim their glory,' BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis said.
'My sense is that it will be a phone that everyone says good things about but not as many people buy,'
However the new system will face a key shortcoming: It won't have as many apps written by outside companies and individuals as the iPhone and Android.
RIM has said it plans to launch BlackBerry 10 with more than 70,000 apps, including those developed for RIM's PlayBook tablet, first released in 2011.
That is a tenth of what the iPhone and Android offer, and popular services such as Instagram and Netflix won't have apps on BlackBerry 10.
The new handsets were unveiled at an event in New York
Despite this, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek called it a 'great device' and said RIM does have some momentum just months after the Canadian company was written off.
Malik Kamal-Saadi, principal analyst with Informa, said the new operating system (OS) on the two expected handsets was a ‘trump card’ that could see it win back customers lost through the poor performance of the previous BlackBerry 7 phones.
He said: ‘The ‘experience’ is very attractive for business users and consumers.'
Mr Kamal-Saadi used the new models at RIM’s European headquarters in Slough.
He said the system would be appealing to both business and social high-end users in Europe and North America, where BlackBerry lost the most ground over the past two or three years.
But he added that the software was similar to the first generation of iPhones in being so radically different it may take people a little while to get used to it.
He believes investors will ‘leap into the sky’ if BB10 sells more than four million units in the first three months on sale, but sales of between one and two million would be acceptable.
'Anything less than one million would be a ‘big mess,' he said.
He pointed out that the first iPhone, which went on to become extremely popular, did not exceed four million sales in the first quarter year of sales and the less popular Windows phone sold between one-and-a-half and two million.
BlackBerry’s handsets are widely credited with kick-starting the smartphone boom.
VIDEO Blackberry develop 'Flow and Peak' motion for new Z10
Ernest Doku, technology expert with uSwitch.com, said: ‘For RIM and BlackBerry, it is very much the resurrection of the BlackBerry brand.
‘Consumers have been waiting a long time to see what they were coming up with.
'They have fallen to the wayside but a lot of signs are pointing to this being their return to relevance in the smartphone market.’
‘Nine out of 10 consumers we asked related that with the BlackBerry.
‘BlackBerry has been lucky in terms of its (fanbase) loyalty which may not have been the case for people like Nokia.
‘It could well be a success story for them.’
The battle for domination of the mobile and tablet market has become intense in the past 18 months, with Apple’s competitors taking it on with a series of new products.
Nokia and Microsoft joined forces to launch two new phones which run on the Windows operating system.
Apple was dealt a new blow to morale as figures for the Christmas period showed its rocket-like growth had continued to stall, causing a fall in its share price.
BLACKBERRY Z10 - MAILONLINE'S VERDICT
The BBM app which could be the key to the Z10's success
The first thing that strikes you about the Blackberry Z10 is a feeling of familiarity - particularly for iPhone users.
The hardware is uncannily similar to the iPhone 5, albeit slightly larger (it feels almost chocolate-bar like in its dimensions of 130mm by 65.5mm by 9mm)
The interface, while looking strikingly like Apple’s iOS at first glance, has taken an interesting approach to touch abandoning the home button of its rivals for gestures.
Users swipe up, down and across from the sides of the screen to access menus and navigate to the Blackberry Hub, where all your messages and alerts are shown.
This is perhaps the handset's most powerful feature.
Called peek, it lets you slide from the left of the phone onto the screen, revealing a 'peek' at all your messages.
It takes a few days to get used to, but does soon feel incredibly natural - and is something you miss when moving back to another handset.
Contact information is also well thought out, with users able to click on a contact they are about to meet and see past correspondence, as well as their updates on social media.
In fact, several aspects of the Z10 are a ahead of the competition - with the 8MP camera software’s time shift function a particular highlight, letting you edit the faces within pictures to choose a shot where everyone has their eyes open and is smiling.
It’s a simple to use, but incredibly useful feature.
The photo time shift feature takes dozens of pictures, then lets you edit each face to ensure all participants are smiling (and have their eyes open)
The photo app also has built in filters which can be tested out on pics using a neat slider function.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given RIM’s heritage, the on screen keyboard is excellent, and the predictive text and feel of the keyboard is the best of any touchscreen phone, and quickly learns how you type - correcting common mistakes, and predicting your next word with sometimes frightening accuracy.
There’s also a maps app, which is adequate, but nothing as sophisticated as Google's Maps app for the iPhone and Android handsets.
The new BlackBerry 10 home screen (left) and the BlackBerry World download store (right) which allows people to download films,TV shows, music and apps
Balance is another neat feature, allowing users to switch between work and personal menus, each with their own app layouts. It’sincredibly useful, and means an end to having to carry around two phones - although both profiles still use the same number.
BBM has also been updated, and now includes video chat and the ability to easily send pictures. Crucially, it’s also easy to move your account from and existing Blackberry, meaning the Z10 will be an instant hit with BBM addicts - which could be key to the handset's success.
Blackberry has an incredibly loyal users, and those - in particular the young, BBM addicted, are likely to flock to the Z10.
Is it enough to take on the might of Apple and Google? Realistically, no.
Had RIM released the Z10 a year ago, it may have been a very different story, but while it’s an incredibly slick handset with a superb, polished interface that in some areas is ahead of the competition, it feels just a little too late for Blackberry.
However, it does at least give the firm a fighting chance of survival, if it can continue the momentum (and number of apps) available.