Staying Alive: BlackBerry's survival in the modern smartphone war

January ended with the return of a dinosaur: After eighteen months without releasing a handset, there's a new BlackBerry on the market. The phone, made by the company formerly known as RIM but now just called BlackBerry, is part of a new period of reinvention that the Canadian company hopes will allow them to challenge Microsoft's Windows Phone for the number 3 position in the global smartphone market. 


The new phone, the BlackBerry Z10, launches with a new modern operating system that makes use of gesture-based, button-less controls and sports a number of interesting software additions based around BlackBerry's traditional target markets - government, industry and teens. 


For example, there's a toggle between home and work modes (which BlackBerry are calling Balance), video calling and screen sharing have been added to BlackBerry Messenger, and all notifications and messages are collected in a unified BlackBerry Hub. There's even a camera mode called TimeShift that allows you to shoot a burst of photos, then choose the best face for each person in the photo to ensure that no one is blinking or pulling a weird expression. It's a surprisingly capable operating system that feels as modern as any of the other big players in the market.


I think that BlackBerry has caught up a massive amount with BlackBerry 10. When you consider how dated their operating system was, BlackBerry 10 is a massive technical achievement. Their decision to rename themselves is a good indicator too that they're giving it their all to make this thing work. But despite a pair of strong launch devices, BlackBerry are still behind Windows Phone - and way behind Android or iOS.

In order to challenge Windows Phone for that third place spot, BlackBerry is going to need to continue to focus on their traditional strengths: business, security and messaging. We've already seen some of that, with the excellent software keyboard, the new additions to BlackBerry Messenger and being able to switch easily between sandboxed home and work modes, but they need to keep having good ideas and keep refining those features. It's here that they'll win over users from competing operating systems, and regain former BlackBerry users too.


The app situation will also need to be improved. I think that this will largely come with time, particularly if BlackBerry can encourage developers that it will be easy to port their apps over. Still, it seems like the vast majority of their apps are badly designed - even core apps like messaging and email look shoddy, with wonky fonts and bad spacing, and lack the beautiful design reflected in the hardware and accessories of the Z10.


The Android emulation layer is also badly in need of an update; at the moment running an Android app in a virtual 2.3 Gingerbread environment is incredibly outdated and doesn't mesh well with the rest of the BlackBerry experience. I understand the need to allow Android apps to be ported easily, but I feel that BlackBerry would be stronger without these apps at present.


Finally, the BlackBerry Hub also needs work. I feel that the lack of a distinction between notifications and the actual content you're being notified about is an interesting design choice, but right now it isn't implemented well - The Verge highlighted a lot of issues with moving from one notification to another and also the inability for users to dismiss notifications on things that don't require immediate attention, like Twitter mentions.


If BlackBerry can fix these problems, they may have a shot. While they are incredibly late to the modern OS party, they've shown a remarkable rate of improvement that hopefully will be only be hastened in the crucible of public opinion. That number 3 spot is within reach, but this is the Canadian company's last shot to challenge for it. If we don't see improvements before the next cycle of Apple, Android and Windows Phones then BlackBerry may rapidly disappear from the mobile landscape.

-William Judd

BlackBerry Says Z10 Launch Was “Best Day Ever,” While Analyst Remains Skeptical

The BlackBerry Z10 is reportedly doing quite well in the U.K.—where the device was made available following the device’s announcement—but one analyst suggests initial sales don’t necessarily mean demand is high. In fact, Canaccord Genuity’s Michael Walkley says supply constraints are the reason some stores sold out so quickly.

“Limited initial supply was cited as a reason for early post-launch stock-outs at some carrier stores versus overwhelming demand,” Walkley explained. According to Walkley’s report, most U.K. locations received about 15 units, which then sold out over the first two to three days.

“BlackBerry has only closed the gap with more mature smartphone OS platforms and offers limited differentiating services or features to win back customers from more mature ecosystems,” Walkley said.

However, BlackBerry on Wednesday released a statement to suggest the company’s sales have eclipsed anything it’s done before.

“In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone.  In fact, it was more than 50% better than any other launch day in our history in Canada,” said Thorsten Heins, President & CEO of BlackBerry.  “In the UK, we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone.”

We haven’t given our final verdict of the company’s BlackBerry Z10, but we’re enjoying it so far. Enough to pry our attention from Android and iOS? You’ll have to wait to find out. In the meantime, it seems sales a doing very well—at least according to BlackBerry. Those anticipating the device here in the U.S. still have another month wait until the Z10 becomes available, so we’ll see if the company can continue its “best ever” streak.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

BlackBerry Z10 Shows Up in U.K. Store Hours Before Official Launch

RIM’s next great hope, BlackBerry 10, is about to be uncaged and let loose. In the meantime, devices running the company’s new OS, like the much rumored and often leaked Z10, is already out in the wild at one U.K. store. It looks exactly as we expected it to look.

The picture comes from a Twitter user at a Phone4U store, where the device will likely be on sale in a matter of hours. An earlier Vodafone leak suggested the Z10 would launch today. 

The tipster said Phones4U also has the white one in stock, and that both are set to go on sale at 5 p.m. However, spots such as Carphone Warehouse only got black models of the Z10 in—white models aren’t expected to show up until Feb. 15.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Vodafone UK launches its first ‘4G-ready’ phone, the BlackBerry Z10

  • Coming to Vodafone UK: the first smartphone powered by BlackBerry 10
  • BlackBerry Z10 just £29 on a £42 a month deal with unlimited calls, texts and loads of internet
  • The first ‘4G-ready’ phone from Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is launching the BlackBerry® Z10, the first smartphone powered by the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry® 10 platform and the first of Vodafone’s ‘4G-ready’ handsets. The new BlackBerry Z10 is the fastest and most advanced BlackBerry smartphone yet and offers customers a powerful new mobile computing experience.

The new BlackBerry Z10 will be available from January 31, in-store, online and through telesales. The smartphone is just £29 on the £42 a month Vodafone Red Data plan, which comes with unlimited calls and texts as well as 2GB of internet. It is free on the £47 a month variant of Vodafone Red Data and costs £69 on the Vodafone Red Plan, which offers unlimited calls, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet for £37 a month. All new and upgrading Vodafone pay monthly customers also get as much internet as they want, for whatever they want, for the first three months, with Vodafone Data Test Drive.

For small business customers, the BlackBerry Z10 is available free on Vodafone Red Business from £40.83 (ex VAT) per month. Vodafone Red Business gives business users the freedom to talk and text as much as they want, enjoy loads of internet and get a landline number on their mobile so they can answer any calls when out and about. For more information, visit

The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is the first handset from Vodafone that is ‘4G-ready’. Getting one of our 4G-ready phones means a customer will be good to go as soon as Vodafone 4G arrives, bringing them ultra-fast internet and the best mobile video they’ve ever had from us. Once a customer has got their new phone, we’ll let them know the moment Vodafone 4G is available in their area. Then we can talk about adding Vodafone 4G to their monthly plan. For more information, visit We are planning to launch 4G services later this year and we intend to use a signal that travels further into a customer’s home than any 4G signal that’s available now.

Blackberry Z10 Unboxing & First Boot

Blackberry 10 launches today and before the official launch, seems like a lucky person has got their hands on the new Z10 touchscreen smartphone. Check out the video below from MrIgorTV showing an unboxing & first look.

BlackBerry Z10 Price Unveiled in Alleged Carphone Warehouse Inventory

We’re just days away from seeing RIM finally unveil its last hope, BlackBerry 10. From what we’ve seen, we’re genuinely impressed with what the Waterloo company has accomplished—the extra time and care put into the mobile OS seems worth the wait. Needless to say, we’re very excited for the final Jan. 30 unveil, where we’ll probably see the company’s BlackBerry Z10.

With that said, the device has popped up in Carphone Warehouse inventory, possibly indicating what U.K. hopefuls might need to hunker down to get the handset SIM-free. According to the listing, the Z10 will run consumers £480, around $758 here in the U.S. Remember, this is off-contract pricing, so obviously there will be a subsidy in place when the device hits carriers. We’re so very close to RIM’s big day. So very close.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]