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back to article BlackBerry 10: Good news, there's still time to fix this disaster

If BlackBerry is to complete the greatest comeback since Lazarus, it all depends on how it can lure back former users as well as woo new customers. Which means its fate hinges on BlackBerry 10, its new operating system and apps platform. BB10 has three things going for it. It’s technically sophisticated and well up to the …

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Anonymous Coward

Destined for failure

No apps, decidedly mid-range specs, and double the price of competing mid-range Android phones.

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Facepalm

Re: Destined for failure

Typical fandroidism right here. And this is not even an Apple product! 70,000+ apps (easy to convert and manipulate Android apps to the new QNX platform, mid-range means nothing if the software is easy on the CPU/memory and pisses all over most of the Android competition. No theme bollocks and straight to the point OS.

I admit that the omitted features will disappoint hardcore blackberry users, but is the article justifying people are too stupid to navigate a few easy swipes to get to content in order to give it a negative point? Beats pressing a home button and swiping a pointless notification menu sitting at the top of the screen.

Personally can't wait to have a go at one of these. As much as I love iOS, it's a pain in the rear for calls. Too many dropped calls even in well served places.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Destined for failure

People never bought a blackberry for it's market leading hardware.

They bought the blackberry because..........

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Happy

Re: Destined for failure

You've answered your own question. Software and features.

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Re: Destined for failure

Why was Skype persistently bleated by even the critical press as being on BB10, when even a glance at the pertinent Skype website itself leaves me with no such claim? Why did no reporter then (or even now) ask Skype?

As far as I can tell, Skype's vague promise only means putting an Android-emulated Skype in BB at present, and given Skype's finicky behaviour (I have it on this Mac, a netbook, and used to have it on an iTouch), I can only see it as one of those crappy filler-apps among the vaunted 70,000, no-fat, productivity, apps touted for the platform.

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Skype? Not exactly.

Thanks for not repeating THAT claim. There is a lot of stuff that is not on BB10 yet that is being claimed to be there.

As for the leading-edge multitasking OS; the reviews sound like Z10 is getting mediocre battery life. This is odd. If QNX can shut down kernels at will, what's burning up the watts?

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Silver badge

Re: Destined for failure

"70,000+ apps (easy to convert and manipulate Android apps to the new QNX platform"

More accurately, sometimes easy to convert. If an app has in-app purchases, or a background service / listener, or uses the LVL, or Google services like maps or push notifications then the chances are it's not easy to convert. BB's terms and conditions are far more stringent so apps which might be permissible on Android are not on BB, e.g. don't expect to see uTorrent any time soon.

And even if the app is straightforward, it's still a pain in the arse to get it up on the BB store. First you have to test the app rigorously which depending on size could take hours or days (possibly 3 times to account for Playbook, Z10 and Q10). And you have to redo all the marketing graphics since they're different sizes from the ones on Android. And then you have to repackage the app as a .bar file. And after you submit it, a ticket is raised and you have to wait several days for the app to go up.

So if all the stars are aligned you're probably looking at the better part of a day first time through and at least 4 hours for subsequent runs. Maybe the likes of Zynga, Zepo, Rovi can afford to hire people for all this but it is an added burden on individual developers.

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Re: Destined for failure

I was a former RIMMER but i got rid of my blackberry because of the App Store. You say 70,000+ apps but have you ever used the apps? 90% of the apps were crap, i never saw the point of BBM over MSN messenger so that never tied me in either, the only up side was the for the first year it was a solid phone.

But after a year my "y" key broke which gimped it and RIM then released an update which slowed the phone somewhat. Jumping ship to android was a huge relief as most apps just work and i now have a decent banking app and a considerably bigger range of entertainment.

To get me back on Blackberry their App store would have to grow considerably with decent apps.

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Re: Destined for failure

The encrypted goodies maybe ??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Destined for failure

Yes, but 69,000 of those apps are fart related...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Destined for failure

Blackberry will take #3 position.

The one that's truly destined for failure is Windows Phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Destined for failure

"First you have to test the app rigorously which depending on size could take hours or days"

GOOD !

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Re: Destined for failure

I actually had a play in one of the EE shops in London. The OS is superfast! Much quicker going between apps than iOS on my iPhone 4 (admittedly running iOS6 that is two generations newer). Especially flicking up from the bottom which will throw you back onto the multi-task menu. The virtual keyboard text predicter that you can flick your thumb towards suggest words is superb.

Hardware is solid and not overly too big. I even compared it to the Lumia 820 and god that is huge! As much as I had reservations about anything larger than 3.5" or the equivalent across, the Z10s size is spot on.

My worry is applications, but the big players in the mob app business will want their app spot on rather than half-baked. I don't get the negativity/reservations here. This is a tech site and we should be support newer devices that at least try to break the boundaries of the norm. The Z10 definitely does that!

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Happy

So bit of a rim shot

As in might work great but risky?

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Anonymous Coward

Our CEO got the first one out of the box this morning. He has had a BlackBerry since I have been with the company.

He just left my office after asking about an Android replacement and the BB is sitting on my desk. Not looking good for RIM / BB whatever.

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So is it his first full screen phone?

I would guess if it is, as you say he has always had a BlackBerry, then it may be more the learning curve of going to a different concept of use / input.

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Facepalm

"the servers giving consumers end-to-end encrypted push email - aren't supported"

How to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

If there's no advantage over Android, Android it is for me...

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: "the servers giving consumers end-to-end encrypted push email - aren't supported"

"If there's no advantage over Android, Android it is for me"

I played with Andrew's Z10 for a short while in the office, and it struck me as a Windows Phone-meets-Android-but-without-infringing-any-patents-please OS.

Imagine you were told to take an existing microkernel and build a platform + UI on top of it from a list of things users want, and a list of things you can't do because Apple will otherwise sue you, and that's what BB10 felt like. IMHO.

C.

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Facepalm

Re: "the servers giving consumers end-to-end encrypted push email - aren't supported"

Another facepalm for me getting the witticism wrong.

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Bronze badge

Re: "the servers giving consumers end-to-end encrypted push email - aren't supported"

Your honesty is refreshing....

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there is an enterprise server at launch

They have BES10. You have two ways to get email. You can either use the blackberry secure network like before (called secure network protection) or expose active sync to the Internet the way you currently do with your android. Blackberry seems more secure to me at the moment.

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Anonymous Coward

Roaming?

"Now BlackBerry uses IMAP IDLE and ActiveSync to sync - or polling."

One of the big benefits of BB as I know it now is that when traveling internationally, I get all emails via BES or BIS, and that's made economical by a $20/month "international data" add-on (otherwise Tmo charge $15/Mb for data). Same goes for browsing using the Blackberry Browser; unlimited browsing whilst roaming for just the $20 add-on charge. So, when using IMAP or ActiveSync in BB10, is this data routed through RIM, or is it a direct connection to Gmail (etc) by the carrier? Is roaming going to stink from here?

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Re: Roaming?

You can do this but you have to watch your mail setup. In the IT policy of BES if you select "force network protection" it will be forced to be routed over the TCP 3101 port and via the current firewall BES rules. That goes to RIM (or I guess I should say Blackberry now). Is Gmail your personal email or your company uses Gmail hosted email? I guess the key would be to get as much of the traffic to RIM vs other internet endpoints. In my case I have an exchange server and a BES so all that traffic is in the Blackberry space. Gmail on the other hand is hosted by Google. I do know that Microsoft will host your mail in the cloud and include BES as a hosted option as well so you could still stay cloud email and have BES network if that was was needed. You wont see Google hosting BES servers anytime soon though ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Roaming?

I suspect this is what Blackberry had to do to get the carriers to stock the phone. When the route to market is through evil monopolists, what else can you do?

Having said that, isn't there an opportunity for organisations to offer their own BES services to the outside world? I'm thinking here of things like the National Trust or Oxfam - a potentially useful source of income.

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Go

Re: Roaming?

I would imagine it will behave just like any other phone, i.e. not routed through BB servers and therefore not on your special data plan.

Blame the people who whined on about single point of failure, special expensive servers for calendar/phonebook sync, etc...

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Bronze badge

Her indoors will likely upgrade to the Q10 simply because it's a Blackberry with a keyboard. She positively loaths touchscreens.

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Bronze badge
Windows

Yes, I think I prefer hardware keyboards. Will have to see what the cost is when the current curve drops to pieces.

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FAIL

Good luck to "the company formerly known as RIM"

Great move kids. Have this "big announcement" on 30 January showing this glintzy new OS and hardware...but...sorry for you folks in the US and other parts of the planet...you're not getting it until sometine in March.

Oh...and you PlayBook owners who have been hanging on for nearly TWO YEARS hoping for something to make it useful...well...your upgrage to BB10 will happen "...sometime after the BB10 phones are out."

Nice...real f'ing nice.

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Re: Good luck to "the company formerly known as RIM"

More specifically the US.. The US will hopefully get a more-debugged version of BB OS 10, so that should keep them happy. Is it better to get a just-out-of-Alpha version right now, or hang on a while for a passably-working version?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good luck to "the company formerly known as RIM"

Not because Canada and the UK are currently the main markets for top end BBs, and because there was virtually no growth in the smartphone park in the US last year (200M=203 million?)

A good place to launch a new product first is where people might buy it. Iron the bugs out, then launch in the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good luck to "the company formerly known as RIM"

The US isn't really a significant mobile market though. Europe alone has over 500 million mobile users....

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Wow!

Well this article is miss informing, for one it does have sound profiles, and a bedside mode!

Ive got the z10 abd i gotta say its one of the best phones ive ever used, it's so effortless and efficient to use, yeah there's a learning curve but once you know what you're doing it just glides! I can write a message with only 5 swipes, it's also a lot faster at doing stuff than previous phones ive used.

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Re: Wow!

I was going to say the same thing and the bedside mode is really nice, matches my Bell & Ross watch.

The learning curve, if it could be called that, is nothing. You have to unlearn using a home button, which takes a matter of hours tops. All you do is swipe up from the BlackBerry logo, or thereabouts, and it takes you home. The home screen is the running apps screen, unless there is none, otherwise its the first screen of apps. Touching the numbers jumps you to a screen, even the hub, so its not even a number of swipes if you don't want it to be.

But year, the phone is Amazing. It has a couple of little software bugs, sometimes the screen dims a little, usually in the hub when switching accounts. A couple of forms were hard to select. Thats it so far.

It took my iCloud account and imported contacts, mail and calendars. Twitter is the same as the iPhone version but larger. Facebook, erm, yeah its seems to be there. Angry Birds Space for free was nice and I have converted over a few android apps.

The Link software works fine on my mac, I like the way the BlackBerry wirelessly mounts its disk on the computer. iTunes / Link copied over fine and it plays movies on my Samsung TV over WiFi fine.

It also connects to my Denon HiFi Airplay system, which I was a bit worried about.

All in all its a great phone, nice upgrade from iPhone 4S.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Wow!

It doesn't have the 'bedside mode' of BBOS, which means when you drop it in a cradle it can turn off the radios, and change all kinds of notification options. BB10 has a sleep profile with a nice clock. Not the same thing.

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Bronze badge
Pint

Re: Homescreen

"...an interrupt-driven button..."

A hardware button, as you hinted connected to a hardware interrupt line, allows the CPU to go to deep sleep. Presumably this allows lower stand-by power consumptions than monitoring the touch screen for a certain unlock swipe gesture.

I've always assumed that Apple figured this out from Day 1, and that a hardware button is a perfectly logical design decision.

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Meh

Hmmm

Had a brief play with one in my local O2 store. It didn't strike me as being very intuitive and the way things kept hiding off the edge of the screen was something of an annoyance.

But this was an extremely brief look and YMMV.

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Thumb Up

Mine is waiting at home for me

Arrived this morning, and I ordered it specifically for its sound profiles (which, on Android, royally suck!) and because I want a proper calendar not like the crippled disabled version that Samsung force you to use on their S2/S3 series.

So, we shall see. Disappointing to see the implementation of evernote is half-baked.

It could have been so, so good!

Any word on voice recognition?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Mine is waiting at home for me

> Any word on voice recognition?

It's very good. Task driven (eg, "Email Jim") voice recognition is done on the device and works as well as anything I've tried. Other v.r. is done server-side by software licensed from Nuance.

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Re: Voice recognition

Tried it last night, including send a BBM and an email and setting a calendar appointment with fantastic results, have to say I'm very impressed overall. Lots of very nice little touches to the OS that make it a pleasure to use. The screen's unlock mechanism being responsive even when the screen is "off" is particularly nice I think.

I managed to make the calendar app crash when changing a calendar's colour, and also managed to make the email hub panel flip out a few times ("no items selected" even though two were) but I imagine a lot of this is just stuff that will get ironed out with updates just like any other fruit-based delivery.

One thing I'm very disappointed on is the playbook integration. When you hook up a playbook to it, the playbook has no control over the device - basically the "bridge" is limited to just internet tethering, you don't get the old way of looking at the device's contacts, calendars, messages and so on. But again, perhaps that will be fixed with an update.

Thanks for the pointer regarding sound profiles. You are limited to Normal, Calls only, Vibrate only, Silent, and All Alerts Off. No opportunity to set your own profiles up, and no opportunity for location-based or time-based profiles (yet).

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I like the swipe philosophy

I have a Playbook and I find the swiping a very intuitive and second nature way of navigating the UI. The only time it can get annoying is for playing some games where it's too easy to swipe in-game and the OS thinks you're swiping out of the app. It could do with a swipe lock.

By contrast Android now permanently reserves a chunk of space from the bottom of the screen or the device has to have buttons and it feels a little bit clunkier.

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Trollface

OH NOOOO A RECTANGLE WITH ROUNDED EDGES! How dare they....

Cue the Attack Lawyers!!

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iOS user curiously impressed

I used Palm up through the Pre (until Verizon got the iPhone). I am a lifetime (early 80's/pre Mac) Apple user. Nearly every computer I have owned for home use has been an Apple.

I like a lot of what I am seeing on BB10. I hope they push Apple to finally implement some of the webOS marque features, and I am still bitter that Apple didn't buy Palm and incorporate webOS into iOS. They let great technology fall into the hands of a company that didn't know what to do with it. (Sorry, rant over). But think how great an OS iOS would be if they had bought Palm and said "Some things Palm was doing were amazing. We are taking that and building it into iOS!"

Anyway, it seems like BB10 is doing nearly everything right, while simultaneous doing everything it can to remove what was unique about BB. Hoping I am wrong, but this is the first non iOS since the demise of webOS I have actually been intrigued by, and would consider.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iOS user curiously impressed

I am extremely glad Apple did not buy Palm.They would have removed everything I liked about webOS. Nokia would have been a better fit.

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Battery life?

For many die-hard BlackBerry fans the killer feature was battery life. A week or more without a recharge was both possible and expected.

Is this another BB USP that's gone by the wayside?

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Re: Battery life?

Hopefully, having the QNX kernel might help on that side. I do however think that they should keep the email-through-BIS feature up, it's kinda one of their core selling points, encrypted email.

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Re: Battery life?

Are you from the future?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Battery life?

Active Sync can be encrypted....

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Meh

If there ever was an case of skating where the puck has been...

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