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back to article BlackBerry's retro-look QWERTY Q5 mobe: Resentment by design

BlackBerry’s second QWERTY-sporting BB10 device is a real puzzler. BlackBerry has packed most of the horsepower of the first BB10 QWERTYphone, the Q10, in a cheaper package. And it performs almost as well, giving a slick experience with no judder or lag. It also offers enterprises that scoop up BlackBerrys by the thousands a …

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Anonymous Coward

So in a nutshell "doomed"

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Mushroom

Yep - just another bubble from the sinking Blackberry ship....

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This part sums it up for me

" And the feature formerly known as "Type and Go" but now apparently called "Instant Action" is very handy: from anywhere, you can swipe up and start to type a message, for example: “sms fred” – and it will drill into your address book and drop you into the message editor."

I can swipe up on the screen then jump back to the keyboard to type "sms fred" and it'll do the search and open message editor. Perhaps I'm not seeing the big appeal of this as it doesn't seem to shorten anything over starting the messaging app and picking who you want to message. Shouldn't a shortcut save you time?

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Re: This part sums it up for me

I don't know why he mentions swiping up, unless the Q5 works differently the the Q10.

From any 'main' OS screen if you start to type it shifts to Instant Action (which is also Search) mode and suggests a list of things you might want to do. Takes much less brain to type "email bob" than it does to go to the hub, make sure you're in Email, compose, etc.

Also stupid on BB10:

a) When you perform an action on a message in the hub (eg, "File") it then takes you back to the message. Which you've obviously just done with, because you filed it. Should go to next unread, or root.

b) No changelogs on the updates despite frequent updates being BB's only road to survival. As a matter of fact the update points you to a URL (which you can't click - they can't have actually used their own product) which when I went there is their blog post for the very first update back in January. Horrible.

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Doesn't sound promising

At this rate BB10 is "bedding in" to a bed with an earth mattress and stone headboard.

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Missed Opportunity

I am in the market for a new phone. Ever since getting the rather crappy Samsung Galaxy S2 nearly 2 years ago, I've been going from pillar to post with different phones. Tried Android, hated it. Tried WIndows Phone, hated it (based on the fact you couldn't tether the device). I will never use an iPhone, because I'm not an iSheep. BlackBerry handsets are the only phones I get along with, and currently I'm using a second hand BlackBerry Torch that I've had since Christmas. It's the ideal phone for me due to it having a physical keyboard and a touchscreen.

So really, the logical step for me would be to go from the Torch to either a Q10 or a Q5. When the Q10 came out I loved the look of it, it looks the business. The one thing I didn't love was the SIM-free price. I simply don't have the £500 to shell out on a mobile phone. So I've waited and waited for the Q5 to come out hoping it would be just as good as the Q10 but more affordable. Well, for me, the Q5 is more affordable but that keyboard make it look like one of these cheap ass calculators you'd get from the pound shop with gel looking keys. It looks horrid, and reminds me of the HTC phone that had the dedicated Facebook button. I remember trying that phone out, and it felt awful.

So, here I am, a loyal BlackBerry user wiith three choices:

1) Save up my hard earned dough for a Q10

2) Wait for the next BlackBerry 7 device to come out this year

3) See how much the new Nokia Windows Phone will be on Thursday and buy that

Cheers RIM/BlackBerry, thanks very much.

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Pint

Re: Missed Opportunity

You could just wait a few weeks when the Q10 will likely drop in price (Much to the dismay of users such as myself, although surprised it hasnt dropped in price yet).

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Re: Missed Opportunity

Well I'm in no big rush, my 2-year contract finishes in August and I'll be switching to a much cheaper 30-Day rolling one then. The current BlackBerry is fine, but I can see how good the Q10 is I just want one now!!!

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WTF?

Re: Missed Opportunity

Tried WIndows Phone, hated it (based on the fact you couldn't tether the device).

Settings -> Internet Connection Sharing. Done.

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Aaargghh

Blackberry desktop software. Did you have to remind me.

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FAIL

BB that you can't battery pull?

BB10 better be a lot better than previous versions of BB os or that's going to become a paperweight pretty quickly....

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Thumb Down

Generally I don't care about phone design all that much. They all look much the same. But I have to say the pictures of that Q5 make it appear particularly nasty and cheap. Certainly it's not going to stand out against the competition at the £20/month bracket.

Not a win.

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A real shame. I would actually really like a Q10, but it is prohibitively expensive (it is essentially the cost of an iPhone 5 and I think that is overpriced too). Of the three former titans of the mobile world (Sony, Nokia and BlackBerry), BlackBerry is the one the one that has failed to understand who the fuck actually buys their stuff and what their products mean to punters in general.

Nokia now gets it (and arguably they might just make it out the woods too) - they cover a range of price points with thier new handsets and all are reliable, quality and good value, with the higher priced models getting you some really nice features, and all have the great Nokia built apps.

Sony also now understand their brand significance - they too are trading on their reputation for good design (and slightly overpriced higer-end products...but they can get away with it). Their new range forgets the SonyEricsson wilderness years and harks back to a time when Sony made brilliant products - and it seems to be working.

BlackBerry however have no fucking clue who buys their products. BB10 is actually pretty good, and I like the Z10 and Q10, but no-one will pay what BB want for them, the pricing is just crazy. Cash-strapped IT managers won't buy these, the general workers have already managed to convince IT to let them use their own devices (more fool them), why would they then spend mental money new BB phones that everyone perceives to be rubbish? And then, like the review says, what teenager can afford this, the most budget BB10 device? Teenagers buy BB 'cause they are reliable and cheap. One part of that equation has disappeared now.

Sorry BlackBerry, you're absolutely doomed. I might pick up a Q10 in the firesale.

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Facepalm

I'd be shorting BBRY right now. They've hacked-off the enthusiast community by pumping and dumping the BB10 upgrade to the Playbook, corporates need to upgrade BES to BES10 to try even one new phone and by offering BBN on iOS/Android they've shot their own USP.

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Stop

Errr, under "enthusiast community"...

...you're referring to PB buyers?

"They've hacked-off the enthusiast community by pumping and dumping the BB10 upgrade to the Playbook,"

If so then I doubt that ~2M sold unit over 2.5 years, most of it on fire sale, costing BB a HALF A BEEELLION write-down, is much of a concern as a market.

Majority of these "enthusiasts" are simple cheapskates and PB perfectly proved this point - BB is right to cut its losses and focus on revenue-generating efforts like speeding up v10.2 development, reportedly testing a 5" quad-core 1080p high-end design etc etc. PB is done, use it as long as it works then move on.

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I’ll bet almost all of you reading this can now type as fast, or faster on glass

On a tablet, yes, I can type at a fair lick. On a phone, I'm nowhere near as fast as I was when I had a Blackberry.

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Having owned capacitive touchscreen phones for 4 years now I can type relatively quickly on them, but nowhere near as quick as I could type on my SE P1.

Once you have learnt the position of the physical buttons you can type without looking at the keyboard much like I am doing at the moment on my PC. I could never do this on a touchscreen.

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Alien

On the last flight I took back from the US, there was some guy before takeoff typing on his iPhone at a speed that I would struggle to match on my desktop keyboard, let alone on glass.

Sir, where ever you are, I salute you and your inhuman fingers.

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Anonymous Coward

"On a phone, I'm nowhere near as fast as I was when I had a Blackberry."

Press for press I daresay that's true. But plenty of us have recognised that gesture typing is faster still than tapping at keys, whether capacitive or physical.

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I just persuaded a friend to buy a Galaxy Note 2. For the ability to sketch dimensions on site photos mainly. But as an input method the handwriting recognition on that thing absolutely blazes along. It beats anything you can do with an on-screen keyboard. I've never got on with the physical qwerty keys on phones myself, so I can't compare to them for speed.

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@Shrimpling

I agree. I've had a Nexus for over a year, and actively avoid typing emails on it, preferring to wait (if not too inconvenient) until I get back to my laptop. It is downright maddening trying to write or edit an email on the Nexus. Mind you, it does have a very pretty screen that allows me to stare at quite lovely looking emails all day - or rather, for a few hours before the battery craps-out.

When I had a BB (I went through several starting way back when with a blueberry pancake) I could touch-type short novels while strolling through an airport at a fairly decent clip (both the typing and the walking). I have also used a Nokia QWERTY phone. All that it did for me is make me appreciate the BB keyboard even more.

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"Once you have learnt the position of the physical buttons you can type without looking at the keyboard much like I am doing at the moment on my PC. I could never do this on a touchscreen."

THIS! It's called _touch_ typing for a reason, it's pretty well impossible to do it on keys with such small surface area if you can't feel their edges and locations. The only way to approach the sort of speed I can do on a physical keyboard with the on-screen toys is to use gestures (think Swype).

The problem there is that gestures are pretty limited, there's not as much information conveyed that way as there is with typing, so in order to do any real work with a gesture keyboard you need to a) set up an extensive custom dictionary and b) use the disambiguation for less common words. The problem is that if you use extensive jargon or a wide vocabulary in your profession's typical correspondence, then you're stuck doing b quite often. And the keyboard learning your jargon as the expense of common words isn't any better, since you probably still use common words pretty... uh... commonly? That's a problem because dicking around with a list of options looking for the word you actually meant takes much longer than just typing it in, whether by physical or virtual keyboard, and brutalizes your overall typing speed.

So gesture keyboards are great for casual use where it's just important to get that text out fast, but they're pretty unsuitable to many people.

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Coffee/keyboard

On a Bold or Q10, I can quite trivially beat the touch-screen typing world record. I'm not even the fastest in my office, mine is a fairly average Blackberry typing speed. Anyone who pretends they can type "just as fast" on glass is fooling themselves, or lying, or has never measured, or should contact Guinness to take that world record.

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Developers.. Developers.. Developers.. Developers..

"BlackBerry is actively encouraging Android developers to port their apps"

So why can't Blackberry developers produce some more apps? I know a PlayBook isn't a phone but I came across some pretty horrible examples of sideloaded Android apps attempting to run on something that's not Android, and of course they run very well on Androids.

Unfortunately Blackberry have *still* not got enough developers on board, and the lack of apps that aren't games will be what ultimately kills the company.

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Just give me Psion5, a Raspberry Pi and a crowbar.

Please Please Please.

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Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal, but I would like to say that I've had a Q5 for a few weeks and I actually really like it. I can use it quite happily with one hand and it does everything I want from a _business_ phone. I've also used a Z10 and, as mentioned in a separate el reg article, I do find myself swiping up on my Galaxy Nexus so the muscle memory must like that particular action.

BlackBerry have ballsed up on the price though, IMHO it should be <£200 sim-free.

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Why can't Blackberry produce a landscape qwerty slider like the old sidekicks?

I know that the portrait sliding torch didn't sell very well, but firstly it was a portrait slider, and secondly its keyboard was rubbish compared to the bold.

The loss of the trackpad on such a phone where you are supposed to actually want to input text is a huge loss. As you rightly point out it makes editing text super frustrating.

The other thing that never seems to get mentioned, but was super important, was that with BIS sending an instant message on BBM was like sending an instant message on a computer. You knew that the other person you were chatting with was getting your message instantly. With text messages or OTT messaging apps there is a delay most of the time. This impedes communication. Proper instant messaging was one of the reasons that BBM was better than any other mobile social network. Now that is gone. Foolish.

I thought Blackberry's CEO understood this when he said Blackberry devices were about being more than consumption devices. But failure to address the above three points shows that he doesn't.

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"I thought Blackberry's CEO understood this when he said Blackberry devices were about being more than consumption devices. But failure to address the above three points shows that he doesn't."

I often get the feeling he understands it just fine, but no longer believes consumers give a damn. And sadly, I think he's right.

Quality is something everyone pays lip service to, but in the mobile phone landscape the consumers seem to come running only when manufacturers make it bigger, shinier, benchmark-ier, rushed and substantially shittier.

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jai
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Parts of the BB10 experience are very good, particularly messaging. Others require some urgent attention. One of these, strangely, is messaging.

So the best of BB10 is also a part that requires urgent attention? That doesn't sound very promising. What on earth is the worst of it like?

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JDX
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ambitious multi-taskers

"Hey look at that ambitious multi-tasker"

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Anonymous Coward

It's not quite as bad as the review

If you're a company with an intranet, and the management wants the Q10 (and as a happy user, the management wants the Q10 if it has any sense) then a cheaper option is needed for the helots that has the same UI. Hence the Q5. BlackBerry have made the mistake before of having the top of the line (9900) with a different screen resolution from the cheaper options, which also lacked a touchscreen. Now at least a company can standardise on a format and have a more expensive and a cheaper option which do basically the same things, and which both have a long battery life. And are both pretty future proof, as both have 4G. Just as well because I think it will take a year for the OS to reach full 7.1 replacement levels.

I think the idea that "premium" models have non-replaceable batteries is far from the truth. I think the truth is that replaceables add cost, but also are less favoured by companies because it makes it easier for the (l)users to open the back and fiddle. Perhaps the US Department of Home Insecurity is even now preparing to mandate only phones that don't open and are very thin on aircraft, to prevent someone smuggling in a more than usually exploding battery. For people who buy their own phones, of course, a removable battery can extend the useful life by a year or two.

Most of the complaints I see are of the order of "I can't function without a home button", and yes there is a learning curve but it soon disappears.

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Sold!

Thanks for the review. I'm convinced. I'm keeping my 9300. The features of this lowly consumer grade BB clearly outshine anything BB is offering today.

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Sold!

Thanks for the review. I'm convinced. I'm keeping my 9300. The features of this lowly consumer grade BB clearly outshine anything BB offers today.

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Editing text - think of the circle as an overhead view of a joystick

"it's simply impossible to pull the caret into the position desired to carry out an edit if that position is at the edge of the screen. Here I was trying to edit the word 'Create', and place the cursor at the start of the sentence. I found this was impossible."

Here's the solution I found to edit text - think of the circle as an overhead view of an old-school Atari joystick.

If you tap on the left side of the circle, the cursor will move exactly one space to the left. If you tap on the top of the circle, the cursor will move up exactly one row, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Shame on you.

BlackBerry slagged, WP praised. Please explain why you're the only non-sponsored journalist bucking the trend

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shame on you.

Because it's the truth? Windows Phone and especially Nokia have a product that is vastly better....

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Facepalm

Sealed unit, no removable battery

How are you supposed to do the classic Blackberry move now, that of the Battery Pull?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sealed unit, no removable battery

Nearly two months, and no battery pull on my Q10.

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port apps

"BlackBerry is actively encouraging Android developers to port their apps"

before doing so, maybe read this first : http://openwhatsapp.org/

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Pre Nups or Wake?

An interesting and discomforting evaluation that supports (or confirms) this months disastrous financials; and possibly the resignation of several top execs over recent months.

While the BB10 OS and the limited stable of devices may have technical merit, it's hard to configure how a struggling "one pony" enterprise (diversity is the Playbook) can compete with the likes of Apple, let alone Samsung.

Even Apple, with revenue from Macs and iTunes, must fear the growing tentacles of Samsung; they sell us everything from fridge freezers, cameras, and the latest and greatest in flat screens. Nor is that old saw "they just make what we create" valid; both LG and Samsung developed the (albeit unaffordable) ultra thin, curved screen TV.

Afraid I see only divestment in my crystal ball.

To be fair to Mr Heins, when the sale (or wedding) does take place, it will be on better terms and $$$$ than when he inherited hubris from Lazaridis. And, credit due, when he inherited the mess I did not expect BlackBerry to be even operating in 2013.

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