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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Destined for failure

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

    1. the-it-slayer
      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.

      1. danR2

        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?

      2. DrXym 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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Destined for failure

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

          GOOD !

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Destined for failure

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Destined for failure

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

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

      1. the-it-slayer
        Happy

        Re: Destined for failure

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

        1. Select * From Handle

          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.

      2. Sacioz

        Re: Destined for failure

        The encrypted goodies maybe ??

    3. danR2

      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Destined for failure

      Blackberry will take #3 position.

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

      1. the-it-slayer

        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!

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    So bit of a rim shot

    As in might work great but risky?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge
    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...

    1. diodesign (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.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

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

      Another facepalm for me getting the witticism wrong.

      1. theblackhand

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

        Your honesty is refreshing....

  5. jmilhouse

    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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. jmilhouse

      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 ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. Ambivalous Crowboard
      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...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    1. keithpeter
      Windows

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

  8. ItsNotMe
    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.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      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?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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....

  9. matt_russell_

    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.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      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.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. JeffyPooh Silver 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.

  11. Thomas 4
    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.

  12. Ambivalous Crowboard
    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?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      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.

      1. Ambivalous Crowboard
        Thumb Up

        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).

  13. DrXym Silver badge

    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.

  14. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Trollface

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

    Cue the Attack Lawyers!!

  15. iSRS

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  16. Matthew 3

    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?

    1. Daniel B.

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery life?

        Active Sync can be encrypted....

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. GoingGoingGone
    Meh

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

    1. Ambivalous Crowboard
      Thumb Up

      Don't put all your kettles of fish in one basket

      Yeah, I know what you mean. I took one look at the blackberry and I was like "whoa, I can't believe they've done that. Still, plenty more eggs in the sea."

  18. ScissorHands
    Megaphone

    That nut was cracked

    "BB10 is an attempt to unify three things: a launcher, a switcher and a messaging hub, and there are only so many ways to crack that nut. ".

    Get an N9 to see how it's done.

  19. MrT

    "...a little disconcerting to see it always showing capital letters..."

    ... just like the standard iPhone/iPad keyboard then - not exactly a deal-breaker. Are any of the ported Android apps ones for alternative keyboards?

  20. Tom 35 Silver badge
    Meh

    fix this disaster?

    And Windows phone is the best thing since sliced toast?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A new (?) idea...

    HTC will or has brought out a smaller Bluetooth handset (THC Mini I think) to go along with their billy silly Phablet. They're doing it wrong. All backwards.

    There should be a boring 3G/4G/LTE RF gadget tucked into your backpack that contains the SIM card (or equivalent), and links to your mobile devices. A 3G stick as it were, but more. Then you could have multiple handsets (phones, phablets, tablets, etc.) devices with one-of-each OS for non-fanboi flexibility, each of them *not* financially hard-wired to your exceedingly high monthly bill.

    1. ScissorHands
      Devil

      Re: A new (?) idea...

      That's called a mobile hotspot. Ask your operator about them.

      "So, Mr. Smartypants wants a data plan, eh?"

    2. Ambivalous Crowboard

      Re: A new (?) idea...

      Yeah, kind of like a BlackBerry PlayBook.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: A new (?) idea...

      I've previously posted a similar idea- but since minimum size of your dongle device is dictated by its battery, you might as well slap a keypad and small screen on it and have it function as a dumbphone when you haven't bought a flashy big-screened device with you. My concept was effectively: [for the pocket: cheap, compact, easy-to-use durable dumbphone with long battery life that can act as 3G hotspot] plus [for the bag or car: larger tablet device when you want it].

      The 'real world' issue with your concept is that devices in the bottom of rucksacks often get mislaid, and if someone is rushing out of their house, they might not grab both devices- leaving them with either only a headless dongle or an unconnected 'phone'.

      It is always refreshing to reads fellow commentards own ideas for how gadgets should be, though, so keep it up! : D

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: A new (?) idea...

        My concept was effectively: [for the pocket: cheap, compact, easy-to-use durable dumbphone with long battery life that can act as 3G hotspot] plus [for the bag or car: larger tablet device when you want it].

        Both of my laptops can connect to my Symbian phone over Bluetooth when I need to use it as a hotspot. How is that different from what you're proposing?

        Of course, my Symbian phone isn't exactly "dumb", but it's cheap, compact, durable, and I find it pretty easy to use. Battery life is typically a few days, and I could carry an extra battery if that was an issue.

  22. b166er

    I think not having BIS is probably going to be its saving grace personally. No-one wants to pay the extra tax for getting what they can get on other platforms for free.

    1. Ambivalous Crowboard
      Thumb Down

      You're an idiot

      If you have never used BIS then you don't appreciate what it is and what it is good at, so you cannot (should not) make judgements like that.

      BIS is an end-to-end encryption solution and also a method of controlling and deploying a ton of phones to your organisation. Need to set up a BB7 in a BIS/BES environment? Plug it in, assign the user, unplug it. All the user's email, calendar, contacts are now assigned to the phone.

      Need to set up a BB10 or a BB7 in a non-BIS/BES environment? Manually enter in the Outlook profile, details, username, password etc. User changes his password on the network? No email until the phone is updated. Cue the call to the helpdesk saying the phone doesn't work any more.

  23. nick2802

    Get Facts Right!!!!!

    After reading your review about the New BlackBerry Z10. I find that you have not given the new operating system enough of a chance, instead you have jumped on the typical its not android or iOS bandwagon. Yes its a change from these, but its such a huge change. I have used an iPhone which is just an overrated and over-expensive iPod Touch and I have used the Android operating system, and the whole point of the new BB OS was to get rid of the need for buttons.

    In your article you wrote about not having a home button, who cares, it just addes extra bulk etc to the phone, you mentioned that you had problems with the email set-up which is one of bb strongpoints, well I had no problems at all setting up my emails, and then when I signed in with my BB account, all my contacts from bbm and emails etc was all ported over. In your review you spoke about the fact that there is no nightstand mode, well if you drag the top of the screen down when it is locked, guess what appears the night stand mode, and when you put the phone on charge the little nightstand logo appears at the top and you can just drag it straight down.

    You complained that the battery life is poor while mine is fantastic, and whats more if you have a problem with the battery then you can just replace it unlike iPhones. You also said in your review that there is no single point of reference, yes there is just slide the bottom of the screen up and you get to the last eight apps used. I have four apps open all the time that I use and find that the OS on the new BB is so easy to navigate.

    Even the title of your Article is condemning the phone, so if anyone is looking at reviews and they see this then they will automatically assume its rubbish without trying the phone out.

    All in all I think you should properly use the OS and see how easy it is to use, and you should not condemn it for things that you say it doesn't have when in fact it does have the functions, just you haven't found them.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Get Facts Right!!!!!

      "In your article you wrote about not having a home button, who cares"

      You need to separate opinion from fact.

      "guess what appears the night stand mode"

      Arguably it's not the same nightstand mode that stalwart BB users, such as Andrew, expect. As the article states, this is our first impression of the device. There'll be more to come.

      C.

    2. Thomas 4

      Re: Get Facts Right!!!!!

      "In your article you wrote about not having a home button, who cares, "

      Someone that wants a home button might.

  24. Lloyd
    Angel

    I love the icons

    They're very Symbian 60 (v1).

  25. unlockworldwide

    Not exactly the sweet smell of success.

    If other reviews are as lukewarm as this then BlackBerry do not have the funds to survive. Only ecstasy was adequate to see BlackBerry through the hard slog that lies ahead.

    After all, how long will any of these perceived advantages remain unique.

    Bring on the suitors who can consummate a marriage with RIM (sorry BBRY) and make BBX (sorry, BB10) a hot commodity. After all, who could resist acquiring an intimate interest in their new Global Creative Director, Alicia Keys?

  26. The FunkeyGibbon

    Obviously this is a first look at the handset

    But for me the killer will be this:

    BES10 cannot manage old devices. So I will have to maintain a separate BES and BES10 install. Since the BB10 uses ActiveSync, now is the ideal time for me to switch to an alternative. Yes BES10 can apparently manage multiple devices (BB, 'Droid, iPhone) but in the SME environment I've no need to spend that kind of money to get features that I'm largely not using. The whole point of BES has been lost because it now doesn't do anything different other than off expensive management software.

    1. Mark Dowling

      Re: Obviously this is a first look at the handset

      funkeygibbon - no BES10 no Balance. I'd think hard before making that call. I had the same thinking as you before going to BEF yesterday but the Security session (Balance operates from AES256 file system, block on data transfer from "Work" to "Personal", BBM considered "Personal" etc.) was thoughtprovoking.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Mark Dowling
    Meh

    Should be made clear this is a consumer review

    Because Balance is not mentioned. I was at Experience Forum yesterday and it was the BB10's biggest sell point for this enterprise admin. The ability to provision apps via BES10/AppWorld

    Probably won't make any serious moves until April and Q10's appearance though. We just hired some iPhoners and gave them BB9900s as we never got around to certifying 9860s (they could keep their iPhones and dispose of them as they wished) - reaction of one was "well I do miss my iPhone but have to admit emails are easier on BB9900" - well, we pay you folks to type emails, so... I see the touchscreen evangelists all the time berating those who prefer keyboards and don't understand it - why not just let people use what's most productive for the use case the phone was purchased for?

  29. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Possible reason to get rid of BIS?

    One positive of not being so reliant on BIS -- if RIM were to run into significant financial difficulties, it'd be pretty bad to have just shipped all these new BB10 devices that are completely BIS-dependent, only to end up shutting the BIS server down say a year later. BB10 as it stands, it sounds like just the BlackBerry Messenger would go if BIS shut down, the overall impact would be pretty minimal.

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