It’s no secret in the mobile industry that BlackBerry, formerly RIM, has needed a drastic change of direction to halt what has been a rather ungraceful decline in recent years. The release of BlackBerry OS 10, built on the foundations of QNX purchased by RIM in 2010 and powering the ill-fated, although generally critically well received PlayBook, has been plagued by delays and now arrives a full 18 months since the release of the last BlackBerry device – an eon in the fast lane lifecycles of smartphones.
No-one can be sure when the final decision was made to drop the company name RIM and drive forward under the single banner of BlackBerry, but if the Z10 box that states in small print “2013 Research in Motion Limited (“RIM”)” is anything to go by, it seems like it can’t have been too long ago. It makes perfect sense from a consumer point of view to drop the RIM brand; the average consumer likely didn’t know the difference between the two anyway and it is this type of consistency that helps to show a clear direction for a company which looks to be in desperate need of one.
Enter the Z10, a handset with a new operating system for the modern landscape of devices dominated by Apple and a whole dessert cart of Android flavours. Could a BlackBerry be the final fruit to sweeten the market? Or will it leave a bitter taste in the mouth and be the last time it gets ordered?
As the Z10 and BB10 are completely new entrants in the current environment, I’m going to split this review in two. The first section will take a look at my first impressions of the Z10 and the standard smartphone hardware features a review generally covers. The second part is going to take a more in depth look at BB10 itself and how navigating and operating the new interface impacts on the experience of using the Z10. So read on for my full review.