BlackBerry Z10 US release week: Is there enough in BB10 to attract new buyers?

BlackBerry Z10 US release week: Is there enough in BB10 to attract new buyers?

Summary: This is the debut week of the Z10 on AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, and at the same $200 price point as the iPhone, Android smartphones, and Windows Phone devices, I wonder if consumers will choose BlackBerry.

SHARE:
BlackBerry Z10 US release week: Is there enough in BB10 to attract new buyers?

As T-Mobile joins Verizon and AT&T this week with the release of the BlackBerrry Z10, I continue to wonder why someone would buy a Z10 over an iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android smartphone. I've been enjoying the Z10 for over a month, but I like using my Nokia N9, and we all know how well MeeGo is doing right now.

I have a great job where I get to try out lots of phones and thus part of the appeal of the Z10 is the new, fresh BlackBerry 10 operating system. I've been able to sideload many Android apps I use daily, but we can't expect consumers to do this, so there is still lots of work to do in BlackBerry World. Then again, the OS packs a lot and you don't always need a ton of apps.

As I previously mentioned, the BlackBerry Z10 is an outstanding communications device and even though I have some amazing phones to test I keep going back to using the Z10.

The iPhone 5 is a solid smartphone, and for most people that come to me for advice, that is the phone they end up buying and they are often overwhelmingly pleased. The Galaxy S III, soon the S4, the Note II, the HTC One, and various Motorola Droid products are all solid Android smartphones. Nokia's Windows Phones are excellent smartphones with lots of value-added services. With all of these products that have a huge selection of apps I am a bit worried that consumers might pass on the Z10.

The BlackBerry Z10 hardware is nothing especially unique, but it is solid and functional. I like the smaller 4.2 inch display, compared to the monster screen devices, and the form factor as it is very pocketable. The camera is OK, but those found on the iPhone 5, Lumia 920, and Galaxy Note II/SIII/S4 are all better.

I imagine people who like BlackBerry devices will like the Z10 and upcoming Q10, but some previous BlackBerry owners have already moved on to something else, and it is going to be tough to bring them back. The BB10 experience is unique, but it also requires people to learn new gestures, and we didn't see lots of excitement for the PlayBook that has the same gesture-based UI. Palm's webOS had a similar gesture-based OS and didn't fare well in the marketplace. I believe BlackBerry has more interest than Palm in making sure the Z10 succeeds.

The Z10 will be out on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile this week, so we'll have to see what consumers think of it in a few weeks. At a price the same as leading smartphones, do you find enough compelling about the BlackBerry Z10 to justify a purchase?

Related stories

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones, AT&T, Verizon

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

34 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • BB

    There is enough in this smart phone. But, is there enough in the BB ecosystem and apps catalog? It all comes down to that. The problem is that most high end phones on the market are pretty much equal to each other. However, what buyers are expecting is a gazillion available apps. This is what they were educated by Apple to expect from a mobile device. The BB10 hardware is great, it feels great in your hand and the OS is very well thought out.

    It all comes down to what buyers are expecting. A phone or an app catalog?
    NothingButThesun
  • Business or consumer?

    I see absolutely nothing compelling for a consumer for purely personal use. For businesses, I'm going to assume it makes sense for some use cases, in particular if you have a BB infrastructure.
    gtvr
    • I'm the opposite

      I see a lot that's compelling. Best soft keyboard of any smartphone, robust OS, full gesture interface, the BB hub... and on and on.

      As for the number of apps, how many fart apps does one need really? My point is that the BB ecosystem seems to have the apps I need covered nicely. I only really need a handful and I think most people are like me. Agreed there are some that need to have the feeling that there are a lot of apps even if they never use them. Or if there is a specific specialty app that only one platform supports then that's a valid view.
      alawishis
  • Uhh...

    The title of the article was "Is there enough in BB10 to attract new buyers?" The author correctly comments he has a great job trying out phones.

    Therefore I thought we'd get a piece with some analysis. Instead it just seems to be a placeholder to tell us the absolutely obvious and ask us what we think.

    WEAK!
    jayinatlanta
    • It is pretty terrible.

      The article itself is pretty pointless, and sounds like the author is intentionally trying to start an "argument" in the comments.
      grahamfluet
      • sus-pi-cious-ly

        that's the word that got my previous blocked by the profanity filter
        grahamfluet
  • I don't.

    LG E970 as my primary, iPhone5 as my work / backup. Winphones are not anything I like (predominately the form / hardware is sad). So unless work forces me back to a BB, I doubt I'll give it more than a curiosity look at Best Buy.

    Proud CA mmber since 2008.
    rhonin
    • Strangely

      I kept getting the profanity alert till I removed the first "e" from the last sentence.

      Go figure.
      rhonin
  • BB Bridge

    This is the reason my wife wants one (has a Nexus right now). She wants to be able to use her phones data network on her Playbook and not have to pay a tethering or hot spot fee. She sees me do it with my 9850, Playbook combination.
    Fuhrer D
    • Oh and about apps.

      Neither of us use many. I use gChat, Tune In Radio, a weather app, and a navigation app. She probably uses the same, minus Tuned In Radio, add in some word game, and maybe facebook (rarely though).
      Fuhrer D
    • BB Bridge

      Alone puts even legacy BB OS7 leaps & bounds above any other smartphoone, tablet is always connected to the phone for Browser,e-mail,text,BB Messenger & more
      gordongr
  • That's not the problem

    The issue isn't whether BB10 has enough in it to be perceived as fresh.
    The answer to that is pretty inarguably "yes".

    The problem is that BB spent the past three years (at least) doing nothing but stagnating, watching their marketshare plummet to single-digits.
    Users aren't the only ones that flee when that happens - developers flee just as fast.

    So NOW they have a great phone - strapped to an ecosystem that is a barren wasteland.
    Same problem as Windows Phone.

    And to your point - most people you know who buy "smartphones" (and I put that in quotes, because studies have recently shown that the phone itself, and the OS really don't matter much - people get used to them, take their advantages for granted, and work around their disadvantages - they have no choice, at that point) absolutely ARE "overwhelmingly pleased" with their device of choice.

    What frustrates people most often (besides battery life issues - the "magic battery" hasn't yet been invented, but I'm frustrated in the move away from removable batteries - a pet peeve of mine!) is the ecosystem.
    The availability of the apps they want to download and use.

    It's the great equalizer, and it's where Blackberry has failed the most. They've let the castle crumble. Their ecosystem is a mess.

    So does it even matter that they made a great phone?
    Why would I come from a phone that has a great ecosystem to one that has a terrible, barren one?
    Who would?
    geolemon
    • Why?

      If you are an adult, you would go to the system with the best OS and security with the knowledge that the apps will be coming online every week.
      2 years is a lot to deal with a poorly designed phone just for some apps. Especially when you can get the same functionality from the website with BB10's browser.
      Susan Antony
  • Z10

    I have one now. Love it.
    kooool1
    • Z10 - A well built business tool.

      I have been using the Z10 in the US since last week and it really is a solid device. The gestures concept of this OS are natural and coherent. Speed is fast, responsive, and refreshing. Phone call sound quality and conference speaker are excellent. My corporate email via ActiveSync is fine, although I plan to try it in a BES 10 connected mode. Due to my type of work, I have enjoyed the privilege and opportunity of using many BB's, iPhones, and Androids as daily drivers. My current opinion is that Z10 is not for everyone. If you value mobile device business communication, then you will be ABLE to recognize and appreciate the design and efficiency of this blackberry system - which caters to you. However, if you don't use mobile devices as essential business communication tools, then you may not be ABLE to recognize the BB10 systems value. In such a case, the ubiquitous simplicity and established entertainment value point of iOS or the variety and customizable nature of Android may suit you best.
      JGrey28
      • Forgot to mention...

        I feel compelled to come back and mention the virtual keyboard. It is hands down the best I have ever used! Just excellent! Key placement and auto-correct are perfectly designed for fast typing (even without the suggestions). In my observation, the depth of design thought which has gone into this device becomes more and more evident as you continue to use it. It's stunning that a first generation device like this, is so complete, that I can readily match it to my rigorous daily work style so quickly. But don't take my or anyone else's word. Try it yourself. Consider your typical work routine, then test use this device against that routine and see if it's a fit. For me, it most certainly is. Well done BlackBerry and welcome back!!!
        JGrey28
  • Question is

    Question is. Do you want to buy a new phone with a clearly inferior OS/UI and keep it for 2 years or buy the new Z10 with the best OS out there (Ask OS experts and security experts) and have the apps continually show up? If apps are your main concern and not security, efficiency and productivity, get an iPod touch phone.
    Otherwise, get the best and enjoy the roll out of all of the apps.
    Susan Antony
  • this is not fair

    the title of this piece would have been ' Buy apple, it is the best; why are u bent on ruining blackberry ? What offence has it commited to deserve this ? Fact is Bb OS is the best in the world now. Apple ios is obviously stale and weak. Accept the truth and move on with ur life. I will ask blackberry to add ur name to their payroll like Apple di.
    perryy
  • So

    What you are saying is you are a apple fanboy? because the iPhone is one of the worst phones on the market right now and you recommend it to people.... I'm sure the blackberry is alot better than the iPhone as everything these days is much better than the iphone. There is another article on here showing how the iPhone is the most vulnerable of phones.
    Jimster480
  • BB 10 verses ?

    It seems little Matthew is not a Blackberry fan? Oh well...his loss!
    Blackberry did make a mistake with the new Z10. BB should have released to the United States first. Why? Because now they are angry that they were not first on the release list. I have come to this conclusion after reading Blog after Blog regarding the new BB phone. Had the new phone been released first in the U.S. these people would have a better view of the Z 10. If you use a Z10 then you know what I mean. It is as good, if not better, than any phone I have used. It is comfortable to carry and handle. It is stylish and very user friendly. Its overall operation is "Top Notch" and, for those of you who are worried, the screen is durable enough to survive a reasonable fall to a hard surface. However, like most phones, it will not take too kindly to an all out assault such as throwing it straight at a brick wall as hard as one could.
    Look, I sure do not give a hoot if you buy a Blackberry or not. But hear this: From my experience with Blackberry devices, if you decide to switch from the likely garbage you use now, you can not go wrong with the Z10!
    TACWALKER