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

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.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
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?

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