The science fiction reality
BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 officially unleashed by RIM
BlackBerry has officially confirmed the existence of its two new BlackBerry 10 smartphones: the touchscreen-tastic BlackBerry Z10 and the QWERTY-rrific BlackBerry Q10. That's BlackBerry, not RIM. Research in Motion is no more, it's Blackberry branding all the way from now on.
Both handsets were widely leaked ahead of their official unveiling at a global launch event but we now have the full lowdown on the phones that its makers will hope turn the fortune of the ailing company.
The BlackBerry Z10 is the more consumer focused of the two BlackBerry 10 handsets, featuring a 4.2-inch touchscreen with a 1280 x 768 HD display and a pretty impressive pixels per inch count of 356 (the iPhone 5 has a 326 ppi count).
It's powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and there is 16GB of storage space included (and you can upgrade this with microSD). The camera setup is top-notch too - there's an 8-megapixel snapper around the back for taking pictures on the go, and there's a front facing 2-megapixel camera too for video calling.
The BlackBerry Q10 is the more traditional-looking BlackBerry device, with a full physical QWERTY keyboard to sit alongside its 3.1-inch touchscreen display. The spec-sheet for the Q10, although unconfirmed officially, is on a par with its Z10 brethren.
BlackBerry 10, the new operating system that sits atop the new smartphones, is the Canadian company's latest attempt at catching up with Google's Android and Apple's iOS. It drops the traditional home button (and indeed homescreen), instead favouring a gesture-based control setup.
It offers a number of new features including the BlackBerry Hub - a one stop shop for all your communications and social networks such as email, calendar, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, BlackBerry Flow, which is a new control setup that lets you flick between different apps with a quick swipe and BlackBerry Peek, which lets you take a quick look at open apps without completely overtaking the app that you're currently on.
BlackBerry 10 taps into the recently revamped BlackBerry World app store. At launch there are other 70,000 apps available including high-profile apps like Skype, Amazon Kindle, Twitter, Angry Birds and WhatsApp. There are also movies from all the major studios on offer and music is available to download from all the top record labels.
To put into perspective of just how bad things had become at RIM you only need look at share prices. In 2008 an all-time high of $147 was achieved - a far cry from the measly $6-mark it was stagnating around until October of 2012. Only anticipation of the big BlackBerry 10 launch event brought about a rise to a 52 week high share price of US$18.49.
You may think the market share story makes for easier reading, but it doesn't. According to Kantar market share research of the last 12 weeks of 2011 and 2012 ending 27 November, RIM went from having a 16.9 per cent share of the mobile pie in 2011 to just 6.5 per cent a year later. In the US, the figure dropped from 7 per cent to 1.4 per cent. Wherever you look, the decline is sizable.
So, can the BlackBerry Z10 and the Blackberry X10 steady the ship for the newly named company? Only time will tell - stay tuned to MSN Tech for our hands-on first impressions and our comprehensive reviews.
BlackBerry has confirmed that the Z10 will be available in the UK on 31 January - the first country in the world to get the smartphone in shops. The new BlackBerry Z10 will be available from Carphone Warehouse for free from £36 per month on all major networks. On EE, the BlackBerry Z10 will be able to tap into the 4G network.
The BlackBerry Q10 is expected to launch in April. No price details just yet.