BlackBerry Z10 (GSM)
BlackBerry today announced that the BlackBerry 10.1 operating system will be distributed to the Z10 smartphone beginning today. International variants will receive the update first over the coming weeks, followed by U.S. variants by the end of May. BlackBerry 10 makes it easier to manage Hub conversations, personalize notifications (vibrate, sounds, and indication light), and click-to-call BBM contacts. It also improves image capture with the camera and provides other bug fixes. Last, the 10.1 update will also enable Skype on BlackBerry Z10 handsets. (Skype is available for all BlackBerry devices beginning today, too.) The update will be available on a carrier-by-carrier basis.
BlackBerry today announced that owners of BlackBerry 10 devices in the U.S. now have access to more television programming in the BlackBerry World storefront. BlackBerry recently signed PBS, Univision, and Viacom to its list of content providers, each of which oversees a wide variety of channels and programming. According to BlackBerry, content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, PBS, and others can be purchased directly from BlackBerry 10 handsets. The BlackBerry Z10 is already available from AT&T, and will become available from T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless this week. Pricing for the content varies.
T-Mobile USA is prepared to launch its long-awaited LTE 4G network before the end of March. The company is pushing an over-the-air update to its variant of the Galaxy Note II today that enables the dormant LTE radio. According to T-Mobile, its version of the BlackBerry Z10 will also include LTE support from the get-go. Other LTE-capable devices will follow later in the year. Las Vegas and Kansas City will be the first two T-Mobile USA LTE markets, where the networks are primed and ready to go. T-Mobile told Laptop Magazine that its LTE network will blanket approximately 100 million POPs by mid-year, and 200 million by the end of the year. T-Mobile is late to the LTE game, as its major and minor competitors, AT&T, Cricket Wireless, MetroPCS, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless, have already deployed their LTE networks.
BlackBerry today made available updated versions of the Twitter and LinkedIn applications for BB10. The new version of Twitter (pictured) includes a number of improvements, such as the ability to take or add photos from within the tweet composition screen, as well as insert location data. The new app also makes it possible to see tweets in conversation view, edit the profile picture or header, view Direct Messages from the Me tab, delete tweets from any screen, and block spam users/messages. The new version of LinkedIn for BB10 adds the ability to message contacts directly from their profile page, search for and save job recommendations, filter the LinkedIn Today feed, and view full-screen images of LinkedIn profiles. BlackBerry says that it may take up to 24 hours for both apps to appear in BlackBerry World. They are both free to download and use.
BlackBerry will not sell its new Z10 and Q10 handsets in the Japanese market, reports Reuters. The company's share of the Japanese market has shrunk from 5% to 0.3%, and the smartphone maker can no longer justify the cost of modifying its software to accommodate the Japanese language. BlackBerry will also stop selling its older handsets, though it will continue to provide support for its existing user base. "We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched," said spokeswoman Amy McDowell in a statement provided to media. "Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time. However, we will continue to support BlackBerry customers in Japan." The Z10 and Q10 are the first smartphones to run BlackBerry 10, the company's new operating system. They won't go on sale in the U.S. until later this year.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins indicated recently that the Q10 BlackBerry 10 smartphone may not reach U.S. store shelves until May or June. Speaking to the Associated Press, Heins said the device will arrive eight to 10 weeks after the Z10. The Z10 isn't going on sale until mid-March or later, which puts the Q10's release closer to the end of the second quarter. BlackBerry had first suggested that the Q10 might reach U.S. stores as soon as April, but that appears unlikely. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless have all indicated plans to sell the Q10, but T-Mobile USA has not. The Q10 differs from the Z10 in that it has a physical QWERTY keyboard.
BlackBerry today announced that it plans to update the Android runtime within its BlackBerry 10 platform to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Currently, the runtime is at Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. BlackBerry 10 can run repackaged Android applications, and in fact, about 40% of the 70,000 apps available in BlackBerry App world are ported Android apps. The runtime within BB10 is what makes them work. By updating the runtime to a more modern version of Android, it will help developers looking to port their Android 4+ apps to the BB10 platform. BlackBerry also announced a preview version of the BlackBerry 10.1 native SDK for the Q10. The current SDK supports the Z10. This additional SDK will allow developers to create apps customized for the Q10 hardware, which includes a physical keyboard. It can be downloaded from BlackBerry's developer portal. The Z10 and Q10 are expected to reach the U.S. in March and April, respectively.
All four of the major U.S. wireless network operators have committed to support the new BlackBerry 10 platform and Z10 and Q10 smartphones from BlackBerry. Here is a breakdown of what the carriers have announced so far.
- AT&T: AT&T will offer both the Z10 and the Q10. RIM said the Z10 is expected to go on sale in mid-March, with the Q10 following in April the earliest. AT&T did not announce pricing for either handset, nor exact sales dates.
- Sprint: Sprint has only committed to selling the Q10 "later this year," though RIM says it will be April. Sprint has not announced pricing details, though it will offer unlimited LTE 4G service to the Q10 when it goes on sale.
- T-Mobile USA: T-Mobile announced plans to sell the Z10, but not the Q10. It has not announced pricing details, but its variant of the Z10 will support its LTE 4G network.
- Verizon Wireless: Verizon plans to offer both the Z10 and Q10. Verizon did not announce exact availability, but it did price the Z10 at $199 with a new contract. It will also be the only carrier selling the white Z10.
Here is a first look at the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones. Both phones run the new BlackBerry 10 platform and will reach U.S. carriers in mid-March.
BlackBerry today announced that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless will all be offering details regarding preorders for the Z10 and the Q10 in the next 24 hours. RIM did not say when they will go on sale in the U.S., but the Z10 is launching in the U.K. tomorrow, and in Canada on Friday. RIM said pricing and availability will be announced individually by carriers around the world closer to their actual launch. None of the U.S. carriers have announced a launch date, but the Wall Street Journal reports that neither the Z10 nor the Q10 will reach store shelves before the middle of March. According to RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, the delay is due to the testing processor needed by American wireless network operators. "They do the best they can," said Heins. "Would I have loved to see it earlier? Absolutely. Make no mistake everyone's trying to pull the date in."
Research In Motion today announced BlackBerry Link, a revised version of its BlackBerry Desktop Manager application that works with BlackBerry 10 devices. BlackBerry Link, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, allows BlackBerry 10 device owners to sync their devices to their computers, as well as back them up and perform system updates. BlackBerry Link is also used to sync content, such as movies and music, between smartphones, PCs, and PlayBook tablets. BlackBerry Link is free to download. It will be available in the coming weeks.
Research In Motion today formally introduced all the core features of BlackBery 10, its brand new operating system. BlackBerry 10 is a wholly new platform built on a QNX core with a new gesture-based user interface. BlackBerry 10 is centered on two key ideas: BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Flow. BlackBerry Hub is the central repository for all incoming messages, including email, SMS, IM, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. It can be called up at any time from within any other application. BlackBerry Flow represents the gestures themselves and how the operating system responds to finger movements across the screen. The new platform supports up to eight applications running at any one time, which are accessed in a new feature called Active Frames. The Active Frame panel makes it easy to see what apps are running and switch between them quickly. RIM has reengineered the touchscreen keyboard to be faster and more intuitive. For example, the touchscreen keyboard in BlackBerry 10 learns how users type. It tracks where they hit particular keys as well as what words they use to improve typing accuracy. The browser has been fully rebuilt to support HTML5, in addition to Adobe Flash. It has features such as pinch-to-zoom. The camera application is faster and more feature-rich. It includes touch-to-focus/shoot, different shoot modes (normal, burst), scenes (action, night), and TimeShift for capturing the best shot of peoples' faces. The gallery application has been given far more advanced editing capabilities, including crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, filters/effects, and easy sharing to social networks. BlackBerry 10 adds an app called Story Maker, which can be used to piece together video segments with titles and credits to create mini movies. Last, BlackBerry 10 brings peace of mind to business customers with BlackBerry Safeguard and BlackBerry Balance. Safeguard can be used to encrypt user data, manage online privacy, and find or lock a lost/stolen device. BlackBerry Balance is RIM's work-personal life management tool that keeps business and personal data segregated from one another on the device. BlackBerry 10 is first available on the Z10 and Q10, which will ship in the coming weeks.
Research In Motion today announced the Z10 and Q10, the first two smartphones to run its brand new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The Z10 and Q10 share many features, though physically they are somewhat different; the Z10 is a candybar touch phone, and the Q10 is a monoblock QWERTY device with a smaller touch screen. Both devices are powered by 1.5GHz dual-core processors with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage. They also support removable microSD cards up to 32GB. The Z10 and Q10 each carries an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash that captures 1080p HD video, with a secondary camera rating 2 megapixels with 720p HD video capture. Wireless support includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, NFC, and GPS, in addition to 4G mobile hotspot. They also include microUSB and microHDMI ports, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Z10: The Z10 features a 4.2-inch LCD touch screen with 1280 x 768 pixels, making a pixel density of 356 pixels per inch. It is 9mm thick.
- Q10: The Q10 is a more traditional-looking BlackBerry smartphone in that it has a smaller, 720 x 720 pixel screen and a physical QWERTY keyboard.