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2/1/2013
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BlackBerry 10: Right For You?

Use these smartphone decision points to compare BlackBerry 10 to its Apple, Android and Windows Phone rivals.

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 won't reach store shelves in the U.S. until March or April. That leaves plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons of the smartphone platform before taking that crucial leap to adopt it. Here's a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of the new platform from the company formerly known as RIM, as compared to rival operating systems from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

First, some basics. BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and Q10 will be widely available from U.S. carriers. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless have all committed to selling the devices when they are ready. Pricing will be reasonable at about $149 and $199 for the Q10 and Z10, respectively. Both phones will support all four carriers' LTE 4G networks. In other words, you'll have your choice of carrier and won't have to worry about missing features.

Out of the box, BB10 covers the essentials: email, social networking, messaging, basic apps (think calculator, alarms, file management), and of course contacts and calendar management. It has a good browser, an app store and can playback your music and video content. Android, iOS, and Windows Phone all offer these same features. You're not going to lose any of these basics by switching from another platform to BB10.

So, what will you lose by switching?

If you're coming from Android, you're going to lose device choice. True, the Z10 and Q10 offer a small selection, but Android wins hands-down when it comes to the variety of form factors. Android devices are big and small, cheap and expensive, rugged and high class. You're going to lose access to apps.

[ BlackBerry has hired Alicia Keys as its global creative director. Isn't this celebrity-as-tech-guru trend getting a bit silly? ]

You're also going to lose native support for Google's services. Yes, BB10 supports Gmail and Google Contacts, and Google Calendar via IMAP, and BlackBerry developed its own version of Google Talk and YouTube for BB10 devices, but this is as far as it goes. There's no Google+, no Google Maps, no Google Drive, no Google Docs, no Google Voice, no Google Search / Google Now. Sure, you can access some of these through the BB10's browser, but you and I both know browser-based apps and native apps are two different things. If your business has "gone Google," switching to BB10 simply doesn't make sense.

If you're coming from iOS, you're losing access to 800,000 apps. BlackBerry World has about 70,000, many of which are ported Android apps. The selection just isn't there, yet. You're also losing access to many of the same Google services that are available to Android. You're losing access to an incredible array of accessories. Devices such as the iPhone have more accessories available than any other device on the market. Being so new, BB10 does not yet have such accessories, and there's no telling if, or when, it will catch up.

If you're coming from Windows Phone, you'll lose some device choice and access to apps, too. Windows Phone 8, which launched during the fourth quarter of 2012, is available from many U.S. carriers in a wide variety of devices, colors and price points. You'll lose tight integration with other Windows equipment and services, including XBox gaming. The app story isn't as severe as it is with Apple and Google, but there are plenty of marquee apps missing from BlackBerry World that are available in the Windows Phone Store (Amazon, CNN and eBay, to name a few).

Does BlackBerry 10 get you anything not offered by Android, iOS and Windows Phone? Very little.

BlackBerry 10 offers BBM, its wildly popular instant messaging service. BBM has been duplicated by Apple, Google and Microsoft, though.

BlackBerry offers BES 10 to enterprises, while Apple and Google do not offer such device management tools. BES 10 can also be used to control Android and iOS devices. If your business is already invested in BES, and has historically used BlackBerries, BB10 makes a lot more sense.

BlackBerry 10 supports NFC. Android and Windows Phone do, but iOS does not. BlackBerry 10 supports wireless charging. Android and Windows Phone do too, but iOS does not.

The Q10 offers a QWERTY keyboard. iOS and Windows Phone don't support QWERTY keyboards, but Android does. This is an important factor for many business users, for sure.

It is important to point out that the app-gap will be closed over time, though it could be months and months before BlackBerry catches up with the best apps.

BlackBerry has also said that it will ship up to six devices this year, varying in price range. That will help close the gap with Google and Microsoft in terms of device selection--eventually.

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Jonathan
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Jonathan,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 2:39:28 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
What about: multitasking, security, the hub, video editing, best voice rec, better maps (than iOS) BES integration, Balance etc, much sexier in white than the iPhone.

You missed a ton of features.

Also, not American, which may not be important to US allies, but there is a large part of the world - at least half - that hates everything US. Also with Homeland Protection and the Patriot Act, it gives permission for the US government to spy on any information stored on US servers. That means that the other phones could be offering a national security risk and non-compliance to personal privacy standards in their country. I know this because I have written privacy policies for websites that have US Servers (ie Rackspace) and by law you have to write out in your policy that we are in no way in control of the data security due to the Patriot Act. That's not acceptable if it is business-related or government-related data. Canada has no such laws and BlackBerry data is not tracked or viewed by anyone, but the user. Also US government has stomped on Chinese communication companies - it is likely that they plan on doing similar and they have a perfectly good excuse to do it. China may privately spy in theory, but US openly spies.

Also browser that kicks the crap out of Safari which I find to be buggy. People don't recognize how many apps that they download from the app stores are actually powered by the browser and use HTML5 languages. If you have a less powerful browser, than as a developer you have to degrade your app until it runs right on the others. Features that degraded are often 3D, vector and canvas element capabilities and those are the most noticeable to users in games. BlackBerry's is the best.

What about fragmentation of Android - Samsung is now becoming Android. Google has become Nexus. Do you think Google is going to support a free ecoystem for its competitor - when they are not even using it? Android is dead. It made headway for apps but those can be ported.

Also when Androids get attacked around the world - won't you be a smug BlackBerry user? Everyone is going to look like an idiot. Communications will be shut down for a huge number of people. They will deflect in the hundreds of millions.

Right now Samsung is drooling over a BlackBerry acquisition. Samsung can't make software worth crap but QNX and BlackBerry clearly evidenced they can. BlackBerry can do great hardware, but can it be profitable like Samsung? It's a match made in heaven. Being added as a vendor to tens of thousands of large government agencies around the world would be huge for Samsung. I bet we see a $30 bid on BB - questionable whether BB accepts it or gains momentum in sales based on the news and surpasses that share price. Then say good bye to Android forever and welcome Nexus. All the other competitors switch to WP after juicing their last revision of Android for two more years, but by then it is too late.

As for iOS its boring and who wants to own an Apple product? I mean can you say follower? There is nothing impressive that would make anyone switch to it unless they want to be labelled Apple User 1,140,232,239 and wanted to spend a fortune achieving mediocrity.
nerdy4u
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nerdy4u,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 4:46:37 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
What a great comment! All excellent points (I'd completely overlooked the Patriot Act issue). Not enough space here to properly articulate but prejudice, not facts, on the part of many analysts seems to be the basis for determining the desirability of the BB-10. Sort of the same thing we're currently seeing in the political world here in the US.
morison20
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morison20,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 2:40:11 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
Dear Eric Zeman, please cut the crap!

"If you're coming from Android, you're going to lose device choice."
Does your device change size and shape everyday? Is there any operator who offers you changing your android devices whenever you want? Or, do you need to pay to get a new one?

"If you're coming from iOS, you're losing access to 800,000 apps."
How many apps among 800,000 have you tried so far? How many of those apps are redundant in terms of functionality? How many of those apps have you been sticking with finally? Counting number of apps instead of counting various functionalities is the dumbest smartphone journalism ever!
nerdy4u
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nerdy4u,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 4:56:25 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
One would think that all analysts would see morison20's obvious point about the number of apps, yet they all seem to gush over that. I took some time last night looking at iOS apps...basic math oriented. omg...I lost count after reaching 4 digits.
notmyfirstgame
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notmyfirstgame,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 3:48:03 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
The Universal Inbox is worth the switch by itself. I had one for my old Motorola phone, but neither iOS nor Jelly Bean has one, even among the apps and widgets. (I suspect Google does not want to limit page views on Gmail). Most of us will use the e-mail Inbox 50x more often than the latest Temple Run or work-out app. Also, there are very few options out there for a QWERTY keyboard. Motorola's Droid 4 does not have a removable battery, and the Samsung QWERTY option is just a re-release of the Stratosphere: 3-year-old form factor!
sakhy25
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sakhy25,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 4:09:53 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
That's enough. Really. There is something that stink this week, between all these so-called "tech" people. I have never seen something like that, just after the launch of new product This review is completely out of any common sense. First, you clearly know NOTHING about Blackberry 10, you are just copying what you read somewhere else. Really, this review is a JOKE. How annoying are you? I am telling this because, as a Lumia and Windows phone user, I know far more technical features about the Z10 than you. Your introduction is just an excuse to destroy a product later on your review. I think people are starting to realize that there is something wrong with you guys, what is the fear about this phone ? Can you just be happy for MORE competition, MORE operating systems out there, MORE people that will be happy to buy something different than Apple or Android. I am one of those of course, and I really have to say that this phone -or better to say, this new operating system BlackBerry 10, looks GREAT. I am a windows phone user, and so what ? I clearly understand that this phone is a real true multitasking mobile phone. And I listened, like many others, at the words mobile computing during the launch. And I agree with this, it is a real computer. The so called active frames of my phone is a typical fake in terms of multitasking. But that's ok, I am happy with it. But I am more than happy to literally JUMP on these new phones, because if you look ahead there is a unique potential here that you cannot find ANYWHERE in the market today. All the best!
hesk
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hesk,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 4:20:32 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
This is the worst article I've read on BB10 so far. You haven't actually attempted to see where BB has innovated or done something different to the others. Please come back with a more journalistic or investigative piece and I will consider coming back to informationweek
vmaxman
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vmaxman,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 4:24:43 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
I had to register just to reply to jtonge.
What rock do you hind under? Think it's time you bought a real smartphone. Crackberry was the cutting edge at one time. I have to carry the one for work which is why my personal phone is not. Why do you think the company has gone from the largest smartphone percentage of market share to the smallest? Think it was the cutting edge technology? lol
Lets talk about the switching capability? Is it going to come with the availablity to run two phone numbers?I won't use my business number to be used for personal use, that's why my company doesn't want use using the work phone for anything but work. Also the business has to allow this function, if your company is that worried about secrurity like mine, they will never allow the the switch funcationality to work.
I hope it works for them it's there last ditch effort to save the company from going under, but where were the leaders of the company the past few years when the rest of the world rolled over them? Too little too late, people love there andriods , and Iphones. If I worked there I'd have my resume on Monster.
Guess it's the only smartphone you ever had, cause your buying into the hype. For Blackberry's sake I hope there's more people like you. lol
Balckberry software? Where? Do you work for a company that's also losing there ass, but drank the kool aide?
Samsungshaking in their boots. LOL LOL They will probably buy them out when the go belly up in 6-12 months.
sakhy25
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sakhy25,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 5:44:34 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
It is just a phone come on...COME ON...this win, this lose the ass...why people are so angry for a phone?! so the end of the story is that if samsung buys blackberry you fell you are winning right ? and you are happy because your phone is the best and you showed to the world that YOUR choice was right.... btw how old are you man ? 5 ??! All the best!
nerdy4u
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nerdy4u,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 4:41:10 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
How about one of the biggest killer advantages BB-10 has over the other 'best' smart phones. It has a replaceable battery, and in addition to that.... it has an external charging option G a case to hold the spare battery so that it can be charged alongside with the BlackBerry, and even plugged into the phone so you can keep working without having to reboot to replace the battery. This could give you nearly unlimited battery life. And the speed test just published where the BB-10 outraced the iPhone. Are some of these reviewers looking to protect iPhone or Android? Come on! Just the facts, please!
hrrmph
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hrrmph,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 6:28:29 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
Its the only high-end 4" to 4.5" class device that I know of with good local storage expandibility: A micro-SDXC slot that is good for 64GB and possibly more in the future.
FritzNelson
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FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 6:49:38 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
I am optimistic about how these new BlackBerry phones will actually be. I've seen them in action, and there's some exciting stuff there. But I really have to wait and use them, first. Everything else is just conjecture and speculation -- but isn't that a fun sport, too? While I am optimistic about the phone, and while I'd like to see BlackBerry compete with Android, iOS and Windows Phone, the one thing those others are developing is an ecosystem of data gathering -- about location, about media & entertainment, about my social footprint, about my purchasing, about my browsing. And while that is pretty scary on the one hand, it's also pretty powerful. I see BlackBerry offering a great new phone and OS, but not a cloud-based personal digital assistant ecosystem.
technews2103
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technews2103,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 7:12:38 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
Another biased article but here are a few things you should have mentioned when you write a title like yours:

BlackBerry Hub, Peek,
Flow, true multitasking,
best HTML5/Ringo tested browser,
best security,
BBM Voice/Video/Screensharing/Groups,
70K Apps at launch day(most for any platform ever),
Time shift camera, Photo and Video editing(StoryMaker) built in (courtsey Jaycut),
most secure, most efficient with data compression,
free Docs to Go premium edition,
BlackBerry Balance for Business users, NFC...
most popular apps Facebook, Foursquare, Linkedin , Twitter preloaded and skype, whatsapp, instagram coming soon

gaming score support via scoreloop integration,
seamless Box/ Dropbox integration,
built in HDMI port, DLNA
the best virtual keyboard by a long distance

And truly refreshing user experience
nerdy4u
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nerdy4u,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 8:05:42 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
You forgot the changeable battery. A BIG plus.
JasonC6180
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JasonC6180,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2013 | 9:21:07 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
I find it curious that 'essentials' include social networking. BB remains, regardless of market share, the best business tool for 'business'. I can look up a company contact, type an email, and access my calendar faster than any of my other iOS co-workers, despite not having access to 800,000 apps - if i want to play games, I have a computer; I use my smartphone to do work.
RGC
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RGC,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/3/2013 | 1:50:01 AM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
.
RGC
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RGC,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/3/2013 | 2:11:07 AM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
So after reading most of the comments and the article here are a few things to think about. BlackBerry is still in trouble and that is a fact. BB10 aside for a moment as they are under pressure to reduce fees and that is where they make a lot of cash. BB10 does look good and I hope it does well, but I think it is a little too late. Remember, they are porting DROID apps too... The apps may be free on your DROID, but prices for the exact app change when they hit the blackberry app world. Seen it to first hand... As of right now there are very limited accessories for BB10, unlike iOS. Who really cares about security these days... I think it has been very relaxed due to byod taking over. On top of all of this why would you buy a BB when you may have been burned by them in the past? Not knowing where the company will be or if it will be split up does not make me want to go out and buy one. Look what happened to Nortel... Could happen to BB one day. Changing their name does not help either, it is the same old business with less people working there. Some very good people left there due to the uncertain times and some good ones were let go...
I hope BB10 does good, but I have moved on like many others. Been there with BB and just got tired of the battery pulls, etc. Hope they will be around in the future, but their market share is very small in he US right now... I also don't see people wanting to line up to buy their devices in the US like iOS phones. Oh yeah, they outsourced a good portion of IT to NCR and the CIO left too. I think they are imploding in many areas and more cuts will be coming.

Smartphone business is tough to be in. Always have to be one step ahead.
friendly1013
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friendly1013,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/3/2013 | 1:17:04 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
I wont even begin to list all the reasons this article is ridiculous. I will offer this however. After reading this piece of uninformed, unbalanced garbage, I feel the headline should read "My horribly biased and uninformative writing: Right For You?"
ImNOthere
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ImNOthere,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/3/2013 | 3:16:07 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
..
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/4/2013 | 6:13:41 PM
re: BlackBerry 10: Right For You?
Douken,

You can-- but we screen all comments that include a URL to help curb SPAM.

Best,
Tom LaSusa
InformationWeek Community Manager
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