There was a time when it would have been impossible to walk down a street in Mumbai and not see at least one person using a BlackBerry (BB). The company that made the messenger (BBM) a rage in India, however, soon lost the smartphone war to challengers Apple, Samsung and HTC. But with their latest launch, the BB Z10, BlackBerry boys are hoping to reclaim lost ground in the country.
Available in stores since yesterday for Rs. 43,490, the device is offering clients a host of new features. Whether they make an impression or not remains to be seen, but here are some that did catch our attention.
Balance: Keep your professional and personal life separate with this new feature that allows users to divide their phone into work and play. This ensures that while your office admin has access to your work-related emails and apps, your personal files remain encrypted and out of their hands.
Upgraded BBM: The ability to transfer content with minimal fuss has always been BB’s USP. And it helps that the data sent across is encrypted. Now apart from chatting and sending or receiving data, the Z10 also includes voice calling and video chat.
Keyboard: One of the best features of the iOS is its ability to recognise an oft-used word and then offer it as an option the next time you type it. BB’s latest launch too offers a similar option that makes typing faster and more accurate. Swipe is the new way to type, and may take a little getting used to for those used to the touch-screen keyboard on the iPhone or Android.
Camera: Lumia fans go gaga over the 920’s camera and the special effects that go into making an image better. The Z10 comes with an 8 MP rear camera with LED flash, a 2 MP HD camera in front and has features like Time Shift, which lets you capture a group shot where everyone is smiling with their eyes wide open and Story Maker, which lets you bring a collection of photos and videos together to produce an HD movie.
Browser: BB has also upgraded its browser, making surfing a faster experience and on par with the Internet Explorer 10 offered by Windows and Safari on the iPhone.
It could go either way
International reactions to the Z10 are a mixed bag of the good, bad and ugly.
Wall Street Journal: ‘It has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps…’
CNET (UK): ‘Combined with software quirks, a high price and a terrible maps app, the Z10 is a reasonable first effort for BlackBerry, but not more deserving of your cash than its established iOS and Android rivals…’
New York Times: ‘So then, is the delightful BlackBerry Z10 enough to save its company? Honestly? It could go either way. But this much is clear: BlackBerry is no longer an incompetent mess — and its doom is no longer assured…’
The Guardian: ‘Given the lack of compelling apps, it’s not likely to tempt the not-yet-smartphone users, nor to tempt back already defected users…’
Gizmodo: ‘The experiences and services that BB10 serves up are comparable, and in a few ways surpass competitors, but not in any way that would make someone say, hey, I'm going to give up my Nexus or iPhone for this thing…’
43,490 jokes on the BB
The cost of the BlackBerry Z10 started a Twitter trend, with tweeple joking about its high price. Here are some that made us laugh:
@JMeDon22: BlackBerry for Rs. 43,490!!! Ram Gopal Verma can make 3 movies in that budget.
@rockykaru: Z10 for Rs. 43,490. Seems BlackBerry has seriously taken Justice Katju's comment that 99% Indians are fools"
@desh: Blackberry has started behaving like Chennai Autowaalas. Rs. 43,490 it seems.
@MrTippler: Rs. 43,490 for a Blackberry is like releasing a Tusshar Kapoor movie in an IMAX theatre.....and then setting the ticket prices at R1500.
@BwoyBlunder : There are now Officially 43,490 jokes on the Rs. 43,490 BB phone.
@ComedyCentralIn: BB10 phone launched in India at Rs. 43,490. It has this remarkable feature where friends laugh at you if you still have a Blackberry.