In a smartphone you want smart fast access to all the things you most do. Actually texting and phoning come low down on that list with most users. You want it to be easy to see your calendar, select text from something to tweet it, copy a URL from somewhere, deal with a file in your DropBox, send an email, check a friend’s facebook page, share pictures, … all the kind of thing we’re used to doing now and expect as of right. The BB10’s USP is that all this happens in one simple and smooth process. There’s none of the old in-out in-out, as Alex used to say in A Clockwork Orange. There’s a move you quickly learn, thumb straight up and to the right and there is your “hub” all your incoming mail, texts, tweets, FB notifications, BlackBerry Messenger odds and ends and so forth. You just hold your thumb down and reel through. There’s a deep BlackBerry quality in the DNA that reminds you of your first ever RIM device, whichever that might have been. I haven’t yet worked out how to take screenshots (oh, just learned that you hold the up and down volume rockers for a second or two: simples), but there’ll be plenty of the web. It comes fully loaded with all the NFC, 4G or 3G capabilities you could want. One version has a physical keyboard the other a virtual. Both use a super spanking heuristic algorithm that learns how you type and offers a word up over individual letters on the keyboard, hovering there like ghosts, which you can just flick into your text. You have to try it to understand. Like sex, it’s much easier to do than to describe. Or am I thinking of swimming? Anyway, whether they’ve bought the very clever algorithm which goes with the incredibly successful British dev company SwiftKey or not, I don’t know, but inputting text works very well. Like most phones the response when you move the device from landscape to portrait and back again is a bit laggy compared with the super swift iPhone response, and the copy and paste takes a little getting used to.
But if “taking a little getting used to” is the worst I can say of it, then let me say the best of it. I think the BB Z 10 (the virtual keyboard version) is one of the very very best gadgets I’ve ever played with. From the moment you slide your finger up and the gorgeous display fades subtly into view to the moment you pull down the little sleep curtain to reveal a pretty orange alarm clock, you are won over.
I wish I had more time to write more technically and more coherently, but I wanted to publish this as a quick response.
The fire question.
I’d grab my iPhone and the BB10 Z and risk getting burnt to a cinder.
Cowardly, but true. Or possibly brave, but true.
But well done BlackBerry, I say. You have played a blinder and I wish you all the luck in the world.
Whether “the market” agrees with me, only the future will decide. And the future is hurtling towards us so fast. In three months time how will this blog read, I wonder?
A final comment on “endorsements” and all that. I have never received money or goods in order to endorse them. I am lucky enough to get sent gismos all the time (many of them with “Evaluation Unit. Not for Sale or Lease” printed on the back). If I like them I say so. If I loathe them I say so too (as witness my trashing of the Blackberry Storm some years ago). I know how lucky I am to be in this position. But I do want it understood that for me it’s all about passion. I can afford any and all of these phones and when the keyboard version of the BB10 comes out, for example, I’ll go out and buy one. I could wait like everyone else, but like professional tech reviewers, I am lucky to get early evaluation units. I give away most of them once I’ve looked at them, to deserving student nephews, or undeserving wastrel friends, but I can’t be bought. Sorry to bring that up, but … just though you should know.