BlackBerry Z10: Touch Screen Model Key to RIM's Comeback

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 02:46 PM

By Megan Anderle

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Specifics for the new BlackBerry Z10, which will run on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, came out on Wednesday. The biggest change is a touch screen.

The phone is already on sale in some countries and will be available in the United States in mid-March.

To remain competitive with Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S III, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. made the new 4G LTE smart phone touch screen only, which is a revolution for the flailing smart phone. It is also 4.2 inches long, which is longer than the iPhone but smaller than the Galaxy S III.

The BlackBerry Z10 has a speedy 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 2GB RAM, which is larger than the iPhone, and a screen with a higher pixel density than that of the newest iPhone.

The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg said that the browser of the BlackBerry is adequate but slower than the iPhone and Galaxy. Call quality and reception for the new model is still excellent.

Many of the phone's earliest reviewers are saying the keyboard is much faster than its competitors.

RIM built the BlackBerry Z10 from scratch. For years, the BlackBerry's keyboard, which was appealing to business people, was not a selling point for app developers, which is a large reason why it was never as profitable as its competitors.

Apple and Samsung have been developing their touch-screen models for years, so the question remains: Will BlackBerry exceed veteran smart phone users' baseline expectations? Or are they playing catch up?

A feature that the BlackBerry model doesn't have that the iPhone and Galaxy do is cloud-based storage like Apple's iCloud or Google Drive.

The new model also has less applications than its competitors, and some of the apps that do exist need work – a hallmark of first-generation smart phones. For example, the Maps App on the new BlackBerry is bare-bones and can't possibly stand up to Google's best-in-show, according a review on the technology blog CNet.

The price of the new BlackBerry has not been announced yet. The iPhone starts at $199 for 16 gb of memory, and the Galaxy starts at $99. A rumored cheaper iPhone is in the works, The Journal reported a few weeks ago, but Apple has denied such claims.

Apple had a lower-than-expected Q1 report last week, but still etched out Samsung for the quarter. The two have been neck-and-neck in the market. Still, Samsung's profits were higher than ever, technology blog GizmoCube reports.

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