Recently in BlackBerry Category
I recently switched allegiances away from Google. It started when Java stopped working on Chrome and I ended up removing it entirely from my Windows 7 desktop PC, and I installed Opera instead.I have now swapped my Android phone for a shiny new Blackberry Q10 running the latest BB10 OS. In the past, I've had a few Android smartphones: the Sony X10 Mini Pro which ran Android 2.1, and, most recently, the HTC Cha Cha, which used Android 2.3.Both devices had a proper QWERTY keyboard, which is what attracted me to the Q10. To be honest, I never thought I'd leave Google. I like the way Chrome works and the way email, contacts and calendar information seamlessly sync.In fact, Gmail is still my main email and Google Contacts is my preferred contacts database. But within a few minutes of purchasing the Q10 I was able to synchonise the handset with Gmail, and my Google contacts and calendar entries.Adding Hotmail was next and finally I gathered the bits of info I needed to connect to Exchange ActiveSync, for work email access (my TechTarget email account in the image below).While I admit I've been using older Android OSes on my recent smartphones I do have a Nexus 7, running Android 4.2 Jellybean.
But in the short time I have been using it, BB10, appears better thought through. I like the fact that there is a built-in file manager, which is able to connect both to the internal storage and DropBox. DocsToGo is an excellent addition, allowing you to create and edit Word, PowerPoint and Excel docs. These can be stored either locally or in the cloud. In my setup, it offers direct access to DropBox cloud storage.Another excellent feature for the professional user is it can link to LinkedIn and Twitter: all email accounts, LinkedIn, Twitter etc, are available from one place, the Blackberry Hub.
I am pretty pleased with the Q10 - the only downside is that the Concur cloud expenses app isn't yet available in the Blackberry World apps store. It is supposed to be ready in July - so I am hoping Concur gets it act together quickly.
Inspect-a-Gadget quizzes Computer Weekly's networking
editor, Jennifer Scott, about her thoughts on the BlackBerry
Z10 fangirl BlackBerry convert, she has spent the past five
months cradling her stylish Z10,
loving its functionality while equally being wooed by its beauty.
So when a Q5 landed on the gadget pile, we thought she'd be the best person to give it a test drive. Here are her thoughts...
I was impressed by the size of the screen as often with your typical BlackBerry QWERTY device, it pales in significance to the size of the keyboard. I was also taken aback by how light the device felt considering its measurements. However, it doesn't look as sleek as others on the market. It is a little square in my eyes and incredibly plain, making it fade into the background rather than standout from the crowd.
How did it feel in your hand?
The device was smooth but almost too smooth. Although the plastic backing felt sturdier than others on the market, like Samsung, it still made your hand feel clammy if using it for extended times. However, the size was perfect. You are able to use the device with one hand if you are just taking advantage of the screen but don't feel cramped if you want to get both your mitts on it and type away.
Three key differences between the Z10 and the Q5?
1) The keyboard, having physical buttons rather than the newly designed touchscreen. A matter of preference of course, but I prefer the latter.
2) The quality. Obviously this is reflected in the price, but it only takes one look at the much sleeker and stylish Z10 to see it is the high-end and the square, slightly dowdy Q5 to see the lower.
3) Bigger and bolder icons. Some people will prefer less apps on each screen and the icons being larger, but I prefer the smaller, more delicate items on the Z10, reminding me off the difference between a size 10 Arial font and a size 14 Comic Sans.
What was it like using a keyboard again?
Keyboards have never been a big selling point for me and it always takes me quite a while to get used to, but once I was at full speed, it felt like the same old BlackBerry experience. That doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing, for many BlackBerry fans it is what they crave, I am just glad they get the addition of the screen with BB10 to show them the future is brighter.
How did it feel compared to the BlackBerry Bold or Curve?
There are definite nods to the Curve with this device. A similar feel, an ease of use and a cheaper design, although somehow still iconically BlackBerry - something the keyboard plays a huge part in. But the Bold was again a much more stylish device. This one is far more fisher price toy than executive toy.
Does the Q5 feel like a mid-range handset? Why?
It does but that is because of the OS. I have not been backward in coming forward about my adoration of the BlackBerry 10 operating system and what impresses me even more is how well it works of a smaller, lower resolution screen and a cheaper device taken up with a keyboard. Because all of the features you expect on the higher end devices are available here, you feel like you have got quite a bargain.
What about apps?
As with all of the devices based on the BlackBerry 10 OS, the app store is where it falls down. I can rant and rave for days about how intuitive and beautiful the UI is, but with billions of apps setting the industry alight, it is crazy how few are available for BB10. Of course, they are working on this and new launches are coming all the time - Skype, for example, has finally been launched. However, I could understand why people might want to wait until the next generation before investing into the software.
Will businesses want to use it?
There are a number of business features on the BlackBerry 10 operating system to keep the traditional enterprise user happy. From the inbuilt security of BlackBerry Balance, separating personal life from corporate life, or the back-end BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 for the IT department to keep things safe, it's are all here. The price of this lower end device will be attractive to the bean counters too to ensure budgets are kept on a leash. But I do think employees might stray to their Android or iOS devices due to the lack of apps and the slight lack of style of the Q5, unless they are already BlackBerry keyboard enthusiasts.
You can get hold of a BlackBerry Q5 on a 24 month EE contract for £30 per month which gives you 1GB of 4G data, 1,000 minutes and 1,000 texts.
BlackBerry's third handset to sit on the BlackBerry 10 operating system was announced today at BlackBerry Live in Orlando, Florida. The mid-range Q5 device sports a QWERTY keyboard and is aimed primarily at users in emerging markets, however, UK MD Rob Orr told me that its roll out in the UK and Europe will be significant for the enterprise. Orr said that the Q5, (which claims most of the features of its big brother Q10 device, but at a lower price point) will be another option for corporations wanting to roll out significant numbers of mobile devices.
The device has of course cut a few corners in order to lower its price (which has not yet been disclose, but as a mid-range device, I doubt it would come at under £150). The device has not cut corners on BlackBerry 10, all the features available on the OS will be available on the Q5.
First impressions with a Q10 in my left hand and a Q5 in my right, was that the Q5 did feel lighter and the material wasn't as high quality. However, I was expecting it to feel really cheap, and I was surprised that it didn't. I don't know if that is the familiarity of the QWERTY keyboard which automatically adds on a few BlackBerry pounds, but it certainly didn't feel as cheap as many mid-range Androids out there at the moment.
While I agree to some degree with guest blogger, David McClelland, that the Q10 is a "refined, understated and handsome handset" with an "air of familiarity", the Q10's pulling power is all under the hood. Therefore lacking the Q10's processing power would be one of the cut backs.
The device runs the update to BB10 - BB10.1 which was launched at the event today. It weighs a mere 120g (the Q10 139g), and stands at 120mm x 66mm x 10.8mm (10.5mm for non-NFC model).
I noticed a difference in the screen, the Q5 was not as sharp as the Q10, which I can only put down to the LDC display (the Q10 has a Super AMOLED), as both devices have 720 resolution at 329 PPI. The Q5 has a downgraded camera to 5MP, it also has less memory at 2 GB RAM, 8 GB Flash with a microSD slot (up to 32 GB), and the battery is not swappable like the Q10.
However, it is 4G ready and has NFC to support file exchanges and mobile payments, which suggests that this device will not be purely aimed at the emerging markets.
Available in the traditional black and white, as well as red and pink, this again suggests that BlackBerry is hedging its bets over who to aim the device at: consumers or enterprise? I think the device will slide into the place of the BlackBerry Curve which did really well across the board, I can see kids BBM-ing about the weekend's riots, oh sorry, I mean party; while enterprise users will be able to use all the exclusive functionalities of BB10 including BlackBerry Balance and BlackBerry Enterprise Services on a lower cost device.
At the end of the day, when comparing the two devices it is extremely difficult to say which is worthwhile until we have a price, which BlackBerry should be announcing in July. If the Q5 does ship at a sensible £200-£300 mark, it would be very competitive for enterprises looking at £500 for a smartphone these days (BlackBerry Q10 is shipping at a pricey £580). However, if it launches at more the £350-£400 mark I'm not sure if the Q5 specs would be worth the downgrade.
David McClelland (@DavidMcClelland, www.davidmcclelland.co.uk) spends a weekend with the BlackBerry Q10, the brand new handset pivotal to the Canadian giant's future. But will the QWERTY-packing phone be enough to complete RIM's big reboot?
BlackBerry President and CEO Thorsten Heins will be hoping that by bolstering his new handset with a physical keyboard -- eschewed by the iPhone-esque Z10 and generally something of a novelty among smartphones nowadays -- he can quell the big BlackBerry exodus and tempt back the hoards of disillusioned corporate users so pivotal to RIM's successful reinvention.
Yet, for all of the rhetoric around the future of the company, there's an inescapable irony that BlackBerry's future-facing handset looks -- from the outside at least -- rather similar to the RIM's devices of old.
Generally available from today following an exclusive deal with Selfridges over the weekend, you might easily be forgiven for not giving the Q10 a second look when you first see it nestled in a fellow-commuters' grip, such is its air of familiarity.
However, a second glance rewards you with the realisation that the BlackBerry Q10 is a refined, understated and handsome handset which discretely hides far more power and many more features than any of RIM's previous corporate workhorses.
The Q10's carbon fibre-like glass weave rear is grippy and sits securely in the hand. The back unfussily slides off to reveal an NFC sensor, a large 2100 mAh removable battery, micro SIM and easy-access microSD slots. Unlike on today's phablet devices one-handed typing and navigation so crucial for commuters is a cinch on the Q10. A stainless steel outer frame completes the casing and, reassuringly, the feel is that of a solid, workman-like handset.
Also under its hood is 16 GB of onboard storage and 2 GB of RAM to support the 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4+ processor, along with 4G/LTE connectivity. With such brute force behind it the BB10 OS feels nippy and lag-free even when switching between apps and browsing image-rich emails and websites.
The Super AMOLED touchscreen display is bright, responsive and punchy, but there are compromises when sharing a handset's valuable real estate with a 35 button keyboard.
While its 330ppi display is technically more retina than any of Apple's and delivers screenfuls of crisp and clear text, the 3.1 inch screen may feel achingly small to anybody now more accustomed to full-sized smartphone touch screens such as the Z10. I found watching video through the Q10's YouTube or BBC iPlayer app quickly became irksome as footage failed to fill the 720x720 square screen, rendering instead in a squintsome 2.5 inch letterbox window.
On the plus side for the Q10 the keyboard which forces this screen estate compromise is nothing short of stunning. If the Q10 is to live or die by its keyboard then its designers have certainly given it a fighting chance by fitting one of the best I've used on a BlackBerry, or indeed any smartphone.
The Q10's keys are firm, rattle-free and well-spaced thanks to the four frets which provide one of the handset's defining design features. Seasoned BlackBerry users who may have strayed onto handsets sporting touchscreen keyboards may initially miss the trackball/nipple control of previous BlackBerrys but will be reassured to learn that it takes no time at all to get back into the BB speed-typing groove.
As you'd expect from its heritage, email is simple to set up and incredibly easy to use on the Q10. Also rather admirable are its organisational and productivity features and apps: the Evernote-aping Remember app looks useful for reminders and note taking; apps including LinkedIn and Dropbox come pre-installed, and the omnipresent BlackBerry Hub pulls into one place all of your email, calendar and social news feeds and is never more than a peek gesture away from whatever else you're doing on the phone.
In comparison to the daily charges demanded by my iOS and Android devices I found the BlackBerry's battery life to be impressive, with plenty of juice remaining after a day's reasonable use, although perhaps still not enough for two days on the go.
Rounding off the Q10's feature list is a capable 8MP camera on the rear and a 2MP front-facing camera both of which benefit from BlackBerry's handy Time Shift feature which lets you choose from a burst of images, promising practically perfect smiles.
The BlackBerry Z10 release in January was a showcase for the long-awaited BB10 OS, using its full-sized touchscreen to show off its brand new user interface and multimedia capabilities.
By cramming a cracking keyboard into the Q10 and harnessing BB10's Balance software, BlackBerry will hope its newest handset can combine multimedia mogul and corporate workhorse into a single slab. However, the effective screen size when viewing video is unavoidably small in comparison to other current smartphone displays which may be a turn off for some.
Nevertheless, if your morning commute is less about catching up on last night's TV and more about firing off fifty emails per minute and organising yourself to within an inch of your life then the Q10's keyboard/screen size compromise will be one well worth making.
BlackBerry Q10, £579.99 RRP, available from free on contract.
Image via CrunchBase
"We have a very exciting update to share with you today - we are announcing Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun! As of today, Yahoo is moving off of blackberries as our corporate phones and on to smartphones in 22 countries*. A few weeks ago, we said that we would look into smartphone penetration rates globally and take those rates into account when deciding on corporate phones. Ideally, we'd like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do."