The recent release of the BlackBerry 10 OS and the new Z10 and Q10 smartphones will either be the turning point for Research in Motion, now renamed BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), or perhaps the last two phones BlackBerry ever produces. With BlackBerry almost exclusively surviving off of die-hard fans and corporate contracts as of late, these two new phones need to recapture the mass market if BlackBerry has any hope of making a turnaround. That means competing directly against the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5, top Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones, and the Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 920. So how do the Z10 and Q10 stack up?
Samsung Galaxy S3
Nokia Lumia 920
Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait
Dual-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A9
Dual-core 1.2 GHz
Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9
Dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait
$199 on contract
$199 on contract (16GB)
$199 on contract
$99 on contract
Source: GSM Arena
The Z10 is the flagship phone for BlackBerry's new 10 OS, and will be the main competitor to Apple, Google, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) operated smartphones, out of the two new phones BlackBerry unveiled. With its 4.2-inch display and rectangular form factor, the Z10 is a monumental leap for Blackberry into the modern smartphone arena. Its tech specs, are for the most part comparable to its competitors, with its most impressive feature being its 1280x768 display which slightly edges out the Nokia Lumia 920 for highest pixel density. Other than that, it has a fairly standard 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 16GB internal storage, an 8MP rear camera, and 4G LTE connectivity. Thus, on tech specs alone, it would be hard to argue why a consumer would buy the Z10 over its competition, especially as a latecomer.
In terms of software, and user experience, the Z10's Blackberry 10 OS is a welcome upgrade over BB7 feeling more like a fluid OS like Apple's iOS, Google's Android, or the Windows Phone OS. It is very gesture-based like other smartphones operating systems; swiping in various directions or locations will bring up different programs and interfaces. The most important of which being BlackBerry Hub, the aggregate information center of the phone. However, the primary downside of this new OS, is the lack of quality apps in the BlackBerry World store, a similar problem that both Windows Phone and Android faced in their early stages.
The BlackBerry Q10 is similar in form and function to the "traditional" BlackBerry smartphone, with its tactile QWERTY keyboard below its 3.1-inch display. The Q10 is a welcome upgrade over the previous BlackBerry Bold and Curve, as it features a larger screen with a relatively high pixel density, and runs the 10 OS like the Z10. As such, this phone will appeal to BlackBerry loyalists that cannot give up their physical QWERTY keyboards. However, the Z10 not the Q10 will determine the fate of BlackBerry because a "traditional" BlackBerry has already lost its appeal to the mass market.
The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, although significant upgrades over previous BlackBerry smartphones, may be too little, too late to save the ailing company. The Z10 is the best chance BlackBerry has at once again reaching the mass market, but sadly there is nothing particularly special about it that vastly differentiates it from smartphones already on the market. Still, these two new phones may be just enough to attract a few new customers, while keeping BlackBerry die-hards and corporate clients onboard. Thus, BlackBerry may live to fight another day, but investors may want to stay away from its stock for the time being as these devices were not the homerun BlackBerry was counting on.
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