Blackberry’s new phone hits Europe

Jan 31, 2013 | Biz/Tech

By Brandon Humber & Nicholas Camilleri

Despite a decline in RIM’s stock following its announcement of Blackberry 10, the company will be trading under its new name “Blackberry” as of Feb. 4.

Blackberry, formerly known as RIM, launched its latest phone in Europe on Thursday, the touch-screen Z10 model. An additional model, the Q10, which features a keyboard, will be released some time in the spring of this year.

Tech expert Marc Saltzman, who’s known for his segment Gear Guide which plays before movies at theaters, has had the Z10 for two weeks, but wasn’t allowed to give an opinion on the product until this past Wednesday

“There’s a lot of things that it does that other smartphone platforms can’t do, but it’s not perfect either,” Saltzman said.

Some of the new phone’s features impressed Saltzman, such as the ability to efficiently multitask with the Blackberry 10 operating system, which older models lacked.

For avid texters, Saltzman said that the new predictive text technology makes messaging much more convenient by guessing words in advance.

An application called Screen Share within Blackberry Messenger, an instant messaging service exclusive to Blackberry users, also stood out to Saltzman.

“While you’re connected you can tap a button on the screen and it will then immediately share your phone with the person you’re talking with, so they see what you see,” Saltzman said.

Saltzman said that the lack of a model with a physical keyboard at launch could lose Blackberry ground with the company’s long-time customers.

“Now that (Blackberry customers) finally have a great platform, not only is there not a new product for them, if you prefer a physical keyboard, but they didn’t even say when it’s going to be available,” he said.

Saltzman said he thinks it will be tough for Blackberry to regain its lost market share and that the new features don’t justify switching from an Apple or Android product.

“Not only are you asking someone to go back to a platform they’ve already left, but they’re abandoning an entire ecosystem. You don’t just buy a smartphone, you buy apps and music and videos and e books and cases and things that only work with that phone.”

Emily Maloney, a first-year journalism student at Humber, said that she’s considering switching from her LG phone to a Blackberry.

“They really have to save themselves from bankruptcy, so you’d think they’d put a lot of effort in,” she said.