It’s BlackBerry 10 day today, and you knew we had to take a few minutes to see just what BlackBerry has to offer. Right off the bat, we’re going to say it’s good enough to keep folks still using the BlackBerry platform happy that they hung around, and probably even tempt a few people to give BlackBerry a try for the first time. Kevin has a good look at the hardware and some of the UI and features in the video. Give it a watch, then join us after the break we can see how it all matches up to Android.

For more info, be sure to check out CrackBerry's reviews:

The hardware

When looking at the hardware, you see what looks like a wider iPhone. That’s because the company formerly known as RIM is using a pretty generic rectangular design, just like the did with the BlackBerry Playbook. It doesn’t look bad at all, but there’s nothing to make the hardware stand out. You don’t have a giant flashy phone, and that will appeal to plenty of folks.

That’s not to say the Z10 is little. Its 4.2-inch screen is in a body that looks very close in size to the Nexus 4. The front of the phone is all glass, but plenty of folks will like what they see on the back -- a removable battery and an SD card. Under it all, is hardware specifications that won’t impress an Android fan, but should be adequate for BB10 -- until developers start to build applications to put it to the test.

The user interface

What you don’t see on the Z10 is any buttons. Technically there are volume and power buttons, but to interact with the UI you use a series of gestures. Again, this is familiar to anyone who has used a PlayBook. Not having a home button sounds like it will quickly become a PITA, though.

The gesture based UI is built into the notification system as well. When you get an incoming notification, we’ll use Facebook as an example because that’s the one Kevin uses, you’ll get a visual cue in the form of an icon and a blinking light. To have a look at what it says, you minimize any app you have open by sliding them to the top and then slide things in from the left to see your notification “inbox”. These notifications are like the ones we see in Jelly Bean -- you can interact with the notification without opening the application that received it. One nice thing -- another swipe in from the left and you can filter the notifications, as they all come individually versus grouped by app as we’re used to with Android.

The app situation

Finally, we have to talk about the apps. There aren’t very many BB10 apps. What RIM has done is create a tool to allow developers to take existing Android apps and convert them to a format that runs on the BB. They are still Android apps, but they're BB apps, too. They run in what's called an Android player, which is just a fancy name for a virtual machine. This should help the early adopters have access to the important apps they need, but it’s already become a conduit to piracy. We think RIM will continue to be vigilant and address these concerns.

I’ve been using BlackBerries for a long time, and this has me intrigued. Like many users, I think the most important thing the BlackBerry has to offer is their messaging features and their excellent portrait keyboard. It will be interesting to see how folks adapt, and if BlackBerry 10 can provide the boost RIM desperately needs in the market.


Reader comments

Android and BlackBerry 10: How they stack up


I just watched Kevin's BB10 review, and I am impressed! Using gestures to move around the operating system is cool. I hope BB10 does good for Rim.

Offers nothing that Android can't already do on a multitude of devices, and has a dire app situation.

RIM will fail, sorry. But it's a 2 horse race, Android iOS. Anything else and you are throwing money down the pan.

"RIM will fail, sorry. But it's a 2 horse race, Android iOS. Anything else and you are throwing money down the pan." And 3 or 4 years ago, everyone but die-hard Google fans were saying Android more than likely wouldn't cause a dent in the iPhone world...

A 2 horse race? Maybe in OS's for now, but I bet BB will be the 3rd best selling smartphone seller, only after iphone and the Galaxy line. Don't forget that HTC don't see Samsung's money, nor does Moto. So it's not a two house race. Even after RIM's BS, they're still the #3, something Windows Phone can't get to. And unlike Android, BB has full control of the OS, so updates will be easy and come faster then Android (something most of the droid users cry about.) So it's two step (BB and carrier) Vs (Google, Samsung and then carrier.) Last, yes, you are sorry, the sorriest person I ever seen comment.

Only you are sorrier. How could you not notice that squiddy20 was quoting someone else and actually disagreed with that? You are a sad, sorry commenter.

EDIT: I do not really mean that GameBoi is a "sorry commenter"; I am simply using irony.

1. You obviously didn't see the quotes I placed around the text that clashcityrocker2 wrote down, indicating that they are not my words.
2. He was talking specifically about the major OS's (Android, Blackberry, iOS, etc). It stands to reason that that's what I would be talking about as well when replying to him. HTC, Samsung, and other Android manufacturers were not even mentioned by anyone except you.
3. You also obviously missed the point of what I was saying. 3 to 4 years ago, everyone was saying how Android wouldn't get very far with major companies like Apple, Palm, and RIM leading the way by a large factor. Now, RIM is the one struggling to re-enter the market, Palm is basically dead, and it's so far pretty much between iOS and Android. That's not to say that there's not a place for Blackberry, I really do hope they flourish. My point was, clashcityrocker2 stated something, and I provided a shred of evidence as a rebuttal. So very sorry that went completely over your head. :rollseyes

I too appreciate gestures for navigating the OS. I would rather have gesture navigation in place of the space wasting, persistent on-screen menu strip that android has moved to.

That said, I think I prefer the dedicated buttons (and in particular the physical home button) on the bezel over both on-screen buttons and gestures.

Horses for courses I guess.


Even though Samsung got bashed for including the physical home button and capacitive keys on the S3 and Note 2, I actually liked them as well. I liked the gestures that Samsung implemented into Touchwiz. Seeing how BB10 makes use of them, I'm wondering if Samsung will implement more gestures into the S4.

What OS might that be? Oh, WebOS, ha! I forgot, I don't focus on the dead. WebOS hardware sucked, and you had to use geatures, cause onle a mouse could use that sad excuse of a keyboard.

I think it's pretty cool, too, but there's plenty of cool android gesture apps (GMD is one I've used) especially for those folks who find on screen buttons to take up precious screen reality (don't know how/why when 99% of apps you'd want full screen do it automatically). That said, I see RIM/BB dying a slow death. Most people think of three/four things when they think of Blackberry (old businessmen/email, trackballs, and the massive failure that was the BB Storm.

I'm impressed too! I'd definitely take one as a free work phone. I think there is room in the smartphone arena for more than just Android and ios, Blackberry is targeting itself towards business professionals they could do just fine in that niche market, they don't need to have 50% market share or anything.

Can you PLEASE stop playing that stupid music in the background of every video? Its so f&cking annoying. Just let the guy speak, he doesn't need a soundtrack.

Lots of people are bashing the design of the Z10, I really like it. I think it looks very slick. Personally I wish the screen was a little larger, but the phone overall seems like a good size. BB10 looks interesting, some things look like they will work great, others still seem to need some tweaking. I was loving the layout of the calendar app I saw.

Haha I wish the screen was a little bigger, too. However, the overall design of the handset does look very slick. Hopefully, both variations of the BB10 hardware are well-received. Competition is great =)

Cant watch the video - but I'm impressed with the segregation of work and personal data in separate partitions. Allowing remote wipe to nix only one or the other partition is a big win for employers (and employees i guess). I think more competition and innovations will benefit all the platforms. Hey, maybe we should pass some laws that encourage that idea...

I have 2 problems with the new BB10 that will be keeping me from buying one any time soon.

1. Screen is too small. I have a Note 2, There's no way I could go all the way down to a 4.2" screen. ~4.7" is my lower limit now.

2. No widgets that I can see in BB10. It's basically iOS with improved gesture based navigation and an extra vertical scrolling homescreen for the multitasking. I love me my widgets and home screen customization.

I love being able to customize my phone as well. Hell, I spent over an hour yesterday overhauling the appearance of my Galaxy Nexus. I do use a few widgets; however, I am impressed with the implementation of active frames in BB10.

I'll second your statement regarding screen size. I've gotten used to the size of the GNex. It would be difficult to move to a smaller device. Still, I'm pleasantly impressed.

It's most definitely a great new look/OS for them, it just happens to be lacking things I consider important. There were many times during their presentation that I said out loud "Wow, I've never seen that before" and once each that I said "They've done better than I ever imagined" and "No wonder they delayed it so badly."

These guys crammed so many good/great features into the OS that they are truly and remarkably different from the old BB I used to have. I don't know whether they'll succeed in the market, but I'd wager BB10 will do better than Windows Phone 8. Well, maybe not. Lol.

It's funny: while watching Kevin's video, I instantly started comparing the new BB10 to my old BB Pearl and Tour. It should definitely be a great OS for RIM. I want to give it a try; but I've gotten so used to Android that it would be difficult (and painful) to switch. I am hoping that it catches on with others, though.

Ha, I too compared it to my Pearl 8130 and my Storms (9350 and 9550). My old 8703e, however, did not receive comparison as even the 8130 is eons ahead of it. After all that reminiscing, I realized Blackberry simply doesn't have anything that out does Android offerings. However, if they ever perfected and included the old SurePress technology in another device, I might have to give it a try just for nostalgia's sake. SurePress really was quite terrible on the 9530, but I absolutely loved it on the 9550. Too bad the accompanying OS on those devices was garbage. The technology never really stood a chance.

I'm over making all those changes. Maybe I am to busy to play with my phone that way. I just want simple and clean and no more back or home button. Plus all I care about is messaging. That's what I do in all my apps. That music and games and a bang assume Web browsers and I am set. That's why BB10 Will work for me. So if I play with it and love it i will switch.

Not bad looking. That said, everybody whined incessantly about apps have menus and interfaces that were random and all over the place a few years back. His comments about "an app is an app is an app" contradicts this.

Yes it is good to have android apps ported over, but don't try and pass off the same issue that is occurring here, app navigation is random and disjointed based on where the app is coming from if it is a native BB app it will work one way, if it is ported from android it will work another.

The other comment I'll make, the whole "peak" thing seems to have been given more importance than it should. I mean, the comment about "never missing an update" was a little over the top. I mean, does anybody ever miss and update with any of the notification schemes on any platform? This is basically just sliding sideways to get to notifications, instead of sliding from the top down.


One other comment in general.

He talked about screen size vs one hand operation. This tends to bug me that people think they need to be able to cover every last little part of their screen with their thumb to be able to use it one handed.

Personally, it didn't take me very long to setup my (4.8") phone to be comfortably usable with 99% of the thumb touches occurring in the lower half of the screen.

I appreciate the larger screen because of what it offers to my eyes, but I don't *need* to cover all of it with my thumb.


+9000 to that. When I had the S3, I had no issues using it one-handed. You really get used to the extra screen real-estate, especially when watching video or reading.

I have the Note 2 and I have no problem using it 1 handed. It took some setting up and getting used to , but I used Nova Launcher and made the grid much smaller to make use of the Note 2's screen real estate. I have the grid set up 6 rows and 7 columns, taking my home screens from 5 home screens to 3 home screens. I put the stuff I need to access the most in the lower-right hand corner so it can easily be accessed with 1 hand.

Not bad. Very nice for enterprise but will not be replacing my Note 2 for my daily driver. Finally I can suggest a simple phone to people and not have to use the word "Apple".

I'm not one to bash Apple (anymore), but I will second this. It's nice to be able to recommend another product to people that "just works."

Completely agree. If I had to pick a phone for someone that wanted a more simple interface with less fluff, I would go BB over Iphone now after seeing this.

you guys bring up an interesting point. It's sort of has an iOS look minus the childish skeuomorphism. I would feel comfortable handing this to somebody instead of an iPhone. The problem is at least from an industrial design standpoint this phone does not feel current. putting this next to Nexus 4 or Galaxy Note 2 and the whole thing feels very dated all the sudden

Wow that phone looks like it is from 2010. The two plastic strips on the top and bottom of the screen look just like my old droid x. Nice OS though. I guess if you take 5 years to develop it, good things can happen.

I didn't really see anything new that hadn't been shown already and it's still not enough to pry the Note 2 from my hands...sorry BB.

RIM has reached 2011 standards. RIM can thank it's perverse insistence on releasing the unwanted Playbook first to putting 2yrs behind everyone else.

Actually, gestures are FAR better than a home button. You just have to get used to it. It actually makes devices with home buttons seem a bit old fashioned.

You're fully entitled to have that opinion. But after using a Pre+ for a long time, then moving to android, I would have to disagree.

Like I said above though, horses for courses.


I don't like the enormous blackberry logo on the front of the phone under the screen. If you look at the Nexus devices or iPhone, none of them have that labeling. That being said, I don't hate what I see with blackberry 10. It looks very fluid and immediately usable. It does not look like anyone is going to have to wait for the OS to add critical functionality. But the bottom line is this: does blackberry 10 give anyone a compelling reason to leave Android or iOS? From what I see here, I don't think it does. The fact is people HAVE leff blackberry. I don't think they can win customers back with an operating system that is only at parity with everything else out there.

I'm confused... Are the Android apps being ported into the native BB10 format? Or are they being run (as .apks) in what seems to be a "virtual machine" that's implemented in the OS? If the Android player is not a virtual machine, then what is it?

There is plenty of readily available information about what this "Android Player" is and how it works. I believe it was talked about pretty extensively when they first made it for their tablet. It should take you less than a couple minutes to get full info on what a virtual machine is and what this player is if you're so inclined.

Lame. I am an Enterprise Software Consultant and can tell you that INCREASING the number of actions it takes when it could simply take one is stupid.

In Android, I get a sneak preview of a text in the notification bar as it comes in momentarily and even a popup of it if I desire. If I want to look at that text, its a single swipe anytime and anywhere.

In BB10, I have to swipe up and then left and then there is a general preview but if its an MMS I still haven't seen it. It doesn't even do smart grouping. Who wants to manually filter your notifications all the time?

End of the day, this workflow is much longer than the competition.

Also, no home button or gesture is weak sauce too. So now if I want to launch I new app I have to freaking swipe up and then swipe left just to get home. Its a lot more than I have to do now.

This just isn't a concise workflow. I like the ideas but the implementation looks lacking. Let alone, accidental swipes while browsing and scrolling quickly.

Was hoping for a game changer, my guess is that anything remotely unique here will be ripped off for the next AOKP or even be in Stock. I love the One handed use comment Also, yeah there are PLENTY of people wanting to not customize there device...sure. I'm not buying that. Everyone got on board with iOS who needed something simple. Now a lot of people are well versed in Smart Phone use and can certainly handle some light customization or heaven forbid a WIDGET.

Also as a note, this extra swiping gets REAL annoying when you accidentally open the wrong app or need to get back real quick. Now guess what...up and then over. This gets annoying quick as it is really just unnecessary. It seems like they are completely wasting the common info bar at the top and not leveraging it for much other than just basic info.

Have you actually used a BB10 phone? How about a Blackberry Playbook? I have and it's not "REAL annoying" as you say. It's actually very quick and it really does makes those home buttons seem old-fashioned!

I've watched the video above and done some general looking but are the "killer features"? Maybe I'm missing something.

Nice quick review Kevin, I think all your waiting has paid off. Blackberry didn't just try and rush something to market, they took their time and it shows. I think the main core audience that have always used blackberry in the past will want the new devices. It's also different enough to distinguish itself from iOS, Android and Win8 so I think it may attract some net new users as well. All in all I'm fairly impressed. This platform has potential.

"It's a me too."
How many people will switch? I don't know.
My daughter just switched from an Android to a HTC 8X.
Why? She likes the WM8 interface. It takes all kinds......

Anyway, the hardware for the Z10 is generic. It runs Android app in a VM.
The only thing it has is BBM. But so many people have bailed that BBM doesn't matter for most of us anymore.
I just text now.

If you're going to say BB10 runs Android apps in a VM then you have to also say Android runs Android apps in a VM.

Lol @ some of these comments. People just love to bash Blackberry because it's Blackberry. :| I think BB10 will be great. It's not for everybody. Just like Android & iOS isn't for anybody. I personally can't wait to get rid of my 4S in May when my upgrade is available because I miss Blackberry. It will be used as a PHONE. If I wanna play games, watch movies, etc I'll have an iPad or Android tablet for that. (haven't decided which yet). Hopefully by the time of my upgrade, they will have a different model out (maybe the Aristo?) But the Z10 looks great. The Q10 looks great as well. A lot of you people are just turning your backs to BB10 because again, it's BLACKBERRY. Give it a try first. Everybody always says to try a new Android phone before you buy one, why can't that same thing be applied to the new Blackberry's? Smh.

Like I said, I can't wait to have one in my hands. iOS is cool, but it's boring (to me) now. Android is cool too, but I haven't been impressed with Android since late 2011 when I ditched my Evo for the iPhone 4S. I've extensively played with many androids since then (GS3, Galaxy Nexus, LG Optimus G, Evo LTE). I loved the Evo LTE (I'm a HTC fan, lol!) So if I ever do go back to Android it will be a HTC device for Sense.

Basically, don't judge the BB10 phones/OS just because their Blackberry & you think Blackberry is a dead platform. It's not. Tons of people still use it. People are intrigued by BB10. That's just the bottom line.
Just because it's not "good enough" for YOU, doesn't mean you need to bash it.

Besides, your GS3, Evo LTE or Note 2 will be outdated in a few months when/if Samsung & HTC come out with new phones soon. Don't know if you noticed, but you'll never have the "latest & greatest" in the tech world lol. Something will always come out a few months after and that will be the new "latest & greatest."

Sprint gives me the latest and greatest every year via upgrade. I don't know what you are talking about.

BTW, I've had all the EVO's. EVO LTE was nice phone but Sense is balls man. It was VERY sluggish compared to AOSP, CM10 or AOKP. Camera was dope though. Other than that, HTC has diluted its brand since the original EVO and it hasn't gone well for them. Took forever to get a JB update too. Used to be fast at it. Oh, the JB update doesn't even give you the JB notification pull downs. Its a joke.

You get an upgrade every year if you are a premium member/main account holder.
I get an upgrade every 2 years. My grandmother has the main line lol she upgrades every year.
I don't root my phones. For me, a phone needs to work how I want it to out of the box and I find Sense the best for my needs. But that's just me. I have friends who LOVE Samsung Touchwiz and other UI's. I'm not a Samsung fan (although I do think the Note 10.1 is nice, might make that my tablet of choice) but as a phone I'm not a fan of Samsung. But again that's just me lol everybody likes what they like & dislike what they dislike.

Stop being a Vaj and root your phone already!! Lol :)

Its so easy and can REALLY do wonders. There are some AWESOME Sense mods that speed things up ALOT and still give you all the features + some others. Its Android don't be such a pu$$y. I bricked my phone (hard brick) after trying to go to far and get S-off (not needed). I took it to Sprint and they said "Cool, we'll get you a new phone. What do you want? EVO LTE or S3??". Done

In terms of software, I always have the latest and greatest Android has to offer, as I buy nexus devices. We obviously have different tastes in software though, I think Sense is awful.

Chasing the latest and greatest in terms of hardware is always a losing battle.
But the tech specs in each phone do have weight on device selection, in relation to others phone specs that are available at the time of purchase. It's not the only factor, but it is a factor, especially when you consider the fact the BB10 runs Android based Apps and will be constrained the same way Android users are with older hardware. My nexus 4 will still blow BB10 app performance out of the water :)

That said I do think many users should give BB10 a try, though honestly people like me who love customizability, control or bleeding edge hardware aren't leaving Android for BB10.
But for average users, it's definitely worth a try, many users don't need to play graphic intense games or care about bleeding edge performance, they just want an easy to use, elegant UI and don't even download many apps. And honestly in my opinion the UI is much more elegant than WP8 or iOS

Overall I'm fairly impressed with BB10, I have a phone through work, normally they give out blackberries or windows phones for free, I hated Windows phone, but I'd be glad to get one of these for work.

It won't be replacing my personal phone, no way, no how. I love Android flexibility.
But it's a decent option for current blackberry users, seems fairly simple to use, might be an option for simpler users, the ability to easily port Android apps should mean that they could quickly overcome WP8 phones in terms of app availability and the UI is definitely better than WP8. I didn't have much hope for BB10, but from what I've seen, I have to say it's fairly impressive, especially given what their last phones were.

Once you go Black...berry.....
You might like the taste of an Apple,
But then you just crave a Jelly-Bean

So as long as you have no interest in customizing your phone, your world revolves around "messaging," and you're willing to except things the "BlackBerry way," as Kevin puts it, this is a great device.

RIM is about 3 years late and still behind the technology curve.

It looks to me that Blackberry will take the number 3 mobile OS. There will be about 70,000 apps in their app store at launch including many of the must have from Android and iOS. I hope Blackberry does well we need a third ecosystem just to make sure it is not a game of one upping the other OS with nothing really new other than hardware. As to the hardware, the processor is average but with a QNX based OS you don't need as much as you do for Android, iOS and WP8.

I think Blackberry is on the right track: even the name change from RIM to Blackberry shows that they recognize how out of touch they were. These phones certainly made me a take a second look at BB (I've had BB Curve and loved it before I was introduced to DINC). However, the phones, while competitive with Android and iphone, doesn't have the "wow" factor for me to switch.

Yes, I need the wow factor. Like a 5" touch screen or 4" screen with keyboard (all with 3000 mAh battery). Otherwise, why would I switch to something that gives me less than my Droid Maxx?

The other thing to consider is.. if this phone is successful, will Blackberry be able to compete with the other Manufacturers "a new phone every 6 months" speed to market. People are impatient. Doesn't matter how good the phone is, there needs to be another behind it.

I love how he was calling it the Z'ed10, until the very end wraps up by saying Z10. That's right, American way is the proper way.

Love bb, but it's just not enough to take me away from android right now; maybe in 1-2 years dependent upon how android is developing. I used to miss the bb email features and such, but ever since putting maildroid (expensive app) on my phone, I don't miss it at all. I will be doing my own physical test once they come to the carriers.

This takes me back to WebOS (undoubtedly someone has mentioned it above) and how beautifully the operating system was designed. I'm thrilled for RIM they have built a decent amount of hype around this product and their new OS and I hope it works out for them.

When Windows Phone OS came out, did it struggle like this with apps, does anyone know?

Gotta say.. It looks snappy as hell.. and buttery. Sure seems a lot smoother and quicker than my GNex running 4.2.. I hope RIM does well, it will be better in the end for all of us. More competition and new ideas is always a good thing. I hope Windows phones do well as well. I really want to try one out.

The power of the home button is that no matter what you do, you can always go back to a familiar place. This what makes people who are afraid of Smartphones, to like the iPhone and galaxy s.

I think the lack of buttons is back. Even the virtual buttons of the Nexus family is a mid solution for people