BlackBerry’s BBM Users: You Can Now Retract Messages And Pictures From Recipients

BlackBerry has launched a new BBM release on iOS, Android and BlackBerry smartphones which has enhanced privacy and control features that allow them to take control over the messages and content that they share without any subscription fees.

BBM users can ‘Retract’ their message and pictures from recipients to take them back from their phone if they were sent as a mistake, or if they no longer wish them to be accessible.

Plus, by setting a timer, users can control how long contacts can view messages and pictures that have been shared or communicate their location for only as long as they want to.

Other major features include:

  • Choose if users want pictures taken within BBM chats saved to their device
  • Video sharing improvements for iOS users
  • Redesigned chat screen look and feel on iOS
  • Multi-select mode to allow multiple messages to be deleted, retracted, or forwarded at once on iOS
  • Retract and edit messages in group chats on BlackBerry 10
  • Retract chat – retract all sent messages when you end a chat on BlackBerry 10
  • Marshmallow (Android 6.0) support

BlackBerry To Buy Crisis-Communication Firm AtHoc

Blackberry has announced that it is acquiring AtHoc, a company that develops emergency alert systems for government agencies, military bodies and other organisations.

BlackBerry Logo

AtHoc’s software platform is designed for the exchange of information in real-time, but for entities that are transacting potentially critical and sensitive information between devices.

The platform supports multiple devices and platforms, including iOS, Android, PCs, Macs, radios, IP phones, sirens, fire panels and even speakers.

The move to purchase AtHoc shows how BlackBerry is continuing to cater to government agencies, while the company will also gain a bevy of marquee customers.

Blackberry says AtHoc’s platform will be used as a starting point for application development in the future. New apps might integrate AtHoc with BBM Meetings for example.

The acquisition fits perfectly into Blackberry’s previous buyouts such as secure file share and sync service WatchDox and mobile security company Secusmart.

The company is improving its enterprise prowess by focusing on the one thing it’s great at – security. Moreover, with Blackberry’s tie up with Google, it finally should have a platform to bring its great features to users.

Blackberry Teams Up With Google For An Enterprise Ready Version Of Android OS

Blackberry has teamed up with Google to bring a more secure version of Android to business users. The partnership will create a more enterprise-ready version of Android OS with the security features of BES12 integrated into Android 5.0 Lollipop and Google Play for Work.

Blackberry Android

The move is a big win for both parties as Google might finally be able to break into the enterprise market where Blackberry once ruled and Apple is now dominant. Blackberry, on the other hand can to some extent stop worrying about building its own platform.

Essentially, users will get the same level of security that Blackberry devices are renowned for while also having access to Google’s vast app library and other great functionalities of Android OS.

The announcement also gives wings to the rumoured Blackberry device running Android OS which could just be the device that saves the Canadian company’s ailing hardware unit.

14% of All BlackBerry World Apps are from India [Interview]

Canadian phone maker BlackBerry has multiple battlefronts open. While rumors of a potential sale linger around the company, In India, a market where it has lost market share to rivals, the company is trying to claw its way back up again. The company has also been working on increasing the number of developers on its new BB10 platform. “A quick study of BlackBerry World shows that of the 160,000 apps, 14% are from India while seven of the top 20 downloaded apps in India are locally made,” Prosenjit Sen, Director, Channel Sales, BlackBerry India said in an interview with NextBigWhat. Edited excerpts.

On the whole what trends are you seeing in the Indian smartphone market and how does BlackBerry fit in there?

Prosenjit-Sen-BlackBerry-India
Prosenjit Sen, Director, Channel Sales, BlackBerry India

There are a few key things that differentiate the Indian market from the rest of the world. Today, India has among the lowest cellular tariffs in the world and is therefore also the fastest growing telecom market globally. The country still lacks healthy internet penetration which creates a huge opportunity for increased smartphone penetration. These factors combined have given rise to several trends that we believe BlackBerry, with its wide range of smartphones across both the BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS smartphones, is well positioned to leverage. Some of these are:

Across industries, last mile penetration has been problematic. With the proliferation of smartphones, companies are able to roll out services that users are can access on their mobile phones. Mobile banking is a great example of this but increasingly we’re seeing applications developed uniquely for India such as those that provide farmers with updated information on grain prices etc.

The youth of India, with their propensity to purchase smartphones combined with their prolific use of social media platforms and the use of smartphone cameras makes them the biggest consumers of new and interesting applications.

Also a unique trend in the Indian market is the fact that several subscribers have more than a single device. The motivation is to separate the personal from the professional. BlackBerry Balance on BlackBerry 10 enables BlackBerry smartphones to be used for business and personal purposes without compromise.

BlackBerry with its offerings has a play in all of these segments of the Indian market.

Going by the current market share, BlackBerry is a shadow of what it was before. From more than 10% market share it is now around 3%. How do you plan to regain lost ground?

BlackBerry is picking up cues from the past and gearing up for what we see as a very promising and positive future. The BlackBerry 10 smartphones have helped us garner a lot of positive market sentiment and the most recent launch i.e. BlackBerry Q5 smartphone has been a success. That’s said we also have a robust roadmap for BlackBerry OS 7 smartphones. Another element that we firmly believe will be the cornerstone of the future, is services across both the consumer as well as enterprise spaces. We have compelling propositions in both segments and while consumer services such as BBM and the upcoming cross platform BBM and BBM Channels will drive adoption in that segment, the enterprise space is quite exciting as well. Our offerings for BYOD, Secure Workspace, Remote File Access etc. are great productivity enhancement tools.

An easy way would be to target the bottom end, but you hardly have any phones in that segment except for the older Curve which is perhaps not an attractive proposition in comparison with Android & Windows phones with newer operating systems. How do you propose to go about this?

We have robust roadmaps for BlackBerry 10 as well as BlackBerry 7 devices which will allow us to cater to a wide segment including the mass market for first time smartphone buyers. A great example is the BlackBerry Q5 smartphone that has already created waves in the mid-market segment and you can expect to hear a lot more from us through the remainder of this year.

Could you tell us the rationale behind this bringing key services like Secure Work Space and BBM to other platforms?

BBM has been a key differentiator for BlackBerry in many markets globally and by opening this up to other platforms, we’re creating a world of opportunity for ourselves in terms of being able to create new business models around services. The same applies to enterprise services like Secure Work Space as well.

The Indian government had issues with BlackBerry services and security concerns. It has been reported that this has been settled. Please share details of how it ended and what access is given to the Government.

We are pleased to inform you that BlackBerry has now delivered a solution that enables India’s wireless carriers to address their lawful access requirements for our consumer messaging services, which include BBM and Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) email. The lawful access capability now available to BlackBerry’s carrier partners meets the standard required by the Government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace. We also wish to underscore, once again, that this enablement of lawful access does not extend to Blackberry Enterprise Server.

What is BlackBerry’s current situation in the enterprise space?

The BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) has been the cornerstone of secure enterprise communications in the past and continues to be so even now. We have a massive installed base in India where customers continue to swear by its efficacy and security.

Our latest offering BES 10 offers multi-platform device management, thus making BYOD a reality for our existing customers as well as providing potential customers with a value proposition that combines the convenience of bringing personal devices to the work place and manage them with our world-class enterprise security.

BlackBerry 10 received its FIPS 140-2 Security Certification prior to its official unveiling. We’ve worked very closely with CIOs when we worked on the OS and are receiving positive reactions for BB10 from the CIO community as well.

As business needs are dynamic, we at BlackBerry will continue to innovate and offer best in class enterprise services and solutions to our customers globally and here in India.

Since BB10 is priced at a premium, what are the plans for BB7 and what features can we expect to come to the older platform?

BlackBerry OS 7 platform will co-exist along with our latest BlackBerry 10 platform. With our focus on the urban youth, we have to ensure that we are targeting not just seasoned smartphone users but also first time adopters and the mass market. The newer devices on the BlackBerry OS 7 platform will offer all of the older features but with an enhanced user experience that is much like the BlackBerry 10 platform.

Could you tell us some of the BlackBerry initiatives to draw customers and keep them engaged?

Our focus in terms of attracting and engaging customers has been on educating audiences about device USPs.

Industry estimates reveal that the age group of 15-24 are the highest number of social media users in India. This is made more interesting by the fact that 60% of social networking traffic comes from non-metro cities in India. Given BlackBerry’s focus on the youth at large, we’ve put a lot of time and effort in building our social media presence.

BlackBerry has been losing developers to iOS & Android in India over a period of time. How do you plan to stop this?

The fact is that our developer base has grown exponentially. We had 4,000 odd developers a couple of years ago which stands at over 49,000 today developing across BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS 7 platforms. Our Rubus Labs at the Start-up village in Kochi is a testament to that, as is the fact that some of the most interesting innovations in app development are coming from developers developing on the BlackBerry 10 platform.

A quick study of BlackBerry World shows that of the 160,000 apps, 14% are from India while seven of the top 20 downloaded apps in India are locally made. This is quite significant for BlackBerry from a global as well as local market perspective.

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» If you are an app developer, come over for bigMobilityConf (scheduled for Aug 31st). Lot more insights on app ecosystem will be shared by Industry bigwigs.

BlackBerry Q5 May Just Keep The Loyalists From Jumping The Ship [Review]

 

blackberry-q5--1

When BlackBerry announced the BlackBerry Z10 at the beginning of the year, it left its QWERTY roots as it went it with an all touchscreen smartphone to showcase its latest operating system BlackBerry 10. A couple of months later it also introduced the BlackBerry Q10, the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone with a Qwerty keypad. But both these phones are priced pretty high at above Rs 40k in India.

The third BB10 phone they released was the BlackBerry Q5 and this phone was priced at Rs 24,990 when it was officially unveiled in India, a couple of weeks back. We got one of them for review and see if this is the first BB10 that could have a mass appeal and also keep BlackBerry loyalists from jumping ship.

Boring Design But gets Form Factor Right

With the Q5, BlackBerry has not done much to impress in the design department. Even when compared to the old Curve series and the premium Q10, this looks a tad boring but it gets its form factor right.

As with the Q10 and the Z10, you would find the find the volume rocker, which doubles as buttons for the camera when in the camera mode, on the right hand side. On the top is the power/lock button and a 3.5 mm audio out. On the left side, towards the top half is the microUSB port. There is no microHDMI port, and also a flap where one will find the microSIM and microSD card slots. The back cover and thus the battery is not removable, a first for BlackBerry. We are not really fans of phones without removable covers as battery is always something of a concern.

The Q5 comes with a 5 megapixel 1080p HD camera with an LED flash at the back and a 2 megapixel 720p HD front camera. An LED indicator is at the top of the front display which is perfect so that you don’t have to keep switching on the screen to see if you have received something.

The back is smooth and fits perfectly in the hand. Unfortunately there is no grip so it could slip easily from your hands. The phone is quite light also at 120 grams and when it comes to dimensions it is 4.72-inches tall, 2.59-inches wide and 0.42-inches deep and is definitely a lot more compact than most smartphones available in the market today.

The Q5 Keyboard is the Star

Blackberry-keyboard

For those that want to stick on with a physical keyboard, the Q5 is your best bet. Though the keys are not as great as the ones on the Q10, it gets the job done very well and is actually even better than the Curve keyboard. The keys are well spaced out and the keys are soft to tap and if you have loads of emails and chats this keyboard would be perfect for you. For those switching from the older Blackberries you will still find all your faithful shortcuts here.

Performance of the Q5

The Q5 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1.2 GHz dual-core CPUs and comes with 2GB of RAM. This engine is more than enough to power BlackBerry 10 and you will find no signs of lag while using this phone. The phone does come with just 8GB of internal storage so picking up a microSD card to supplement this would be a good option if you like to carry a lot of media around.

BB10 on the Q5 is Fast and Fluid

You can check out our full review of BB10, the new operating system from BlackBerry here. It works almost flawlessly on the Q5. The Flow user interface is gesture based and designed for single handed use. The operating system does take a bit of getting used to but after a few days it will be a breeze for anyone.

The highlight of BB10 is definitely the BlackBerry Hub which pulls in all your communication into one place including email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Talk, Foursquare, calls, voice mail and any app which supports it.

Q5 Camera Disappoints

The Q5 sports a 5 megapixel rear camera with a LED flash that is capable of recording in 1080p and there’s a 2 megapixel front camera, capable of recording in 720p. Unfortunately the quality of pictures do not live up the specifications.

The camera is also very basic with just a few shooting options like Normal, HDR, Stabilisation and Burst mode. It also comes with the TimeShift features which captures multiple images in a burst and then detects faces in the picture and allows you to choose the best profile shot of each person in the picture with a simple zoom and toggle option. There is a built-in photo editor app which has a few good options for post-processing.

Photo quality is average in good light. Colors are well defined. Indoors it is a different story and pictures turn out very grainy. With the flash on pictures turned out pretty average indoors.

Battery on the Q5 is Non-Removable but Lasts Long

The battery is a very important deciding factor when one goes to buy a smartphone. The Q5 has a 2180 mAh battery, which is non-removable. Due to the capacity and also the smaller screen size, the battery on the Q5 is pretty good and actually got us through the 24 hour mark easily, with our email accounts, social networks synced and a couple of hours of calls. We would put this has definitely one of the selling points of the Q5.

Apps: BlackBerry World is Still Disappointing

The big issue plaguing operating systems other than Android and iOS, is the app ecosystem. While the BlackBerry World is still growing in terms of number of apps it is still missing big names like Instagram, Google Maps, Flipboard etc. A good replacement for Google Maps is the MapMyIndia maps solution which comes free with the Q5.

BB10 allows for porting of Android apps, so you could find a number of apps in the app store which are not native. These apps do not function as well as they should and we are hoping that app developers release native apps soon for the BB10 platform.

Conclusion: BlackBerry Can Live to Fight Another Day

 

While Android phones at this price range do come with better specs, the Q5 feels more solidly built than phones in this range. The OS also performs a lot better. The roadblock to its adoption is unfortunately the apps, and that is one thing that we don’t see changing for the foreseeable future.

The Q5 without all its fluff is definitely good for productivity especially with the BlackBerry Hub and also Docs to Go integration.

An important question for BlackBerry to ask itself is whether there is still a sizable market for phones with physical QWERTY keyboards. Even they chose to go ahead with the all touch Z10 first. Even in emerging markets like India, media consumption on devices is high and people prefer bigger screens as can be seen with the success of phablets like the Note 2 in the country.

If you’re someone who still loves to type of the physical keyboard, as we have said before look no further than the Q5. Considering that there are no other mid range devices with a keyboard, the Q5 will definitely cater to a small niche market. And with the Z10 and the Q10 being priced exorbitantly, if you are someone who wants to remain in the BlackBerry ecosystem and wait while the app ecosystem matures, we think the Q5 is definitely for you.

Pros

Great battery life

BlackBerry Hub brings all your communication together

Great physical keyboard

Cons

OS is completely gesture based so takes a bit of getting used to

Screen ratio is a problem while watching videos and browsing the web

Camera is average

Recommended Read: BlackBerry Z10 ReviewBlackBerry Q10 Review

Can BlackBerry Q5 Aimed at the Masses at Rs 24,990 Save BlackBerry?

blackberry--q5

BlackBerry has officially unveiled the BlackBerry Q5 in India today. The mobile phone manufacturer has priced the device at Rs 24,990 and it will be available in stores starting tomorrow. The smartphone will be available in black, pure white and red.

This is the cheapest BlackBerry 10 device. The all touch screen Z10 was priced at Rs 43,490 and the premium keyboard Q10 is priced at Rs 44,990.

Like the Q10, the Q5 will have a QWERTY keyboard, but will be in full plastic chassis that is similar to the Curve range of smartphones. The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core processor in the Q5 is clocked at 1.5 GHz and is the same one has the Z10 and Q10. It even has 2GB of RAM and has a 3.1-inch LCD display with 720×720 pixel resolution.

It has a 5 megapixel rear camera and 8GB of internal memory, with a microSD card slot that can support 64GB of storage. It has a 2,180 mAh battery and if the Q10 is anything to go by this should also give great battery life.

BBM Voice Now Available to All BB Users

BlackBerry announced that BBM Voice will now be available for all users running BB 5 and upwards. It allows users to enjoy free voice calls over Wi-Fi via BBM. BBM Video is already available on all devices running BB10.

Can The Q5 Save BlackBerry?

BlackBerry will be counting on the Q5 to lift its failing fortunes especially in emerging markets like India. It has slipped out of the top 5 smartphone makers which is dominated by Android manufacturers like Samsung and local OEMs like Micromax and Karbonn.

With the variety of colors and the Qwerty keyboard this phone is probably targeted at the connected urban youth who are now all carrying Android and iOS devices and using apps like WhatsApp and WeChat to message each other.

The once number one smartphone maker unveiled its all new BlackBerry 10 OS in January this year as it sought to make a dent in Android and iOS device sales.

BlackBerry has a loyal set of customers which are addicted to the device because of its QWERTY keyboards and also because of its enterprise services. BlackBerry recently announced that it would be bringing its enterprise solution in the form of Secure Work Space to Android and iOS devices and is also expected to bring BlackBerry Messenger to both operating systems within the next couple of months.

When we reviewed both the Z10 and Q10 we found the devices to be a bit pricey and were hoping that BlackBerry would have priced the device lower so has to attract consumers and developers to its operating system.

Priced at Rs 24,990 we think BlackBerry has hit the middle ground the pricing, especially for a device that has a lot of the same internals like the Q10. But considering this is still a new operating system which is maturing, we feel BlackBerry should have priced it at the sweet spot of Rs 20,000.

BlackBerry Unveils Q5 for Emerging Markets; Releases BB 10.1 Update for Z10

BlackBerry has unveiled its latest BlackBerry BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Q5. The Q5 is a QWERTY device aimed at emerging markets like India.  This will be the third phone running the latest QNX-based software, alongside the touch-screen BlackBerry Z10 and the keyboard-enabled Q10.

blackberry--q5

The Q5 sports a 3.1-inch 720×720 capacitive touchscreen display (similar to that on the Q10) and a physical QWERTY keyboard that is very similar to that of the Curve. It is slated to hit select markets outside of the US beginning in July and will be available in black, white, red and pink. Pricing was not disclosed.

While the phone will be priced in the mid range it will include all the features of BB10.

There will be Instant Action shortcuts on the keyboard to help you perform tasks faster. All the camera software present on the Z10 and Q10, like BlackBerry Time Shift mode and BlackBerry Story Maker will be integrated into the phone.

Users will be able to share and be seen with BBM Video with screen share and the all new BlackBerry Hub which allows users to simply peek and view all messages and social conversations with one swipe will also be there.

Although BlackBerry announced that the BlackBerry World now has 1,20,000 apps, a lot of the popular apps are still unfortunately missing.

Looking at the design of the phone we can say that BlackBerry is targeting the youth, especially college students with this phone.

BlackBerry announces BB 10.1 OS update for Z10 users

If you are a Blackberry Z10 user, you should have the BB 10.1 OS update rolling out to you soon. The update brings various improvements to the Z10.

The BlackBerry Hub now supports PIN to PIN messages for direct communication between BlackBerry smartphones. There is also improved attachment support in the BlackBerry Hub.

BlackBerry 10.1 lets users personalize the notifications for your accounts and contacts by allowing them to customize ringtones, vibration and the LED light.

The update makes it easier and more accurate to pinpoint exactly where you want to type.

The camera also got various updates including improvements to the Time Shift mode and addition of an HDR shooting mode.

The BlackBerry 10 OS also now supports landscape support for the calendar, easier international dialing and improved red eye reduction in the picture editor.

To update your BlackBerry Z10 smartphone to BlackBerry 10.1 look for the alert in the notifications section of the BlackBerry Hub. You can also check for software updates through the settings menu by visiting the software updates section. For more information on updating your BlackBerry Z10, visit www.BlackBerry.com/update

Recommended Read: BlackBerry Z10 Review

SEBI Wants to Track Conversations on WhatsApp, BBM

sebi-trackWith the increase in the usage of services like WhatsApp  and BBM, across sectors for various purposes, it looks like another watchdog wants to put a muzzle on the communication services.

This time, it is the market regulator SEBI, which is mulling steps to check risks posed by new-age mobile applications like BBM and WhatsApp, reports PTI.  SEBI says that these messaging services are being used by manipulators to spread sensitive information about their target stocks.

SEBI says it is already tracking discussions regarding the markets on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and already has software tools in place to monitor this. A recent report suggested that the market regulator was  going to issue guidelines to companies on using social media to disseminate company information,

But, BBM and WhatsApp are posing multi-level difficulties to track the spread of market-sensitive information, since the transmission of messages through these platforms happen in a highly encoded manner.

SEBI says that its investigations have proved that these services were used in a number of insider trading and market manipulation cases.

While the use of Facebook and Twitter by market manipulators started a couple of years back, tracking this was easy due to the public nature of the platforms. After the culprits discovered that was being monitored they started using BBM and WhatsApp. The free messaging services available on these platforms seem to have added to their attractiveness among the manipulators.

Last year, the government and BlackBerry (formerly research in motion), where in discussions and negotiations to track communications  from BlackBerry devices. The government threatened to halt all BB services in the country which led to the company setting up servers in the country. Last month, BlackBerry agreed to share information with the government if requested.

What does this mean? Well, even other text messaging apps like Hike/Plustxt etc could come under the lens and currently, the entire tracking is based on one’s traction (and NOT the legal guidelines, which unfortunately do not exist).

What are your thoughts?

BlackBerry Z10 Review: Part 1 – Hardware & Camera

BlackBerry-coverWhen BlackBerry finally took the covers of its much awaited and much delayed operating system, BlackBerry 10, in January this year, the whole world was waiting to see what the former number one smartphone maker had in store for its loyal customers. Along with the release of the new OS, BlackBerry also unveiled its latest flagship phone – the Z10, which came as a bit of shock as a full touch screen device. The company which made the Qwerty keyboard popular said they would only be releasing the physical keyboard device, the Q10, in the middle of the year. The Z10 has found its way to the Indian market even before it was officially on sale in the US and some European markets. We take a look at BlackBerry 10 and Z10 to see if BlackBerry has done enough to retain its customers and also draw new ones from iOS and Android.

The review is in three parts. The first part deals with mainly the hardware and camera of the Z10.

Hardware

The first thing that anyone says when they look at the Z10 is that it looks like an iPhone. Well that may be stretching it a bit far but there is a very close resemblance. It is also long and narrow with rounded corners and flat edges. But unlike the iPhone you will not find any physical buttons on the front.

With dimensions of 130 x 65.6 x 9 mm and weighing in at a comfortable 135 g, the Z10 fits well into pockets. We like the fact that BlackBerry kept the phone at this size and did not try to join the me too big phone crowd.

The front has an edge-to-edge 4.2-inch glass screen, though the screen when on display does not fill the entire area. There is a very tiny bezel.  There is also a speaker on the top along with a sensor array and a 2 megapixel front facing camera.

The Z10’s 4.2-inch LCD display has a 1280×768-pixel WXGA HD resolution (355ppi when compared with the iPhone 5’s 326ppi density). While lettering is fine and crisp and you do get deep colors, we found ourselves keeping the screen at maximum brightness to get the best out the screen. In terms of quality, we prefer the screen on the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3. It has excellent viewing angles and is quite visible even outdoors in the sunlight. One major flaw with the screen is that it  is a fingerprint magnet, so keep a cloth in handy.

The back is a textured plastic, which we found out really helps in making the phone better to hold.  The big BlackBerry logo on the back serves an additional purpose of being the NFC antenna. You will also find the 8-megapixel camera as well an LED flash at the top left hand corner.

On top of the phone you will find the power button as well as a 3.5-mm stereo headset jack. The bottom has a speaker port which produces very nice sound at respectable volume levels.

The left side of the phone has a micro-HDMI out port and a micro-USB port for charging and data transfer. We found this to be very inconvenient and would have preferred it at the bottom or top of the phone. It makes the phones a bit difficult to use if you have the micro-USB port plugged in.

On the right side you will find the volume rockers which is spaced by a button which serves as the voice command button as well as the play/pause button. To take a screenshot one has to press both volume buttons simultaneously. If you’re in camera mode, pressing either one snaps a picture.

On removing the back panel, which is very easy to detach, one will find a long narrow 1800 mAh battery and a microSD slot which supports up to 64GB. To insert the SIM card one would have to remove the battery. The phone needs a micro SIM. The phone comes with 16GB of on-board memory.

Overall we found the hardware to be pretty good and loved the size of the device which made it easy for one-hand use especially for a device that is highly gesture based.

Camera

The BlackBerry Z10 comes well equipped in the camera department, with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera. A  single LED flash accompanies the camera on the back of the Z10, and the handset is capable of shooting 1080p video.

The camera app can be accessed in a number of ways. The first is the shortcut on the lock screen where you hold down on the camera icon to launch the app. It can also be opened by selecting the icon from the app list or by tapping the camera on the home screen dock.

The camera does load up fast. The camera app like most other apps on BB10 is very basic. There is not fancy photo sphere or panorama options. The shutter speed is rapid but there is no dedicated button and one has to click on the screen to click a picture. One can also use either volume button to click a picture. There is no tap to focus but auto focus which is there takes time to settle.

The setting menu does not offer much options. Just toggles for the flash, front/rear camera and aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3) along with three shooting modes (normal, stabilisation and burst) and four scene modes (action, whiteboard, night and beach or snow).

There’s a 5x digital zoom which is controlled by pinching the screen on the BlackBerry Z10. The digital zoom does not work well and pictures get pixelated badly the closer in you get.

Image quality is pretty, especially when we compared it with images taken from the S3 which also has a 8-megapixel camera. Images taken where there was a lot of light came out quite well. But in low-light situations, the images were not up to the mark. There was a lot of noise and the images turned out very grainy. The flash is quite strong but one can notice a lot of noise even on pictures clicked with it on.

The highlight of the camera app is a feature called Time Shift. Time Shift is a feature for BlackBerry 10 where you can take a photo of a person or a group of people the Z10 and adjust the picture so that you have the right frame.

Once you click a picture with this mode, each individual face will be highlighted. You can then press on any face after taking the picture and a disc will appear on the screen with that person’s close up in it and a slider below. Move the slider left and right and you’ll see the BlackBerry Z10 has captured the face before and after as well as during the time the shutter was pressed. This enables you to fine tune each person’s face to ensure everyone is smiling and has their eyes open. We can say that this feature worked flawlessly but unfortunately it does not work with the flash on. This feature after first making its appearance at the first demo of BB10 has now made its way to other phones like the Nokia Lumia 920, the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.

You check out some sample images clicked withe the Z10 below.

Media Performance

bb-mediaplayer

Audio playback on the Z10 was pretty decent though we definitely think that it could be improved a lot to be on par with other devices in its price range. The Audio player app is very basic and does not have options to tweak audio output with settings like bass boost. Built-in EQ presents for customization of sound are also. The library feature lists songs in the following categories – artists, albums and genres, list of all songs is missing.

There is video support for most popular formats, but not all. It does not support . MKV, .MOV and .WMV, so you are going to have to keep that video converter handy before you transfer files to any BB10 device. The display does shine when videos are played because of its high PPI and bright display.

We had a small problem with the way videos are displayed as they show only thumbnails and not the name of the file. To find the file name one would have to use the file manager app to locate the name.

Call Quality

Call quality was very average with the receiver constantly saying that we sounded muffled. We also thought that the audio was a little low and had to turn the volume up to hear properly. We found the ringtones to be decently loud and the vibration was perfectly strong. Network pick up was a bit disappointment in areas with low network coverage like basement parking lots.

In the second part of the review we take a look at the brand new software of BlackBerry – BlackBerry 10 and in the final part we look at the app situation as well as other BlackBerry services like BBM, Protect and Balance, and also offer our verdict on the Z10.

Insights into consumer mobile OS preferences [ Appnomy ]

The mobile OS war is hot as ever right now and this is the most promising time for aspiring app developers. The smartphone revolution is sweeping the world with phones becoming cheaper to purchase not to mention all the apps available out there. Even though there are a huge number of apps already available, the rising number of smartphones means that there is still a lot of money to be made developing apps for smartphones. Picking the right platform to concentrate on may just prove to be the most critical decision a developer may have to make. Depending on what the objective of the app developer is, a number of factors are involved in making this decision, today let’s take a look at some of the figures on consumer preference published in a study by ChangeWave Research. Although the study was conducted to focus mainly on North America, it should be noted that a major percentage of app purchases come from this geographic area.

Mobile OS preference:

image

  • Apple iOS remains the number one preference for buyers – with 46% of those planning to buy a smart phone in the next 90 days saying they prefer to have the Apple iOS on their new phone, up 2-pts since the March survey.
  • Second in the North American market, the Android OS (32%) has registered a slight uptick (up 1-pt) in terms of future buyer preference.
  • Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS (4%; down 1-pt) has once again hit its lowest level ever in a ChangeWave survey.

OS Customer Satisfaction.

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  • 70% of customers using the iOS saying they are Very Satisfied.
  • Android OS ranks second, with half (50%) of its users saying they’re Very Satisfied.
  • The positive for Microsoft here is that 57% customers say they are Very Satisfied with its Windows Phone7 OS compared to only 14% for Windows Mobile OS (14%). The higher Windows Phone 7 rating has yet to produce a sustained momentum boost for Microsoft in term of buyer preferences.

You can view the report here

RIM Launches BlackBerry App World in India

RIM has launched Blackberry app in India, enabling Blackberry users to use India specific apps on their phone. Few specific India apps include Hungama MyPlay, CNBC TV18 Moneycontrol, Mundu Radio and Arrowmatics.

hungama appstore blackberry

Also, RIM and Adobe have announced integration with Adobe’s platform, enabling developers to build rich content services and BlackBerry Widgets that leverage the latest runtime environments, APIs and network services through Adobe’s design and development tools. (details here)

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