Mixed reviews for BlackBerry's new phones, diehard fans rejoice
By Rob Lever, AFP
February 1, 2013, 2:50 pm TWN
WASHINGTON -- The new BlackBerry got mixed reviews as the Canadian-based smartphone maker launched its bid for a comeback, while diehard "Crackberry" addicts cheered the new lineup.
Forums devoted to BlackBerry were abuzz after the launch of two sleek new handsets for the Canadian-based firm which at the same time rebranded itself as just BlackBerry, shedding its old name of Research In Motion.
The company, which inspired a cadre of loyal followers addicted to their smartphones long before Apple or Android devices, hoped to build confidence in the future of a company which some analysts said was on the brink of collapse.
But the touchscreen Z10 and its keyboard-equipped sibling dubbed Q10, the first phones operating on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, generated little enthusiasm from early reviewers.
Joshua Topolsky of the blog The Verge said the new Z10 "mimics the iPhone in more than a couple of ways" and described it as "a fine, handsome phone."
He added that the device "feels solid in your hand, and is inoffensive enough in its design that it won't really shock anyone," but lacked style.
"If BlackBerry wants to spark some kind of excitement about its new hardware design, this device won't get the job done," he said.
Cnet reviewer Jessica Dolcourt said the new BlackBerry 10 platform unveiled Wednesday "comes with many of the world-class features you'd demand" along with tools for security and business users.
But she said the new software "is riddled with perplexing omissions and behavioral inefficiencies that wear on you over time."
The new system requires many "taps and gestures" and takes time to get used to.
The new system got, perhaps unsurprisingly, a positive review from Crackberry.com, a website devoted to fans of the firm, and its followers.
"Though BlackBerry 10 has one foot in the past, it reaches out in new directions to finally meet competing platforms head-on," reviewer Simon Sage wrote.
"Saw the launch !! cant wait to get my hands on it!" wrote Nidhi Manohar on the Crackberry.com Facebook page just after the launch of the new devices for the BlackBerry 10 platform.
"The BlackBerry Z10 is finally here and we couldn't be more excited," wrote Crackberry editor Adam Zeis on the Crackberry blog, describing the new touchscreen device.
Some diehard BlackBerry fans expressed disappointment, either because the devices are still weeks away from launch in many countries, or because they expected something different.
Crackberry fan Steven Soutar wrote on Facebook: "At last, confirmed device but seriously - april is way too long to be waiting for this !!!!! Launch should mean launch, not delay."
(Related story on page 7)