Research in Motion -- now officially called BlackBerry -- has finally unveiled its two new phones, the first devices to run on its brand-new BlackBerry 10 operating system, built from the ground up to help BlackBerry better compete with smartphones from Apple and Samsung.
These two smartphones -- the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10, both of which were shown off for the first time at an event in New York on Wednesday morning -- have most of the tech world, as well as BlackBerry shareholders, asking: Has the venerable old BlackBerry offered enough value and novelty to customers to save the company? Will enough people buy the Z10 and Q10 over well-entrenched competitors like the iPhone 5, Galaxy S3 and Nexus 4?
Well, here's what BlackBerry is working with: It debuted two smartphones, one that's all touchscreen (the Z10) and one that has the traditional physical QWERTY keyboard (the Q10) that made RIM's bacon back in its heyday as well as a small touchscreen above the keyboard. Both are still going through carrier testing in America, but it seems like the Z10 will be out in March and the Q10 will be available in April. (In Canada, England and the European continent -- where BlackBerry is still quite popular -- both will be out in February).
Both phones will run BlackBerry 10, the operating system designed for one-thumb use that the company has been touting in events for the past several months. (You can read all about the new features, and watch several videos, of BlackBerry 10 on the official BB10 website here).
For now, let's focus on the phones themselves. First, let's look at the Z10, the device that will have to challenge the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 for the dollars of touchscreen-only smartphone shoppers. It ships with a 4.2-inch display, with a 1280 x 768 display resolution and 356 ppi -- a better resolution than the iPhone 5. It boasts a beefy 2GB RAM, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 16GB of storage, with a MicroSD slot to expand storage. The rear camera is 8 megapixels, and the front camera is 2 megapixels. The phone also includes an NFC chip for "bumping" content, and it is a 4G LTE device.
The Z10 weighs 136 grams -- heavier than the iPhone 5 (112 grams) but roughly the same mass as the Galaxy S3 (133 grams). Overall, though, based on specs alone, the Z10 compares favorably with the hardware of other top-tier smartphones running iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The BlackBerry obsessives at CrackBerry have the complete specs, and our friends at Engadget have an early review of the phone.
Here, meanwhile, is BlackBerry's advertisement for the Z10:
More familiar to BlackBerry addicts is the Q10, which comes with a touchscreen display as well as a QWERTY keyboard. Like the Z10, the Q10 sports an ample 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB expandable storage. The touchscreen is 3.1 inches and has 330ppi -- still high-resolution. TechCrunch, which like HuffPost is owned by AOL, has an early hands-on look at the Q10, complete with several high-resolution photos.
We'll update with more complete specs later, when RIM makes them available; for now, here's BlackBerry's teaser ad for its Q10:
We're still waiting on American pricing information and availability for both devices; again, we're hearing $199 on contract for the Z10, to be released in the U.S. some time in March, while the Q10 will be released in April.