RIM changed its name to BlackBerry and announced two new smartphones with an operating system wrote almost from scratch – BlackBerry 10 OS. The two smartphones are BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 and I though it would be nice to put them face to face with two of the most popular smartphones of the year. Both devices sold millions of units: Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.
I don’t think that BlackBerry will be capable of having the same success as Apple or Samsung anytime soon, but I’m glad to see that Z10 and Q10 are two smartphones orientated to the final client, making him wish to try the new products of the Canada-based company.
Let’s have a look at the technical specifications of all four smartphones that entered the competition.
BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2-inch display with a resolution of 1,280 x 768 pixels and 355 ppi. It is powered by a dual-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 processor on Krait architecture, comes with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage and microSD card support of up to 64 GB. The graphics processing tasks are handled by an Adreno 225 unit.
As you probably guessed, Z10 runs on BlackBerry 10 OS, while the connectivity features include LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, bluetooth 4.0, NFC, microUSB, 3.5 mm jack, and GPS.
The 8 megapixel camera on the back has autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, continuous autofocus, image stabilization, face detection, full HD video recording at 30 fps, while the front facing 2 megapixel camera records HD videos at 30 fps.
BlackBerry Z10 has an 1,800 mAh battery, is 9 mm thick and weighs in 137 grams.
The other smartphone launched by the Canada-based company is BlackBerry Q10, also running on BlackBerry 10 OS. The smartphone comes with a full QWERTY keyboard, weighs in 139 grams and it’s 10.4 mm thick. The camera is an 8 megapixel unit, with functions like autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, continuous autofocus, image stabilization, and face detection. A secondary camera is also present.
BlackBerry Q10 also comes with a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, this time a TI OMAP 4470 unit, with PowerVR SGX544 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage and microSD card slot. Q10 comes with 3G, WiFi in all standards, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, microUSB, 3.5 mm audio jack, and GPS.
Apple’s iPhone 5 is the biggest smartphone developed by the Cupertino-based company, packing a 4-inch LED-backlit IPS TFT with 1,160 x 640 pixels. iPhone 5 packs a dual-core 1.2 GHz Apple A6 processor helped by a PowerVR SGX543MP3 GPU, also sporting 1 GB of RAM, and 16/32/64 GB of internal storage.
Is running iOS 6 out of the box and comes with connectivity features worthy of a modern smartphone, 4G LTE, 3G, WiFi a/b/g/n, dual-band WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5 mm audio jack, and GPS, being the only smartphone of the four that doesn’t come with a NFC chip.
The iPhone 5’s camera has an 8 megapixel sensor with autofocus, LED flash, simoultaneous HD video and picture recording, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, panorama, HDR, 1080p video recording at 30 fps, video stabilization, and a user-facing 1.2 megapixel camera with HD video recording support.
iPhone 5 is only 7.5 mm thick, weighs in 112 grams, and has a 1,440 mAh battery.
Least, but not last, is the Samsung Galaxy S3, coming pre-loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and boasting a quad-core Exynos 4 Quad chipset based on four Cortex A9 cores cocked at 1.4 GHz and a Mali 400MP GPU.
Samsung Galaxy S3 has 1 GB of RAM, microSD card slot and three internal storage options: 16, 32, or 64 GB.
The connectivity features list includes 3G, 21 Mbps, WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB, GPS, and an audio jack.
The camera is pretty competent, being an 8 megapixel unit with autofocus, LED flash, full HD video recording, geo-tagging, image and video stablization, touch focus, face and smile detection, simoultaneous HD video and image recording. Galaxy S3 also has a 1.9 megapixel camera in the front.
The Samsung flagship has a weight of 133 grams, a profile of 8.6 mm and is powered by a 2,100 mAh battery.
Because it’s not all about the hardware specifications, but also about the way the operating system was design, how user-friendly it is, and the apps available in the store, we will continue and try to predict how BlackBerry will do against the competition.
BlackBerry has always bragged about its business clients and I guess the Canadians are willing to return in the segment, and steal some of the competition’s market share. I guess that BlackBerry Q10 might give them the boost they so desperately need, but it won’d be a game changer.
There are three aspects that will be crucial for Q10’s success on the market: the price and availability in carrier’s offers, the way the new operating system behaves and the apps available right from the start, and its battery life.
There are a lot of customers out there wishing for a high-end smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and, until now, there was no such terminal available on the market. Motorola and its Milestone stopped at the third generation, which only got on sale in The US, while the Europeans only received the first two gens. HTC announced last year that it won’t develop another physical keyboard smartphone and HTC Desire Z has no successor now.
BlackBerry Q10 manages to integrate both a physical QWERTY keyboard and a Super AMOLED display with a rare resolution 720 x 720 pixels, and all these in a smartphone that weighs in under 140 grams, being under 11mm thin.
The TI OMAP processor is one of the latest releases, as well as the GPU, and BlackBerry fitted 2 GB of RAM inside it.
As things stand Q10 might become a successful product, but it’s all about BlackBerry now and the three aspects I’ve talked about earlier.
In terms of hardware specifications, BlackBerry Z10 would be just another mid-range Android smartphone. BlackBerry chose one of Qualcomm’s most powerful processors, while the GPU is an Adreno 225 unit. We are talking about a hardware platform capable of providing enough processing power, but what matters most is how well BlackBerry 10 OS was optimized for dual-core CPUs.
The BlackBerry Z10 press photos look great, especially on white, but it’s not about what I believe, but about what the public wants.
Anyway, I’m eager to get my hands on the smartphone and return with more conclusions. It seems that RIM got its homework done this time. Still, there are a lot of hidden things out there, that will only surface after the smartphone hits the market.