Taking a swipe at the BlackBerry Z10

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iol scitech feb 14 BLACKBERRY Z10 AP Smartphones have become so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget how stunningly disruptive the arrival of the BlackBerry really was.

London - 4.2-inch display with a 1280 x 768 resolution, 356 ppi, Qualcomm dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB RAM, 8-megapixel back camera, 2-megapixel front camera, 16GB of storage, connectivity options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, MicroSD slot.

Like excited children, thousands of people finally unbox their new BlackBerry Z10s this week. The new BlackBerry 10 operating system was initially unveiled towards the end of 2011, but the BlackBerry Z10 phone, which was released in the UK January 31, is the first handset capable of running it. In the intervening year, BlackBerry has fallen behind smartphone competitors such as the iPhone, HTC and Samsung, as they released smarter operating systems, while BlackBerry was stuck with its outdated BB OS 7 platform. But the company is hoping the Z10 will put BlackBerry back on the map.

What is it?

The new phone from BlackBerry and the first to run its new operating system, BlackBerry 10.

Does it work?

Initially, no, it didn't. I had problems connecting with the Wi-Fi network at work, then when I did connect, the screen announcing I had successfully connected wouldn't go away and covered up everything else, including the guide to “essential gestures”, which shows you how to swipe the screen to make everything work. It took me a lot of mad swatting at the screen to figure it out.

iol scitech feb 14 BLACKBERRY Z102 BlackBerry is the 'must-have' phone for teenagers, free BBM (texts) between Blackberrys being the main drawcard. AP

There are no buttons on the front at all and there's no back button on screen, which is initially disorienting. You need to swipe from the bottom of the screen upwards to unlock the phone and access the home screen, and swipe from the top down to access menus in applications. If this is similar to the experience people have testing it out in the shop, it might put new consumers off the product.

After a few days, it gets easier to use and gliding between different screens and applications becomes smoother - BlackBerry has dubbed this gliding form of navigation “Flow”. On the upside, Flow made sharing very intuitive and quick; I could take a photo, attach it to an email and send it, in just three clicks. Fans of the BlackBerry physical keyboard will be disappointed with this model's on-screen keyboard, but the BlackBerry Q10, due out in April, will have the traditional Qwerty keypad.

Other features:

The speaker option With the Z10, you can be really far away from the microphone and still be clearly heard on calls

The BlackBerry Hub All texts, BBMs, emails and call history are visible in the same place

“Peek” This feature splits the screen so you can peek at your latest notifications without leaving the app you're in

Clever predictive text The phone quickly learns the words you frequently use and adapts its suggestions accordingly

Who's it for?

This new model acknowledges BlackBerry's growing teenage fan base, offering security features for businesspeople and a host of apps and entertainment for everyone else. - The Independent

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