By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 11, 2013 05:32 PM EST
BlackBerry has had a tough time staying relevant in today's competitive market, but it seems to have learned its lesson with its latest smartphone line-up.
Apple's iPhones and Android-based smartphones have made it more difficult for BlackBerry over the years, but the company formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM) has not given up. BlackBerry is now moving full-speed ahead, placing its bets on its newly launched operating system: the BlackBerry 10 (BB10). The new OS will show its worth on two new BlackBerry smartphones: the Z10 and the physical keyboard model Q10.
The BlackBerry Z10 is the new flagship smartphone for the struggling company, so here are the top five features that may help turn around BlackBerry's fortunes.
1. BlackBerry Hub
BlackBerry Hub is the new messaging center on the Z10 smartphone and within the BlackBerry 10 operating system. In other words, this "hub" is the core of the Z10's communications powers: all communication details, texts, instant messages, e-mails, and social networking accounts are funneled here, giving users a single place to find all their interaction. BlackBerry Hub is a powerful and convenient tool and it is highly customizable, allowing users to turn mailboxes on and off, or separate them for easier viewing.
The BlackBerry Z10 may not be the best and most gorgeous phone ever built, but the company has done a good job covering the basics. The 4.2-inch display offers enough real estate, the resolution is a decent 1280 x 768 with a pixel density of 365 pixels per inch (ppi), and the smartphone packs a powerful Qualcomm dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB of RAM under the hood. The Z10 also sports an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2-megapixel front shooter, 16GB of storage, removable battery and a microSD card slot for additional memory. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS.
3. BlackBerry Browser
The BlackBerry browser brings a refreshing update with the Z10, marking a notable improvement over older BlackBerry browsers. The browse supports both mobile-optimized and full-HTML Web sites, providing a seamless and efficient browsing experience. Moreover, the browser also supports private browsing and multiple tabs, which makes it more appealing.
4. Stock Keyboard
The BlackBerry Z10 is the company's very first device without the ubiquitous BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard which adorned all previous BlackBerry phones. The company spent a lot of time working to redefine the software keyboard for the Z10, and the results are reflective of that hard work. The new software keyboard is fluid, accurate, and responsive, and BlackBerry has done a very good job with word predictions. It may take a little getting used to, but the keyboard is ultimately easy to grasp and use, and allows for little to no editing. Word prediction can often be annoying, but with the new Z10 it is quite accurate and helpful.
5. Screen Sharing
BlackBerry showcased its new screen-sharing feature during the BB10 launch in New York, proving how fun it can be to share screens with other BB10 devices via the BlackBerry Messenger. Besides being fun, the feature can also prove to be very useful -- think of how much easier it would be for IT to solve issues if they can see exactly what's going on with the handset. Sharing space and seeing what another person is doing on his or her handset is a very new feature to the smartphone world, and gives BlackBerry a slight advantage.
All in all, the new BlackBerry Z10 is not the coolest, sexiest, highest-end smartphone to rock one's world, but it sports plenty of features to make it worthwhile. It is fast, responsive, elegant and fairly easy to use. Moreover, it offers plenty of flexibility, which is always a plus.
The Z10 has launched in the UK and Canada for now, but it will take longer to reach the U.S. The smartphone will hit U.S. store shelves sometime in March, with a $200 starting price.