At a private press session today in Singapore, BlackBerry’s country director for Singapore, Charles Dufourcq, said that their newest and sleekest Q10 will be slated for release in the city-state this end-May. He also revealed that retail pieces will go at S$898 (US$731) including GST, and all three local telcos will be involved.
Q10 marks the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone to sport a classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. That being said, it isn’t exactly a feat – BlackBerry launched their first BlackBerry 10 device in February, the Z10. If you absolutely cannot stand physical keypads, then the Z10 allows you to get all touchy-feely with their full no-buttons phone.
However, what is really commendable here is BlackBerry’s ability to change and adapt, instead of clinging on to its title of a QWERTY phone with a normal screen or blindly following the trend of touch screen phones. That’s no way to catch up. But what we see is that BlackBerry is definitely making a comeback. Charles agreed, “We were surprised by our level of success in terms of sales … support, and number of people that switched.”
Formerly known as Researcin-in-Motion (RIM), BlackBerry boasts the Q10 will be all about new features and functionalities. The new hardware is impressive — the smartphone fits in my palm at 119.6 millimeters and weighs just 139 grams, and has a battery life of up to 13.5 hours of talk time while on 3G. The new software doesn’t disappoint, either. BlackBerry has updated their OS to 10.1, and this means more enhancements for the Hub, Camera, Phone, Calendar and Notifications functions.
One latest enhancement BlackBerry is rolling out is “Instant Action” which is ideal for people who want everything at their finger tips. So, you want to email your colleague, James. From the home screen, simply type “email James” and you will see the option to compose an email to said contact. And that isn’t just for emails. you can do all sorts of instant actions with “bbm”, “sms”, “call” or keywords developers are still generating with BlackBerry apps.
The Q10 will also see BlackBerry changing their usual curved keyboard to a straight one, which Charles said would make typing effortless. But besides typing, one improvement we saw at the session was the recognition of Chinese handwriting on the screen itself. The demonstration wowed everyone present; while the handwriting was all scribbles and nothing like Chinese calligraphy, the recognition picked up on every word very accurately – almost 99 percent. The demonstrator explained that he was of the previous generation, and handwriting would work better for him as it is something he is used to.
While the smartphone will roll out in the city-state this end-May, Singapore is not the first country in Asia to receive the Q10. Charles added that Malaysia will see retail pieces first, followed by Singapore. He also said that all three Singaporean telcos, Singtel, StarHub, and M1 will be on board.
For the specifications of the new Q10, check out: http://www.blackberry.com/blackberryq1/