...at the end of the day...
Yes, something cool happened today.
Forget that the launch presentation didn't cover everything it could. Forget that we didn't hear more about PlayBook updates or future devices. Forget that not every single app on the wish list got announced. Forget (somehow) that the US market is getting the Z10 somewhat later than the rest of the developed world. Something very cool happened today.
RIMBlackBerry launched an awesome product this morning. One that we've all eagerly anticipated. One that many feared wouldn't see the light of day. I know almost all of this community has had no direct experience with the Z10 or BB10 in general, and may have their doubts that this has been worth it. Similarly, there are many tonight who likely question BlackBerry's management for deciding to proceed on their own instead of just closing up shop and liquidating a year ago. What I can tell you is that they really did know what they were doing.
BlackBerry spent a lot of money in the last year doing two things: making sure BB10 would be a great platform and engaging developers as much as humanly possible. They made me a developer when I'd reached a point where I thought I'd let the chance pass me by. They did their best to keep in touch with their community.
At the end of the day, there is a pretty cool new phone that is now hitting the market, and this community had at least some part in getting it to the finish line. BlackBerry World literally FLOODED with new apps last night, and there's already plenty of reviews (despite the fact that there's likely less than 15k BB10 devices activated worldwide as I write this). Some of them are really good.
I think what prompted me to write this tonight was two unrelated things that came out of the New York Times today. Tonight, I downloaded their new BB10 app to my Dev Alpha, and I was "charmed" by the quality of the design (I'm pretty sure it's a full-blown Cascades app). I'll admit my liberal bias and confess that the New York Times is among my favorite websites, and to have them produce such a good app for this platform seems like a "seal of approval", especially since they stopped supporting the "legacy" BBOS last year.
The other cool thing that came from the New York Times today was, surprisingly, the best BB10 review I've seen yet. I say "surprisingly" because it was written by David Pogue, who I remember writing for MacWorld back in the 80s, long before he became the NYTimes Tech Editor. I like Pogue, though, and I do find he writes fairly about non-Apple technology (if nothing else, maybe out of a fear of bias). Even so, the way he opened his review seemed to make this whole BB10 ordeal worthwhile: he apologized for writing BlackBerry off.
Well, BlackBerry’s Hail Mary pass, its bet-the-farm phone, is finally here. It’s the BlackBerry Z10, and guess what? It’s lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to one of 8 BB10 Developer Appreciation events tonight, where I saw tremendous enthusiasm for the platform and for BlackBerry in general (it was a much more vocal crowd than was at the presentation this morning ). Even got to meet a couple of fellow CBers, and the event helped me renew my commitment to create genuinely decent apps for this platform. I also got to see a very tired (and possibly mildly inebriated) Alec Saunders, streamed over BBM Video from outside a steakhouse in New York, connected flawlessly with a BB10 here in Vancouver (and streamed to a big flat-screen via HDMI to boot).
If you're disappointed somehow in the launch today, understand that it was just an event, and not the most important one. We found out a lot today, sure, and I'm betting there will be more to come. This isn't the Playbook, which had fantastic hardware but was rushed to market long before its OS was properly sorted out. BB10 is a decent product, that's been worthy of our time and concern. And at the end of the day, that's the most important thing.
PS: If any of the CB faithful are feeling a let-down, Pogue's review is a great antidote.
- 01-31-13, 01:44 AM #4
Thanks for writing a sensible post. But all said and done launch-event was indeed very painful and I am still feeling let-down.
I am now also very worried about quality of upcoming commercials of BlackBerry 10. If Thorsten+Vivek+Marty missed out demo-ing so many key features on stage, I wonder if commercials are going to show-off all great features? What if commercials turn out to be under-whelming too.
Some features that I thought will be demo-ed properly but were not demo-ed:
1. Hardware and battery life - there should have been atleast a cursory remark or two about it (cpu, hdmi)
2. Browser - no demo of browser (single biggest drawback of BB 5/6/7 is slow, unresponsive browser on a tiny screen. BB 10 has improved it 1000x and yet didn't display it at all!)
3. Key apps - maps/gps navigation, few games, few productivity apps, few top apps - there should have been demo of at least few key apps. Not just show us a bunch of app "logos" but actually demo few top apps and show how cool they work with BB 10 gestures.
4. Partnerships - some big name app makers (eg: rovio/angry birds) are building apps for BB 10, it'd have helped to call out some app-makers on stage and speak about how cool it was to develop apps for BlackBerry
5. Other features like Voice/Viki, examples of NFC integration were all left out
6. Accessories - should have shown a bunch of accessories (specially the kinds that power users will like, like a BB dock etc.),
7. DLNA, Wireless Hotspot, HDMI etc. were all MIA
Will they talk about them in commercials and other demos? I hope they do but I am afraid they might not.
I get it. I would have been stoked to see all of that stuff demo'd today too. The point I'm trying to make is that WE all know that stuff's there. Does it really matter that we didn't see it today?
It was a focussed demo that didn't throw absolutely everything at the audience. It was a good show for a general, non-techie audience.
Ultimately, the best pitch for BB10 is overall usability. BB has the Peek/Flow buzzwords, but honestly, the actual value isn't going to be that easy to demonstrate. Much of the stuff they skipped today was kind of stuff that the competition already does anyway.
NO MATTER WHAT THE RATIONALE, today is done, and it can't be re-done. Z10 isn't "doomed" just because Steve Jobs didn't introduce it. Guess what? Apple doesn't have him any more, either.
Move on. Or, in BB's words, "Keep Moving"
- 01-31-13, 02:39 AM #6
I agree with you there. But quality of launch-event is making me a bit jittery about quality of upcoming commercials. Hope they show-off features that should be shown-off.
Sure, competition already has a great browser and a bunch of other stuff. But BB 5/6/7 image is that it is lacking a good browser (among other things). Now that BB 10 has it, it needs to be told that "hey, your BB has gotten better. It was missing a great browser, it has it now. And wait..there is more.."
- CrackBerry Abuser
01-31-13, 03:06 AM #8
- 312 Posts
Agree to it. Very nicely written!
We have got an amazing platform and a very nice phone. A brilliant 3rd option in the world of monotonous Apples and Androids.
What I need is a good device with the best email organised architecture and easy and quick to use interface. I see that in Blackberry 10.
- CrackBerry Addict
01-31-13, 05:49 AM #11
- 692 Posts
Re: ...at the end of the day...
It's a long road for BlackBerry 10 to be fully successful. Many of my friend, who use Android or IOS are exciting and want to try BB10. But, to convince them to be a BlackBerry 10 users, will need some extra effort. Both from BlackBerry itself and from experienced and empowered users.
BlackBerry and Blackberry 10 will need our help, the bb10 experienced users to educate people as the potential users of Blackberry 10.
The launching is just the beginning. And the true help from Blackberry fans will be needed right now and for the future.
- CrackBerry User
01-31-13, 06:03 AM #13
- 33 Posts
Awesome post...thank you Thunderbuck!
To be honest, I was let down yesterday....I was watching the launch on 2 formats simultaneously...live feed and via "Squawk on the Street"... What got me mad was that SotS gave the launch full air time during the beginning but when Thor was actually going over the features, they cut to analyst interviews....how could the TV version not let the public see the phone was my question and frustration!?! Then slowly, overnight, I realized that of all the people I know IRL (not virtually through CB), no one would be watching live feeds or Business channel coverage for this launch or ANY launch for that matter...I am the minority. A real feel for the phone (in the US) will come after Sunday's ad, after the carrier advertising starts, and most importantly, after feedback starts trickling into the stock market and reviews as the phone gets into other peoples hands in other countries.
Maybe, in the end, the US delay will serve us well...let the unimpressive launch cool down and let the reviews from other markets whet our appetites even more!
- 01-31-13, 08:21 AM #18
Thunderbuck . . Thank You for a voice of reason; for some reason I not showing a Thanks button so I thought I'd do it here. I'm embarrased that I lost perspective of this yesterday, but I guess we were just all looking for that killer event, and as often happens it was my/our own expectations that were the killers.
- CrackBerry Abuser
02-02-13, 12:44 AM #19
- 148 Posts
Launch isn't for everyone? --what?!
This launch should have wowed everyone! There should have been one-liners in there that the national news would pick up on and say "BB Risen!" But instead, we were presented with a muted, "We really have been producing a device and we're mostly releasing it" ball of bleh. Nobody in the audience was audibly jazzed. Persons unfamiliar with the platform didn't see any WOW-factors and nothing was presented that would make the faithful proud.
Us CB'ers and other well-informed users have been glued to our news feeds for the last year were watching for the excitement factor and to hear release dates. --us USA CB'ers were snubbed big time. I still don't get exactly what the deal is with the carriers 'not being ready' but it's infuriating. I could go on about how my heart plummeted through the floor when Netflix wasn't mentioned...not even mentioned.
This launch may have well been on the Moon and it's up to us to figure out how to get there.
I want so bad to return to the platform...
Pogue's review was my favorite because his complaints were legitimate complaints, and ones that I hope get addressed. But the things he liked are things that are really there, and he took the time to understand that.
*The easy shot to take at this comment is: "well, if a tech writer couldn't 'get it', how do you expect some minimum wage Radio Shack rep to explain it to a customer?", and the truth is, I DON'T expect people to "get" BB10 just by playing with some demo unit. Mind you, the handset FEELS really nice, and it's got decent specs, so it will probably find a market anyway. The real strengths of this platform don't start to make sense until you've actually used it for at least a few days. That's why the word-of-mouth is going to be crucial on this one.
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