RIP, RIM…Greetings, Blackberry

large-360_jpg_originalResearch In Motion held several briefings to introduce the new operating system and the phones it will power.  They also announced a small shocker: RIM is dead, long live Blackberry. RIM is changing its name to Blackberry, to better align itself with its once glorious product name.

That new operating system, BB10, will power two new phones: the Z10, a touchscreen device that looks like an iPhone 5 and the Q10, which is what more people will recognize as a Blackberry since it has the hardware keyboard and, well, looks like a Blackberry from two years ago.

The standout feature, aside from the good looks of the Z10, is that Blackberry is trying small-1_jpg_originalwhat Motorola and nearly every other smartphone manufacturer has tried: the social hub. Yep. Another ‘hub’.  Seriously? C’mon, BB, this is 2013 and we are more interested in seeing our calendars, pictures of our spouse and/or kids or even just the ‘home’ screen full of icons and the temperature. Most people are not going to want divided home screen with Twitter and Facebook updates front and center. Called Blackberry Hub, it integrates other sources as well, like text messages and email.  Sigh. I don’t want it all mixed up like that. Didn’t we learn from Moto’s disaster?  Geeze.

Social hub aside, there are things to like. For example, there is a cool screen sharing feature. I can imagine this will make supporting the devices much better.  Have a problem? Share your screen with your support people. Want to demo a cool app? Share the screen and show off that app.  Only problem with it is that it only works with other Z10 devices.  But, it’s a start.

overview-hero_png_originalThe camera features something called time-shift. This feature lets you pick elements from several photos, taken milliseconds apart, and combine them into one photo for that ‘perfect’ shot.  Clever.

Are two new phones, a nice operating system and a name change enough to save Blackberry? I can’t answer that, but I can speculate that it is not. Good press on one day does not translate into mega sales the next. Ask Microsoft. It got all kinds of positive press for Windows Phone 8, but the sales are, shall we say, less than stellar. Time will tell.  The Z10 is, dare I say, sexy, but not enough to make me want to switch.  I suspect that is true for many, many others as well.

For more on the Z10, go here. For the press release, go here. You can watch the event here.

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iPhone 4: they finally arrived and they aren’t bad

iphone4When last we met, I had ordered two iPhone 4’s for my wife and son. The phones arrived a day after ordering them, thank you Sprint.  Turns out the online ordering and delivery was a decent experience. Activating them, however, not so much. 

Following the directions on the web site, I carefully key in the IMEI numbers. One worked, the other did not. The one that ‘worked’ did not fully activate. I had to call Sprint for both phones.  Let me tell you, I DO NOT LIKE those damned automated answering systems these companies insist on using.

Fortunately, I got right through to a very nice young lady who helped me out fairly quickly. She not only got the phones activated, she also checked to see if the Windows 8 phones were on the horizon for Sprint. She found nothing, which is about what I expected.  At any rate, she was very polite, very friendly and, more importantly, very helpful.  Sprint seems to be stepping up their game in the customer service arena.

Once the phones were activated and working, I wanted to upgrade iOS. Other than just taking a lot of time, that went pretty easily.  I upgraded my son’s phone first and then my wife’s. While upgrading hers, I put my son’s music and iPod Touch apps on his iPhone. That was pretty easy and the only thing he lost was a song I bought for him a few months ago. Not sure why the track would not transfer. We got the apps and music transferred that he wanted and he is happy with his new phone.

My wife’s phone was easy to set up and, considering she had a Blackberry flip phone (it was a smartphone, but it was junk) she has stepped up considerably in the smartphone world.  I had to update iTunes on her laptop just so it would even recognize the phone (upgraded to iOS 6.)

So far, I am impressed with the iPhone. While Apple’s claim of ‘it just works’ is far from the truth, the simple fact is that iOS is superior to Android, the quality of the iPhone 4 is way better than that Samsung Intercept or HTC EVO Shift of mine (the Intercept was my son’s old phone.)  And, from what I have seen and heard today, I may be getting an iPhone 4 for myself. I want the Windows Phone 8, but it looks like Sprint is holding out on the phones.  Not happy about that, but I am not switching carriers for a phone.

While getting the phone proved to be an adventure (see my previous post) and activating was not perfect, this has turned out to be an not too bad experience and the phone is fairly impressive. And, best of all, both my son and my wife love the phone and, really, that is all that matters.