BlackBerry in NZ comeback bid, with Z10 backed by Telecom, Vodafone

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins introduces the BlackBerry Z10 (left) and Q10

BlackBerry is making a comeback bid in the NZ market, with a launch for its iPhone-like Z10 on June 4.

Vodafone and Telecom tell NBR they will carry the Z10. Telecom is already running a promoted post campaign on Facebook.

The more conventional Q10 - which has a more traditional BlackBerry design incorporating a hard keypad - is still being assessed.

2degrees has never supported BlackBerry servers, which are needed to take full advantage of the platform.

BlackBerry has fallen so far it now often fails to even gain a mention in the "What's the best smartphone?" debate. 

But pundits say the Canadian company's new BlackBerry 10 software, which powers both the Z10 and Q10, plus the new handsets' sharp hardware, makes it worth another look.

Wall Street Journal tech doyen Walter Mossberg, who has been using a Z10, for the past week, says it offers a much more iPhone or Android-like experience.

The Z10 has "the best virtual keyboard on a smartphone", with very clever predictive text.

ABOVE: BlackBerry's official demo video for its new Z10. While apps and cloud features are weak, but the BlackBerry 10 software looks undeniably slick on this 4.2-inch display, 130g handset (actually, BlackBerry's second attempt at an all-touchscreen handset, counting the sluggish, ill-starred Storm). Other tech specs, including a dualcore processor, 8 megapixel camera and HD video, are standard for any smartphone these days.

Mossberg was also impressed by the Hub, which aggregates all email accounts, social media feeds and BlackBerry Messenger into a single update stream.

That's the good news.

The bad: Mossberg criticises the fact there is no native cloud ecosystem for storing or synching files online (like Apple's iCloud, Google's Drive and Microsoft's SkyDrive). Although the third-party Dropbox could be used, it was less satisfying (Wot no Mega app? - Editor).

He fears the Z10 will be a "tweener" phone. BlackBerry users will find it too unfamiliar, and Android and iPhone users will be put off by the lack of apps. There are 70,000 apps available, which sounds a lot but is only around 10% of those offered by Apple or Android, and key apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Instagram, Spotify and Pandora were missing at the US launch in March.

While Google the apps are still AWOL (and may always be, amid commerical arm wrestling), the latter three are now all on board - one benefit of the delayed local launch.

It's taken a long, long time for BlackBerry to create the Z10, a handset that can go toe-to-toe with iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. And although it's lost so much ground in New Zealand, as elsewhere, BlackBerry's tight security and buttoned down centralised control has seen it cling to some key accounts, including Auckland Council.

It'll be tough, but at least BlackBerry's finally got something to fight with.

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8 Comments & Questions

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BlackBerry has 120,000 apps if you would have done your DDon this report. By the way, it is the most secure phone we have used by NZ DOD

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The new BB10 devices doesn't require special BB plans, so will work on 2Degrees network. Please check your sources.

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BlackBerry phones haven't required special BlackBerry plans for some time.

However, you do need BlackBerry server software to take full advantage of the platform's security, remote management and other features.

Some large organisations host this themselves, others utilise server software hosted by a phone company, which costs.

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I don't know why these people can't get over iOS and Android mania.

BB is so different from iPhone. No home button. Bezel with Blackberry written in front.

Back is rugged plastic (not metal, as in iPhone).

If you would have compared it with HTC One (which is a coincidence as it launched before HTC One launched) then it could have proved a point. But saying it looks like iPhone seems that reviewers have been so blinded by Apple that they can't get over it.

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Over 120,000 apps. The most secure handset in the world. The best onscreen keyboard in the Z10 (a true one handed phone). The Hub for all communications is perfect!
Has Maps, if you want Google maps, save a link the best browser on any handset! Go to google maps if you like but BB Maps works great for me and acts like a GPS system. Stick the phone on your dashboard and plug in your destination. There ya go, instant GPS.
Loads of hard drive space and allows for mini HD. Potential for 80GB
Browse, balance, swipe, peek....
Real multi-tasking (run 8 apps at once).

This is not a phone for tweens, LOL.

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BlackBerry has over 125,000 apps...they launched in Feb with 70,000. Adding at a rate of 600 per day.

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BB10 doesn't need a 'cloud' server because it allows you to use your home computer as the cloud. Yes!

Your home computer acts exactly like Box or SugarSync or any other cloud service but there are no limits to the size of file or storage. And...you can stream any sized media.

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Finally it is arriving in New Zealand, after a very long time being released in Australia. It is good to know we are not missing out on this amazing bit of technology.

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