A new name, a new phone and a new spokeswoman. BlackBerry made quite a splash on Wednesday when it launched its new smartphones and operating system, BlackBerry 10. The Z10, the first of those phones, is an all touchscreen model that will be released in Canada on February 5th and rolled out around the world over the next few months.
The move is widely seen as a last-ditch attempt by the struggling smartphone company to stay relevant, and early reactions to the new products seem to be fairly positive.
The Globe And Mail's Iain Marlow wrote that "This is the best BlackBerry I’ve ever used. I think a lot of people will like it and some will absolutely love it."
"I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps," wrote Walter Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal.
The New York Times' David Pogue starts his review with an apology for having earlier declared the BlackBerry "doomed," and praised the the "lovely, fast and efficient" new Z10 model.
Mashable is a bit more skeptical about the new phone and says that its new user interface and lack of apps could be stumbling blocks. "However, BlackBerry 10 stumbles, first right out of the gate with its steep learning curve, and second with its anemic app selection that doesn't provide apps (like Vine) that deliver the full mobile experience that today's digital consumers want."
The Verge's Joshua Topolsky is equally skeptical and points out that BlackBerry has to compete with a fleet of competitors now. "The Z10 is a fine device, well made, reasonably priced, backed by a company with a long track record. But it's not the only device of its kind, and it's swimming against a massive wave of entrenched players with really, really good products," he writes.
Endgadget also brings up the phone's lack of apps and how it might not gain much traction in the crucial U.S. market. "BlackBerry really needed to make a huge impact out of the gate. Unfortunately, it hasn't," they write.
TechCrunch also harps on the app gap. "BlackBerry has come a long way, but BlackBerry still has a very long way to go, and whether or not users will continue to stick around for the remainder of that journey will depend a lot on how fast the app ecosystem can grow."
On Twitter the reaction is mixed. GigaOm's Mathew Ingram rounds up some of the Twitter reaction and notes that many have criticized BlackBerry for rolling out a phone that merely plays catch-up.
Check out some of the Twitter reactions we've rounded-up below:
Excited2jump right in2my new role as Global Creative Director of@Blackberry! #BlackBerry10 #keepmoving #forwardthinking http://t.co/s0gJUi4y
why am I saying this.. but I kinda want the blackberry 10..
#Blackberry10 is perhaps @BlackBerry's last battle to survive in a competitive market. If this doesn't work, its the beginning of the end.
#BlackBerry10 looks like an awesome device running a great platform, but will the app developers come? #Tech #QofDay
Even though I've jumped ship, I'm still glad to see that #BlackBerry has FINALLY gotten a complete overhaul. #BlackBerry10