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BGR's Jonathan Geller is much less enthusiastic, concluding that the phone's drawbacks show a fundamental strategic mistake by RIM to pin its comeback hopes to a high-end smartphone rather than a low- or mid-range handset targeted to overseas markets.
"BlackBerry 10 is a great upgrade for BlackBerry users, but it's not unique or polished enough at this point to grab existing high-end smartphone users," Geller declares. "Not in the U.S. or in several other top-tier markets."
The new UI "experience feels messy at times and it seems like some things are different for the sake of being different," Geller writes. "RIM's gesture-based interface can be confusing and even maddening at times. While the home screen is dressed up just as any other smartphone platform at this point, with app icons and pages, the way you interact with the phone is just ... unconventional."
"Once you swipe to the right and enter the BlackBerry Hub, you can view all of your messages with just a tap," Geller writes. "But the layers can quickly become heavy when you go deep into a conversation or browse to event attendees -- these cards or layers pile up and you have to keep flicking them away to get back to the main BlackBerry Hub."
He cites two "huge problems with BlackBerry 10 that I just do not understand," he says.
"First off, when you're in an app or even on the home screen and you get a message, an email, a text -- whatever -- there is no visible notification on the screen. You get an audible notification if you set one, you get a vibrate notification, but you do not see anything on the screen. There is nothing that scrolls by, or flips down, or pops up, that gives you an idea of what kind of notification you got or a preview of it."
Secondly, and surprisingly to say the least, "There is no push email, contacts, or calendar on the BlackBerry Z10 except for Microsoft Exchange accounts," Geller writes. "No push Gmail, no push Yahoo -- email is checked every 15 minutes by default, and you can make this interval longer but not shorter." BlackBerry 10 devices now require a local mail client to handle email "as opposed to having the network handle the accounts, the push features, syncing, and so on. There is no more Blackberry Internet Service, it's just data now."
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.