back to article BlackBerry Q10: This quirky QWERTY will keep loyalists perky

Eight million people in the UK use a BlackBerry and almost every single one of those phones has a physical QWERTY keyboard. And as good as the virtual keyboard on BlackBerry's touchscreen Z10 may be - it's the best, for my money - a fair number of people will want to use a smartphone with a real keyboard. The Q10 is BlackBerry's …


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  1. Ninetailed

    Not just for loyalists

    Personally, I've never used a Blackberry before, but this one is ticking all the boxes for me. I'll want to give it a while to see how well the much-remarked-upon OS bugs are resolved, but if that works out well, I'm going to seriously consider getting a Q10 as my personal phone later in the year. I'm not saying it's a safe bet, but it's certainly likely to find itself on the shortlist come upgrade time.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Not just for loyalists

      Well it might hold some value as a white elephant if they don't go bust by then.

      Blackberry are in a death spiral. No Eco-System, only one manufacturer of the technology, and becoming increasingly irrelevant in the enterprise.

      I can't see them being attractive to enough consumers at ~ £500 a handset to survive. This handset isnt even available until April btw!

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: Not just for loyalists @TheVogon

        They're only becoming "irrelevant" in the enterprise for those who don't have strict security standards. As it is, I know of at least two large financial entities that still rely on Blackberries for work stuff. BYOD isn't as universal as it seems.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not just for loyalists @TheVogon

          There are a number of solutions around Windows Phone being developed for those that require FIPS level security - for instance by Avanard. Windows Phone itself is currently undergoing FIPS certification

          Remember that all generations of Microsoft's phones have never had a serious security exploit versus hundreds for IOS and Android.

      2. the-it-slayer

        Re: Not just for loyalists

        @TheVogon - Blackberry are in a death spiral. No Eco-System, only one manufacturer of the technology, and becoming increasingly irrelevant in the enterprise.

        I can't see them being attractive to enough consumers at ~ £500 a handset to survive. This handset isnt even available until April btw!

        Such a biased and pessimistic view on things here. Take a hard look at WP8. It's hardly made a dent in it's first 6 months (regardless of Nokia making a lucky break in profits this quarter that still shocks me). There are hundreds millions of Blackberries still being used out there who are potential buyers of the new BB10 series. Quite nicely, we now have some clear intentions for each device.

        Z10 being the glossy flagship device.

        Q10 being the fan's choice or an upgrade from an older BB10 who want a more powerful model

        I guess 1 or 2 others are on the way after the Q10 release that will cater for the developing countries who don't want to jump to a higher quality BB.

        There is an eco-system that's growing at a faster rate. Who cares if it's a one manufactuer tech; Apple have survived with an integrated system. BB still have that luxury unlike Android vendors who get screwed over on every update release. And who says that this phone will be £500? It'll probably fit the £300 - £450 category (hopefully lower end) so we'll see contracts with no upfront fee (including the fact the necessary £5 BB add-on for their BIS servers is now gone). BB will get competitive and the odds of them taking a healthy 3rd place behind Apple and Google is strong.

        After seeing the pictures in this post, I may wait after my contract in March comes for renewal. By then, I'm hoping the new iPhone rumours will kick in and that the disappointment of another mediocre iPhone release will steer me away from iPhone's.

      3. Mark .

        Re: Not just for loyalists

        No ecosystem? It's a smartphone, not a rainforest.

        (Seriously, I've never understood what this recent marketing-speak actually means. I thought it was something to do with software, you know, that thing we've had for decades, but then you get people like you saying some platforms with software still don't have an "ecosystem", or that this is some kind of recent thing.)

    2. Madeye
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not just for loyalists

      I have to second this opinion - I've been an Android afficionado since the G1 but recently I've found their sheer prevalence and genericity to be a turn-off. The Q10 will no doubt fill the quirky niche admirably while also providing all the features we expect. It's almost worth buying solely on the grounds that it will deliver a kick in the teeth to Microsoft in the so called race for bronze.

    3. Z-Eden

      Re: Not just for loyalists

      Definitely with you here. I've had both and iPhone and (currently) an Android phone. My contract is due in a few months and I have no desire to use either of the above nor a WinPho8. The new Blackberries however, I think we just have a contender!

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Not just for loyalists

      I guess there could be a good market for these Berries. I've seen an awful lot of people complain about not being able to get Android handsets in the UK with physical keyboards, and Nokia doesn't seem to have talked about doing one with Win Pho (even though they've done them for ages). I wonder if MS won't let them?

      I know that touch screens are more flexible, and some people (like me) don't like hardware phone keyboards - but surely with all the road warriors who send loads of email while out-and-about there must be a large market for something decent with a proper KB?

    5. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Not just for loyalists

      Agreed, looking at a possible upgrade to replace my android device.

      But only as long as the battery life remains which is my pet hate (As well as my fat fingers)

    6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Not just for loyalists

      I suspect I'd like the hardware - I insist on a physical qwerty keyboard for my phones - and I'm intrigued by the OS, if only because I'm a contrarian. On the other hand, I dislike the whole notion of BBM (bah, another closed messaging system), and I historically refused to consider devices from RIM-that-was because of their litigious behavior. Of course, these days it's hard to buy any phone without subsidizing egregious behavior in the courts...

      Still, when it comes time for me to replace my current phone, I suspect it'll come down to a contest between the Q10 (or its successor) and the various Android models that have full qwerty keyboards. No one says I have to use BBM, after all.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Samsung GT-I5510

    My Samsung GT-I5510 has a keyboard and a touchscreen, so is the best of both worlds. A keyboard for proper typing, a touchscreen for browsing.

    Isn't a mad concept.

    1. Neil Lewis
      Thumb Up

      Re: Samsung GT-I5510

      Likewise my Motorola Pro Plus. People seem confused by the fact it has both keyboard and touchscreen and runs Android, but usually appreciate the functionality pretty quickly.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Samsung GT-I5510

      Likewise the Xperia Mini Pro. I am a hell of a lot quicker at typing (even on a postage-stamp-sized keyboard) than I am with the swipey-typey thing. Touchscreen and keyboard gives you the best of both worlds.

      1. David Given

        Re: Samsung GT-I5510

        I'm very fond of my Motorola Flipout. Full five-row keyboard with dpad, thank you very much --- and it's physically tiny and fits far more easily in my pocket than a modern slabphone. I just wish it got firmware updates; the most recent Android you can get for it is Eclair!

  3. petur

    starts to look more and more like my n900

    Granted, on the n900 when you start typing it only lists contacts and commands. But that taskswitcher looks familiar. And hardware keyboards are nice :)

    1. petur

      Re: starts to look more and more like my n900

      that should have read: "contacts and NOT commands"

  4. James 51

    Want, but more realisticly it will the be BB10 version of the 9320.

  5. Cameron Colley

    A few questions:

    Is there a way to turn the touchscreen off or do you just lock the whole thing? Do you have to use the touchscreen to lock it or is there a button or a key shortcut?

    Does it take a normal-sized SIM?

    This is looking like almost my perfect phone and will hopefully be the replacement for my now ancient E71.

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  7. Tony Barnes

    Keys are WAY too small on BBs

    Why do BlackBerry insist on full QWERTY keyboards crammed into such small space?

    I've tried several times to use one, each and every time wanted to smash it to pieces having been forced to try and hit the tiny, tiny keys with the tips of my thumbnails.

    Completely pointless unless you are a women or have had a hand transplant operation, with a woman....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keys are WAY too small on BBs

      OK, so they aren't for you.

      I still type about 65-70wpm on a standard keyboard.

      I can just about type on a glass screen on a 7 inch tablet. A 10 inch tablet is useless. I can type several times faster on a BB keyboard than on any glass keyboard I have ever found, and much faster than on a landscape thumb keyboard like the one on the Nokia N900. Yes I use the ends of my thumbs, yes there is a bit of a learning curve, no I don't have to get out a laptop to check emails. Yes I am male. No I have not had a hand transplant.

      BlackBerry presumably make phones with keyboards because enough of us want them.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Keys are WAY too small on BBs

      Some of us are both male and more agile than you.

      I have pretty large hands - upper end of the average range for Caucasian men. I don't have any trouble typing on the keyboard of my Nokia, which is a good deal smaller than the Q10.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks practical

    I suspect that this one is coming out second because Blackberry know that the replacement for the 9900 must be as near perfect as makes no odds on day 1. Just as the Playbook was used to get QNX working with a presentation layer, and the various devs were used to refine it, the Z10 is being used to identify final OS tweaks. But the Q10 is the magic bunny and it has to come out of the hat with everything working.

    I also suspect that the "glass weave" might actually be kevlar twill - light and very strong. I will find out when I get one.

    1. Ninetailed

      Re: Looks practical

      You could well be right. The hardware keyboard has always been a Blackberry selling point (see about a third of the comments above), so I did wonder why the gap of several months between the touchscreen-only Z10 and what is more likely to be the flagship product, the Q10. Presented in terms of a public beta test, though, it starts to make sense.

  9. Mombasa69

    Q10 Looks Awesome!

    I have £500 quid burning a big hole in my pocket, I always go pay as you go, I came close to buying the Z10, but I'm going to wait, but the wait is killing me!

    1. ted frater

      Re: Q10 Looks Awesome!

      Im with Mombasa, I too have 500 quid waiting for a handset with a PROPER hardware keyboard.

      Theres less profit in this type than a software on screen k/board and form has so far in app phones followed fashion. Not function I curse the day the Iphone was invented. However!!!. probably in 2014 there will be another contender for the keyboard crown. this will be a psion5 type clamshell handset with a k/board matching the 5.

      In the mean time ill still keep using my nokia 9210i communicator. The best keyboard available today, despite being made in 2002. And a good one still makes 75 quid on ebay.


  10. MuleHeadJoe

    HDMI output?

    What is the purpose of HDMI output on a fone? I'm having difficulty seeing a usefulness there ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HDMI output?

      If the device has enough stomp to play high quality video, it could be useful for that - thinking in 'road warrior' terms, I could see using it to watch youtube vids or a stored movie or whatever in a hotel; it could also be handy to have to show people videos of stuff when you're running around random places. For example, I'll often be at a trade show and want to show someone a video of some of my company's hardware; generally the options are to bring a tablet, which is a pain, to borrow a laptop, which is awkward, or to show the video on a tiny phone, which is also awkward. HDMI-accepting display devices are pretty ubiquitous these days, so the ability to just plug the thing into any random display and have at it would be handy.

      Granted, it's a bit of an edge case, but I'm sure there are others.

    2. Mark Dowling

      Re: HDMI output?

      BB presentations on Docs to Go without having to buy a Blackberry Presenter gizmo, for one thing.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woven Glass? No!! Could it be?!!

    Could it be Fiberglass (glass-reinforced plastic) is the word needed to describe a product stronger than plastic? Or are techie-nerdies so far removed from reality of this world since 1938 that they can not comprehend such things as existing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Woven Glass? No!! Could it be?!!

      I imagine that they're trying to denote the difference between randomly laid strands of glass fibre bonded with resin and a specifically woven pattern which ought to provide more strength than 'normal' fibreglass would. Obviously, as any techie or gadget freak knows, they would have garnered more oohs and ahhs if they'd used carbon fibre or kevlar; the uber-cool material if you're not quite in the market for liquid metals and floppy screens. :)

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  13. dave 76
    Thumb Up

    this is the one I want

    I spend more time on my phone doing emails and SMS than talking and really appreciate the physical keyboard. This one looks like the closest to a perfect combination that I have seen.

  14. Matt 24
    Thumb Up

    Looking good...

    as a BB user for 6 or 7 years and former BES Admin I'm unsure about the Z10 and don't really like on-screen keyboards, but the Q10 is looking very inviting indeed. I have a Samsung Series 7 Slate that I love - Windows 7 Pro (not infected with Win 8!) - but the MS on-screen kbd is, frankly, rubbish! The BB Z10 that I tried was good, however and I would agree that it's probably the best mobile keyboard I've seen. It looks like BB are going to have a winner on their hands, maybe not top-dog, but way out in front of MS for my money. As a contractor with a Ltd company, I like the look of it for business use and will postpone my HTC upgrade I think.

  15. Bill Fresher

    Looks very good. Might get one.

    I really like my current blackberry. It suits my usage patterns:

    SMS, email and occasional web browsing. One other thing I use the phone for is taking the odd rare photograph if I happen across something interesting while out and about and the camera is really quite bad --- any idea what it's like on this one?

  16. typeo

    Blackberry should have released this one first. I was ready to go and slap my hard earned cash down for one of these on the 30th January only to be disappointed when only the Z10 was available.

  17. The FunkeyGibbon

    Looks like a good handset

    A proper business focused device. Shame it's a Blackberry. Mind you now it uses ActiveSync it might actually work instead of having all the old problems associated with BBs including my favourites, the utter inability to handle hard deletes and the inability to manage e-mails that are filed by a rule.

  18. phr0g


    Gonna luk sweeet wi mi nu Burberry cap n all. respec. init.

  19. FutureShock999

    I have a tablet for when I need a real touchscreen...but when on the move and doing emails, I want a physical keyboard. Apple doesn't do it, Android doesn't do it well...leaving BlackBerry. I have a Bold 9900 now, which is pretty much the only non-Apple kit I carry. I would love to have all of the Apple ecosystem end to end on every device, but the keyboard and messaging (BBM especially) is just too good. Will be waiting for April keenly...

  20. FanMan
    Thumb Up

    The Puerile Acronym Otherwise Known as BOLLOX

    Those plucky Canucks are fighting back manfully, good on them. If they want to be called BlackBerry why not just help them out and go along with it?

  21. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    RIM security is good BUT it needs/uses servers

    RIM security has always been good, ask Obama, BUT it's weakness is it's use of servers which can be used to obtain / access decrypted messages. And, of course, Plod, RCMP, FBI, et al, are able, and do, access this information. With distributed, corporate, servers, corporations might satisfy their needs for access.

    These days Silent Circle provides a good solution - the 'encryption', in effect, is in your hand. Whilst I am not in the habit of building UIDs or remote triggering devices, my communications are mine, and simply none of the business of any government or civil servant.

    An added feature with Silent Circle is the new ability to send files of up to 60Mb fully encrypted which should satisfy most users.

    Notwithstanding this limitation, BB has always offered a quality product and let's hope they return to their former glory. Unfortunately, I will not be a user as I am happy with my Samsung Note 2.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: RIM security is good BUT it needs/uses servers

      Erm, so what commercial email system doesn't rely on servers then?

      1. JaitcH
        Thumb Up

        Re: RIM security is good BUT it needs/uses servers? Silent Circle!

        Silent Circle uses encryption/decryption performed at either end.

        You can now even send 60-Mbyte encrypted files, should be long enough for even the most verbose correspondent,

        The file is held encrypted until the recipient opens it, at which time the key is deleted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RIM security is good BUT it needs/uses servers? Silent Circle!

          But Silent Circle relies on ... Servers....

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