Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Guests and members of the media test out the new Blackberry 10 at a launch event at the Armani Hotel. Razan Alzayani / The National
Guests and members of the media test out the new Blackberry 10 at a launch event at the Armani Hotel. Razan Alzayani / The National

BlackBerry 10 launch is wait-and-see for loyal UAE consumers

Take our poll: The BlackBerry 10 operating system was unveiled last night at global launches in eight cities around the world, including Dubai.

DUBAI // It’s new, it’s here and it has won rave reviews – but will it be enough to save the BlackBerry?

The BlackBerry 10 operating system was unveiled last night at global launches in eight cities around the world, including Dubai.

The system will power a new range of phones available to UAE consumers on February 10.

The fully touchscreen Z10 will cost Dh2,599, although du and Etisalat will subsidise it for customers who buy data packages. The Q10, with a physical keyboard, is expected to be available in April.

“The UAE is a very important market for us,” Thorsten Heins, the boss of BlackBerry, which has changed its name from Research In Motion, said at the launch.

It comes at a critical time for BlackBerry with consumers deserting it in droves for more feature-packed phones from Apple and Samsung.

The new operating system includes video calling through BlackBerry Messenger Voice, similar to FaceTime on iPhone.

The app allows for free voice and video calls over wifi, but it may not be available in the UAE as both du and Etisalat are reluctant to lose revenue from their paid service.

The interface has new features called Hub and Flow, which allow management of all notifications and contacts in one place and fast mulitasking between different apps.

There is a high-resolution screen and an improved camera.

Internally both phones have 1.5Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and an expandable memory card slot.

They support near field communication allowing for mobile payments.

Users will also have the choice of 70,000 apps they can download almost immediately.

Initial reaction to the launch was positive among BlackBerry users in the UAE.

“These are the kinds of phones that BlackBerry needed to make a couple of years ago,” said Sanjeet Kumar, a British national in Dubai.

“The camera is a lot better and the interface seems to be much more intuitive. You can’t make a judgment until you’ve actually used it but I would say it looks promising at the moment.”

Other BlackBerry users have been considering switching for some time.

“I am probably the last of my family and friends who still use a BlackBerry,” said Anjali Nandkumar, a user for six years.

“I’ll see how good the new phones are before deciding.”

For Sudhakshina Shivkumar, a student from Dubai, her BlackBerry is more of a necessity.

“Most if not all of my friends have BlackBerry phones and the main reason for that is BB Messenger,” she said.

“I know a lot of people have now switched to Whatsapp but I can only use it over wifi.

“With BBM I get the messages free and that saves me a lot.”

UK stores will have the new phones today and orders are already being accepted for grey market versions by online retailers in the UAE.

People who choose to buy grey market imports could be having to pay a premium as high as Dh4,000.

Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer for Jacky’s Electronics, said there was no need to buy grey market versions of the phone.

“Dubai is one of the launch cities, which means the UAE is part of the first phase of the global launch so we’ll be getting the phone at pretty much the same time as other countries,” he said.

“BlackBerry has been traditionally strong in the Middle East and demand has remained stable despite problems elsewhere,” he said.

“We are expecting it to sell well here once it launches.”

nhanif@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Sarah Geronimo. Courtesy: FLASH Entertainment

Sarah Geronimo brings her star power to Abu Dhabi this weekend

Ahead of her Abu Dhabi concert on Thursday night, we take a look at the Filipina singer Sarah Geronimo’s extraordinary career.

 Fatema holds a picture of her son Nurul Karim as she poses for a photograph in front of her slum house in Savar. Fatema lost her son Nurul Karim and her daughter Arifa, who were working on the fifth floor of Rana Plaza when it collapsed on April 24, 2013. All photos Andrew Biraj / Reuters

These women know the real price of cheap high street fashion

Survivors of the world's worst garment factory accident, struggle to rebuild their lives from the rubble of the Rana Plaza collapse as Bangladesh prepares to mark the first anniversary of the disaster.

 Visitors look at the medieval inventor Al Jazari’s water-powered Elephant Clock. The clock is on show at the 1001 Inventions exhibition at Sharjah Expo Centre. Photos Antonie Robertson / The National

1001 Inventions: in praise of Islam’s gifts to the world

Down the centuries, from camera obscura to designing a sail that allowed early seafarers to tack into the wind, Muslim scientists have made many significant contributions to science. Rym Ghazal and Asmaa Al Hameli visit an exhibition in Sharjah that celebrates those contributions

 Mumbai Indians fans cheer they team on the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014 at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Earn cash back with the IPL cricket in the UAE

Dunia finance promotion allows cricket lovers to earn up to 6 per cent unlimited cash back on any spending they make on a day when an IPL match is played in the UAE.

 Iranian workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant in Tehran on March 18. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

Iran’s love of cars survives devastating sanctions

Sanctions and energy subsidy reductions might have hurt the Iranian automotive industry. But car makers at one factory are still optimistic, Yeganeh Salehi reports from Tehran

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

Disney confirms that Star Wars: Episode 7 is filming in Abu Dhabi desert

Disney yesterday confirmed that the filming of Star Wars: Episode 7 is taking place in the desert in Abu Dhabi.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National