Technology Brief: BlackBerry 10
March 21, 2013
On Wednesday, January 30th, the company formerly known as RIM renamed and rebranded itself as BlackBerry, with the tagline "One Brand. One Promise." At the same presentation, BlackBerry announced its new smartphones, the Z10 and Q10, running on the new BlackBerry 10 OS (BB10) operating system (first announced in May 2012).
The Z10 is BlackBerry's new flagship device and eschews the classic BlackBerry physical keyboard for full touchscreen input. These smartphones are significant releases for BlackBerry: between the Z10 and the related (and physically keyboard equipped) Q10, these devices must be successful for BlackBerry to remain relevant in the US market.
BlackBerry 10, a top-to-bottom revamp of the BlackBerry OS with a completely new look featuring swipe gestures. Key features of BB10 are:
The Z10 features a full touch 4.2-inch screen (with 356 PPI), a dual-core Qualcomm processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage (with MicroSD for up to 32 GB of expansion), and a removable battery. The Z10 is currently available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
The Q10, with a form factor familiar to BlackBerry users, sports a 3.1-inch square screen (328 PPI), traditional (for BlackBerry) physical keyboard, dual core processor, and 2 GB RAM. The Q10 is expected in May.
Information Systems and Computing (ISC) has tested Z10 connectivity with Exchange 2010 and Zimbra 6. Both connect without issue using Exchange ActiveSync, though Exchange autodiscover currently does not function. There are no plans to support next generation BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 10 servers at any organization at Penn, so ActiveSync must be used to connect to email/groupware accounts and for individual device management, making the Blackberry experience more like that of iOS, Android, or Windows Phone. Due to the lack of the new BES 10 servers, BlackBerry Balance, the dual persona on-device service, will not be available to Penn users for the foreseeable future.
The Z10 also connects to AirPennNet - a first for a BlackBerry smartphone - though it does not yet work through XpressConnect, so the device must be configured manually. The AirPennNet setup, however, is straightforward; documentation will be coming shortly. It is a reasonable expectation that the Q10 will work equivalently with Penn groupware and wireless services.
--Ted Moskalenko, Michael McLaughlin, John Mulhern III, and Vern Yoneyama, ISC Technology Support Services (March 21, 2013)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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