BlackBerry 10 launch liveblog: full-touch Z10 and QWERTY Q10 shipping this week in UK and Europe

Screenshot 2013-01-30 at 12.27.04

It’s been a long time coming, but today is the day that RIM steps into the future as they prepare to unveil their new – and heavily delayed – BlackBerry 10 platform and devices. Rumour has it that we will see two devices today – one with RIM’s iconic QWERTY keyboard and one with just touch input – and further leaks suggest that we could even see devices on store shelves within the next 24 hours. Whether or not this turns out to be the case, RIM’s New York launch event starts at 10am ET/3pm GMT, and we will be blogging it live on this very page. Join us then to find out what RIM’s been working on.

All times are in GMT
This event has now finished

14:58 Let’s go!

15:00 Things seem a bit late starting, but the live stream is available here.

15:01 The apps seem to be popping up already. Here’s evidence.

15:04 According to TechnoBuffalo, the Z10 is already in Phones4U. We’ll be hunting it down tomorrow.

15:06 Things are kicking off! They flashed up the already-announced software stuff and now a broadcasting guy is showing global launches.

15:08 Now they’re showing business people (including EE’s Olaf Swantee) talking about what they love about BB10.

15:09 What seems evident is that carriers and businessmen love BB10, but will consumers?

15:10 I love rhetoric questions.

15:10 Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations (and this guy) says there are no devs in Antarctica. I need to prove him wrong.

15:13 “Honk if you want BlackBerry 10!” says this guy.

15:13 Now there’s a guy who made a song called No Sleep ‘Til BlackBerry 10. I kid you not.

15:14 Now random guy is talking to CrackBerry Kevin, the guy who said he wouldn’t cut his hair until the launch.

15:15 THEY ARE CUTTING KEVIN’S PONYTAIL.

15:16 Here’s Thorsten Heins, sounding German.

15:18 “Innovation is at the heart of RIM. Now finally, here we are!” Thorsten gets applause.

15:19 They keep saying BlackBerry 10 is here, but they’re not actually doing anything.

15:20 Are you hyper-connected socially? BB10 is for you!

15:21 It is ‘built to keep you moving’.

15:23 We can confirm Thorsten did just say ‘internet of things’.

15:23 Thorsten’s thanking the QNX guys, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis.

15:26 RIM is killing the RIM name. RIM is now BlackBerry, making the BlackBerry. Finally they are making sense.

15:28 BlackBerry’s new stock symbols are BBRY and BB.

15:29 NEW PHONES. Z10 and Q10.

15:29 The Z10 has a 356ppi 1280 x 768 4.2″ screen with a textured surface for comfort.

15:31 The Q10 has a physical keyboard. That’s literally it.

15:32 It does, however, have a glass weave cover. Nobody knows what that is, but it sounds weavy.

15:34 Some guy called Vivek is showing off the Flow multitasking and Peek notifications while watching a video of a German car.

15:37 Vivek and Thorsten are making vacation jokes in the Hub (the one with the notifications).

15:38 BB10 can link contacts together automagically, just like every other platform in the world.

15:38 Thorsten is literally clapping louder than the entire audience.

15:40 The new prediction-heavy keyboard looks cool, and is modelled on the BB QWERTY.

15:41 The default email signature seems to be “Sent from my new BlackBerry Z10”. UGH. I WILL NOT READ YOUR EMAILS WITH THAT KIND OF ADVERNATURE.

15:43 Balance lets you have work and personal profiles. Thorsten’s talking about the boring business security stuff.

15:56 We’re back! WordPress decided to do some server maintenance. Here’s what we missed.

15:56 And camera stuff, new third party apps (70k total) and Story Maker. STORIES.

15:58 The review embargo has been lifted. Here’s Joshua Topolsky’s.

16:02 Over 1k top apps are on BB10. Massive punch aimed at Microsoft.

16:03 There’s Rdio, SoundHound, EA, social stuff and other stuff, but no sign of Spotify. Dealbreaker for many.

16:06 You can also get movies, TV and music from BlackBerry World.

16:07 Insert generically intensely soundtracked content advertising video here.

16:08 All four US carriers are getting these. Insert Thorsten clap.

16:09 The Z10 is available tomorrow in the UK in basically every store. I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

16:10 Chemistry, that is. Might find the phone after.

16:10 Another big announcement from Thorsten is impending!

16:11 “We’ve created a new positiion at BlackBerry. A Global Creative Director!

16:12 It’s Alicia Keys.

16:15 Thorsten Heins is officially freakishly tall. Either that or all his employees are diminutive.

16:16 Alicia wants to “bridge the gap between the work phone and the play phone”.

16:17 Her job is to persuade Neil Gaiman to use BB10. There’s a video on it.

16:20 It seems Alicia is starting in the office on Monday. Nice few days off.

16:20 Thorsten’s wrapping things up, so I will too. Thanks for joining us!

16:21 The press get a Q&A session, but I get to go and eat some crisps now. I’ll be getting some hands-on time tomorrow.

16:21 See you next time!

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HTC One X+ review

When HTC unveiled the One family at MWC earlier this year, the simplified line-up was meant to represent a new beginning for the Taiwanese firm. One range of phones for the entire world was supposed to be the result of a shift of focus from quantity to quality, and overall they impressed us. When we reviewed the One X back in August, we concluded that it was a stunning phone and confidently pointed towards a bright future for HTC. Sense aside, HTC could be in a position to become market leaders. But then things changed.

Surrendering to the wills of various carrier partners, mostly in the United States, HTC’s production lines began to churn out even more devices. Since that impressive MWC launch in February, no fewer than 10 Android devices have been launched by the company in various parts of the world, many of which did not bear the One family name. The most recent of these – and the company’s new European Android flagship – is the One X+ which, at first glance, looks no different to the original One X. How does it fare against its latest rivals, and, with new devices just around the corner at CES and MWC after the turn of the new year, is it worth your money? Read on to find out.

Continue reading →

HTC Sense 4+ review

This summer I reviewed the HTC One X, a phone that came preloaded with Android 4.0.1 and HTC’s comparatively lighter but nevertheless bloated Sense 4 skin. You might recall I went on a bit of a rant about it, with the problem being that it lagged. A new operating system on a top of the line phone should not be stuttering on the homescreen. Now, to coincide with the release of the One X+, HTC has come up with an answer. The new Sense 4+ skin is layered on top of that buttery Android 4.1 goodness, also known as Jelly Bean, but does it fix the inherent problems its predecessor had? Read on to find out.

The Good

HTC really has fixed a lot with the new version of Sense. Most noticeably, the stuttering has been eradicated completely and utterly. I’m not completely sure whether this is down to the new Jelly Bean’s Project Butter or simply HTC’s optimisations, but it really doesn’t matter. Whatever they’ve done, it makes the phone a joy to use. Expandable notifications have been introduced too, bringing all sorts of new functionality to your pull down shade. The only problem with these is the slightly awkward two finger pinch gesture to open them up – something that is not present in stock Android. The keyboard is really a lot better than it used to be, nixing the pointless arrow keys at the bottom and adding altogether better feedback and responsiveness. My biggest annoyance with the One X has also been fixed – the menu button situation. It used to be that the One X did not have a hardware menu button, with a software version popping on screen as and when it was needed, wasting about a tenth of the screen real estate. With this update, TC has added the option in settings to reassign the multitasking button to menu. Holding down this button with this setting enabled will take you to recent apps, giving back the screen that was taken. Google Now, Android’s answer to Siri, has also been added, with a long press of the home button propelling you straight into the new voice search feature. While I don’t want to go as far as to compare it with Siri as they both perform different functions, I have to say the retrieval of data is snappier and the voice is not nearly as robotic.

The Bad

There isn’t really much that has become worse in Sense 4+. After all, it is an update: something supposed to make something else better, unless you are Apple.

The Ugly

There is a lot in this section, and while there is not as much as there used to be, the list of negative aspects of Sense only reinforce my desire to see stock Android being shipped on more than one phone a year. The first thing is the icons, which remain childish and displeasing to the eye. Compared to the polished look of iOS, Windows Phone and post-ICS stock Android, you realise how far behind such skins remain, and a little customisation with an icon pack goes a long way aesthetically. I still feel that the greens and whites of Sense clash with the deep blues and Tron-like lighting of Holo clash horribly, however certain elements appear pleasant and muted. Another thing that hasn’t been fixed is the lockscreen shortcuts, still default to the ones you have placed in your dock.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Sense 4+ is a great upgrade over Sense 4, making Sense a decent skin once again. It makes it smoother, faster, slicker and better looking while also tying in new functionality that you won’t necessarily find in a stock Android build. If you are a user of one of HTC’s One series phones, I urge you to upgrade to keep your sanity and enjoy the butter.

RIM pledges to keep loving devs with bizarre music video

At its BlackBerry Jam concert event to show off BlackBerry 10, RIM premiered a surreal music video in which leading employees sing their hearts out for the developer community. The video is rather surreal and confusing, so it’s best just to sit back and enjoy the dulcet tones of Alec Saunders, VP of developer relations.

Via Ben Popper (Twitter)
Source RIM (YouTube)

 

HTC Windows Phone 8 event liveblog: 8X and 8S unveiled as Microsoft’s Windows Phone flagships

September’s been a pretty crazy month of announcements, and now HTC are trying to impress us with their showing in New York. New Windows Phone 8 devices are expected, although an updated One X is also rumoured. Whatever happens, we’ll bring you the latest news here!
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Everything Everywhere announces UK’s first 4G LTE network and name change to EE

At an event in London today, Everything Everywhere, the company that was formed from the merger of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom’s UK operations, announced their ambitious rollout plans for the UK’s first 4G LTE network. CEO Olaf Swantee also confirmed that the T-Mobile and Orange brands would remain in action, but the 4G network, along with superfast fibre broadband, would be marketed under the new EE brand.

 

EE’s 4G network, known as 4GEE, is set to initially launch in London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol, with 12 more cities set to receive 4G by the end of 2012, covering a third of the UK population. By 2013, this figure is set to rise to 70%, and EE’s current 3G mark of 98% coverage will be matched in 2014 if all goes to plan. Speeds are expected to peak at around 25Mbps, but EE is advertising average speeds of 8-12Mbps at launch, in line with peak 3G speeds across the country.

The range of devices that will support the network is very limited, featuring 5 phones and 2 mobile broadband devices, but Swantee hinted at further announcements during the press event. Apple’s new iPhone, set to be announced tomorrow, is expected to carry support for LTE networks, but has been rumoured that support for UK networks such as EE’s may not be present in this generation of iPhone. The full device range announced today is below, and both Nokia devices, announced last week, are set to be exclusive to EE in the UK.

Update: EE has confirmed that it will have an exclusive on the LTE iPhone 5 in the UK.

Source EE
Via The Verge / Coolsmartphone