How long was the wait for BlackBerry 10? Long enough that the finished product seems to have skipped ahead several generations.
Tight product cycles from increased competition meant BlackBerry was entering a market in which a revolutionary product was next to impossible. Free people from their desks to send and receive email? Revolutionary. A better contact manager, cool time-shift camera and “flick” typing? Evolutionary.
That said, the BlackBerry 10 devices -the Z10 virtual keyboard model and the upcoming Q10 with the physical keyboard- might feel revolutionary to longtime BlackBerry users. The BlackBerry 10, says CIO’s Michael Gartenberg, put BlackBerry “back in the game”.
One piece of evidence is Opera. Opera Mini, the mobile version of the Opera browser was popular on previous BlackBerry models because it made the old BlackBerry 7 models feel more like a modern smartphone and less like feature phones.
Oslo-based Opera, which launched in 1994, are experts at building fast, secure feature rich browsers that are perfect for devices with limited memory and/or small screens.
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The Opera Mini browser, as of a check three minutes ago on our Z10 device, is not available. But you will probably be hard pressed to notice. There are no internet forums packed with BlackBerry users demanding it. No sideways hacks to make it work on the new devices. No passion-filled bloggers pounding their fist on the table.
That’s because the native browser in BlackBerry 10 is ridiculous. In the two-weeks since we have had the device it has done everything our desktop browser does, and it’s faster. The tabs open in a lovely series of tiles. Shortcuts can be added to the home screen. It supports Flash, which can be disabled on command. It seamlessly allows you to share web pages with any of your contacts.
There were hints about the browser in November, when RIM’s VP Developer Relations, Alec Saunders, bragged about it to CNET.
“We have a more [HTML5] standards-compliant browser than anybody else,” he said. “It beats every desktop browser, it beats every mobile browser, it beats every tablet browser, when you start to measure the scores.”
When BGR got hold of a a developer kit version of BlackBerry 10, it said the browser “smokes iOS 6 and Windows Phone 8 in comparison test.”
The video they were referring to, from website GadgetMasters, is below.