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Speculation on Why BlackBerry 10 Launched in the UK First

BlackBerry Z10

I was truly surprised when I learned that the UK would be getting the BlackBerry Z10 the DAY after launch. I thought if RIM could pull that off anywhere it would be in Canada. I heard that the reason it takes longer for the US compared to Canada is that carriers in Canada have about 2,000 checkpoints to test and US carriers have about 20,000 in comparison. CNET UK had and interesting wrap up of a few reasons as to why the UK received the launch of BlackBerry 10 first.

Here is a quick recap of the reasons they have heard:

  • Francisco Jeronimo, research manager for European Mobile Devices at IDC, is that the U.K. is the biggest BlackBerry market in the world.
  • BlackBerry senior VP Andrew Bocking echoed this point: "The U.K. has been a key market for us for so long. We have over 8 million BlackBerry users today in the U.K. and we are very excited for them to be on the leading edge getting access to BB10 on the Z10."
  • Ian Fogg, analyst for IHS, made the point that a successful launch in the U.K. could have more global impact than a U.S. launch, as the owners of U.K. carriers are present in other countries, whereas the U.S. carriers are more self-contained.

Those are some pretty compelling reasons but I think the real reason was probably because the UK carriers were able to get the product out the door THE DAY AFTER LAUNCH. CNET also said that he heard from a few analysts that they are VERY impressed with how fast BlackBerry 10 is getting out the door. Jeronimo stated that:

"I don’t remember the last time a major vendor launched a flagship device and made it available in stores the day after. BlackBerry probably didn’t get the same support in the USA and therefore decided to launch it later."

Let us know if you hear of any other compelling reasons why the UK got first dibs on the BlackBerry Z10!

32 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I say good for the UK. Regardless of what anyone thinks I believe BlackBerry made the right decision. The Apple loving media in the USA would destroy the Z10. At least they can get some good reviews from the UK first.

  2. You always need a test market and the UK market is very diverse and forgiving. It really makes sense to use it as well given the past relationship BlackBerry had with consumers. BlackBerry owned as much as 25% market share not too long ago.
    But I also think that BB10 is not ready, as I feared and BlackBerry wants to maximise their chance of success in the US

    • In what way do you think it’s not ready?

      It’s pretty obvious BB want to maximize their chance, and clearly UK and Europe and canada are best tests market than US.

      • A few examples of the OS not being ready
        – some settings have not changed from OS7 and are very unfriendly compared to what you find on Android and iOS. Try to configure a VPN per example.
        – the “back” gesture only works in Android apps. It doesn’t make sense to have a feature that works half the time.
        – they did a half-assed jobs with their “tiles” system. They may not be able to fix it on time though. Widget meets multitasking does not work well because tiles die in the background or move around.
        – some apps, like Maps need work

        And the platform is not ready due to the lack of apps. Lots of announcement, much less in the catalogue as we speak.
        BES 10 is not ready either and there will be less time between the release of handsets and the server side solutions.

        • About the vpn, I can’t tell, I’m on BES and the vpn is working strait away: nothing to do, just acces my networked files strait from the filemanager.
          More specific about setting? To be honest, I’m more worried about what I’ll lose.

          what do you mean with tiles?

          About Maps, I don’t know. To be honest, this is not the kind of app I use often. I usually use a GPS. and I can acces google map from my device if needed.

          I also see ports from android version of google map that seem to be working well.

          About lack of app, here again, I’m not sure what you’re using on other device that is not ready or will not before launch in US. Skype, is the only one that I kind feel of lacking and i know it well come.

          There clearly have still work to do, so I can’t disagree with what you’re saying, but when I compare to other launches, I think all in all it’s pretty good and I feel saying the OS is not ready is probably a bit too harsh. Having other forgiving country ready before the “real” avaibility in US seems a really good move to me.

          • Regarding the VPN, it’s great that it works out of the box for BES users, but a consumer who’s been told to use a VPN service when browsing the Internet from public places, the interface makes no sense whatsoever. An interface needs to offer various “levels” of configuration, depending on who is using it. That’s why there is the “advanced” button on many of the configuration screen.
            It should be as easy as configuring email.

            “Tiles” as in BlackBerry’s multitasking screens. They’re not really widgets because those things just die in the background without letting you know.

            BB Maps and Google Maps is just night and day… I need to check those ports to see how well they work 🙂

            Regarding apps, type some of the names mentioned in the announcement in BBW and stare at the “No results” screen. That’s what I’m talking about. Skype is not in the catalogue per example. Having an extra month or two will help
            I didn’t expect to find most of the apps I use on BB10 and I think they did an OK job for a launch, despite not having Google, Twitter or Facebook on board (yet).

            The iPhone was really bad when it launched, with no apps, etc., but it was Apple’s first step into this space. It’s not BlackBerry’s first rodeo, so I expected more, but they were declared dead last year, so I can understand big corps not putting their trust into a zombie.

            • Properly written apps should not die. They die either because they crash or because the OS sees them misbehaving; e.g., insisting for more RAM than can be allocated to it. QNX can be brutal that way, but this is what is needed to create a truly robust OS.

              Skype is in the queue or it would not have been announced. I expect in a matter of days not several weeks. Launch was just 5 days ago.

              Like u said, I agree with you on Maps, but will be improved. Again, don’t blame RIM if Google didn’t port their maps app to BlackBerry 10.

              • Well, not even BlackBerry manages to write apps which don’t misbehave, so I’m not sure how others are supposed to do it and it’s much more difficult to do with HTML5 apps per example, where you don’t control how your webview is going to leak.

                I know Skype is in the queue, but when I tried some of the apps given in the list, I couldn’t find them and thought that BB needed more time. They have a huge backlog when it comes to approving apps.

                Don’t blame BB (Not RIM ;)? Yes and no. Of course, Google will ultimately make the decision to support the platform, but BlackBerry has decided to go with Bing. Only Windows Phones uses Bing and its users are not happy! ;). I was hoping for at least a cut down Android port or an app developed by BB, just like they do the Twitter and Facebook apps.
                It will take BB 5 to 10 years to match Google Maps, but Maybe Nokia and others will see an opportunity.

                • RIM increased the RAM in the Z10 to increase stability — more RAM for hungry apps. I think the apps will mature and stability will increase. For me, the more important thing
                  is OS stability, and QNX is very robust indeed; apps are sandboxed so they cannot mess with other apps or th core OS.

                  I honesty believe that Google wants BB10 users using Google Maps. It too wi ll come. RIM could not launch BB10 without a maps app, so this is just a temporary measure. Indeed there is a l ot of politics in the game, more than I care to get into, and I wouldn’t even be aware of the discussions between RIM and their “partners”, or carriers for that matter.

                • I agree that core stability is key, especially for their enterprise customers, but it also limits creativity and freedom.
                  I haven’t looked into the details of implementation, but I doubt BB will let devs launch background services using a port of their choosing or mess with the “hosts” file.
                  Maybe that’s a request for JIRA 🙂

                  I’m sure Google has put a metric in place that will launch the development process, if needed, just like they did with WP8. They wouldn’t pass an opportunity to collect data unless it’s a more complicated affair on BB10 due to some restrictions.

                  Let’s hope that 3 year agreement they signed with MS when they announced the PlayBook expires soon 🙂

        • Nothing that you said makes sense…. nothing.

  3. I too agree with BlackBerry decision to debut in the UK and from what I’ve seen it looks like they are ready. It looks like the Instagramm and Netflix are on the way and from what I’ve seen on YouTube, there’s no other OS that matches BB10 in browser, keyboard, camera, the hub, the lockscreen and ease of use. This move allows BlackBerry to work out any kinks and prepared it for US release.

    • What makes the browser so great despite support for features for web developers to build non-native apps?

      • 1. The BB10 browser scored a 484 in an html test (far better than any mobile phone and most desktops); 2. in tests it has beaten Iphone, Samsung Galaxy 3 and Windows Lumina 920 in browser speed;
        3. There is a reader mode to read websites more clearly;
        4. BB10, unlike other mobiles still retains the option for Flash.

        • 1. Do you know what that score means? It’s “internal” features related, not speed or browser features related.
          2. In a test I saw it was beaten by the Galaxy S3:
          3. Yes, that’s a great feature 🙂
          4. I agree. Setting it up on Android is a pain and it crashes too often, but it’s not too useful any more as video apps have replaced video windows in the browser, afaict.

          • That arstechnica review was actually pretty good. I would not take the processor tests as fact but probably a good comparison test. I don’t think RIM was going for processing power though they still manage to take the cake in that regard. I am still blown away that you can do on device editing of video. That is something that makes the processor on my Galaxy S3 melt, crash, and burn.

            There are lots of things to be improved in the Z10 and BlackBerry 10 but I find they tend to be nitpicky things instead of blaring issues. Its like they leapfrogged into a more refined set of Android 4.0’s levels and need to polish it up based on users feedback and broaden their app catalog.

            • I was skeptical at first when they tried to understand the performance of the Z10 through testing phones using other OS as Android is known to be a CPU cycles waster, but that browser speed comparison is typical of what one would do to measure performance and I think the conclusion was that you wouldn’t see the difference anyway, as the gap was quite narrow, which is very true.

              Have you tried video editing on a iPhone 4S or 5? I haven’t myself, but I heard it was pretty good and was wondering how the Z10 compared.

              I’m really hoping for at least quarterly OS releases and one thing I keep finding frustrating is that devs can have a say through Jira and the dev forums, but those channels don’t seem to exist for consumers.

              • I have tried video editing on the iPhone 5 but it really only works well through iMovie which will cost you $10. It also only works with Apple codec supported videos unlike BB10 that has done fine with anything you throw at it. I am still blown away by that.

              • If consumers could plug into the dev’s Jira, that would be a disaster. This is what blogs & forums like this are for. Voice your concerns and if other jump on board and support it, then it gets some Jira time.

                • I prefer the interactivity of a ticket based system, where people in charge can share their views, but I agree that if anybody could submit requests, it would be as bad as the reviews on BBW 😀

          • 1. Yes, it reveals html5 compatibility, but that also relates to parsing, interpretation, rendering performance and presentation, which I consider vital. It also pertains to things like sandboxing.

            Yes, html4/5 compatibility, browser features and the hardware performance will yield the best browsing experience. RIM is giving you the best mobile browsing experience with bb10.

            • 1. No, the HTML5 score doesn’t take into consideration performance.

              But yes, the BB10 browser is better at video and security than the competition, which is great for users.

              As for the experience, it depends on what you’re used do. I’m sure most “casual” browsers will agree with you, seeing how fast their page renders and how they can bookmark the URLs they got through email.
              As an advanced user, I’ll wait for the official ports of Dolphin and Firefox or use my Android which I’m not fond of using for business purposes…

              Don’t get my wrong, I think the BB10 browser is one of the best, just not the best 😉

          • Don’t read much into that arstechnica article. It is very speculatory. QNX is a very efficient OS so comparing it with Android using similar hardware, different browser code, etc doesn’t mean squat.

            I’m happy they acknowledge that in the article: what counts is the user experience. RIM will not win on specs because they do more R&D, prototyping and testing than most, if not all smartphone vendors.

      • Performance, rendering, stability. It outmuscles Chrome; it is like having a full desktop browser on a hand-held.

        • Far from a full desktop browser for me. Android feels more at home because its browsers support extensions. I have access to my bookmarks and my passwords, while not seeing ads and blocking malware. It really speeds up the experience.
          I’m worried that the experience isn’t going to be great on a Q10 where screen estate is very important. I always only quickly check a web page on my 9900. I never browse the web because usually the screen is filled with ads.


    • That won’t help as it’s 99% BlackBerry’s fault 😛 and there is only a month to wait 😉

      • What? Are you serious? US carriers did not prioritize Z10 testing because they are too busy testing other products. They did not feel the Z10 would be in demand, and petgaps they were sure RIM would delay the release. Not sure I buy the 20,000 testing points in the article, but you can tell RIM wasn’t happy to hear of March releases by US carriers.

        • Maybe you’re right, I don’t know enough about the process, but some manufacturers get it right and BB has been doing US releases for years, so they should have an idea of how much time it takes.
          What I don’t get is that they were almost gloating last year that BB10 was already in testing, etc. I really thought the phone would launch early in the US and that’s why I’m a bit sceptical when I hear some of the reasons given. I still feel like they’re buying time in order to make a bigger impact. Once youtube is filled with viral videos of chavs filming themselves, US customers will take an interest 😉

        • And also, T-Mobile in the UK is notorious for always being late to the party, giving the excuse that they’re more thorough in their testing, but they’re selling the Z10, like most other carriers. And it’s not EE I’m talking about, which would do anything to have more phones to flash to customers in order to lock them in on a pricey price plan for 2 years, but T-Mobile, who used to be the king of Curves on PAYG.

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