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UK fans go hands on with BlackBerry 10 - The BlackBerry Elite Program gets an explosive start

By James Richardson on 18 Jan 2013 11:34 am EST

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the BlackBerry Elite Program event that took place at RIM's UK HQ in Slough. The Elite Program has been set up to identify and empower the most passionate people in the BlackBerry community with information and opportunities for them to stay connected with BlackBerry. I'm not in the program myself but I suppose I got special treatment as we have the number one fan site.

And why is RIM doing this you may ask? Simple - they want to give something back to BlackBerry fans and this is just one way of doing it. Although the team of 'Elites' is quite small, RIM flew in its members from Germany, Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as those who are in England and could drive or get the train.

The purpose of the day was to give the team an insight into BlackBerry 10 before the official launch on January 30th. As you can imagine the tension and excitement before things kicked off was pretty massive. BlackBerry 10 has been a long time in the making and although the members of the Elite Program have been in full support of the new OS on Twitter and Facebook it was the first time that many of them had seen BB10 in the flesh for the first time.


So after we had lunch and got the opportunity to chat with one another, we gathered in a room where things were going to kick off. Most of the afternoon comprised of demonstrations of features within BlackBerry 10 and we were lucky enough to test for ourselves these things on what appeared final hardware - which rocked. I had used this hardware some months ago but there were many changes within the software and things are now super smooth. Many of the applications that we played with I can't mention here unfortunately and you will have to wait for those to be unveiled on the 30th, but what I can say is I am confident the world is going to be stunned by BlackBerry 10. The new OS is truly amazing and not only will it be a superb new experience for those coming back to BlackBerry, it is also a beautiful transition for us current users and it will continue to make us 'BlackBerry People' hugely efficient at what we use our smartphone for.

We also had the chance to get hands on with the new accessories that will launch with the first BlackBerry 10 handset. As you would imagine some cases will feature in the range but RIM also has a selection of other products up their sleeve, but I'm not going to spoil things - you can wait for those to be shown off at the end of the month. While the main focus for RIM has clearly been on devices and software it was wonderful to see the level of thought and quality that they have put into the new accessories. Sorry for being a tease but good things come to those who wait!

Overall the day was a big success. Not only did Rob Orr (Managing Director of RIM UK) come and speak to the group but we also got a video message from RIM CEO Thorsten Heins. To see the support of the main man to the BlackBerry Elite Team was the perfect example of how much BlackBerry fans mean to the company. I certainly wasn't expecting this and it was a great surprise. We also got an extra bonus - football legend Thierry Henry popped in to check out BB10 and mingle with RIM staff. As you can imagine, there was an element of excitement in the air.


The members of the BlackBerry Elite program had a fantastic day with RIM. Each of them were amazed with BlackBerry 10 and I can guarantee they will all remain BlackBerry 10 users for a long time to come. They will also all be at the BB10 launch event in London so the day wasn't just a one time thing - the Elite program is ongoing.

Respect also goes out to RIM UK for organising the day. It is a great move giving something back to the fans and making them feel so special. Roll on the 30th - you will be amazed!


world traveler and former ceo

WOw!~!!! amazing and so exciting! .... Can't wait to buy one!!!

Ben Bubble

CAN NOT WAIT! Hoping to be at #BlackBerry10LDN myself! :)


Awesome summary of the day James! Looking forward to the launch now!!

DJ Reyes

It was an amazing day!!!! Love the post James.


12 days! Cannot wait, thanks for the write-up.


Great now I won't be able to sleep for the next 12 days. JKing!! It's great to hear about what you thought of BlackBerry 10.


Curse your teasing. I'm just kidding, but seriously, it's already hard waiting but knowing there is more that hasn't been hinted at or leaked makes it even harder. Sounds like it was an awesome event!


@James, you forgot to mention how most of us ignored the famous footballer and stayed for more demos and play with BB10 devices lol


BD - I thought I recognized your mug in that group photo!


bd - I've always enjoyed reading your comments in the forums; so I'd like to hear what you have to say (what you are allowed to say, that is) after your time with z10?


". . but what I can say is I am confident the world is going to be stunned by BlackBerry 10 . . "

That, my friend, is music to our ears !!!


From Thierry Henry, "I think you will take over..." Wow, folks, this is gonna be a knock-you-socks-off device. RIM seems to have really done it!

The RIMpire rules!


Your killing me with those teasers. Thanks for the write up.


Are we supposed to care or know who Thierry Henry is? (honest question).


Yes if you live in UK or Europe lol


...and yet he's now a striker for New York of MLS. If he was an American Football player his name would be recognized (in the US).


Or if you follow football/soccer, or if you watched any of the last 3 or so World Cup tournaments. I know who he is (I live in the US) and I am very impressed that he agreed to meet the Elite group!


lol, yes for anyone watching sports, he is a star


Shame on you! The man is an absolute hero! Especially with the Gunners :)


Spurs fan here - he is also a cheat - LOL!!


He's one of the most famous footballers of this generation.


C'mon, used to be the best player in the world!


"Many of the applications that we played with I can't mention here unfortunately and you will have to wait for those to be unveiled on the 30th, but what I can say is I am confident the world is going to be stunned by BlackBerry 10. The new OS is truly amazing and not only will it be a superb new experience for those coming back to BlackBerry, it is also a beautiful transition for us current users and it will continue to make us 'BlackBerry People' hugely efficient at what we use our smartphone for."

This sums it up perfectly. James, you are the man :)


Great write up, thank you.


Thanks James! Wish I could've been there!


Okay, I've been waiting for Blackberry 10 since I first saw the playbook announced on september 27th 2010 and hoped one day the new os would come to blackberry phones. gaah 12 more days so close but feels so far! Also you've really piqued my curiosity with these accessories you can't mention!


Good write-up James

How much time did you get with the new device in hand?

"Sorry for being a tease but good things come to those who wait!"
That's easy for you to say since you don't have to wait any longer.




There should be a separate post just on Thierry Henry, he is such a huge soccer star! (for the world minus USA :) )
a bit like if Kobe Bryan was advertising it


I think you'll find he's a huge football star :p

Jokes aside, yeah Henry being involved is awesome. I was envious enough of the people who got to attend the event already before I found out he turned up as well!


Who is Kobe Bryan?
I have heard of Kobe Bryant ;)


are those the accessories in what looks like a display case in the background? ) very exciting thanks for the post


Hallelujah ! BB 10 will soon descend on this planet to save us all !
The Messiah is coming ! Can't wait!


what a cool event. I'm not really into any other tech companies (except my computer and iPod from Apple), but I've never heard of such a big tech company doing something like this for their everyday consumer.

I wish they had something like this in Los Angeles. Everything surrounding BlackBerry 10 seems to be in Canada (obviously), New York, and Europe.

Oh well, I guess it's a good thing we have the internet to see all the cool stuff going on around the world


Awesome review, for an awesome day. Glad to be there and apart of the #BB10 experience,.
This will Rock #BlackberryPeople.

Craig Ashcroft, BlackBerry Bold 9790


I'm glad you were "a part" of the experience; I think its the rest of us that have to deal with being "apart" from the experience ;-)

(I know you know what you meant, I just couldn't resist . . thanks for keeping our hopes high till then =)


This is so cool; I've been sitting on an upgrade since August, and I'm embarrassed to say it but every once in a while I catch myself saying "O I can't decide between razr m, razr hd, dna" etc and then I have to remind myself "O yeah that's right, BB Z10 is coming, can't decide anything till after Jan 30" . . . almost down to single-digit days left =)


Gotta admit. Last year I had a Bold 9900, I was sticking behind BB. Then, little by little my confidence began to erode, other makers were doing interesting things, and BB was doing little to nothing. Then when BBX/BB10 was announced I said to myself, 'I am jumping ship (even though I bought RIMM stock) and I will wait, watch and see where things go.' That was 6-8 months ago. IPhone 5 came out and I got on board with that. Still have it. But underneath it all I was still a BB fan. I want the company to bounce back and do great, innovative things. And I want to be part of it. But I've been burned before with the 9900 devices and an old OS, and the never-ending wait for the PlayBook, which was released unfinished in a sparse ecosystem. So I remained highly skeptical. I wasn't going "all in". I am going to use judgement this time and look to be truly impressed. So far, everything I've seen so far out of the new devices has me getting increasingly excited and interested. I am looking at more frequently again. I am interested in BB news and leaks. I am starting to get a good feeling and I think the company **might** have gotten its collective act together and may be ready to start competing in earnest with other mobile companies. I like what I am seeing. Apple's OS, while solid and reliable, is long in the tooth. Andriod is just a pain in the a** to use (I tried and tried and I swore it off last fall for good). It's iOS or Blackberry. And right now I am REEEEEALLY looking forward the release of these new devices. I'm back on the hook, BB, don't let me down!


And your shares went up too !


Nice to see our #BBElite sister program up and running in the UK. I have a twitter list going for the NA #BBelite

- @Kuttysark :)


Appreciate the article of the event. I noticed at the last one of these that was held in Canada, a fella from Louisville was one of the Elite. What a great opportunity to get into what looks to be an incredible platform. Soooo looking forward to playing with a BB10 phone!!


The gentleman from Louisville is none other than @BBBrodyBB :)


When is your (and others) NDA going to be lifted. Can't wait for the influx of articles. We all know sites all over the world have them in hand under NDA. I'm sure Crackberry has them internally too, just under NDA. maybe part of the NDA is to not even say they have them?


JR, you are one extremely lucky fella. Thanks for sharing the event with us. I can't wait a week and a half any more OMGosh.


Great day, guys. Nice. Did anyone ask about the carriers release day plans? Did they give any hints to how long we have to wait after the 30th?


Im #teoing with my BB10 Phone!!!!


Wow .... what else can I say.

It's no wonder why Apple put a stop to manufacturing more phones.


Excellent post I sit and look at the snow start to fall in the north of Scotland....I'm quietly happy. #BB10Believe


Excellent and epic write-up james!! I can hardly wait!! I'll be testing blackberry 10 at the rogers store on demo devices to get to know it even better before it hits my playbook!! :D


So who's coming up with the first BB10 magazine? Tired of seeing all the iGear mags on shelves. Sorry, just too many of them.


Excellent blog post, James. Thanks for sharing the BB UK Elite experience for us "Yanks" across the pond! :-)


I'm so gutted about his as i had the invite but had to turn it down, looks like it was a great event to get and inside look in advance.

Shobhit pathak

How does one join or get into the #BBELITE??


Blackberry would approach you for the Elite program, there is no applying or requesting to be apart of it. There is an older developer Elite program where you can be nominated to get in, but that's still no guarantee.


Just as long as all these super duper changes allow me to 1) use PDF bookmarks and 2) let me have multiple PDF documents open at the same time I'll be happy.


FYI the elite BB users are on CrackBerry


There was another clear hint there that there will be big name apps for BB10 that have not been announced so far.
Til Jan 30th I will wait, rather than speculate.