With a few exceptions, I have been a hermit the last 6 weeks. Coming home from CES in Las Vegas, there was a week of craziness packing things up and taking care of loose ends as I prepped to move to Toronto for a month. At Toronto's CrackBerry's BlackBerry 10 Launch Campaign Headquarters, we were pretty much heads down from early morning until late at night every single day. Returning home last Sunday, I have been glued to my office computer working on the CrackBerry website relaunch (still a lot of little things left to do, but aiming to be live later this week - stay tuned!).
Suffice to say, I really haven't had many opportunities lately to get out and talk to people In Real Life, but this weekend I managed to do just that. Lunch on Friday, a soiree on Saturday, and a wedding brunch on Sunday. Each time I left my home/office, I spotted BlackBerry Z10's in public and in talking to their owners, received nothing but glowing reviews. And yes, in case you're wondering, I do stop strangers in public to talk to them about their phones (drives my fiancée slightly crazy.. I do this way too often).
I also bumped into a few people I knew who were rocking the Z10 - not everybody was a stranger. Overall, I talked to a dozen people face to face in the last three days who owned Z10s. 9 black Z10s to three white. 10 guys. 2 ladies. 2 guys and 1 lady were on white Z10s like me.
All of the people I spoke with absolutely LOVED their Z10. I'm not exagerating the word love here. They didn't just like it or really like it - they were GUSHING with praise for the Z10. I was actually blown away by the overhwhelmingly postive nature of the feedback. Over the last couple of years I have become used to hearing people complain about their BlackBerry during these types of conversations - it was sort of a new experience for me to see and hear BlackBerry customers who were so damn happy with their new BlackBerry.
Looking online and in CrackBerry's BlackBerry Z10 forums, the Z10 has received a lot of positive reviews. Also some mixed ones. And even some bad ones. That's not a surprise to me - BB10 isn't for everyone. Even back in May when we first went hands-on with BlackBerry 10, we said this wasn't BlackBerry trying to build a phone for everyone. At least not initially, though this will likely change over time. This is BlackBerry building a phone for a specific segment of the global mobile phone market. It's a little more complicated to pick up and use than iOS. It doesn't have the flexibility of Android. If you're a BlackBerry type person -- you value communication, you want to keep moving -- it's a mobile experience that will resonate with you in a big way and it will grow on you fast. BlackBerry is once again carving out a niche for themselves, and I think it's a smart play.
Tomorrow will be a month that I've been using the Z10, and I like it more and more each week. It's not perfect - there are some bugs to fix and features and design decisions i think will be improved on soon, but overall it is a great experience if your personality is a match to what the BlackBerry 10 experience is all about. And that's exactly the impression I walked away with in talking to Z10 owners this weekend. They fit the profile of who BlackBerry 10 is built for. And that personality matched to a phone catering to it is going to build real champions for BlackBerry 10 out there. In other words, I think you'll see a lot of Z10's get sold based on positive word of mouth.
Of the dozen new Z10 owners I spoke with, five were former BlackBerry owners who upgraded straight to the Z10. The other seven came over from iPhone and Android (three of which used to be on BB), wanting to try it out. Everybody LOVED the BlackBerry Hub and the keyboard and the Z10 in general (the look, feel and performance of the hardware). EVERYBODY was literally shocked at just how good the new touchscreen keyboard is - I think most bought it thinking they might try it out and take it back in order to wait for the Q10 with a keyboard, but now they're keeping the Z10.
I could keep going on here for another 2,000 words with the specifics of all the good things that were said... but I have to get back to work on the CrackBerry relaunch. I'll save it for our next podcast. But the bottom line and important take away here IMO is that Z10 / BlackBerry 10 customers are going to be far and away more satisifed with their BlackBerry than ever before in the past.
We have seen a lot of praise for BlackBerry 10 on CrackBerry, both in comments, in the forums and on twitter, but being able to hear that praise directly and see the passion from Z10 owners IRL is even better!