BlackBerry 10: Everything you should know

BlackBerry 10 has arrived. The new operating system is the most significant reboot of BlackBerry's software line-up in a long time and should bring with it a slew of new desirable handsets.

Hoping to return to the fore and edge in on Windows Phone's market share with BB10, all bets are on this being big for BlackBerry. So what should you know about the new operating system? Read on to find out.

BB10 availability

BB10 launched on 30 January and the Z10 hardware will appear in UK shops the next day (March in the US). As for hardware, it will be the Z10 that goes on sale first.

Carphone Warehouse, EE, Orange, T-Mobile, Phones 4u, O2, Vodafone and Three have all confirmed they will be stocking handsets featuring the new operating system.

BB10 devices

BlackBerry 10 has had plenty of hardware leaks and now finally the Z10 is official. So what can you expect from the new BlackBerry 10 hardware? At the moment we have the Z10 and the Q10. There are, however, another four BB10 phones due out in 2013.

BlackBerry Z10

The Z10 - formerly known as the BlackBerry London and L-Series - features a 4.2-inch four point multi-touch LCD display with a 1280 x 768 screen resolution, equating to 356 DPI.

The handset also features a dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB of RAM. That isn't Galaxy S3 standards of speed, but then BB10 is a bit less of a processor hog than Android.

As for the rest of the hardware, the Z10 ships with 16GB of internal memory, expandable with a microSD card. Then there is a 2100mAh battery inside which keeps things ticking over and, given its size and the processor's power, should last longer than a day.

READ: Hands-on: BlackBerry Z10 review

The phone will weigh around 125g and is 130 x 65 x 9mm in size. Fairly pocketable then. On the back there will be an 8-megapixel camera and on the front a 1.9-megapixel offering.

The phone will also ship in white, but only from Phones 4u initially as it has a limited time exclusive. Bluetooth 4.0 is included along with Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and, crucially, a 4G mobile hotspot option, handy for those who opt for EE.

BlackBerry Q10

It wouldn't be BlackBerry if there wasn't some sort of BlackBerry 10 device with a Qwerty keyboard. The long-rumoured X10 has now materialised as the Q10.

The phone runs a full version of BB10 albeit with a Qwerty keyboard and a smaller screen than that of the Z10. The display is 3.1-inches rather than the 4.2 screen on the Z10 and has a 720 x 720 pixel resolution.

The back of the phone is a special glass weave cover designed especially for it. Thorsten Heins at the BlackBerry 10 launch described it as being thinner and lighter than plastic and unlike materials found on any other phone.

BB10 pricing

Pricing for the Z10 has now been announced, with O2, for example, offering the handset for free for the first two weeks on a 24-month, £36 amonth contract. Phones 4u confirms that other networks' pricing is similar.

Pricing for the phone SIM-free version is rumoured to be around £480, but there's no official confirmation on this yet.

BB10 Software

As we mentioned earlier, BB10 is a big departure from BlackBerry's conventional way of doing things.

The whole operating system runs on gestures related to where you touch the screen. Think of it slightly like a PlayBook. Tap the top of the screen in an app, for example, and slide down and you will open up options for the OS, such as phone and messages. Slide up from the bottom and you can leave the application. Notifications are bottom to right and swapping to the home screen is from centre to left or right.

The other talked-about features come in the form of the BlackBerry Hub, video chat, the camera app and even screen sharing.

We will be publishing a more in-depth BB10 explored piece soon.

Where can I get it?

So BB10 has arrived but where can you buy it? Every major UK phone network is going to be stocking BB10 devices from the get-go, from Thursday 31 January.

That means O2, Three, Vodafone and EE. We know also that it will be launching on 4G on EE and will be 4G-capable for the new LTE services that will be launching in the summer once the new spectrum auction process is finished.

As previously mentioned, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u will also have the BlackBerry Z10 in store from tomorrow - 31 January.