"Is this strong enough to drive them forward? It depends on marketing," O'Donnell said. "Are they big enough salmon to jump back to the spawning ground?"
"I think they have a good chance of making a comeback," added Gold. "It's not just a me-too announcement of features."
But Gold added that BlackBerry must quickly advantage of the new features. The company said it plans to spend many millions of dollars on advertising, starting Sunday during the Super Bowl.
The company is pushing the BlackBerry Balance feature for users in workplaces, along with a so-called "Remember" tool that will allow users to set up folders like "vacation" to hold specific emails and voice message for later review.
Gold said he is very impressed with video chat features that allow workers to easily share power point slides, graphs and charts. A video chat feature works in Wi-Fi and reportedly over cellular networks such as fast LTE.
O'Donnell said he was impressed with Blackberry's initial marketing plans, which include the signing of singer Alicia Keys to promote the devices to her fellow working moms -- an important demographic group to address.
Keys appeared on stage at today's event, where she described giving up another smartphone in favor of the Z10. "She's articulate," O'Donnell said, although he conceded that it's not clear how much a celebrity endorsement can help a smartphone. Previous BlackBerry devices have been promoted by singer Bono and the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas without great success, he noted.
Observers have said that the relatively small number of apps available in the BlackBerry World app store, now about 70,000, has been a significant deficiency for the company. By comparison, both Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market each have about 10 times as many available apps.
O'Donnell, though, said the number of BlackBerry apps is sufficiently broad for both consumers and business professionals. "How many apps does a person really need?" he said.
Several reviews of the Z10 appeared shortly after the device was announced, including some by reviewers who had used it for more than a week.