Archives for BlackBerry

Should you care about the BlackBerry Key2?

BlackBerry might not be making its own handsets anymore, but its parent TCL has released yet another BlackBerry – Android crossover, called the BlackBerry Key2. Or, as New Atlas calls it, an “otherwise unremarkable handset running Android 8.1”  Key2’s only claim to fame is that it has the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard. If you’re interested in a physical keyboard on your smartphone, here is what New Atlas thought about the device.

New Atlas states “Any appraisal of the Key2 really has to focus on that physical keyboard down at the bottom.”

If the device’s best feature is the keyboard, is that really enough? Physical keyboards have long since become antiquated – replaced by touchscreen options that allow bigger phone screens and thinner devices. Many smartphone users have not used a physical keyboard on their smartphone in nearly a decade.

New Atlas claimed that using a physical keyboard in 2018 was “rather awkward” and that “Pecking away at individual letters is smooth enough, but as soon as we needed a number, or a special character, there was a good five seconds of trying to find it and then working out the key combination to bring it up on screen.”

The publication also points out that while it only used the phone for a week before writing its review, users with more time might find the keyboard experience to become “much more intuitive.” However, it admits that “it seems unlikely that iPhone and Android users would want to take the time to adapt. It’s perhaps only the most hardcore BlackBerry loyalists who are going to want to put the Key2 on their shopping lists.”

BlackBerry isn’t just  targeting this phone at hardcore loyalists though. It is also marketing the phone for “those who need to get through a lot of texting rather than a lot of media watching.” Like the BlackBerry days of old, this is intended to be a business savvy phone, rather than a personal, multi-purpose phone. On a screen that is only 4.5 inches, you might not be interested in downloading Netflix.

The phone has other features too, of course, to fit into the smartphone category. Of the Key2’s dual lens 12 MP + 12 MP camera, New Atlas says that “it’s capable of getting some fine shots in good lighting, and even coped well with all but the lowest-lit scenes, most of the time. It’s not going to match an iPhone or Pixel in terms of results, but it won’t let you down.”

It also totes business security features, such as BlackBerry’s DTEK software and a locker – a password-protected vault for stuffing away extra-sensitive files and web bookmarks.

New Atlas says that “battery life impresses too, perhaps due to those mid-range components and smaller screen. We regularly had over 50 percent left at the end of the day.”

The BlackBerry Key2 will be available to pre-order on June 29th in the United States for $649 unlocked.

Source: newatlas.com – BlackBerry Key2 review: If you want a phone with a keyboard, get this one
Published: June 27, 2018

BlackBerry experiences delightful sales spike

blackberry logo longAs it turns out, giving up on smartphones was a good move for BlackBerry. Due to recent record software sales, the Waterloo, Ontario-based tech company is looking into buying companies that focus on cyber security, as well as automotive and enterprise management.

This is excellent news for BlackBerry, which recently beat analysts’ expectations, according to The Vancouver Sun. The publication explains that not only did BlackBerry break even, it made “a profit of $26 million or 5 cents per share excluding some items for the three months ending Aug. 31.”

This good news comes only a year after BlackBerry threw in the towel in the handset game. In that year, BlackBerry has focused on other aspects of its business, such as its reputation for high security.

CEO John Chen has said that some of his company’s success comes from contracts with the U.S government.  According to the Sun, “BlackBerry had 23 transactions over US$100,000, seven larger $500,000 and five over $1 million with federal agencies in the last quarter.” On top of that, BlackBerry’s biggest cash cow has been in enterprise software.

Chen has also stated to the press that he doesn’t “see a limit in [BlackBerry’s] ability to license software technology.” So the future is looking bright for BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry Keyboard Lives On!

BlackBerry LogoBlackBerry struggled to keep its smartphone alive amidst the rising popularity of manufacturers like Samsung and Apple. In fact, the company no longer produces its once-popular hardware. Despite this, some loyal holdouts still mourn the loss of the trademark BlackBerry keyboard. If this is you, don’t fret – according to Business Insider, a new player has resurrected your favourite mobile tool.

Chinese tech firm TCL picked up the branding rights to BlackBerry last year and recently revealed its new smartphone model, the BlackBerry KeyOne. If you’re nostalgic for the smartphones of old, then this one should be right up your alley. The device is a modern Android phone, complete with BlackBerry’s signature physical keyboard.

The phone embodies the professional BlackBerry aesthetic with a grip-able rubber back, aluminum sides, and a black-and-silver finish. It also charges with the newer and faster USB-C port and will operate on Android 7.1 Nougat.

The beloved QWERTY keyboard supports touch gestures as well, meaning you can swipe across it to scroll through whatever is onscreen. It also has neat shortcuts; for example, you can adjust your settings so holding down the ‘s’ key will open Snapchat.

Hopefully the KeyOne will see BlackBerry make a much needed comeback on the market. Time will tell!

 

PayPal Cutting Support for Microsoft, BlackBerry

paypalOnline payment processor PayPal has recently announced it will stop supporting Amazon Kindle, BlackBerry, and Microsoft Windows’ mobile apps in order to dedicate more effort to Apple iOS and Android devices. As of June 30, these platforms will no longer be affiliated with PayPal.

For many, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Microsoft’s recent news that it is getting out of the mobile game gives PayPal little reason to stay, and likewise BlackBerry has been declining in popularity for years now. The only question is why PayPal would choose to abandon Amazon Kindle, which is still widely used by consumers. Unfortunately, PayPal didn’t give many answers.

“It was a difficult decision to no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms,” explained Joanna Lambert, PayPal’s vice president of consumer product, in a blog post. “But we believe it’s the right thing to ensure we are investing our resources in creating the very best experiences for our customers.”

If you are a Windows, BlackBerry, or Kindle mobile user, you will now have to access PayPal via its website.

*Source: CNET

FCC, FTC to Investigate Mobile Security Updates

smartphoneThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are launching parallel probes into the mobile industry’s security update practices. The agencies want to determine how manufacturers issue security updates for mobile devices, and how carriers review and release the patches.

“As consumers and businesses turn to mobile broadband to conduct ever more of their daily activities, the safety of their communications and other personal information is directly related to the security of the devices they use,” stated an FCC press release.

“There have recently been a growing number of vulnerabilities associated with mobile operating systems that threaten the security and integrity of a user’s device, including ‘Stagefright’ in the Android operating system, which may affect almost 1 billion Android devices globally.”

In all, the FTC has contacted eight companies – Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola and Samsung – to gain insight into how manufacturers determine if a vulnerability needs to be patched. It has also asked for a list of all devices offered for sale since 2013, with information on any bugs that have impacted them and any fixes that were issued.

The main concern is that delays in developing patches may be leaving devices unprotected. Older devices may never receive the necessary protection.

Facebook Dumps BlackBerry

facebook_2015_logo_detailBlackBerry has slipped to the point that not even Facebook is taking it too seriously – the social media giant is removing its support from the BlackBerry version of its app. This comes after the announcement made earlier this month by Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp, which also plans to withdraw from the BlackBerry OS. Both applications will still be available on the Android powered BlackBerry Priv device.

BlackBerry has stated that it is “extremely disappointed” in Facebook’s decision to pull the apps. It is urging its users to log onto Facebook via the web browser on their handsets. This will be aided by a native app that will direct users to the web version. The app will replace the official Facebook app on March 31.

“We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time their decision stands,” said Lou Gazzola, of Blackberry’s developer relations department in a CBC story. Gazzola urged users to let Facebook and WhatsApp “know how you feel on social media, using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps.”

BlackBerry + Android = Love

BlackBerry LogoBlackBerry is committed to developing new devices based on the Android OS, announcing plans to continue to follow the course charted by the BlackBerry Priv.

BlackBerry plans on releasing at least one, but possibly two, smartphones powered by Android in 2016. CEO John Chen told CNET the emphasis on Android should not come as a surprise to users considering BlackBerry 10 failed to gain popularity after its release in 2013. This, coupled with the fact that BlackBerry’s OS holds only a one percent market share while Android enjoys nearly 53 percent, leaves little shock in the company’s decision.

The BlackBerry Priv, while using different software, isn’t all that different from the original BlackBerry smartphone you might be used to. It has a slide out physical keyboard, keeping true to the original BlackBerry image.

BlackBerry has not given up on its current operating system. John Chen has publicly said that the company plans on releasing two updates for BlackBerry 10 users in 2016.

BlackBerry’s First Android Device – New Leaked Details

blackberryDetails surrounding BlackBerry’s rumored Venice slider device are being leaked at an astounding rate. The company will reportedly be releasing its first Android phone in November.

Evan Blass, trusted source for smartphone and tablet leaks, recently posted new tweets revealing additional details about the device. The first tweet shows what claims to be a demo of the BlackBerry Productivity suite, which can be viewed on YouTube here.

The second tweet included a file list, suggesting BlackBerry’s Android handset will still include a number of traditional BlackBerry features. These tweets reveal the BlackBerry Venice slider is more than a stock Android handset and will come with favorite BlackBerry experiences built into the system.

BlackBerry’s android device will reportedly come with an 18 megapixel camera, a slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard and a 5.4-inch display. The Venice slider will also feature a hexa-core 1.8 GHz Snapdragon 808 processor and 3GB of RAM.

Former CEO Explains BlackBerry’s Decline

blackberry-storm

BlackBerry Storm

For the first time since his departure in 2012, ex-CEO of BlackBerry Jim Balsillie recently spoke about the company and its decline in the mobile market. He admitted that the 2007 introduction of the Apple iPhone was the ultimate reason behind BlackBerry’s failure. Balsillie says he knew the company could not compete.

He also explained that fear of Apple’s new device caused BlackBerry to rush the release of its touchscreen smartphone, the flawed BlackBerry Storm. The Storm resulted in a 100 percent return rate for Verizon, which caused the carrier to demand $500 million in compensation.

“With Storm we tried to do too much. It was a touch display, it was a clickable display, it had new applications, and it was all done in an incredibly short period of time and it blew up on us,” Balsillie said. “That was the time I knew we couldn’t compete on high-end hardware. We had to stick to the low-end.”

At the same time as this was happening for BlackBerry, Android was gaining popularity in the smartphone industry. Balsillie said that this was why he pushed for BlackBerry to release BBM on competing platforms, given that the company was making most of its money from services rather than actual phones. However, BlackBerry did not do this until after he had left, and by that time other services such as WhatsApp had made BBM redundant in the instant messaging market.

Despite his admission of near defeat, Balsillie remains loyal to BlackBerry, and still uses his BlackBerry Bold and Playbook. “You’ll have to pry it away from my cold, dead hands,” he said.

BlackBerry Acquires WatchDox

blackberry

BlackBerry is aiming to boost its software revenue to $500 million by March 2016, a goal which will only be aided by the company’s recent purchase of startup WatchDox. Adding to its software offerings will continue to ease BlackBerry’s dependence on smartphones.

WatchDox is a file-sharing security startup designed to help governments and companies control who can see important documents, as well as prevent leaks. According to crunchbase.com, the company based out of Palo Alto, California has raised $38.5 million (U.S.) from investors such as Blackstone Group LP and Gemini Israel Ventures. Some of its clients include Hollywood studios and private equity firms.

WatchDox CEO Moti Rafalin said its technology allows users to control access to files even after they’ve been sent outside of the company’s internal network. “The only way to protect content in this highly distributed world is if security travels with documents,” Rafalin said in a phone interview.

BlackBerry’s efforts to boost their revenue will be helped by purchasing more startups such as WatchDox, says CEO John Chen. Nine months ago, BlackBerry bought Secusmart GmbH, a German company specializing in anti-eavesdropping technology for mobile devices.