Blackberry skips a number too; BES 12 is coming soon

Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2014 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, BES12

Somewhere the highly successful company RIM released BES 11 which runs on Windows 9, but not in this universe.  In this brane we have the struggling, but still alive Blackberry announcing the upcoming release of BES 12, a mobile device management server which will manage Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry devices for enterprise.  The most interesting feature that was mentioned to The Register are virtual phone numbers, a company owned phone number can be added to an employees personal device, allowing them to keep their personal number and still receive business calls without needing a second device.  All the billing used by the business number is billed to the business while data and voice used under the users account is billed to their plan.  There are some obvious challenges to this service, you would need the same provider and the device would need to support Blackberry Balance, Android Fort Knox or similar partitioning software but is something which could interest small businesses.  You can catch up on the other features in the BES and news about some new devices right here.

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"Turnaround artiste John Chen marked one year as BlackBerry boss with an avalanche of enterprise software news related to the firm's new BES12 server, which can manage enterprise mobe devices running Android, iOS, Windows Phone – and of course, BB's own mobile OS."

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Source: The Register

Curious about that square phone from the other fruity company?

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2014 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, passport, snapdragon 801

Inside the new Blackberry Passport is a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, NFC, microUSB port and the impressive 4.5" 1440 x 1440 IPS touchscreen.  This phone is squarely aimed at the business user who does not consider the lack of apps and comparably poor video and gaming performance to be a negative and is far more interested in being able to read a document without scrolling.  Apart from the form factor the interface will be familiar to BB users, the Blackberry 10.3 OS has been available to users for a while now but the battery life will impress you as The Inquirer reports using the Passport for 2 days straight without charging, something the Z10 and Q10 are not capable of.  Read more here or scroll down to see what else is up in the mobile world.

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"THE BLACKBERRY PASSPORT is the Canadian phonemaker's comeback smartphone, and the firm is hoping the handset's "innovative" design will convince corporate buyers to ditch their Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy handsets."

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Source: The Inquirer

How to ruin your company in (Blackberry) 10 steps

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2013 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, flash, blackberry q10, blackberry z10, playbook, security

Oh RIM, is this what happens when you change your name, celebrity spokesperson and infrastructure?  First you gave up on what we thought was an incredibly secure way to communicate and moved to the same ActiveSync environment of Android and iOS and then we find out that we were fooling ourselves and even the old BES encryption was broken.  Then we find out that our data plans might or might not work if we roam outside of our home carriers network, regardless of what travel plan we might have requested.  A patch Tuesday cycle could be the last straw for many; announcing two ancient Adobe vulnerabilities on the new BB10 OS which will need to be patched might assure some that you still have a passing acquaintance with security but for most it is just one too many flaws.  The Inquirer links to the BB security threads in this article.

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"The Z10, Q10 and PlayBook all need patching for Adobe Flash vulnerabilities. If a user were led to a page containing crafted Flash content, an attacker could execute arbitrary code on an affected device. BSRT-2013-007 notes that an alternative attack would be to trick users into downloading an Adobe AIR application."

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Source: The Register

Blackbery has your full IMAP/POP3 creds, next up the Pontiff's headgear and the defecation habits of Ursi

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2013 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, fud

This story at Slashdot looks to be just the kind of FUD to spread to major news networks and talking heads everywhere, so before you get involved in the upcoming discussion know that this is how Blackberry, nee RIM, has always functioned.  POP3 and IMAP connections are not done over your BES as ActiveSync traffic and the classic Exchange interface of pre-BB10 were and if you are not using SSL or TLS then you should already know that your credentials are sent unencrypted; if you were not aware of this you should Google SSL and TLS to learn exactly what those security protocols are for.

In a corporate environment, traffic to and from the BES is encrypted actually much more secure than most email traffic over the net and for companies hosting their own BES all Blackberry did was provide direction for network traffic, though this did mean issues at RIM could and did interfere with email delivery.  If you had RIM host your BES, then obviously they had all your email credentials stored on a server they owned, though encrypted and not plain text, how else would the BES be able to push email from your Exchange server to your Blackberry.

For POP3 and IMAP traffic, RIM needs your credentials for the same reason, to be able to push email to your device instead of your device having to log into a server and pull email down.  ActiveSync is how the new Blackberry OS connects to your Exchange environment and utilizes the security designed specifically for that protocol and thus your login credentials are secured, this 'discovery' does not apply to that traffic.  On the other hand, if you are using non-ActiveSync email for your company, do not utilize SSL or TLS and created an email for your administrator account which is associated with a Blackberry ... you should be worried and frankly replaced by someone with a basic grasp of security.

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"How a phone manufacturer making a somewhat successful come-back can shoot itself in the foot: Marc "van Hauser" Heuse, who works for German technology magazine Heise, has discovered that immediately after setting up an email account on Blackberry 10 OS, full credentials for that account are sent to Research In Motion, the Canadian Blackberry manufacturer. Shortly after performing the set-up, the first successful connections from a server located within the RIM domain appear in the mail server's logs."

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Source: Slashdot

Leaked Screenshots Reveal New Features in BlackBerry OS 10.2.0.483

Subject: Mobile | July 5, 2013 - 05:39 AM |
Tagged: wi-fi direct, evernote, blackberry, BB10.2, BB10

BlackBerry, the company formerly known as RIM, is continuing to work on improving its BB 10 mobile operating system. In fact, version 10.2 adds a number of relatively minor, but rather useful, new features.

Leaked screenshots of a development build show that BlackBerry has added Wi-Fi Direct support, for example. Wi-Fi direct operates like the legacy ad-hoc mode in that it does not require a wireless access point. It allows devices to form a wireless link directly, and this wireless link can be in addition to the BlackBerry 10-powered phone's traditional infrastructure mode Wi-Fi connection between it and your home router. File sharing and printing are the main use cases for this technology.

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The new build also includes a native Evernote application, a tweaked settings panel with an App Manager option to kill unruly apps, and the ability to add subscribed-to calendars to the BlackBerry Hub.

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Finally, the leaked screenshots revealed what could be the best new feature in that build 10.2.0.483 adds so-called actionable notifications. This functionality allows you to respond to BBMs or other notifications from the notification itself, and without having to switch to the app. These quick-reply notifications are bound to be very useful!

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My first smartphone was a BB device (Bold 9000), and while I have since moved into the land of Android devices (with a quick stop at Maemo), BB10 looks interesting and is something that I've been watching since its release. I hope that BlackBerry is able to pull it together and move forward with new devices and its latest mobile OS attempt.

For more juicy BlackBerry 10 details, keep an eye on the BB 10.2 leaked screenshot thread over at CrackBerry Forums!

BlackBerry Reports $84 Million Operating Loss In First Fiscal Quarter 2014

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 2, 2013 - 03:22 AM |
Tagged: RIM, financial results, blackberry, BES10, BB10

BlackBerry (the company formerly known as RIM) recently posted its financial report detailing performance in the first fiscal quarter 2014. Unfortunately, it did not perform nearly as well as investors hoped. BlackBerry experienced increases in quarterly revenue and units shipped, but it still ended up with a hefty operating loss.

Specifically, at the end of fiscal Q1 2014, BlackBerry reported revenue of $3.1 billion with 6.8 million devices shipped and an operating loss of $84 million. The $3.1 billion in revenue is a 15% increase versus the previous quarter ($2.9 billion) and a 9% increase YoY (year over year). Despite the operating loss (which is actually an improvement over the $518 million operating loss in the previous year), BlackBerry still managed to ship 6.8 million units, which is 13% increase versus the previous quarter. BlackBerry did not detail how many of those devices where BB10 devices, but it is estimated to be 2.7 million of the 6.8 million devices shippped versus 1 million BB10 devices shipped in the previous quarter. At least BB10 is gaining some small amount of traction. Among those BlackBerry devices shipped in Q1'14, the company did state that it shipped 100,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.

Speaking of the PlayBook, the company had to break its promise to users with the statement that it would not be providing an update for the tablets to its latest BlackBerry 10 operating system. The reason given was that the company ran into performance issued on the PlayBook hardware when attempting to get BB10 running, and because they were not able to get it running smoothly they are not giong to release any update after all.

Needless to say, investors where not pleased with the performance of the company or of BlackBerry 10 which (despite being an interesting mobile OS) has not caught on like many had hoped. Instead, the BlackBerry OS is reported to occupy fourth place in the market behind Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone. BlackBerry's stock price dropped as much as 26% following the release of the financial report, according to GSMArena.

According to the company, the following quarter will see improvements, but it will still be operating at a loss. BlackBerry will continue to forge ahead with BlackBerry 10 OS and the accompanying hardware. The company will further development of BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) 10, and a cross-platform version of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) social messaging client. Handsets are going to be the focus with no new tablets. Finally, BlackBerry is going to continue focusing on cost cutting and company streamlining efforts to reduce overhead and other expenses.

The full financial report is available here on the BlackBerry website.

It is not all bad news. BlackBerry still has a fighting chance and I hope they can turn things around and make the new BlackBerry a success. What do you think about BlackBerry's performance so far this year/ Have you seen any BB devices being used instead of the typical iPhone or Android handset?

Source: BlackBerry

It's not a phone, it's an email device! Meet the Blackberry Q10

Subject: Mobile | April 25, 2013 - 07:52 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, blackberry q10

Touchscreen phones might get all the recognition in the press and with the cool kids but for the hard working type who can never truly get away from their email, nothing beats a physical QWERTY keyboard.  Users who prefer Bolds and Curves to flashy touchscreens are finally going to be gifted with the new Blackberry Q10, with very similar specs to the already released Z10.  For those of us that don't tend to see our phones as an entertainment device but simply as work tool the size of the screen really does not matter as much as a responsive and easy to use keyboard.  The Inquirer had a chance to review the new Q10 and you can catch their comments here.

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"3.1" 720x720 Super AMOLED touchscreen, physical QWERTY keyboard, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 4G and HSDPA connectivity, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 8MP autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash and HD 1080p video, 2MP HD 720p front camera, Blackberry 10 mobile operating system, 119.6x66.8x10.4mm, 139g

Price £579.95 SIM-free."

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Source: The Inquirer

Lenovo still might have a taste for Blackberrys

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2013 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, Lenovo, rumour, purchase

As we have heard before there are rumours that Lenovo is interested in possibly buying Blackberry, or at least trying.  The hurdle they face is not economic, not only do they have 2 billion in cash lying around looking for something useful to do they managed to make some impressive profits in the PC business at a time where their competitors were feeling the downturn in the economy.  The hurdle will be regulatory, as mentioned before the Canadian Government is leery of trend for major Canadian companies to sell themselves to foreign investors.  On the other hand, would the government be willing to watch a company go down the path Nortel was forced to travel, with the entire company and IP being sold piecemeal?  It is hard to predict, especially since this is still at the rumour stage, but from the information The Register published it would seem that the rumours were enough to float Blackberry's stock up by 10%.

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"Shares in BlackBerry, the company formerly known as both RIM and a world leader in smartphone shipments, jumped up ten per cent on Monday after Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that a buyout "could possibly make sense."

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Source: The Register

Snapdragon showdown; Z10 versus the Lumia 920

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2013 - 05:38 PM |
Tagged: blackberry, blackberry z10, nokia, Lumia 920, qualcomm, snapdragon s4

The hardware found in the new Blackberry Z10 and Nokia's Lumia 920 are almost exactly the same, with both based off of the dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 at 1.5GHz.  That makes this video from The Inquirer all about the performance of the operating system and the user interface.  They pit these two smartphones against each other in numerous head to head competitions, ranging from a boot time test that shows you should never turn off your Z10 to email testing which Blackberry was smart enough to focus on more than the other features.  Head on over and check out the 6 minute competition.

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"BOTH BLACKBERRY AND MICROSOFT are fighting to take the number three spot in the UK smartphone market with their respective flagship devices, the Blackberry Z10 and the Nokia Lumia 920."

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Source: The Inquirer

BlackBerry Releases BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Smartphones With BB10 OS

Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2013 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, RIM, blackberry z10, blackberry q10, blackberry, BB10

Research In Motion (RIM) is no more, but the company will live on as BlackBerry. Earlier this week, the company held a press conference where it made the name change official and introduced two new smartphones running the BlackBerry 10 operating system. It was a lot to take in at the time, and it has taken me this long for me to write about it as I have been torn on how I feel about the new BlackBerry.

First up though, the phones certainly look quite good. They are rather sleek looking utilizing curved edges well. BlackBerry has designed an all-touchscreen Z10 and a smaller Q10 smartphone with physical keyboard that is has just enough Bold DNA to evoke fond memories of my first smartphone.

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Smartphones.jpg

The Z10 features a 4.2” touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 768 (356 PPI). Beneath the hood is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC clocked at 1.5 GHz along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. For expansion, the phone supports micro SD cards. It can output video over HDMI and the phone includes an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP webcam. NFC and Wi-Fi are included along with LTE support.

Customers in the UK and Canada will be getting their hands on the phone sometime this week. US residents will have to wait until springtime, however. The BlackBerry Z10 is slated for a spring 2013 US launch (around March). In the US, the black version will be available on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile for $149 while a white SKU will be $199 and a Verizon exclusive (Verizon will also sell the black model, but reportedly at the higher $199 price).

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The Q10 carries the same internal hardware as the Z10 but goes with a smaller 3.1” 720 x 720 touchscreen. Beneath the screen is a physical keyboard reminiscent of the old BlackBerry Bold. Specs and pricing were more-scarce here, but it should see a US release sometime in April 2013.

Both BlackBerry smartphones run the company’s new BB10 operating system. The new OS is a complete overhaul that has several neat features. There is a new BBM client that integrated video chat and screen sharing, an app store with 70,000 launch apps, a work and home workspace separation (which will be great for BYOD workplaces), and a feature called Peek. Peek is invoked by a swipe gesture and allows you to, well, peek at a second application (such as email0 while watching a video or browsing the web. BlackBerry 10 will run multiple applications in the background and has an app switcher similar to Maemo where it displays live icons laid out in a grid. The OS also includes a camera application and editor. The camera app allows you to time-shift a bit after the photo is taken in order to find the best shot (for example, finding the shot where everyone was looking at the camera and/or not blinking). It is nice to see that rolled into a smartphone camera as it is rather useful when trying to get group shots of the family! Having the physical keyboard is sure to be a boon to many former BlackBerry users and may be the deciding factor in those users coming back to BlackBerry after leaving for Android and iOS.

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That statement does segway nicely into my worry, however. Essentially “former users” is the key phrase, and after Android and iOS have gobbled up the market I do not know that BB10 and the two new phones will be enough to win back their former users much less new customers that did not grow up using BlackBerry phones. Don’t get me wrong, the phones look really nice, and BB10 as an operating system shows promise. On the other hand, Google and Apple have a colossal head start and the majority of the market share. This is a stranglehold that even OS-juggernaut Microsoft has not been able to crack with its new Windows Phone 8 devices. BlackBerry may be able to win back the hearts of IT departments and grab some of the enterprise market, but I worry that BlackBerry took too long to put out BB10 and supporting hardware to reclaim its former glory.

I suppose I will just have to wait and see how well-received the phones are at the contract prices versus deals that are likely to be given out for Galaxy SIII phones, the Nexus 4, and previous-gen iPhones (keep in mind the Galaxy S4 is rumored to be released soon, so that would make the S3 likely to get a nice discounted on-contract price).

By all that is Brick Breaker, I hope that RIM BlackBerry finds some way to succeed. Perhaps a partnership with NVIDIA for Tegra-powered BB10 devices? After all, as Ryan mentioned on the podcast NVIDIA is in need of design wins for it's chips and BlackBerry could do with more hardware aimed at more price points.

Enough of my speculation, however. What do you think about the new BlackBerry and it's new devices?

Source: Ars Technica