Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2013 - 02:35 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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).
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.
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?
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2013 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, blackberry, awkward, Alicia Keys
The new Blackberry models are here, well two of them anyways, the fully touchscreen Z10 and the Q10 sporting the familiar keyboard. Inside the Z10 is a 1.5GHz dual core SnapDragon S4 Plus, similar to the Lumina 920, 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, behind a 4.2-inch LCD at 1280 x 768 which gives it a better pixel density than the iPhone 5. The Q10 sports the same insides but has a smaller screen to make room for the full keyboard and it has a resolution of 720 x 720. The OS adds some interesting features and enhancements to BBM, such as video calling and Balance which separates work and personal apps and documents may allow some users with two phones to drop one in favour of the new BlackBerry. On the other hand why you would need Instagram-like filtres for your pictures or a Storytime mode, but with around 70,000 applications not all can be winners. You can catch Slashdot's reaction to the launch here.
"CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry, formerly known as Research in Motion, unveiled its first Blackberry 10 smartphones today.
First up is the long-rumoured Blackberry Z10, a fully touchscreen device that clearly is meant to compete with the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- RIM Unveils BlackBerry 10, Its Big Turnaround Hope @ Slashdot
- BlackBerry Q10 hands-on @ Engadget
- BlackBerry 10 preview @ Hardware.info
- Dell buyout stalled by Microsoft, low takeover price? @ The Register
- Intel releases source code for NAS test app @ The Register
- Linux: Booting Via UEFI Can Brick Samsung Notebooks @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2013 - 01:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, Lenovo, blackberry, purchase, rumour
“We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others” is the actual quote from Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming that spurred the speculation that Lenovo is going to buy RIM. These rumours have spread to the point that Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has gone on record to say that any such proposal would be scrutinized by the government before it could go through. If you look over the past five years of the Harper government and how they have treated foreign acquisition of large Canadian companies you will notice a pattern, the sale of MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. to an American based company was blocked, sale of Potash Corp to the Australians was blocked and while Nexen was purchased by a Chinese mining firm, the current Canadian government is on record as saying no more state companies will be allowed to buy oil sands firms.
It is not just the regulatory hurdles that make this sale seem unlikely, at least in the terms pundits are currently bandying about. Lenovo did base their current success on purchasing IBM's hardware line but it was at a time when IBM chose to move out of the hardware business; IBM did not have to sell off that successful business but instead saw an opportunity in doing so. RIM on the other hand is in trouble and if they try to flog their hardware business off to the highest bidder they are not going to meet with the success that IBM did. In fact, even without seeing the 10 new phones that will be arriving in the near future, it is not a stretch to theorize that they will not have the speed and attractiveness of Samsung or HTCs current or upcoming models.
What is sexy about RIM is behind the scenes, their architecture (at least now that they've moved away from the single point of failure model) and the security features that Blackberrys on a proper BES have. Native ActiveSync support is nice as BYOD becomes more common in the corporate world but those devices lack the security assurances that a Blackberry has, which is what makes it attractive to Governments and Security Agencies across the world in addition to corporate users. It is also the only part of the company that IBM found interesting when the last set of RIM rumours circulated. It is possible that the stories such as you can see at The Register have some merit, it would seem far more likely that Lenovo would be considering a purchase similar to their IBM purchase, sell and support the hardware but not the software side.
"Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming says the company is actively pursuing ways to improve its position in the mobile device market, spurring speculation that the Chinese firm may be planning to cozy up with Research in Motion – or even swallow it whole."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Wad of BlackBerry OS 10 pics 'leaks' from RIM's inner circle @ The Register
- AMD to get dense about servers – but in a good way @ The Register
- Microsoft blasts PC makers: It's YOUR fault Windows 8 crash landed @ The Register
- Inition demos augmented reality software @ The Inquirer
- NVIDIA Kepler versus Fermi in Adobe After Effects CS6 @ Legit Reviews
- Facebook Lies In Its Advertisements @ Tech ARP
- Infographic: Evolution of the Console from Brown Box to Wii U @ TechReviewSource
- Wi-Fi Tweak Guide for Better Wireless Performance in your Home or Office Network @ Tweaktown
- Let’s get the elderly gaming @ Kitguru
- Ninjalane Podcast - CES 2013 Highlights
- Local game streaming: Coming soon from the PC @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2012 - 03:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, blackberry, microsoft, exFAT
While the news was enough to bump RIM stocks up somewhat this morning, the deal inked between Microsoft and RIM does not have Microsoft licensing hardware or software to RIM, instead it is the other way around. RIM is licensing the exFAT operating system for use in its phones at an undisclosed price per device. We know that Microsoft has charged $15/device from some other mobile companies; not that they paid it that way, instead it took a court case for Microsoft to get their full price. Where exactly RIM is going to find the resources to pay for this deal is a mystery, the already cash strapped company is currently suffering from their new OSes failure to launch on time. At least their new phones will be using a common format for their flash storage, assuming the company lasts until the BlackBerry 10 can be marketed. More over at The Register.
"Shares of Research in Motion spiked briefly on Tuesday on news that the struggling smartphone maker had signed a new licensing agreement with Microsoft, but investors who hoped the deal meant Redmond would bundle BlackBerry technology with its phones were in for a disappointment."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
Subject: General Tech | August 13, 2012 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, blackberry, IBM
One of the scariest things about the failure of RIM to recover from its attempts to move into the consumer market is the damage being done to the services they supply to businesses. The Enterprise Services Division of RIM handles the servers which ensure secure delivery of messages over the cellular network and is one of the main reasons that RIM devices and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server are the preferred choice of many institutions. If RIM goes down then that ability to ensure security and to remotely administrate devices will go down with them. That is why this story on The Register will make many sysadmins very happy, not only is someone interested in purchasing that business unit, the company that is interested is IBM. They do not have any interest in the actual BlackBerry phones, so this could mean that BES type management could be expanded to more devices and the death of RIM may not mean the death of secure delivery of business emails. Pity about the CPP though.
"IBM is reportedly interested in snapping up the enterprise services division of troubled BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion.
Well-placed sources whispered to Bloomberg that Big Blue could help Canadian mobile biz RIM by taking the unit off its hands, and has already made an informal approach about it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Building a better Kinect with a… pager motor? @ Hack a Day
- Blizzard pwned: Gamers' email, encrypted passwords slurped @ The Register
- Samsung slips Radeon HD 7870M into yellow Series 7 Gamer laptop @ The Inquirer
- AMD offers only more TSMC capacity for Qualcomm @ The Inquirer
- Dorcy (46-4415) MetalGear 160-Lumens 3xAA LED Flashlight Review @ ModSynergy
Subject: Mobile | April 19, 2011 - 03:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, blackberry, playbook, tablet
It has been a long wait for the 7.6" by 5.1" BlackBerry PlayBook, smaller than some competitors but also lighter. It fully supports Adobe Flash, another benefit on top of its main competitor but Wired had trouble finding any other benefits. Check out their full review to see what they thought.
"The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is a good-looking piece of hardware.
Like the proto-humans in 2001: A Space Odyssey, you’ll be eager to touch the monolithic object’s black, buttonless visage. But once you do, things get a little more complicated."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- The BlackBerry PlayBook @ AnandTech
- RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung Galaxy Tab Review @ Hardware Secrets
- LG Optimus Pad / T-Mobile G-Slate Tablet @ Techapot
- Motorola Atrix hands-on review @ The Inquirer
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Smartphone Review @ t-break
- Coolermaster Storm SF-19 @ XSReviews
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Powermat Wireless Charging Unit & Receiving Unit Review @ eTeknix
- System76 Serval Professional Sandy Bridge @ Phoronix
- HP Pavilion g6x Review @ TechReviewSource
- GIGABYTE T1125N-CF1 11.6-inch Tablet Convertible Notebook @ Tweaktown
- Alienware M11x R3 Gaming Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven