Restructuring effort at Blackberry prompts more job losses
Two major employers in the tech industry are preparing to make significant cuts to its employee numbers in the near future, according to reports. BlackBerry will be shedding staff as it attempts to turn its financial fortunes around, while Qualcomm is reportedly planning to cull a considerable number of positions as part of a review of its current strategy, with up to ten percent of its workforce potentially facing the sack.
Share of iPhone increases by 1.8 percent for second quarter in a row
Matching its performance in the previous quarter, Apple's iPhone again gained nearly two percent market share in the US in the last three months, according to ComScore, widening its lead as the dominant smartphone maker. While Android as a platform continued to hold the top platform position at 52.1 percent, it again suffered an overall decline of 0.7 percent, while iOS surged to 43.5, a 1.8 percent gain matched exactly by losses from Android, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.
BlackBerry adds private chat function to $1 BBM monthly subscription
The latest update to BlackBerry Messenger for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry 10 devices adds more paid-for security functions to the service. The current timed and retracted messages options have been rolled into a similarly-priced $1-per-month Privacy and Control subscription, with the new Private Chat function able to strip out names and profile pictures after a short period of time, minimizing the usefulness of taking a screenshot of a conversation. The Android version of the app has also received a Material Design overhaul, while iOS users will now find their in-app font sizes will be based on the size selected in system settings.
Report claims BlackBerry considering switch to alternative mobile operating system
The next smartphone from BlackBerry may not run on BB OS, switching out the operating system for Android. Reuters claims the manufacturer is contemplating switching over to producing Android devices because of the extremely low adoption rate of current BlackBerry devices compared to other popular smartphones on the market, and will form part of a change in focus for the company towards being a software-driven entity.
BBM for Android gains Material Design, private chats
The latest beta for BBM for Android has been given a visual overhaul using Android Lollipop's Material Design. According to Crackberry, the same beta also brings with it private chats, where contact names are hidden, notifications are turned off, and the conversation is deleted upon ending the chat or after a short period of time. The option to edit a sent message, and the ability to publish status updates directly into the user's personal BBM feed have also been added. Since it is a beta, these features may change before reaching the main release, with no timescales for the additions advised by BlackBerry.
As part of deal, Typo enjoined from making keyboards for 7.9-inch devices and smaller
BlackBerry announced today that it has settled the legal dispute with Ryan Seacrest's Typo Products, previously pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. As part of the settlement, Typo has agreed to permanently discontinue selling keyboards for smartphones and mobile devices with a screen size of less than 7.9 inches, leaving the company with no currently shipping products. Other terms of the settlement are confidential.
Uncertain number of positions in smartphone software and app development lost
Earlier this month BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, said he believed the company was on track to be profitable again. At the time, Chen stated that design was key in the company's efforts to continue selling handsets while capitalizing on the fact that services were the primary source of income. Possibly contrary to Chen's remarks, BlackBerry has announced plans to cut employees from the device side, primarily from the smartphone software and application development area.
Security focus, device design key to BlackBerry revival, claims CEO Chen
BlackBerry will start to make money on smartphone sales again in the future, the manufacturer's chief executive has insisted. In an interview, CEO John Chen revealed he continues to believe Blackberry's devices business will become profitable, with the company's refocusing on enterprise and government customers forming a central part to the rejuvenation plans, instead of the consumer market.
Still using BlackBerry for personal phone, new account designed to be passed on
US President Barack Obama, still well known for using a specially locked-down BlackBerry as his personal smartphone, used a White House Executive Office-registered iPhone to post the first tweet on Twitter from his own @POTUS account. Improvements in security made to the iPhone starting with iOS 8 have apparently made the device worthy of being used by the President. Unlike other official presidential Twitter channel, Obama himself will tweet from the @POTUS account.
Apple, BlackBerry, others partnered on former Nortel patents
The Rockstar Consortium, a group comprised of Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony, will see a windfall on its 2011 purchase of some 4,000 patents from Canadian tech giant Nortel, with Apple expected to gain at least $392 million from the holding, one analyst says. Wells Fargo's Maynard Um has used BlackBerry's reported gain of 17 percent of a base figure in predicting Apple's share of the profits.
BlackBerry begins pre-order sales of Leap smartphone
Pre-orders for the mid-range BlackBerry Leap have commenced in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. BlackBerry is selling the smartphone with a five-inch, 720p display unlocked directly from its website, priced at $275, though it warns the version it sells will not work with Verizon, Sprint, or US Cellular (i.e., America's CDMA-based carriers). Pre-orders in Canada will begin at a later date.
CEO calls recovery on track, Wall Street not so sure
BlackBerry is declaring a win on restructuring efforts, despite plummeting revenue. The company today reported a profit of $28 million for the last quarter despite currency exchange issues, and still falling sales. Wall Street was expecting a $5 million loss on the quarter, with $734 million in revenue -- well more than realized by the company.
BlackBerry Leap heads to FCC for possible US launch
The BlackBerry Leap has made its way to the FCC, with regulatory listings hinting at availability of the smartphone in the United States later than in Europe. Crackberry notes that the short-term confidentiality agreement in the filing expires on May 4, long after the European launch in April, and though it isn't definitive, it certainly suggests the smartphone will go on sale in the US either on that date or shortly after.
BlackBerry adds BBM Protected mode to iOS, Android apps
BlackBerry is allowing its enterprise users to have highly-secure FIPS 140-2 validated conversations with other mobile users, rather than just between BlackBerry devices. BBM Protected, a mode for the BlackBerry messaging app that encrypts the conversation between two parties, is now available on the iOS and Android versions of the client. BBM Protected requires the use of the paid service BES from BlackBerry in order to set up the secure communications, though the secondary party only needs the free client to receive secure chat requests.
SecuTablet uses hardware from Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5
BlackBerry's enterprise partnership with Samsung and IBM has resulted in the launch of new hardware. The SecuTablet is a mobile device that borrows the physical design and specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 combined with BlackBerry's SecuSuite software, with the company claiming it to be secure enough for national and international public sector markets and enterprise.
Chrome, Firefox for OS X safe; no ETA on Android, Windows patches
In an advisory published on Thursday, Microsoft has admitted that all versions of its OS and browser are susceptible to the FREAK bug. Additionally, all BlackBerry devices are also vulnerable. The flaw allowing the attack exists in approximately 36 percent of websites that use HTTPS, and miscreants are able to intercept and modify data passing between a vulnerable browser and a susceptible site. Neither BlackBarry devices nor Windows devices were intially pegged as susceptible, due to a flaw in the coding of the test site.
BlackBerry Leap shipping soon with 8MP rear camera, 5-inch 720p display
BlackBerry used its Mobile World Congress media event to launch a new mid-ranged smartphone, as well as teasing another future device, The BlackBerry Leap is aimed at "young mobile professionals" and has a five-inch 1280x720-resolution display, while a second unnamed device is a slider-style smartphone with a keyboard hidden behind the screen.
Secure messaging, document editing, collaboration tools coming to nearly all
BlackBerry today unveiled a package of software and services to bring the platform's security features to smartphone and tablets running iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems. Coming to all platforms are the BlackBerry Productivity Suite, BlackBerry Communication and Collaboration Suite, and the BlackBerry Security Suite. The Productivity Suite allows users to manage work and personal messages, and edit documents across all devices. Additionally, all personal and work messages can be monitored one place, including email, text messages, and social networking accounts.
Re-engineering of keyboard apparently not enough for Canadian phone maker
As widely expected, BlackBerry has launched another lawsuit over Ryan Seacrest's Typo keyboard, this time versus the second iteration of the product. A new complaint, filed yesterday, claims that the iPhone keyboard manufacturer has yet again "slavishly copied down to the smallest detail, including the layout of the keyboard itself, the shapes of the keys, and the surface sculpting of the keys" in the new version of the clip-on keyboard.
Amped Wireless shipping TAP-R2 router shortly, preorders commencing now
High-power, long-range wireless solutions provider Amped Wireless is shipping the next model in its TAP Series of Touch Screen Wi-Fi devices, the 802.11ac TAP-R2. Equipped with a total of six high-power amplifiers and two high-gain antennas (external and internal), the TAP-R2 delivers up to 800mW of Wi-Fi output power, with setup entirely on the device's touchscreen. The new router will be available on February 23, and will cost $160.
AT&T to start selling BlackBerry Passport, Classic from February 20
BlackBerry fans in the United States will soon be able to pick up the manufacturer's latest devices on AT&T. The BlackBerry Classic and the BlackBerry Passport, redesigned specifically for the carrier, will be going on sale from February 20. The Passport, complete with rounded edges, will cost $650 off-contract, $200 with a two-year agreement, or for between $21.67 and $32.50 under AT&T Next. The Classic will cost $50 on a two-year contract, $420 off-contract, or under AT&T Next's various plans, between $14 and $21 per month.
Company sold 19,000 Typo keyboards in defiance of court ordered embargo
US District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco has levied a $860,000 fine against iPhone physical keyboard manufacturer Typo for defying a sales injunction on the first Typo keyboard. The court agreed with BlackBerry's motion in part, finding that the company sold 19,000 keyboards after the previous embargo was put in place, but fell short of the demand for $2.64 million that the Canadian company was asking for.
Alleged leaked document suggests Samsung considered BlackBerry purchase for months
Samsung is still interested in acquiring BlackBerry, according to rumor. A document allegedly created by investment bank Evercore Partners for Samsung seems to suggest Samsung has been mulling over a purchase of the competing smartphone producer for some time, and according to sources, is still very much interested in the prospect despite denials from both BlackBerry and Samsung.
Chen sees threat to net neutrality from app developers more than carriers
Blackberry CEO John Chen appears to be turning to the US government for help in broadening the app ecosystem for the struggling Canadian handset, as well as railing against a US-centric view of net neutrality and possible Title II regulation at the same time. In a blog post taken in part from a letter the CEO wrote to members of Congress, Chen defines not only what he sees as an ideal path for net neutrality, but also complaining about a "two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem" where content providers like Apple and Netflix are free to not develop for all wireless platforms.
Purchase could cost $7.5B, provide Samsung with BlackBerry patents
[Updated with BlackBerry denial] BlackBerry could possibly be the target of an acquisition, with a report claiming Samsung may be looking to buy the Canadian smartphone producer for a hefty sum. Details from a source, along with documents, were allegedly provided to Reuters, suggesting Samsung may be willing to pay as much as $7.5 billion to take control of the company.
Redesigned BlackBerry Passport keeps specifications, adds round corners
BlackBerry is bringing BBM to Android Wear devices in the near future, the manufacturer has revealed. At the same time, it announced the BlackBerry Passport will be heading to AT&T with a new rounder look, after BlackBerry redesigned certain aspects of the smartphone's external appearance following requests from the carrier itself.
A Quattroporte adds LiDAR, sonar, mirror displays
BlackBerry's QNX division has brought a modified Maserati Quattroporte to CES, demonstrating the company's vision for safety and infotainment technology. The sedan has been outfitted with a bevy of cameras, LiDAR equipment, ultrasonic sensors, a digital instrument cluster, a gigantic infotainment touchscreen, and additional displays that function as side- and rear-view mirrors.
Ford revamps its oft-derided interface
Ford recently introduced Sync 3, an entirely new infotainment system that serves as a successor to the oft-derided MyFord Touch platform. Electronista stopped by the company's CES booth to try out the revamped interface in person, ahead of its official launch on new models later this year.
Boeing Black security-focused smartphone will use BES 12
BlackBerry is helping Boeing with developing its Black smartphone, it has been revealed. The smartphone from the defense and aerospace producer, previously reported to be a tamper-proof device capable of wiping stored data in the event of anyone attempting to open it, will now use BlackBerry's software platform to provide an extra layer of security.
Debenture payoff forces loss for the quarter, CEO promises profit in FY 2016
Cellphone manufacturer BlackBerry has published its most recent quarterly results. While the company is trumpeting a return to profitability, it still incurred a fair value debenture charge, forcing the company to post a $148 million loss on the quarter, or $0.28 per share. Without the debenture, it would have posted a modest profit of $2 million. While it appears that the cost-cutting measures are starting to pay off, given the improvement in the loss numbers, the company showed a 34 percent drop in revenue over the year-ago-quarter, suggesting that the road ahead for the company is still challenging.
Full keyboard, retro design main features of mid-range BlackBerry Classic
BlackBerry has formally launched a retro-styled smartphone it previously teased. Housed in a casing reminiscent of earlier models, the BlackBerry Classic has a few modern tricks up its sleeve to go with the familiar QWERTY keyboard, including an optical trackpad and a touch-enabled 3.5-inch 720x720-resolution square display.
Stickers in group chat, timed-display message function, Lollipop support, more
BlackBerry has released a new version of Messenger BBM - BlackBerry Limited">for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry, each with differing sets of new features the company says are some of its most-often requested additions. For iOS, the app has received a total makeover to bring it in line with the general iOS 8 design language. Android users get support for the latest major release, Lollipop (version 5), as well as a new landscape mode. BlackBerry OS 10 users can now share multiple attachments and images at the same time.
Amount ranges up to $550
Beginning on December 1, BlackBerry will be offering up to $550 for people willing to trade in an iPhone towards the purchase of a BlackBerry Passport. Shoppers will be able to trade anything from an iPhone 4S through to an iPhone 6, and receive a $150 " rel='nofollow'top-up" in addition to the phone's actual estimated value. Hitting the $550 mark requires a mint-condition iPhone 6, which is valued at $400.
BlackBerry opens pre-orders for Red, White Passport
BlackBerry's previously-revealed limited edition versions of the Passport smartphone are available to pre-order today. The red version with black framing and highlights, along with a white model, can be pre-ordered now from BlackBerry directly ready for shipping on November 28th. The red model is priced at $699, while the white version is being sold at a lower $599.
BlackBerry Classic priced at $450, ships mid-December
BlackBerry made two consumer hardware announcements at its Enterprise event yesterday, alongside enterprise-focused items. Pre-orders for the BlackBerry Classic have commenced for a mid-December launch, while potential owners of the BlackBerry Passport will soon be able to acquire a red version of the smartphone, set to be released in limited quantities on Black Friday.
Paid conferencing service from BlackBerry works with up to 25 participants
BlackBerry made another business-related announcement at its Enterprise event, one which involves multi-platform messaging. BBM Meetings lets users set up a voice or video conferencing session with multiple other users, with the service covering BlackBerry 10, iOS, and Android mobile devices, as well as computers running OS X and Windows.
Combination of Samsung Knox and BES12 said to provide end-to-end security
BlackBerry is working with Samsung to make its Android devices more secure for corporate users, the manufacturer has revealed. The partnership, which will be offered to enterprise customers from early next year, will see Samsung's Knox working in tandem with Blackberry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12), in order to provide a "tightly integrated, end-to-end secure solution" for communications.
BBM can delete messages automatically and on request from sender
BlackBerry has made a few changes to the BBM app on all platforms, with the biggest being heavily borrowed from competitor Snapchat. BlackBerry Messenger now gives users the ability to create Timed Messages, text or images which can be shared with other chat participants for a set period of time before being automatically deleted, as well as the ability to retract already-sent messages.
All sides of smaller BlackBerry Classic shown in picture leak
A new set of photographs allegedly showing the BlackBerry Classic has leaked. The collection of images appears to reveal more of the rumored BlackBerry smartphone's physical appearance than in previous leaks, with all sides and the back of the device on display in the pictures, with some of the shots comparing it to the recently-announced BlackBerry Passport phablet.
Recovery seemingly working, but phone sales still need to climb for profit
While still not yet profitable, BlackBerry has posted a significantly lower-than-expected loss for the quarter. At the end of its fiscal 2015 Q2, the company reported a net loss of $207 million. This time last year, the company posted a $965 million loss. Of the $207 million loss, $33 million was attributed to mandatory charges from the company's near-complete restructuring program.
Touch-enabled physical keyboard of BlackBerry Passport detects flicks, swipes
BlackBerry has used its three simultaneous media events to launch the BlackBerry Passport smartphone. Just as rumored, the mobile device has a square 4.5-inch 1440x1440 touchscreen with a touch-enabled physical keyboard below, allowing the keyboard to detect swipes, flicks and taps similar to display-based gestures, but without the user blocking their view of the screen with their fingers.
London-based startup to bolster BlackBerry's BYOD programs
BlackBerry has announced that it has acquired Movirtu, a UK-based startup pioneering virtual-SIM technology, allowing a single device to have multiple phone numbers associated with it. The buy would bring technology for a "bring-your-own-device" user to have one device spanning a business number with associated apps and contacts, and a personal contact number on the same phone without juggling multiple SIM cards.
BlackBerry Q20 shows classic design lines of earlier BBOS devices
The BlackBerry Classic has allegedly resurfaced following its announcement at Mobile World Congress in February, with images of the device appearing on Weibo. The smartphone, also known as the Q20, appears to be shown in the photographs with a square display similar to the BlackBerry Passport, though its physical design has rounded corners and a general appearance similar to earlier BlackBerry devices.
BBOS addition BlackBerry Blend may appear alongside Passport at events
BlackBerry has sent out invitations to events held in Toronto, London, and Dubai on the 24th of September. The invite offers little in the way of clues as to what the three events will involve, but the use of a map and a plane symbol suggests the manufacturer will be formally launching the Passport smartphone, while rumors claim it could potentially include a software update allowing for the usage of BlackBerry Messenger from a desktop rather than a smartphone.
Square-screened device design document discovered, leaked
A design document detailing specifications of BlackBerry's new Passport phone has been leaked, confirming some previous rumors. The new BB10 phone from the Canadian manufacturer features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 with a 2.2Ghz quad-core CPU, paired with an Adreno 330 GPU running at 450Mhz -- a significant upgrade over the company's flagship phone, the Z10.
Poorly messaged article omits features of iMessage to bolster BB10
BlackBerry has attacked iMessage in a blog post, as it attempts to try and convert more users to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The post, written by head of product and brand marketing for BBM Jeff Gadway, latches on to recent reports about spam messages on iMessage, and lists off ways the service allegedly beats Apple's messaging platform.
New division encompasses 44,000 patents, three major technologies
BlackBerry has spun off a new business unit, collecting the majority of its unique technologies under one roof -- the BlackBerry Technology Solutions (BTS) division. Dr. Sandeep Chennakeshu will lead the new group, which encompasses embedded software group QNX, "Internet of Things" division Project Ion, cryptography division Certicom, RF antenna tuning group Paratek, and 44,000 associated patents.
Blackberry launches 1.1 version of BBM for Windows Phone
BlackBerry has officially released BBM for Windows Phone, taking it out of beta. The new release implementes a number of bug fixes and speed improvements that the company gathered during the beta phase. The 1.1 version of the app allows users to engage in BBM Chats with one or many contacts, with the ability to share pictures, voice notes, contacts and location. Features like BBM Voice, Channels, and location sharing are still yet to be added.
Chen expects profitability before the end of the year for BlackBerry
According to an internal memo circulating around the company, BlackBerry has exited its internal reorganization process. CEO John Chen told the remaining staff that "the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind us." The memo declares that the company is now on the path to profitability, and will start making strategic acquisitions to boost the company's growth.
BBM for Windows Phone includes chats, excludes BBM Voice, Channels
BlackBerry has made its BlackBerry Messenger app available to download in the Windows Phone store. Previously only available as a closed beta on the platform, and already out on iOS and Android, the version offered is still in beta, though BlackBerry has taken the time to make BBM fit in with the Windows Phone user interface styling, and some features don't appear to have been included.