BlackBerry Assistant competes with Siri, Google Now, Cortana
BlackBerry will include its own virtual assistant in a future version of the company's mobile operating system, the smartphone manufacturer has revealed. Taking its cue from Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, BlackBerry Assistant will recognize commands via voice recognition and entered text, and will be able to perform simple tasks such as searching e-mail archives or setting appointments, to more elaborate requests.
Beta test ahead of official launch, some features like Voice to be added later on
Users of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) are going to able to use the service on a new mobile platform. Today, BlackBerry announced that the messaging service has made its way to Windows Phones, starting off with a limited run in beta. The company wants to focus on providing an introduction to the program with its first release.
BlackBerry Messenger commences private beta on Windows Phone store
BlackBerry has put the BlackBerry Messenger app in the Windows Phone store, though it is not available to everyone. The listing, which follows the earlier BBM launch on iOS and Android, hints at a near-future release of the messaging app on the platform, though according to CNET, the app is being tested in a private beta ahead of its launch, with only whitelisted users able to install the app from the store.
Large square BlackBerry Passport display touted as useful for business
BlackBerry is attempting to justify the square display used in the Passport, a smartphone it recently revealed. In a blog post, the smartphone manufacturer claims the Passport's 4.5-inch square and high-resolution screen provides the same viewing space as a normal 5-inch smartphone display, but provides a "better viewing experience" because of the device's width.
BlackBerry CEO confirms impending app launch still on schedule
BlackBerry is preparing to release the Windows Phone version of its BlackBerry Messenger app, one the company said it would release by the summer. The messaging client, joining the iOS and Android versions as well as BlackBerry OS devices, was advised by CEO John Chen as coming out on time, though he stopped short of providing a specific release date.
Wide BlackBerry Passport briefly demonstrated by CEO John Chen
BlackBerry will be shipping two devices this fall, including one device the manufacturer unveiled today during its quarterly financial results release. The BlackBerry Classic, previously shown as the BlackBerry Q20, will be joined by the BlackBerry Passport, a device formerly codenamed as "Windermere," though CEO John Chen avoided mentioning any major specifications for either device.
Change in cash value temporarily boosts BlackBerry bottom line
Depending on how the numbers are examined, BlackBerry's latest quarterly earnings report either indicates a claw back to profitability, or yet another quarter in which they fell short. Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 was $966 million, down $10 million from the previous quarter. Based just on this, the company lost $60 million, but once a "change in the fair value" from funds allocated from the restructuring effort are taken into effect, the company claims to have earned $23 million in profit.
Licensing deal brings 240,000 Amazon apps to BlackBerry 10 devices
Owners of BlackBerry smartphones will soon have more apps to choose from, thanks to a licensing arrangement with Amazon. BlackBerry OS version 10.3 will include the Amazon Appstore when it ships in the fall, with the deal giving users more than 240,000 Android apps to use, on top of those already offered through the company's own BlackBerry World store.
Security-minded BBM Protected adds extra layer of encryption on messaging
BlackBerry is attempting to reassert itself in the business messaging market, by offering a version of its service with enhanced protection designed for regulated industries, such as government agencies or financial services. BBM Protected is the first launch in its eBBM suite of apps, using a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic library to secure the message between both participants, on top of the company's existing BBM security model.
Company to return to security, enterprise roots for recovery
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen, partially overshadowed by Apple's Beats announcement, appeared at Code and declared that while BlackBerry has "a lot of problems" it is "not dead." Responding to a question by hosts about the long-term survival of BlackBerry in a challenging environment, Chen reported that he was "quite confident that we'll be able to save the patient."
Foxconn built device to sell for $190, features 5-inch display, 1.2 GHz processor
Blackberry officially announced the release of its low-priced, entry-level Z3 phone, which will go on sale tomorrow in Indonesia. The Z3 will see a special release named the "Jakarta Edition" when it goes on sale for $190. Blackberry's most recent device will try to recapture the Indonesian market share, which was as low as 14 percent in 2013.
Android still vastly dominant on global level
The iPhone managed some modest sales share gains in Japan, Europe, and Australia during the March quarter, according to new smartphone data from Kantar Worldpanel. Japan was the strongest of the bunch, advancing 8.6 points year-over-year to 57.6 percent. The country is in fact the only one where the iPhone outstripped Android. Even in the US, where Apple is based, the iPhone dipped from 43.7 percent to 35.9 percent last quarter, whereas Android devices grew from 49.3 percent to 57.6.
Samsung follows close behind
Apple has topped a 2014 JD Power ranking of customer satisfaction among US smartphone owners. Each smartphone maker is scored according to metrics for performance, physical design, features, and ease of use, and relative to each of the four major US carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Apple is in first place with all four carriers, but trailed closely by Samsung.
BlackBerry will update iOS, Android BBM apps over Heartbleed security flaw
BlackBerry has added itself to the list of companies working to fix issues caused by the 'Heartbleed' OpenSSL security flaw. Senior vice president Scott Totzke told Reuters that, though the majority of BlackBerry products are unaffected, by not using OpenSSL, it will still need to issue updates to Secure Work Space corporate e-mail and the BlackBerry Messenger clients for iOS and Android.
Failure to profit could see BlackBerry exit smartphone business
BlackBerry could sell off its hardware business entirely if it fails to return to profitability in the near future, the company's CEO has suggested. In an interview with Reuters, John Chen advised the manufacturer would consider exiting the smartphone hardware market if hardware sales do not improve to a point where the company becomes profitable.
'Uncarrier' will still honor existing contracts, warranties for BlackBerry devices
Users seeking BlackBerry phones for sale on T-Mobile will soon be out of luck. The Canadian manufacturer announced today that it will let its agreement with T-Mobile expire, preventing the sale of hardware. Both companies will honor existing warranties and service contracts past the April 25 expiration date, however.
Celebrity lamentations of no physical keyboard inspired iPhone case
In a victory for Canadian cellphone manufacturer BlackBerry, US District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that the Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo Products iPhone keyboard case will be barred from sale. Judge Orrick ruled that BlackBerry is "likely to prevail" over the imitator in issuing his ruling blocking the Typo keyboard.
Analysts expect BlackBerry return to profitability some time in 2015
BlackBerry might be showing signs of recovery, but it still isn't out of danger yet. In the most recently quarterly earnings report by the Canadian cellphone manufacturer, the company posted a net loss of $423 million, much less than was expected. Revenue also fell to $976 million, lower than an expected $1.11 billion.
Security verified by US regulators, new management software certified for use
BlackBerry announced earlier today that is has received US Government Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 certification, which allows employees to use its enterprise software on Apple's iPads and the predominantly Samsung-provided mobile equipment. The certification applies to Secure Work Space, which isolates management-installed apps and files from personal content.
Court rules software chief must stay at job until June
A court in Ottawa has ruled in a lawsuit brought by BlackBerry against one of its own employees. The firm sued its own senior vice president of software, Sebastien Marineau-Mes, when he announced that he would be leaving the floundering smartphone company to take a job as Vice President of Core OS at Apple last December.
BlackBerry reaches agreement on selling majority of its Canadian real estate
BlackBerry announced last Friday that it has reached an agreement to sell the majority of its real estate in Canada, as part of its plan to balance finances. The company originally announced its plan to sell assets back in January, in partnership with commercial real estate service company CBRE. Several months ago, BlackBerry sold five of its buildings to the University of Waterloo for $36.44 million dollars -- much of the real estate that has been sold most recently is also located in Waterloo, Ontario, where BlackBerry's headquarters resides. BlackBerry plans to lease back a portion of the space being sold.
Could President Obama finally jump ship to Android, iPhone?
Adding insult to injury over BlackBerry's ongoing slide into oblivion, a US Department of Defense spokesperson has confirmed that "the White House Communications Agency, consistent with the rest of the Department of Defense, is piloting and using a variety of mobile devices" as a possible replacement for BlackBerry devices. Initial reports suggest Android devices are currently being tested, but not iPhones at this time.
iPhone still most popular device
Apple grew its share among US smartphone owners during the last quarter to 41.6 percent, according to new comScore data. Data polled between October and January shows that Apple advanced 1 percentage point. The company's main rival, Samsung, grew ownership by 1.3 points, but remained firmly in second place at 26.7 percent. LG's share rose just 0.3 points to 6.9 percent, presumably on the back of the G2 and the Google-branded Nexus 5.
Increase in BlackBerry trade-ins countered by mass exodus from platform
A recent promotion from T-Mobile offering credit towards another device when trading in a BlackBerry smartphone has apparently caused an exodus of users to other platforms. A report claims that the two-week promotion has led to 15 times the normal amount of BlackBerry devices being traded in, and that 94 percent of these users are using the credit to switch to a non-Blackberry device.
Q20 going back to BlackBerry's roots, Z3 specific to Indonesia
At the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, BlackBerry today announced a pair of devices, with one specific to the Indonesian marketplace. Highlighting the event was the new BlackBerry Q20, a device that the company says will "deliver its full and distinctive QWERTY experience on BlackBerry 10." Also unveiled was the BlackBerry Z3, an all-touch five-inch model customized with local apps and content for Indonesian customers.
BlackBerry QNX may be faster, more accessible than aging Windows software
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Ford Motor Company will migrate its next-generation in-car Sync away from Microsoft's Windows. In its place will be beleagured BlackBerry's QNX at the core of the car's in-dash system. QNX will be less expensive than Windows, and will reportedly boost the speed of the next iteration of Sync.
New release supports all features as other mobile implementations
The BlackBerry Messenger cross-platform communications suite will be available for Windows Phone sometime this summer. The upcoming release was noted on the official BlackBerry blog earlier today, with confirmation that the app for Windows Phone will retain the same functionality as it has on Android, BlackBerry 10, and Apple's iOS. No specific release date was noted, but the app will continue to be free.
Increased offer only applies to the purchase of a new BlackBerry Q10, Z10
In a slight nod towards BlackBerry CEO John Chen's "outrage" at T-Mobile's $200 trade-in offer for BlackBerry handset users, the wireless carrier has offered an additional $50 trade-in value towards another BlackBerry phone. The previous offer of $200 for the trade-in towards any other manufacturer's handset still stands, however.
BlackBerry updates BBM app to work with Android 2.3
BlackBerry has opened up BBM for Android to users of older devices. BlackBerry Messenger can now be downloaded and used on smartphones and tablets running Android 2.3 or later, though the older version of the mobile operating system will not have access to new additions to the app, such as BBM Voice, BBM Channels, and Glympse real-time location sharing.
Sternly penned blog post rebukes T-Mobile for 'anti-BlackBerry' offer
In the wake of a T-Mobile promotion offering BlackBerry phone users the iPhone 5s with no money down, BlackBerry chairman John Chen has taken umbrage. Chen has written a blog post slamming the carrier over its "anti-BlackBerry" effort, saying that BlackBerry users who defended the company drew "a sharp contrast with the behavior of our long-time business partner."
BlackBerry Z3 could be first device from partnership with Foxconn
The first image of what could be BlackBerry's next smartphone has reportedly leaked. The render for the codenamed "Jakarta" device, thought to be shipping under the BlackBerry Z3 name, and though it does not have a hardware keyboard, it could possibly be the first device under the company's new partnership with manufacturer Foxconn.
Free voice calls between BBM users reaches non-BlackBerry OS devices
BlackBerry is rolling out a number of changes to its BlackBerry Messenger app for iOS and Android, as the app reaches version 2.0. BBM Voice and BBM Channels, two features already in use by BlackBerry device owners, are included in the update along with Dropbox integration, and a collection of smaller updates to the app.
Andrew Bocking exits BlackBerry in latest executive change
The Executive Vice President in control of BBM at BlackBerry has left the company. The reasons behind the high-level departure of Andrew Bocking from the company are unclear, with some debate as to whether he was fired from his position by management at the phone manufacturer, or if he left on his own accord to a new opportunity at another company.
Also gaining ground on Samsung in US; BlackBerry falls to zero percent
The latest report from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) panel shows Apple retook its lead in US smartphone marketshare against the combined forces of Android competitors following the release of new iPhone models in October. The figures, which cover the last quarter of 2013, show that iOS outsold Android by 48 percent to 46 percent, Apple outsold rival Samsung 48 to 31 percent, and that BlackBerry has officially fallen to zero percent marketshare.
Scribd's $9 monthly e-book subscription service available for Kindle Fire tablets
E-book subscription service Scribd is entering the Kindle Fire market with a Kindle-specific version of its already existing app for iOS, Android and web service. Available for $9 per month, Scribd's Kindle version offers unlimited monthly access, and users can share and embed books onto websites. Scribd is connected with publishing house HarperCollins, and holds a catalog of titles from independent publishers.
Over 75 percent of market in some countries
As a platform, Android phones retook the top position in US smartphone sales during the last quarter, climbing to 50.6 percent of the market, according to new Kantar research data. iOS took 43.9 percent; Windows Phone devices were a distant third at 4.3 percent. In Europe, Android held a 68.6 percent share across the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, leaving iOS at 18.5 percent, and Windows Phone at 10.3 percent. The numbers skewed on country-to-country basis, however; in Italy, for instance, Windows Phone grabbed 17.1 percent over iOS' 12.8 percent.
Press release misinterpreted, devices to be used already on hand
News sites, including this one, seized upon a press release issued by the Department of Defense alluding to it using 80,000 BlackBerry devices for unclassified work. A clarifying statement from the Pentagon has denied any new purchases from the Waterloo manufacturer, and explaining that the 80,000 devices it noted using are already in the hands of the military, and are not, in fact, new purchases.
Three million square feet of buildings to be put up for sale
In what may be the beginning of a turnaround for the Canadian cellphone maker, Blackberry has seen a resurgence in its stock price from a reported Pentagon order of 80,000 devices. Additionally, the company is strategically divesting the majority of its Canadian real estate through both a sale and lease-back to Blackberry, as well as outright sale of its empty properties.
Samsung advances to 26 percent
US iPhone ownership leapt to 42 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 35 percent a year ago, according to new NPD figures. Samsung phones also advanced, but from 22 percent to roughly 26 percent. LG was the only other major manufacturer to see a gain, inching ahead slightly to 8 percent. Motorola and HTC both fell under the 10 percent mark, and BlackBerry ownership shrank even further to 2 percent.
BlackBerry's Chen says company will stick with keyboards
John Chen, CEO of struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, has reaffirmed the company's commitment to devices sporting hardware devices. Speaking with Bloomberg last week, Chen said that the company's devices will "predominantly" have physical keyboards going forward, signaling that the company will stick with the productivity-oriented design feature for which it is best known. Chen's comments do leave open the possibility that BlackBerry will continue to release devices that are all-touchscreen affairs, as it did last year with the BlackBerry Z10.
New CEO will remain on the job until company's fortunes turn around
The man named as interim head of BlackBerry will be staying on the job for a bit longer. CEO John S. Chen, who took the job in November following the ouster of Thorsten Heins and collapse of the sale of the company, will keep the title of CEO until the company is "back on solid financial footing."
Motorola, LG, HTC suffer setbacks
Apple and Samsung increased their shares of the US smartphone market based on unverified shipment data in the September-November period versus June-August, new ComScore data shows. Apple advanced 0.5 points to 41.2 percent, maintaining overall control; Samsung, though, gained 1.7 points to hit 26 percent, narrowing the gap. In distant third was Motorola, down 0.2 points to 6.7 percent. LG dropped the same amount to 6.5 percent, but swapped places with HTC, which dipped a full point to 6.4 percent.
Typo Keyboard allegedly infringes design
BlackBerry has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Ryan Seacrest's startup Typo Products, calling foul over the company's physical-keyboard accessory for iPhones. The Waterloo-based company claims the Typo accessory infringes an existing patent related to the iconic keyboard design that has adorned most BlackBerry models throughout the past five years.
Keys to depart exactly one year after joining BlackBerry
Singer Alicia Keys will be ending her tenure at BlackBerry on January 30th, exactly one year after becoming the smartphone manufacturer's global creative director during the launch of the Z10. The announcement of Keys' removal comes not long after the company lost a number of high-level executives in a management reshuffle, and after BlackBerry announced a quarterly loss of $4.4 billion.
Exec boasts of strong finances
BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, has spoken out against the company's critics and reiterated his turnaround plan, according to a commentary posted by CNBC. Despite a $4.4 billion loss in the third quarter, the executive argues that BlackBerry is "strong financially, technologically savvy, and well-positioned for the future."
Lazaridis will not bid for BlackBerry
BlackBerry co-founder Michael Lazaridis has reduced his stake in the troubled smartphone maker and no longer intends to make a bid to purchase the company. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Lazaridis disclosed in a regulatory filing that his combined stake with another co-founder is now less than five percent, down from eight percent in October of this year. As of Tuesday, Lazaridis's stake in the company sits at about 4.99 percent.
Apple, Microsoft among Rockstar partners
The Rockstar Consortium -- a collection of companies including Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Sony, and Microsoft -- is planning to sell a portion of the $4.5 billion in patents it bought from Nortel Networks in 2011, sources tell Bloomberg. Rockstar is allegedly already in talks with potential buyers. Three of the sources indicate that this is because it hasn't had much success with large licensing deals.
BlackBerry Z30 spotted at FCC using AT&T frequencies
BlackBerry could be bringing the Z30 smartphone to AT&T in the future, according to an FCC filing. The listing spotted by Berry Review appears to show the device, with a 5-inch 1280x720 Super AMOLED display, dual-core 1.7GHz processor, and 2GB of RAM, as sporting radios on AT&T bands, strongly suggesting that the more-powerful flagship device could launch in the US as an alternative to Verizon.
Over half of BlackBerry loss stems from asset writedowns
BlackBerry has suffered a loss of $4.4 billion for the third quarter, worse than the $965 million lost in the previous quarter and the $114 million lost in Q3 2012, the company has revealed. At the same time as the tremendous loss, the company revealed it has signed a new five-year partnership with Foxconn to create new BlackBerry devices.
BBM voice, video calls still being worked on
BlackBerry is still working on adding voice and video calling to BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android, the company has revealed. The free calling over voice and video will be making its way to the app during 2014, along with a number of other additions, such as BBM Channels and what the company claims to be faster and easier sharing of content and locations.