• alphabet,  android,  blackberry,  blackberry os,  google,  rim

    BlackBerry to Focus Entirely on Android Devices

    In a piece out today from TheNational, BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, admitted that the other fruit themed company will solely focus its efforts on Android devices.

    “Mr. Chen said that while BlackBerry would continue to release updates for [BlackBerry 10 OS], there were no plans to launch new devices running the operating system.”

    This would mean that the current BlackBerry 10 OS devices, the Classic, Passport, and the Leap will presumably be the last devices running the OS.

    Further complicating the handset problem BlackBerry faces, Mr. Chen also told the paper that the price of the first ever BlackBerry running a version of Android, the Priv, was too expensive at the $700 price point.

    “A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, ‘I want to buy your phone but $700 is a little too steep for me. I’m more interested in a $400 device’.”

    I really liked BlackBerry and had used a few of their devices, most notably, the BlackBerry Curve and Storm.  (Yes, I was one of the few people who liked the ‘unique’ touchscreen on the BlackBerry Storm and Storm 2.)  It is sad to watch a market leader essentially transition from a hardware/software company to a services company.  (IBM sans their PCs anyone?)  With only 600,000 devices having been sold last quarter, according to TheNational, it is hard to see a strategy that will make the handset unit of the company profitable over the long-haul.

    The BlackBerry April 2016 earnings report can be downloaded from the BlackBerry website (Direct PDF download link).

    [Via TheNational…]

  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  blackberry z10

    BlackBerry “Reinvented”

    BlackBerry has clearly fallen on hard times.  It’s slow response to the growing threat from Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system in the late 2000’s clearly caught then Research in Motion’s management team off guard.
    Now the company has launched their new software platform, BlackBerry OS 10, and a few new smartphones, with and without keyboards, that no one much seems to care about.  That’s really bad news for a company desperately trying to recapture their former glory as a market leader in mobile.
    It’s true what they say about history repeating itself.  As a recovering Palm fan, and Crackberry addict, I’ve seen this show before.  The same thing happened to Palm shortly after the iPhone was released and Palm was desperately trying to get webOS and the Pre out the door to try and turn their dwindling fortunes around.
    On Monday, the New York Times outlined just how bad things are for BlackBerry, which is now officially exploring “strategic options” which is executive speak for “sell the company.”
    It becomes very difficult, in my opinion, to try and sell your company when long time tech industry people like Jean-Louis Gassée, a former PalmSource and Apple executive, is trash talking what little BlackBerry has left.

    “Acquiring BlackBerry is necrophilia.  The BB brand is tarnished.”

    But if that wasn’t bad enough, BMO Capital Markets analyst Tom Long, from Bank of Montreal on BlackBerry’s home turf, wasn’t very optimistic about BlackBerry’s options either.

    “We don’t foresee any scenarios where the value of the company will be significantly larger.”

    At this point it’s hard to tell if BlackBerry will be acquired by a larger company with deeper pockets – similar to what happened to Palm when they sold the company to HP – or if the Board of Directors decides to sell of key assets and patents to other companies.
    [Via the NewYorkTimes.com…]
  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  bold,  rim,  rumors

    New BlackBerry OS 7 Smartphone On the Way

    “Wait, what?!” was my reaction when I saw the news the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, or BlackBerry LTD as they like to go by now a days, was releasing a new phone running BlackBerry OS 7.

    If reports from BGR and Crackberry are correct, the new phone will be similar in design to the BlackBerry Bold series devices, but actually be associated with the consumer Curve family of devices.

    The new phone is rumored to have the following specs:

    • It’s listed as the BlackBerry 9720
    • Full QWERTY keyboard
    • Display resolution is 480×360
    • Runs BlackBerry OS 7.1
    • Supports: 802.11b / 802.11g / 802.11n / 3G
    I’ve carried a handful of BlackBerry devices over my many years in IT, from the pager-like devices to the Curve, and even the Storm 2 (Which, believe it or not, I liked.)
    I want to see BlackBerry do well enough that they can at least stay in the corporate game as their devices really are good at messaging.  But I’m having a hard time getting excited about to seeing customers getting excited about a phone running an outdated operating system.  The only way I see this working is if this new phone is the new, cheap – as in low low cost – entry level device to “emerging markets.”  Coming in at north of $300 I don’t see the Q5 doing that.
  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  rim

    BlackBerry 10 OS Not Coming To PlayBook

    I was hoping to get my hands on a 16 or 32GB second hand BlackBerry PlayBook to install the new BlackBerry 10 software on to become more familiar with the engine of RIM’s turn around vehicle.

    After Friday’s quarterly earning’s report filed by Research In Motion, otherwise known as RIM, doing business as “BlackBerry,” it would seem that the door for an officially supported PlayBook running BlackBerry 10 software is completely out of the question.

    In the June 28 filing, RIM reported that no more than 100,000 PlayBook devices were sold in preceding 90-day period.  I’m not going to quote how many iPads Apple sold in that same time period because it would be a cruel joke to say anything more than “a lot.”

    But 100,000 is still something, right?  We should be able to use BlackBerry 10 without having to sign a 2-year cellular contract or shelling out $600+ for an off contract Z10, right?

    However, during the quarterly earnings conference call, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins reported that he has pulled the plug on developing a version of BlackBerry 10 for the PlayBook sighting poor software performance on the fruity tablet.

    If I was in his shoes, I’d probably make the same call.  RIM is fighting for it’s life right now, and a platform that is only moving 400,000 – 500,000 devices annually is not where RIM needs to spend it’s limited software engineering resources right now.

    I may still pick up a PlayBook on eBay, but my enthusiasm for one has dropped considerably.

  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  blackberry q10,  blackberry z10,  rim

    BlackBerry Q10 To Arrive In Late Spring

    Last week we saw BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveil their new handsets, the Z10 and the Q10 along side their new mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10 OS.

    The Z10 has gone on sale on it’s home turf of Canada, as well as several other countries, including the UK and is expected to go on sale here in the US in late March.

    Those hoping to get their hands on the more traditional looking BlackBerry, the Q10, may have to wait a little bit longer than was first reported.

    Zach Epstein, writing for BGR states:

    “[A]ccording to comments from company CEO Thorsten Heins […] while speaking with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Heins said the BlackBerry Q10 will launch in the U.S. between eight and 10 weeks after the BlackBerry Z10 debuts. BlackBerry’s first BB10 smartphone is expected to hit store shelves in the U.S. in mid-March, placing the BlackBerry Q10′s launch timeframe between mid-May and early June.”

    Look at this way, “traditional” BlackBerry fans, we’ve waited this long, a few more weeks isn’t going to matter much.

    In the mean time, check out this video of the BlackBerry Q10 in action.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYKFpEOSyUQ]

    [Via BGR.com…]

  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  blackberry q10,  blackberry z10,  pre,  rim,  web os

    BlackBerry Z10 Handsets Appear To Be Selling Out

    BlackBerry is attempting an Apple-like company turn around, which is by no means, an easy thing to do for any company.  A recent article said that BlackBerry doesn’t need to beat out iOS and Google Android hands down right now, rather the BlackBerry 10 OS needs to be able to hold it’s own to iterate and mature.

    Being a long time Palm fan, I have observed similarities between the transformation RIM is currently undertaking with BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 and Palm’s transformation from Palm OS and the Treo to webOS and the Pre and the launch of the Z10 in the UK is just another parallel.

    Writing for BGR, Zach Epstein writes:

    “Checks at 40 stores in Canada indicate sell-through of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone is strong on its launch day, with numerous stores selling out towards the end of the day,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Z10 pre-orders reached record highs (for BlackBerry).” 

    “That’s the good news. Sue tossed some cold water on the report though, noting very short Z10 inventory across all of the stores he spoke with. “Supply appears limited, with stores allocated avg. 5-10 units/store for walk-ins and est. 20-30 units/store for pre-orders,” the analyst wrote.”

    Huh.  You know what other device was the best selling launch day device with sellouts across the board?  Well, yes, the last iPhone, but I was specifically thinking about the Palm Pre with webOS on June 6, 2009.

    The Palm Pre for Sprint was selling out all over the place.  Which is easy to do when each store received less than 24 devices each.

    We all witnessed Palm’s sad, slow demise, and I have to wonder if the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 are the new Palm Pre and Pixi.

    For BlackBerry fans and customers, let’s hope not.

    [Via BGR.com…]

  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  blackberry tablet os,  ipad mini,  nexus,  rim

    BlackBerry Confirms OS Upgrade for BlackBerry PlayBook

    Well, well, well…isn’t this an interesting turn of events?  The BlackBerry PlayBook has the potential to become an iPad mini and a Nexus 7 competitor.

    The OS upgrade, from PlayBook OS 1.x and/or 2.0 to BlackBerry OS 10 was announced during the BlackBerry 10 launch event last week.  (It was also mentioned as far back as March, 2012.)

    The BlackBerry PlayBook, originally released in 2011, was suppose to be an iPad “killer.”  The market disagreed.  You can still purchase PlayBooks online and in retail outlets, but it is running it’s original OS which, evolutionally speaking, is stuck between BlackBerry OS 7 and the new BlackBerry OS 10.  The PlayBook OS was built on the technology acquired from QNX.

    I think it’s amazing that another company besides Apple is going to reward their customers with a software update that will refresh previous generation hardware.  Heck, this might even be the excuse I’ve been looking for to purchase a refurbished BlackBerry PlayBook and then upgrade it to BlackBerry 10 later on.

    You can read more about the BlackBerry PlayBook on the BlackBerry website.

    [Via GadgesOnTheGo.net…]

  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  blackberry q10,  blackberry z10,  rim

    BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Announced

    Last week, BlackBerry, the new corporate name for the Canadian company formerly known as Research In Motion, unveiled their new name, their new BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, and a pair of new BlackBerry smartphones; the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.

    Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry® (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) [on January 30, 2013] launched BlackBerry® 10, the re-designed, re-engineered, and re-invented BlackBerry platform that creates a new and unique mobile computing experience. Available on two new LTE-enabled smartphones, the BlackBerry® Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry® Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 offer you a faster, smarter and smoother experience than any other BlackBerry you have used before.

    “Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs.  Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving.”

    BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 Smartphones

    The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are elegant and distinctive, and the fastest, most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp, and incredibly vivid images. Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.

    Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all the available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will also each come in White and Black. For more information about the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 please visit www.blackberry.com/blackberry10

    A range of accessories for the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the new BlackBerry® Mini Stereo Speaker as well as a variety of carrying and charging solutions including a unique charger that provides on-the-go charging, will be available from select carriers and retailers.

    Pricing and Availability

    Worldwide, we have several key markets that are revealing pricing and availability today, including the UK, Canada and UAE.

    In the U.S. market, we expect availability with most carriers for the BlackBerry Z10 to be in March. Today, U.S. carriers will start announcing pre-registration and price plans.

    We expect the first global carriers to launch the BlackBerry Q10 in April. We will announce new pricing and availability information as carriers roll-out around the world.

    [Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net…]

  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  rim

    RIM Executive in Denial

    The public flame out of a smartphone company is never easy to bare, but at least RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is trying to keep us entertained.

    The BlackBerry making chief was quoted as saying “There’s nothing wrong with the company as it exists right now,” in a recent interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Metro Morning show.
    Uh…ya.  Hilarious.
    RIM’s stock value has dropped something like 70-75% in value since the beginning of 2012.  2012!!  Adding insult to injury, there have been departures from the executive wing, layoffs coming for some 5,000 employees, 6-day work weeks and restricted summer vacations for the remaining employees, and RIM’s golden egg, a new iPhone-like BlackBerry running the newly rewritten BlackBerry OS 10 won’t be ready until the first half of 2013.  (And well all know that when a tech company says ‘the first half of’ we can safely assume the very last of the first half.)  Research in Motion is the new Palm.  Anyone remember the Palm Pre and webOS 1.0 back in 2009?
    Yup, that sounds like a company that’s headed in the right direction.
    Look, I like BlackBerry hardware. I still have my Curve and Storm2.  They were good messaging devices and I get the whole “Crackberry” thing.  If RIM really wants to get some market share going, I say look to recent history to get  a new game plan.  HP’s Palm TouchPad shot up to the number 2 tablet in the US when they had a fire sale to draw down inventory.  The TouchPad, #2!!  People where lining up for HP’s ‘hot’ new little tablet and got the lines Palm always wanted for one of their devices.
    RIM is reportedly sitting on a $1 billion dollars stockpile of Blackberry smartphones and Playbook tablets.  They should start selling them at a deep discount, without cellular service contracts from the BlackBerry website.  Who knows, it could work.  I’d like to have a BlackBerry Bold with BlackBerry OS 7 and a BlackBerry Playbook in my collection.  They would be fun toys to play with.  Maybe RIM can get a temporary boost in marketshare, and more importantly, mindshare, until they can get the new BlackBerry smartphone out.  If there is no 2-year contract that I’m bound to, there is no reason why I can’t march into an AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile store and buy a new BlackBerry…assuming that the top four US carriers actually picks up the new device.
    So, to recap:
    1. RIM CEO Heins is drinking too much “BlackBerry” Kool-Aid
    2. Make no mistake about it, RIM is in serious trouble
    [Photo credit: David Manning/Reuters, via The Daily]
  • blackberry,  blackberry os,  rim

    RIM Announces Layoffs, Fights for Relevance

    RIM released their quarterly earnings report today, and while the news appears upbeat, the BlackBerry maker also announced that layoffs are on the way.

    Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.9 billion, down 12% from $5.6 billion in the previous quarter and up 16% from $4.2 billion in the same quarter of last year. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 78% for hardware revenue, 20% for service and 2% for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 13.2 million BlackBerry handheld devices and approximately 500,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets.

    “Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower than expected outlook in the second quarter.” said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “RIM’s business is profitable and remains solid overall with growing market share in numerous markets around the world and a strong balance sheet with almost $3 billion in cash. We believe that with the new products scheduled for launch in the next few months and realigning our cost structure, RIM will see strong profit growth in the latter part of fiscal 2012.”

    Additionally, RIM “will begin a program to streamline operations across the organization, which will include a headcount reduction. This realignment will be focused on taking out redundancies and a reallocation of resources to allow us to focus on the areas that offer the highest growth opportunities and align with RIM strategic objectives, such as accelerating new product introductions.”

    I can’t help but thinking that RIM is now the new “Palm.”  RIM is still a long way from dropping down into single digit market share territory, they seem to be having all of the same problems that Palm did in the mid to late 2000’s.  With Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms grabbing huge segments of the market, you have to wonder if anyone really cares about the BlackBerry brand anymore.

    You can read the full press release on the RIM website.