Tag Archives: blackberry

Introducing the Passport Smartphone


There’s already been plenty of controversy surrounding John Chen as CEO of BlackBerry, but his latest offering is the most mind boggling yet. BlackBerry shot to success with handset devices, and there was a time when the company couldn’t be touched. However, Apple and Samsun quickly caught up and surpassed BlackBerry, leaving it in the dust—Chen was supposed to save the company, but he might be sinking it quicker than ever. He’s only been at the helm for less than a year, and he’s noted that any future will be in selling security and mobile management to agencies and corporations.


And then Chen made a reach for the smartphone market again. He’s pitching Passport, which will be the first new BlackBerry phone device since he took office. This is a last ditch effort. If it fails, it will likely be the end of BlackBerry as we know it and (perhaps) the end of Chen’s rein. Unveiled in Dubai, Toronto and London, Passport has admittedly modest features including an actual keyboard and simple square display.


Chen’s vision


Although Chen believes in BlackBerry as a smartphone leader, he says he’s also realistic. “It could be extremely important to me in the turnaround as part of the strategy, but it does not have to be. As long as it does not lose money, this will not affect my turnaround plan in a negative way. We will make money on the handsel; if we don’t, we’ll have to get out.”


The target market for Passport will be BlackBerry’s tried and true demographics, including industries like government agencies, military, banks and healthcare. However, security concerns are already popping up, taking precedence over the sticker shock. Experts are saying that there are a plethora of obstacles for BlackBerry to tackle before even think about releasing the BlackBerry Classis. It’s slated to nip at the heels of Passport depending on how Passport is received.


The experts weigh in


According to an analyst with ABI Research, Nick Spencer, “I do wonder how they can actually have an impact. It’s an awfully long way back for them.” Getting back into the hardware game with a goal of just breaking even is a strategy that requires cost and price analysis. Unfortunately, the Passport can’t be touted as an executive phone that demands a high price since it simply doesn’t have the features or clout to do so.


The majority of analysts agree that Apple has tapped out the top tier for smartphone costs. Compare the base model iPhone 6 at $550 to the Passport at $600 and there’s no reason for the $50 difference. Of course, smartphones are designed for massive manufacturing which leads to big savings. Scale can make or break a hardware business and it’s not something that BlackBerry excels at now.


A fighting chance?


It was estimated by research company IDC that Apple ships around 33 million iPhones per quarter. BlackBerry only ships 1.5 million. BlackBerry is doing moderately well selling bargain-priced phones to developing countries, and that might be where their smartphone ventures end. In these markets, security concerns aren’t an issue but in Canada and the US there’s no getting around it.


Chen guesses that about 70 percent of the Passport’s innards are on par with all other companies. However, he notes that the higher Passport cost is due simply to smaller production. There’s no excuse or luxury item tucked away. It doesn’t seem like Chen is going to pull through, but it’s still too early to tell how the Passport will be greeted by the public.


Author Bio: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Revived with BYOD: Blackberry Turns to Amazon Apps

BlackBerry won’t quit. Before the word “smartphone” was even widely used, BlackBerry was the best choice for business people who wanted a mobile device that combined the Palm (remember those?) and cellphones. BlackBerry was the first to figure out how to make one great mobile device for work, and delivered better ones than Palm tried, too late, to get on the market.

Then, came iPhones and Android phones, and BlackBerry’s cache fell. People started using these devices to manage their personal lives, and in recent years, their professional ones as well. This launched the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, and changed the face of the workplace.

BlackBerry’s BYOD Revival

BYOD is helping to revive BlackBerry. After an initial struggle with IT staff and CIOs, BYOD is now part of many company’s guidelines on using personal devices at work. According to ZDNet, more than 60 percent of companies had BYOD policies in place by the end of 2013. These policies lay out acceptable uses for smartphones and tablets at work, the brands and models IT will support and a lot on security practices that IT can only hope employees follow.

Since BlackBerry was already in tune with workplaces, it created, along with several cloud providers, mobile device management (MDM) systems to protect workplace data. MDM ensures that company data doesn’t mingle with employees’ personal data. The best systems work with all mobile brands and operating systems, ending the conflict between employees whose devices aren’t on the A-List and harried BYOD policymakers.

BlackBerry’s Embrace of the App

BlackBerry is still in the mobile device market, which is strongly driven by apps. Although it offers about 130,000 of its own apps, the company opened itself up to the Android market for BlackBerry 10 phones. Although the company initially kept quiet about it, they released an upgrade released in January 2014 allowing users to directly download Android apps. There were some initial challenges with an open ecosystem, BlackBerry’s Vice President for Platforms Chris Smith told PC. “That’s held us back in certain markets.”

However, the ecosystem appears to be working enough for Amazon to agree to give owners of BlackBerry 10.3 devices access to 240,000 apps it has available online. Although the numbers don’t match the volume offered by Google and Apple, it includes many familiar ones that consumers love. This deal can only support the current revival BlackBerry is enjoying.

Smartphones don’t last for more than a few years. When it’s time to buy a new one, current Android uses could be more willing to look at a BlackBerry if they know they can continue to enjoy the same apps.

Amazon’s Gain

Through this deal, Amazon gets more customers visiting its App Store site instead of the Apple Store or Google Marketplace. These same customers also could decide to purchase Amazon Prime membership or other products while they are there. It also could be another front on Amazon’s war against Apple, where the two have fought over e-publishing pricing. Just a year ago, Apple was convicted in a Federal court of conspiring to raise the price of e-books.

The deal also happens to fall just as Amazon’s first-ever smartphone was released to reviewers. The phone, called Fire, doesn’t appear to be a BlackBerry competitor, but one packaged for consumer use (it features 3D viewing). Could it tempt some iPhone users? “Amazon wants you to purchase things,” says TechRadar, “and it’s come up with a way to do so from your pocket.” What could be sweeter than announcing two new deals in one week?

BlackBerry is bringing stickers and a digital storefront to BBM

Following Facebook Messenger, Line, Kakako Talk and many other messaging apps, BlackBerry today announced that it’s finally bringing stickers to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

The feature will begin as a limited external beta, alongside a new area of the cross-platform messaging service called BBM Shop. Similar to its competitors, stickers will be separated into ‘packs’ around a specific character or theme.

BlackBerry will be promoting a set of original characters to begin with, called CosCat, Gilbert’s Tales, Bubble Bot, but it’s likely that roster will increase over time. Facebook and Path, among other apps with a messaging compontent, have offered characters from well-established brands such as LEGO, Peanuts and Despicable Me, to tempt users and their hard-earned cash. BlackBerry said it would do the same with characters from TV shows and movies, although it stopped short of giving examples or what the pricing structure would be.

The move isn’t original by any means, but it’ll make BlackBerry more competitive with some of its closest rivals. Given all of the attention bestowed upon Facebook and WhatsApp recently, BlackBerry needs to make sure that it doesn’t lose any traction of its own in the coming months.

While pricing wasn’t touched upon, stickers – especially branded packs – and the introduction of the BBM Shop suggests that BlackBerry is hoping this will become an important revenue stream for BBM.

Coming next to BBM: Stickers


From BYOB to WYOD: How Wearables Will Transform Business

Over the past few years, organizations worldwide were forced to deal with an IT “problem” referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). It started with smart phones, and now it’s occurring with other devices as well.

Here’s what happened: Most large organizations, as well as midsize and even smaller ones, required their people to have a Blackberry. By combining a cell phone with a secure, enterprise level email system, Blackberry changed how we use cell phones and took mobile working to a new level. Unlike the Blackberry, when the Apple iPhone came out, it transformed how we use our mobile phone by making it a handheld multimedia computer. As useful, inexpensive, and easy to install mobile apps took off, it didn’t take long for employees at all levels to discover the power of this transformative tool. It soon became common to see people with two phones: the Blackberry because they had to, and the iPhone because they wanted to. As soon as Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and a host of others got into the smart phone business, and the smart tablet business, BYOD became unstoppable.

Because of the rapid rise of the BYOD trend, the vast majority of companies found themselves reacting and putting out fires. Before BYOD, IT could control the use of technology. They’d issue the device and it would be locked down with the corporate IT firewall. But with more and more employees bringing in their own devices, IT’s efforts to keep a secure environment became almost impossible amongst the ever increasing number of devices they had little control over. In short, BYOD created a major IT problem, not just in the United States, but also in Europe and Asia.

Today, we have a new impending IT crisis, as well as an opportunity, that’s very predictable. Soon we will all be dealing with WYOD (Wear Your Own Device). Consider this: It’s estimated that one million wearable devices will ship by the end of 2014. It’s also estimated that there will be 300 million shipped by 2018, and I think that number will be far greater. That’s a lot of wearable devices. If people started bringing their own portable devices into the office and wrecking havoc on IT, you can bet it’s going to start happening with wearable technology, such as Google Glass, smart watches, and other types of computing devices you can wear, including the screenless smart phone I’ve written about in the past.

Therefore, I’m suggesting, from an organizational standpoint that includes business, government, and education, that everyone develop a WYOD strategy immediately—now—before the predictable problem hits. So instead of putting out fires like we did when the BYOD crisis hit, we can turn the impending WYOD crisis into an opportunity. So let’s develop guidelines right now and take what I call a “preactive” approach, which means we’re taking pre-action to a future known event.

To start looking at WYOD as an opportunity rather than a crisis, let’s start asking some new questions, such as: “How can we use smart watches with our sales team?” “How can we use Google Glass with all of our people who need to access data while standing up and moving around, like maintenance and customer service?” “How can we use the new wearable technologies to do things that we couldn’t do before, to increase productivity and efficiency?” “What wearable technology purchasing guidelines should we send to our employees?”

Wearable devices are here and they’ll only gain popularity as time goes on. Therefore, get ahead of the curve and harness the opportunities. As I always say, if it can be done, it will be done. The only question is, who will do it first? Now’s your chance to harness the opportunities before your competitors do.


DANIEL BURRUS is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and innovation experts, and is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books including The New York Times best seller Flash Foresight.


BlackBerry sues Ryan Seacrest’s company over iPhone keyboard

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO Fri Jan 3, 2014 3:54pm EST

Host Ryan Seacrest isseen during a commercial break at the Season 12 finale of ''American Idol'' in Los Angeles, Calfiornia May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Host Ryan Seacrest isseen during a commercial break at the Season 12 finale of ”American Idol” in Los Angeles, Calfiornia May 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Phil McCarten

(Reuters) – BlackBerry Ltd said on Friday it had filed a lawsuit against a company co-founded by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest that offers a physical keyboard that can be attached to some of Apple Inc’s touchscreen iPhone 5 models.

The company, Typo Products LLC, is currently taking pre-orders for the $99 keyboard, which features angled miniature keys similar to those used on many of BlackBerry’s devices.

Canada’s BlackBerry, a once dominant smartphone maker that has lost market share to the iPhone and other touchscreen devices, said Typo’s keyboard infringes its own design.

The allegation has not been proven in court. Typo and Seacrest could not immediately be reached to comment on the legal proceedings.

“We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations,” Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s chief legal officer, said in a statement.

BlackBerry posted billions in losses in recent quarters as its latest devices sold poorly, but it has maintained a loyal niche of customers who prefer to type on a physical keyboard.

The BlackBerry complaint is case no. 3:14-cv-23 in the United States District Court for the northern district of California.

(Additional reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Gunna Dickson)

BlackBerry Files Lawsuit Against Seacrest’s Typo Keyboard Startup For Infringement

Next Story

BlackBerry has today filed a lawsuit against startup Typo Keyboards, which is backed by Ryan Seacrest. The company alleges that Typo copied BlackBerry’s patented and “iconic” keyboard design.

“We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations,” Steve Zipperstein, BlackBerry’s General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, said in a statement today.

Seacrest invested $1M in the accessory, which encloses an iPhone in a case with a keyboard attached to the bottom half. The keyboard covers the iPhone’s home button but offers an alternate home button on the bottom right corner.

BlackBerry says that the Typo Keyboard violates its intellectual property rights, and that it will protect those rights from “blatant copying and infringement.”

“BlackBerry’s iconic physical keyboard designs have been recognized by the press and the public as a significant market differentiator for its mobile handheld devices,” the statement concludes.

The design certainly bears some resemblance a strong resemblance to BlackBerry’s signature rounded-corner keys and sloped corner design — right down to the placement of the back and return buttons. But one does have to wonder how many ways you can arrange keys on a keyboard.

Here’s the BlackBerry Q10 keyboard:

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 10.00.56 AM

And here’s the Typo keyboard accessory:

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 10.03.34 AM

Either way, BlackBerry’s death rattle is unlikely to be slowed by its new strategy of ‘get money from Seacrest‘.

Article title updated to clarify that BlackBerry is suing over design infringement, not features.


Why Leaving WhatsApp!

Top reasons to leave WhatsApp rightnow

2 years ago, I started using WhatsApp which helped me to be connected with my friends around. In fact, at this moment it was perfect and connect mobile users everywhere whatever the platform they use!

But lately, it seems violating your personal privacy is the biggest problem is;

Having my number, doesn’t mean “Hi I want to chat with you!”

It’s a true! Once anyone got your number, soon you’ll find a WhatsApp message saying;

“Hey there! I am here, Save my number. Huh!”

Unfortunately you can’t ignore this message because the second biggest problem is;

Last Seen at ….. O.o

It’s directly violating your personal privacy. Being online doesn’t mean that my friends/WhatsApp users in my contact list need to know my last time I’ve spended in WhatsApp! It’s enough to see that I’m online when I be!

It’s not only about the last seen message;

Anyone can see your status!!!

Even if you blocked someone, Just add your number at another friend contact list and hell yeah! I’m seeing your status! on another WhatsApp user.

And last but not least it is;

Wasting time

Because, you can’t ignore any messages due to last seen message. So, if you’re busy and just chatted with someone really need to chat with. Others will join the crowed and needed to be answered as well.

So, take a decision.

Written by

Co-founder/CEO of @Geeksday | MSP at Microsoft | Business Development & Marketing Specialist. | BlackBerry/Windows Phone developer | AIESECer | Geek

Published December 29, 2013