Posts Tagged blackberry
To say that BlackBerry’s had it tough these past few years would be putting it mildly, if not too delicately for a company emerging from a period of willful ignorance. The Waterloo-based outfit, formerly known as Research in Motion, played an embarrassing game of catch-up in the mobile space it once dominated. An uphill rehabilitation that saw it acquire QNX to build a new operating system, release a half-baked tablet, rebrand as BlackBerry in search of a new identity and, tellingly, hire Alicia Keys as a creative figurehead.
And none of it mattered — not even the forced infusion of Ms. Keys’ questionable zeitgeist-y influence. The BlackBerry of today has so far failed to resurrect sufficient interest in its fledgling mobile platform and devices, leading to the ouster of former CEO Thorsten Heins, the very recent installation of John Chen and a redoubled focus on the enterprise set that once was core to the company’s business. So why does the company still seem to be engaged in an internal tug-of-war over its identity? I had a chance to speak with Gary Klassen, longtime BlackBerry employee and principal architect, here at SXSW in the hopes he could shed some light on what the Blackberry of today stands for and where it’s going.
Blackberry is in sharp decline, that much we know. Having been on a downward spiral for years, the company was outraged at a recent T-Mobile promotion offering current Blackberry owners incentive to upgrade to an iPhone. T-Mobile tweaked the promo to be more Blackberry friendly, but it didn’t help the Waterloo OEM. Reports suggest around 94% of blackberry owners jumped ship.
If you’re not familiar with the brouhaha, we’l recap it quickly. T-Mobile offered Blackberry users a promotional deal on an iPhone upgrade, to which Blackberry enthusiasts (both of them) took exception, along with the CEO of Blackberry. T-Mobile backed off the iPhone angle a bit, instead offering Blackberry users a chance to upgrade to anything they liked — Blackberry devices included. T-Mobile Blackberry customers would get a $200 incentive to upgrade, and an additionall $50 should they get a Z10 or Q10.
Sounds pretty great, right? Upgrade to a brand new Blackberry device and get $250 in credit! Wrong. A resounding 94% of Blackberry users on T-Mobile took the chance to get something else entirely. While we don’t know how many Blackberry devices were traded in, T-Mobile notes a 15-fold increase in Blackberry trade-ins.
While the initial “iPhone-only” thing may have been a slap in the face from a carrier, 94% of users taking advantage of the offer to get away from Blackberry should tell the company something. This also comes after T-Mobile has decided to transition away from carrying Blackberry devices in-store, so it seems Blackberry is losing on all fronts. At least they have BBM.
- Blackberry denies the Play Store will be on their devices
- Blackberry COO and CMO are leaving, CFO being replaced
- Blackberry loses two more executives
- Blackberry down $4.4 billion in Q3 2013, saw 40 million BBM downloads in 60 days
- Blackberry CEO says he’d take $19 billion for BBM, makes us all laugh
If you worship at the BlackBerry altar and are in dire need of a cloud storage service that isn’t Dropbox, Box or Mega, today’s your lucky day. Now you can dump your files in Microsoft’s OneDrive by way of a newly released BlackBerry 10 app. Like the Android and iOS versions before it, this OneDrive app lets you automatically upload your photos and videos as well as share your files with far-flung cohorts. Just be mindful of your limits: OneDrive (which went by “SkyDrive” before Microsoft got hit with a lawsuit) offers up 7GB of free storage to new users. That’s still better than the 2GB that Dropbox gives away gratis, but Box and Mega offer 10GB and 50GB of free space, respectively. Choose wisely… or sign up for all of them and surrender yourself to the cloud.
Filed under: Mobile
Source: BlackBerry World
In an interview with CNBC at MWC this week, Blackberry CEO John Chen was asked about the WhatsApp purchase. Considering he runs a company that exists almost solely as a messenger service for consumers, putting him in direct competition with WhatsApp, his opinion is of interest. The answer to the question was unsurprising, as Chen said he’d gladly accept a similar offer.
Chen says he’d gladly take $19 billion for BBM, should someone come forth with an offer. “I know there is a lot of value in our messaging service” Chen said. When asked about selling BBM, Chen said “If someone came to me with $19 billion, I would definitely sell it.” Of course, he cautioned that such a decision is up to the board, but there would likely be no hurdles there.
Blackberry was nearly sold for just over $5 billion not long ago, but investors balked after the initial agreement to sell was struck. A $19 billion payday would be far and away more than BBM is worth, which CNBC points out could be right around $3.4 billion when compared to the WhatsApp purchase.
Chen also says BBM is tied into their enterprise service pretty closely, and the company is concentrating on building it out before entertaining any valuation. That’s probably a smart move, as a $3.4 billion valuation based on a terribly inflated WhatsApp purchase is likely overreaching. To their credit, Chen says Blackberry is focussed on their customers right now, and isn’t worrying about selling just yet. That, or nobody is asking for a sit-down to talk acquisition.
- BBM Channels and Voice Calling arrive for Android beta users
- BBM for Android will soon be available on Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
- BBM updated to allow you to ‘Find Friends’ on the service or invite others
- BBM rolls out ‘Voice’ and ‘Channels’, allows for better Dropbox integration
- BlackBerry releases BBM for Android for Gingerbread devices
Wearable devices seem to be a hot trend in the wireless industry right now, but BlackBerry isn’t taking the bait… at least, not yet. When asked about his company’s plans at Mobile World Congress, CEO John Chen was very straight-forward in confessing that he has no current plans for bringing a wearable device to market. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen down the road at some point, of course, but it’s clear that this particular market segment isn’t really an area of interest or focus right now — considering the company is working hard to bring out fresh devices and is in the midst of getting back to becoming profitable, and it appears that BlackBerry doesn’t believe that such a device would really make a dent in its bottom line yet.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen is here at MWC and has some device news. The executive announced progress on the Z3, the phone codenamed Jakarta (shown off above), which will be coming out to Indonesia in April. The company plans to sell the 5-inch device, which is a collaboration between BlackBerry and Foxconn, for under $200. The initial model will be 3G-only, but Chen also tells us that there will be an LTE version coming out to other parts of the world at some time in the future; joking, Chen mentioned that it would come out “sometime before I die.” We’re also told that BlackBerry plans to do some interesting new stuff with BBM. Update: we got a few up-close photos of the Z3, which you’ll find below. The Z3, which runs BB 10.2.1, definitely has the trademark look and feel of a BlackBerry. It’s a sleek all-touch device with a ridged soft-touch back cover. Unfortunately we weren’t able to hold the device, so we can’t speak to how comfortable it is. We’re also told that we’ll be quite happy with long battery life, but no further specs were given. BlackBerry has put up more info about the Z3 on its blog.
Additionally, Chen also officially confirmed that a device known as the Q20, aka the Classic, is in the works, and will be coming out alongside BES 12 sometime before the end of the year. The Q20 will be a QWERTY device that will feature the “tool belt,” which means you’ll see a classic trackpad and function keys. Speaking of BES12, the new update will be backwards-compatible to older BlackBerry devices and will support iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Lastly, Chen confirmed that BlackBerry is working on a few high-end phones for later this year, but he was unable to offer any additional details at today’s event. However, we shouldn’t expect to see any wearables from BlackBerry anytime soon; Chen has no plans — “at least, not yet.”
BlackBerry is slowly, but surely covering all its bases in an effort to turn BBM into a cross-platform messaging monster. The quest to return the standard bearer to its former glory started with iOS and Android, but this summer it’ll be coming to Windows Phones as well. According to the Canadian company it will ship with all the same functionality as its counterparts on other OSes, including stickers and voice. More importantly though, BBM Groups (which allows you to chat with up to 50 people at once) and Channels will be included as BlackBerry works to fight off challenges from the likes of WhatsApp and Hangouts. Sadly that’s all the details we have for now, but hopefully Waterloo will lock down a release date sooner, rather than later.
Good news! BlackBerry has finally figured out how BBM will pose a threat to messaging giants like WhatsApp. It’s… stickers. Yes, of all the things the company could do to improve its chat app, it’s introducing the same sort of purely cosmetic decals that everyone else offers. As with rival services, those using a new BBM beta can buy themed sticker packs to express themselves in creative (and very cutesy) ways. In all fairness, the addition may help BlackBerry court younger chatters. However, we hope that the phone maker has a lot more up its sleeve than this — me-too upgrades can only go so far.
Via: The Verge
Source: Inside BlackBerry
If you hadn’t heard, BlackBerry chief John Chen isn’t happy with T-Mobile — he believes the carrier fired a shot across the bow when it enticed BlackBerry users to switch phones in a recent promotion. To mend that bruised relationship, the magenta network is launching a limited-time trade-in offer that gives loyal users a strong incentive to upgrade. As of February 21st, T-Mobile will give you $200 for your existing BlackBerry, and $250 if you’re upgrading from a T-Mobile BlackBerry to a BB10 device like the Q10 or Z10. The payout is the same regardless of the device’s age, so long as it’s in good condition; if you’re still rocking a Curve 3G, you’ll get the full amount. Market share trends suggest that there won’t be too many people upgrading to new BlackBerrys, but the olive branch is welcome all the same.
True their promise, BlackBerry has just made its messaging, and now voice call, app available to more Android users. Now even those running on an ancient Android 2.3 version will be able to enjoy the rebirth of the BBM phenomenon.
Late last month, BlackBerry announced that it was working on a Gingerbread-compatible version of its messaging app. This, according to the company blog, was in response to requests from users who are still stuck with that version of Android. And that represents a considerable amount of potential users, as the last Android distribution chart puts the entire Android 2.3 line at 21.2 percent of the market pie.
BlackBerry is making true its word today and delivering an update that adds support for Gingerbread. At the moment, there is no word if there will be some BBM features unavailable on this older Android platform, though we can presume that there will be feature parity across all Android versions. That means that Android Gingerbread users will also be able to enjoy BBM Voice and Channels that was just rolled out to the public last week.
This also means that existing BBM users will have a larger pool of friends and strangers to pick from, perhaps using the new Find Friends feature. Owners of Android 2.3 devices can simply go to Google Play Store and look for the official BBM app, or hit the link below, to download this updated version.
One week ago we asked you about how your smartphone factors into your dating, romance, and sex lives. And while we expected quite a response, we didn’t expect this much of a response. More than 17,000 of you took part in our survey in the past week, and the results were interesting, to say the least.
There are plenty of interesting correlations and divergences based on age groups and platform choice. Some are not at all surprises, others caught us by surprise. For example…
- When on a date, those aged 18 to 24 years are 35% less likely to actively use their smartphone while on a date than those 35 and older.
- Opinions of relationship statuses drop quickly, with 27% of ages 18 to 24 believe them to be asking for trouble, vs. more than half of those 55 and older. BlackBerry users are 22% more likely to believe so.
- All age groups hold an ideal of an in-person break-up being ideal and using a phone call, text, or email as less so, yet the actual rates show hypocrisy in practice, though the younger you are, the more likely you are to have been in a breakup over text messages.
- Nearly half of those who carry sensitive photos of their significant others on their smartphone do so without the protection of a PIN or password.
- Men are 50% more likely to want to receive frequent sexts than women (no surprise there).
- Universal platform agnostic solutions like MMS, email, and Skype are the most popular for sexting, except that BlackBerry users show a preference for BBM. Skype is also the overwhelming favorite for cybersex, although iPhone users prefer FaceTime by a slim margin.
- Men are 78% more likely to look at porn on their smartphones than women.
- BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Phone all have a shortage of porn apps, so users get their porn predominately through web browsers, Tumblr, and Reddit.
Check out the huge interactive infographic below (it’s huge, it’ll probably take a little while to load) — several of the charts allow you to cycle through data displayed by age groups and platform choice — and let us know what you think in the comments!
BBM For Android v2.0 Goes Live: Free Voice Calls Between BBM Users, New "Channels" Feature, Content Sharing, And More
Say what you will about BlackBerry’s viability as a company, but the Canadian smartphone firm’s messaging app is quickly shaping up into a powerful client. Today, BB announced that BBM 2.0 for Android is out now, and it adds a whole lotta stuff to the app’s growing feature resume.
Of most interest to users is probably BBM Voice, which is exactly what it sounds like – you can now call BBM contacts directly from the app (still no video chat, though).
- Blackberry Announces BBM For Android And iOS, Coming ‘This Summer’
- T-Mobile UK Says BlackBerry Messenger For Android Is Coming June 27th [Update: Nope!]
- Goodbye, Voice Minutes? First Signs Of Google Voice VoIP Emerge
- Viber Hits v4.2 With Number Blocking, Native Contact List Integration, And More
BBM For Android v2.0 Goes Live: Free Voice Calls Between BBM Users, New "Channels" Feature, Content Sharing, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
If BBM has yet to fall out of favor with you in terms of messaging apps, then you’ll want to listen up: a pretty big upgrade is headed our way. Most full version jumps tend to be underwhelming in this day and age, but Blackberry wanted to make sure BBM 2.0 blew everyone away. Let’s not even waste any time digging into the following list of new features:
- BBM Voice: free voice calls between BBM users on Android, iPhone and Blackberry 10.
- BBM Channels: public BBM groups for fans of specific topics to get together and chat. Available for users and businesses alike.
- Location Sharing: powered by Glympse, you can share your location with whomever you want.
- Improved photo, voice notes and other attachments
- Dropbox integration for sending and receiving files to and from contacts
- 100 new emoticons to choose from
- Increased BBM group size: now up to 50 people
It sounds like Blackberry spared no expense in bringing this upgrade to the masses, though some contend they could be doing even better. Specifically, we’re still missing video-based features that those on Blackberry 10 have been enjoying for quite some time.
Those features include quick video messaging, as well as full-on Skype-esque video calls. Let’s hope our boys in Waterloo have some of that in store for what should be a great 3.0 update at some point down the line. In the meantime, stay on the lookout for the upgrade as Blackberry says it should be rolling out at some point later today. Get a look at the new goods in the video above.
BBM is about to become considerably more useful to Android and iPhone users — even if they don’t have many people on their contact lists. BlackBerry now says that its promised Channels and Voice support should reach the BBM apps for both platforms later today. As on BlackBerry 10, Channels lets you chat about hot topics with fellow users, whether or not they’re already friends. Voice, meanwhile, does exactly what it says on the tin: you can make internet-based calls to your BBM buddies. Whether or not you find much use from these two biggest features, you may still appreciate other significant additions like Dropbox file sharing integration, Glympse location sharing and expanded BBM Groups. We’ll let you know when we see the Android and iOS upgrades reach their respective app stores.
The latest market share report has been released by IDC. This report is offering a look at the numbers for the fourth quarter of 2013, and also for the year as a whole. Some of this, such as how the charts are being dominated by Android will come with little surprise. But there is also the other side of the chart to consider, the bottom, which details the further decline of BlackBerry.
The list has Android sitting on top with iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Others rounding out the top five. In regards to BlackBerry, while technically in the fourth position overall, they are actually sitting with slightly less market share as opposed to the other category. The Q4 2013 market share for BlackBerry is 0.6 percent. This accounts for 7.4 million in terms of shipments, and had BlackBerry dropping from 3.2 percent for the same quarter in the previous year.
Shifting back to the top of the list and we see Android with 78.1 percent market share. This is an increase from 70.3 percent as compared to Q4 2012. Rounding out this list is iOS with 17.6 percent, Windows Phone with 3.0 percent and the others category with 0.7 percent. Interestingly, iOS dropped a bit in the year-over-year, going from 20.9 percent for Q4 2012.
Moving away from the Q4 2013 numbers to the year as a whole and we saw a similar structure. That is to say the market share numbers for all 2013 include Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Others. The associated percentages are as follows; Android at 78.6, iOS at 15.2, Windows Phone at 3.3, BlackBerry at 1.9, and Others at 1.0. Both Android and Windows Phone saw growth as we moved from 2012 to 2013.
Android went from 69 percent in 2012 to 78.7 percent in 2013. Windows Phone went from 2.4 percent to 3.3 percent for the same time period. Otherwise, iOS dropped from 18.7 to 15.2 percent, and BlackBerry dropped from 4.5 percent to 1.9 percent going from 2012 to 2013.
Breaking Android down and we once again saw some dominance from Samsung. The IDC report mentioned how “Samsung led all Android vendors with a commanding 39.5% share of shipments for the year.” Huawei held the number two position, however honorable mentions came for LG, Lenovo, Coolpad, and Sony. And interestingly, now that the Motorola and Lenovo deal has been made official, it should be interesting to see where Lenovo sits in the charts for 2014.
SOURCE: Business Wire
- IDC: Samsung and Android showing large year-over-year tablet growth
- Android leads smartphone race in IDC Q2 2013 figures, iOS share could rise
- Tablet shipments set to topple PCs in Q4 2013, says IDC forecast
- IDC: Q3 2013 smartphone shipments account for record breaking quarter
- Android eats up 81% of smartphone market, average prices falling, says IDC
To say that the release of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was underwhelming would be a bit of an understatement; while it retained many of the things that BlackBerry users have gushed about, it was decidedly old-fashioned compared to some of our more recent messaging clients like Whatsapp. Though perhaps the most infuriating aspect of picking up BBM for the first time was the inability to add your old contacts and friends by any conventional means. Instead, you were burdened with the old fashioned BlackBerry PIN, which I would liken to physically handing out your phone number. Fortunately, BBM is being updated with a feature called ‘Find Friends on BBM’ which should make a whole world of difference to those who have hankered for it.
From tomorrow (or today for some of you), the BBM app will be updated on Android to include ‘Find Friends on BBM’, a feature which will allow you to quickly assess which of your friends are already on BBM and give you options to send them your PIN. As for the friends that haven’t fortuitously keep BBM on their phones after its October release, or tried it at all, you can send them an invite via email or SMS.
Personally, I think this update is too little, far too late. This feature should have been available from day one and its effect may be minimal now seeing as many people will have simply uninstalled it when they realised how unintuitive it was to add people. Maybe I’m wrong and this will fuel a resurgence for BBM, which may do considering that BlackBerry says they are working on BBM v2.0, but I think BBM has a lot of catching up to do before it becomes a number one choice among messaging circles.
What do you think about ‘Find Friends with BBM’? Are you likely to try BBM out again now that this feature has been added? Let us know what your opinion of BBM is.
BlackBerry Messenger got an important update today. Rather than have to share a PIN to chat with another BBM user, we now have the ability to search for our contacts via a ‘Find Friends’ feature. Handy, but like most things BBM, it may be too late to the party.
The Find Friends utility will pop up when you first install the app, but is also available to existing users. Under the “Invites” menu, FIndFriends has made it’s home for use whenever you like. The feature is in the newest version of BBM, which is available now. If you don’t see it right away, BlackBerry says it will be rolling out in the next 24 hours or so.
This works with your contacts that already use BBM, or those who don’t yet. Those who do will simply be added to your BBM contact list. Those contacts without BBM will be sent an invitation, at your request. Handy, but too late for anyone to care?
This is a feature that comes standard on just about any social app. From Twitter to Facebook, Hangouts to — well, anything — this is standard fare. BlackBerry is once again behind the times, and trying to make it seem as though they’ve caught up. They haven’t. Finding friends on BBM is great, so long as your friends still use it after perusing it when it came out, then getting back to reality — and messaging apps people use. BlackBerry is also noting they have a refresh to the app coming up soon, but offer no timetable for release.
- BBM will soon be preloaded on select LG smartphones
- BBM for Android to get Voice and Channels support in 2014
- Blackberry down $4.4 billion in Q3 2013, saw 40 million BBM downloads in 60 days
- BBM Channels and Voice Calling arrive for Android beta users
- BBM for Android will soon be available on Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
Did you know BlackBerry was still around? Their stranglehold on the smartphone industry may be a distant memory, but the beleaguered company is still committed to supporting its existing products. Need proof? One of them, BlackBerry Messenger for Android, is the target of a minor update today.
The headline feature of the update is Find Friends, which allows you to identify those of your friends and family that use BBM (and are probably too embarrassed to admit it). The app will scan your contact list for BBM users, and then allow you to send a PIN invite. You can invite non-users, but they’ll only receive an e-mail message or SMS to download BBM.
BlackBerry continues to devote resources to improving BBM, which makes sense considering the service’s relative popularity overseas. The company teased version 2.0 of the app, which it says will include “lots of great new features.” And BlackBerry will soon release a version of BBM compatible with Gingerbread devices.
Any BBM users excited about today’s update? Any BBM users period?
While Android Gingerbread may slowly be slipping down the Android distribution charts, there are still a large number of devices, both old and new, that run this almost ancient version. For those users, BlackBerry has announced that they will soon get the new BlackBerry Messaging app to keep up with their BBM friends all over the world.
Android 2.3 might have once been the darling of device manufacturers, but it is giving way to Android Jelly Bean, albeit rather slowly. The last pie chart still shows this Android version as taking up 21.2 percent of all Android devices in the world, almost a quarter of the total. We’re not even just talking about old devices here but even some new ones released mid-2013.
BlackBerry says that it has received quite a clamor for making its BBM app for Android backwards compatible with the older Android generation. BlackBerry has heard their pleas and has been developing a special version just for Gingerbread users, particularly those running Android 2.3.3 and above. They are following some other app developers that have been keeping the previous generation in mind, including Vine who made the service similarly available last month, though only for viewing short videos and not for uploading them.
BlackBerry has not yet given an exact date when this version of its instant messaging app will be rolling out. For now, the company is still keeping BBM for Android Gingerbread under wraps but is already moving towards an external beta testing phase.
- BBM to always be free, voice and video chats coming to Android soon
- BBM for Android adds contact categories and PIN barcode sharing
- BBM will soon be a pre-installed app on select Android devices
- BBM will soon be preloaded on select LG smartphones
- BBM Channels and Voice Calling arrive for Android beta users
Update will bring support for older devices
While the folks behind the BBM Twitter account may be making some questionable posts, the team behind the scenes has been hard at work adding support for Gingerbread users. Jeff Gadway of BlackBerry has posted that over the past few months the team has been adding support so more users can enjoy what BBM brings, and the update is due to come in February.
With 21 percent of Android devices still running Gingerbread there is definitely a bunch of users that BlackBerry hopes to capture with the added support. Will you be downloading BBM on your Gingerbread device?
We typically try to avoid Blackberry talk as much as we can on DL, but this latest update to Blackberry 10 brings in all sorts of Android fun. We grabbed the update’s changelog for Verizon’s Blackberry Z10 since the changelog is a solid 5 pages long. On the bottom of page two, there is a reference to it including a full Android Runtime that includes support for running native versions of Android apps that are APKs.
In the past, there was some half-baked trickery involved that needed to be performed in order for Android apps to run on a Blackberry device, but now with Blackberry 10.2.1, there is full support for Android apps. APK files can even be directly installed through a browser, with a wizard walking you through the setup.
- New Android Native Support adds support for running native versions of Android JellyBean applications in APK format without the need to convert
- Applications using Android Bluetooth® SPI’s are now supported
- Android application can integrate with BlackBerry Share Targets
- Install APK files directly from the browser, email or File Manager
- Tap APK file to install, and the wizard will walk you through installation
I’m not sure this should make you want a Blackberry 10 device any more than you did yesterday, but hey, Android! The update should be available to all Blackberry 10 devices – at least that is my understanding of a platform that has died at least five times already.
The rest of the changelog is below.
If you own a BlackBerry Z30, Q10 or Q5, then your smartphone can suddenly do a neat little trick. The company’s latest software update enables those devices to become an FM radio, letting you stage an impromptu dance party without a data connection. Version 10.2.1 also brings a series of minor, but welcome, tweaks to the platform, including a new screen for answering calls, SMS groups, offline reading mode and picture passwords. The update is making its way to all BlackBerry 10 handsets from today, including the Porsche P’9982, for all you fancy-dans out there.
Update: BlackBerry hasn’t publicly announced that BB 10.2.1 enabled Android APK installation from the file manager, so we’ve been waiting for an official confirmation before making it public. However, several of you have been in touch to say that this feature is working on your handsets.
Blackberry stock surges on 80,000 unit “government bailout”, Android still activating 1.5 million daily
It’s no secret that Waterloo-based Blackberry was on their biggest downward spiral ever in 2013. The company, which has conceded tons of market share to the likes of Apple and Google due to lack of innovation, was almost sold off to financial vultures last year. They also had to let go of thousands of employees, and it wasn’t until private investors decided to come in and save their skin that they could step back and regroup to navigate the tough waters that 2014 would bring.
It looks like they’ve finally gotten their first bit of good news, though, as it has been revealed that the Pentagon has tapped Blackberry for 80,000 new handsets for use on a “new network.” That commitment, which sounds like it has the potential to add more handsets over time, will continue a longstanding partnership between Blackberry and various arms of the American government.
The new units will look to be hooked up to the Department of Defense’s management system by the end of this month, according to a statement by the Defense Information Systems Agency.
That bit of good news allowed Blackberry to see stocks rise as high as 8% in both the US and Canada since the announcement was made. While that wasn’t a huge spike in the price (it’s still hovering around $9.93 per share as of the time of this writing), it was the best news Blackberry has enjoyed in a while.
Will “Government Bailout” be enough?
That commitment by the Department of Defense is a testament to Blackberry’s continued focus on enterprise, government and security, areas where Android’s biggest OEM Samsung and their archrival Apple have had a tough time breaking into. Samsung has been working to improve their worth in those spaces with the cleverly-named KNOX security suite (the Department of Defense approved KNOX-equipped phones for use in the middle of last year), but it hasn’t been enough to woo the Pentagon to order 80,000 phones for employee use.
But you have to wonder if this is simply just a nice governmental band-aid on a bigger problem. How long can Blackberry survive on the business of the United States government? How many more of these, for lack of a better term, bailouts can they rely on before they have to find a way to sustain long-term growth?
As big and as important of an entity as the Pentagon is, it’s clear that catering to nothing but high enterprise and government is not going to cut it. There are hundreds million more consumers out there looking to buy iPhones and Android phones above all else, and Blackberry isn’t doing nearly enough to cater to those folks.
Blackberry vs Android and iOS: By the Numbers
To put Blackberry’s new 80,000 unit sale into perspective, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at recent daily activation numbers and sales figures for competing platforms (to make it fair, we included only one of Samsung’s biggest smartphones):
- Android: 1.5 million activations daily
- iOS / iPhone: 9 million iPhone 5S and 5C units on launch weekend alone
- Samsung Galaxy S4: 40 million units in six months (222,000 per day)
Just think about that for a second: Samsung and Apple are activating more phones in one day than the Pentagon will in this rare purchase. For Samsung, that’s not taking into account sales of the highly popular Galaxy Note line. For Apple, we won’t even get started on the 1.4 million units they’re preparing to ship off to China Mobile for the iPhone’s impending launch on the carrier.
Should the Pentagon order any more units, they probably still wouldn’t be able to come close to what their competitors are doing right now. This sale is like a drop in the bucket — nay, a drop in the swimming pool — in comparison.
Finding new ways to do old business
Blackberry obviously has bigger fish to fry than that first-time sale, though. They’ll look to continue making money from BES security services and support that the Pentagon will likely have to subscribe to, but that alone still might not be enough.
That’s probably why Blackberry has found the need to embrace iOS and Android in more ways than one. On the consumer side, the successful launch of Blackberry Messenger on competing platforms (40 million downloads in 60 days between Android and iPhone) says a lot about the state of their business.
On one hand, it puts their foot into the door for selling services on platforms that are doing immensely better than they are. On the other, it helps keep existing consumers tied to their own brand.
Gone are the days where BBM alone is going to sell a handset — it’s a useless tool if all of that person’s friends defect to iOS and Android. It’s a win-win situation for Blackberry in that regard, and it’s the only choice the company had in staying relevant in this fast-changing mobile ecosystem.
And while Android and iOS haven’t done much to threaten Blackberry’s dominance in enterprise, you can tell Blackberry will not take any chances.
Beyond BBM, Blackberry also confirmed that they were working on security solutions and BES support for competing platforms. This would allow them to continue to sell security and support even if their handset business happened to vanish overnight (and would validate suspicions that Blackberry could eventually sell off their OEM business to become a software and services company).
We obviously don’t want to see another competitor drop in this lopsided race, so let’s hope this instance is more than just a one-time confidence booster and a delay to an unfortunate demise.
BlackBerry is still a mess. That hardly comes as news to anyone. But with a new CEO at the helm, the company is more focused than ever at not only surviving, but thriving. (That is what companies are supposed to do, after all.)
And if you had any doubts about whether that strategy will include Android, we'll point you to this passage from CrackBerry's lunch with Chen last week in Las Vegas:
“You could be an iPhone customer, and also a BlackBerry customer,” Chen explained. “You could be an Android customer, and also a BlackBerry customer. It's not mutually exclusive. I think that's an important key message of the company going forward.”
BBM me baby, one more time
Cali and Kevin sat down with Alex Kinsella of BlackBerry to discuss the companies plans for the future of BlackBerry Messenger 2.0. With BBM Channels having recently officially launched on BlackBerry devices, Alex speaks about bringing them to Android along with QuickShare, which will allow sharing of contacts and attachments, as well as integrate directly with Dropbox and Glympse. This will help to move information between yourself and friends with ease.
BlackBerry realizes that people love to get things done, and get them done quickly. The updates to BBM will allow for just that. Be sure to check out the full interview above to see all that they have to say about BBM 2.0 and what it will bring.
Our pal CrackBerry Kevin takes a look at the Typo keyboard, which at this point is as famous for its IP infringement (erm, alleged) as it is its celebrity funder, Ryan "Don't call me Gosling" Seacrest.
Typo fits atop the iPhone and looks suspiciously like a BlackBerry keyboard. Or exactly like a BlackBerry keyboard.
Just part of the fun that is CES.
A quick heads up to those of you rocking BBM on Android that a handful of new — and big — features are on the way, and currently in beta testing on BlackBerry's own Beta Zone. First and foremost is the addition of BBM Channels and BBM Voice. There's also improved file sharing, and more than 100 new emoticons.
Again, BlackBerry is running the beta out of its Beta Zone, and not through Google Play's excellent beta track, so you've got to be one of the chosen ones to get in on the action for now.
According to CrackBerry, BlackBerry has released an updated beta version of BBM for Android, which features a nice changelog that users should all enjoy. For starters, it is reported that the update brings a ton of new emoticons to use, improved file sharing, BBM Channels, and more importantly, BBM Voice. With BBM Voice, BBM users can call each other for free over a WiFi network, a feature that we were hoping an update to Google’s Hangouts app for Android would include, but still has yet to arrive. As reference, the Hangouts app on iOS has had Google Voice and calling integration for months now.
The beta is only available to a select group of Android users for now, so Android folks will need to remain patient while BlackBerry works out any bugs. Fingers crossed it has no launch mishaps like BBM had when it first launched for Android. That was a nightmare for them.
To get an idea of how BBM Voice will work, check out the launch video for BBM 7 down below. It’s essentially the same exact thing.