Created by BlackBerry (the company, formerly Research in Motion / RIM,) BlackBerry OS is used exclusively on BlackBerry phones.
BlackBerry today said that BBM Channels has graduated from beta status and will begin rolling out this afternoon to all BlackBerries running OS 5 and up. BBM Channels acts similar to social networks in that users can subscribe to channels, which are based on certain topics or brands, and receive updates when the channels have new content. Users can create their own channels and push updates to select groups of followers or users in a manner similar to Twitter. BlackBerry imagines that it will be best-used by companies and brands looking to connect with fans. BBM Channels will be available for download from the BlackBerry World store starting at 3pm Eastern Time.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone will reach company stores in early November. The device will be sold for $199.99 with a new contract, or for $22.91 for 24 months for customers who choose Verizon's Edge upgrade plan. The Z30 has a 5-inch HD display and runs BlackBerry 10.2.
BlackBerry today announced the release of BlackBerry OS 10.2. The updated operating system introduces a wide range of new features, such as Priority Hub, which learns what conversations are important to the user and automatically puts those messages at the top of the inbox. The inbox is now better at handling attachments, which can be organized across conversations. Other new features include improved BBM Video messaging with "natural sound"; previews of BBM, SMS, and email messages from within any app; improvements to the keyboard and copy-and-paste behavior; better sharing tools across social networks; reply to incoming calls with email, SMS, or BBM; and general improvements to the calendar. According to BlackBerry, BlackBerry 10.2 will be available in Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East beginning this week. It will reach Latin America next month, but won't reach the U.S. until "this winter." As always, the timing of the operating system update's availability will depend on each individual country and carrier.
BlackBerry today announced a minor update to Facebook for its BlackBerry 10 devices. There are a handful of new features in the application, including the ability to delete status updates and other posts from within the app itself. Facebook for BlackBerry also now lets users preview links before posting them; use the app and view videos in landscape mode; see when chat messages have been read; as well as share wall posts on a friend's wall, in a group, in a list, or in a message. Facebook 10.2.2 for BlackBerry 10 is free to download from the BlackBerry World app store.
Kik recently indicated that it has settled all litigation with BlackBerry. Kik developed a BlackBerry Messenger-like messaging product that works between a number of different platforms, including BlackBerry, Android, and iOS. BlackBerry sued Kik in 2010 and kicked the app out of the BlackBerry World app store for what it called "false and/or misleading statements" that lead to consumer confusion. According to The Globe and Mail. Kik's founder attempted to convince BlackBerry's management to make BBM a cross-platform service, but they refused. That's what spurred the development of the Kik app. Kik currently has about 90 million users, while BlackBerry's BBM service has shrunk to about 60 million users. BlackBerry attempted to release versions of BBM for the Android and iOS platforms just last month, but had to delay the rollout due to problems.
BlackBerry today announced that a new version of Twitter is available to devices running BlackBerry OS10, such as the Z10 and Q10. The updated application adds a number of new features, including the ability to view, create, subscribe, and edit Twitter lists; see trends based on personal interests and location; and scroll through tweeted images in the photo image gallery. The new app also showcases related account profiles, makes it easier to see which tweets have video links, and syncs read DMs across all devices and Twitter accounts. Twitter 10.2.1 is free to download from the BlackBerry World app store.
BlackBerry today announced massive job cuts amidst a large loss for its second fiscal quarter. The company expects to write down $1 billion in unsold Z10 smartphone inventory and post a loss of between $950 and $995 million. The company said it sold 3.7 million devices during its second fiscal quarter, but the bulk of them were its older BlackBerry 7 devices, and not its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. As a result, it will layoff 40% of its global work force, or about 4,500 employees. After the cuts, BlackBerry will be left with 7,000 employees, about half what it was two years ago. Further, BlackBerry said it plans to make changes to its business. The company said it will "refocus on the enterprise and prosumer market." It will consolidate its hardware portfolio from six devices to four, including two high-end devices and two entry-level devices. BlackBerry announced earlier this month that it is exploring its strategic options, including a sale of the company, whether in parts or as a whole.
BlackBerry let us spend a few moments with the new Z30, its 5-inch phablet looking to take on today's super phones. Here are our initial impressions.
BlackBerry is preparing to make deep cuts to its staffing, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The company is looking to reduce its headcount by as much as 40% by the end of the year as it tries to get a handle on costs amid poor sales of its devices. A BlackBerry spokesperson said, "Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing," but declined to comment on the severity of the job cuts. BlackBerry is exploring strategic alternatives and may sell all or pieces of the company to investors. The sales process is expected to take place within a few weeks and has already drawn some interest from private equity firms. Just today, BlackBerry announced the Z30 smartphone and the availability of its BBM messaging service for Android and iOS devices.
BlackBerry today announced the Z30, a new smartphone running BlackBerry OS 10.2 that has a 5.0-inch Super AMOLED 720p HD display and a dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with quad-core Adreno graphics. The Z30 features stereo speakers and BlackBerry Natural Sound, which the company says improves the quality of BBM Voice and BBM Video chats. BlackBerry is using what it calls the BlackBerry Paratek Antenna, a new antenna design that improves voice and data performance in low-coverage areas. The Z30 also boasts 25 hours of active use thanks to the large, 2,880mAh battery. Other hardware features include an 8-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel user-facing camera; LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi, and GPS; and 16GB of on-board storage with support for microSD cards up to 64GB. The BlackBerry 10.2 operating system makes some changes to BlackBerry Hub, which now learns which conversations and social media messages are most important to the owner and prioritizes them. BlackBerry Messenger now provides previews of incoming messages as they arrive, even when using other apps. The previews can be dismissed or opened. The BlackBerry Z30 will first go on sale in the U.K. and Middle East later this month. It is expected to reach other regions before the holidays. BlackBerry said that BlackBerry OS 10.2 will be made available to the Z10, Q10, and Q5 smartphones in October.
C Spire Wireless today announced plans to sell the BlackBerry Q10 in the near future. Exact pricing and availability details will be shared soon.
Private investors are eyeing BlackBerry and its assets, but not the entire company, reports Reuters. Several equity firms have signed non-disclosure agreements with BlackBerry in recent weeks to explore acquisition possibilities, though Reuters' sources say it is likely the company will be broken up and sold in pieces. Private equity firms are looking at BlackBerry's operating system and the patents surrounding its keyboards, in particular. One of BlackBerry's largest investors, Fairfax Financial Holdings, has met with other financial firms in hopes of finding a way to take the entire company private, but it holds only about 10% of the firm. Reuters says the sales process is expected to begin within a few weeks. BlackBerry announced last month its intent to "explore strategic options" after its BlackBerry 10 operating system and handset failed to generate interest among consumers.
BlackBerry today announced that it has formed a committee to evaluate the firm's strategic alternatives moving forward. According to BlackBerry, the list of alternatives the company plans to consider include possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale to a third party, or other possible transactions. The special committee members include Barbara Stymiest, Thorsten Heins (BlackBerry's CEO), Richard Lynch, and Bert Nordberg, and will be chaired by Timothy Dattels. BlackBerry did not place a deadline on when it might make a decision about its future. BlackBerry launched the BlackBerry 10 platform earlier this year, and sales of its new smartphones have not caught on as the company hoped.
AT&T today announced that the BlackBerry Q10 will be available beginning June 21 for $199.99 with a new contract. AT&T is also offering a minimum trade-in reimbursement of $100 to customers who swap their old phone for the Q10.
Skype today announced that its video messaging service has graduated from beta status and is widely available for use. The service, which has been in trials since February, allows Skype users to record and send video messages (up to three minutes long) to other Skype users. Skype said that video messages can be viewed on any platform, but in order to record and send messages users must have devices running Android, BlackBerry, or iOS. Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform is not yet able to record and send Skype video messages. The feature is free to use, and Skype said that users can send an unlimited number of messages.
BlackBerry today announced the availability of Facebook 10.2.0 for devices running BlackBerry 10. The revised version of Facebook brings with it the updated Newsfeed, which has new icons and easier navigation. The app also has expanded photo features. BlackBerry 10 owners can create new photo albums from their photo page, where they can upload photos or complete albums, add tags to photos, and easily switch between photo albums. The app also includes minor bug fixes and performance enhancements. Facebook 10.2.0 for BlackBerry 10 is free to download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry today announced that it will make versions of its BlackBerry Messenger application for both the Android and iOS platforms. The application and service will be available to the iPhone and Android devices later this summer. Basic messaging and groups support will arrive first, and other features, including BlackBerry Voice, BlackBerry Video, and screen sharing. Additionally, BlackBerry expects that iOS and Android users will also be able to use the just-announced BBM Channels later this year. BlackBerry Messenger has to-date been a BlackBerry exclusive app and service.
BlackBerry today announced a new piece of its BlackBerry Messenger platform called BBM Channels. It acts similar to social networks in that users can subscribe to channels, which are based on certain topics or brands, and receive updates when the channels have new content. Users can create their own channels and push updates to select groups of followers or users in a manner similar to Twitter. BlackBerry imagines that it will be best-used by companies and brands looking to connect with fans.
AOL today announced that it has struck a partnership with Verizon Wireless to distribute its content on Verizon's smartphones and tablets. The content will show up in the Verizon Wireless Home web portal and will be bookmarked within the browser on Verizon devices. The AOL portal will feature up-the-minute news headlines, weather, and maps, as well as provide access to video content. The portal will appear on smartphones and tablets running Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, but not iOS. Customers will be able to customize the type of content that reaches their devices. The AOL content is expected to become available later this summer.
BlackBerry today released a new version of Twitter for devices running BlackBerry OS 5, 6, and 7. The revised application adds a handful of new features, including support for BlackBerry ID credentials for easier sign-ins; a redesigned user profile that includes swipe actions; and more granular control over individual notifications for actions such as retweets, favorites, and new followers. Twitter 4.1 for BlackBerry OS 5, OS 6, and OS 7 is free to download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry today announced that a new version of Facebook is available to older smartphones running BlackBerry OS 5 and up. According to BlackBerry, the updated app puts Facebook on older BlackBerries on a more level field with Facebook for BB10 and other platforms. The revised app has new tools, such as a sliding navigation list, to make accessing the various different features of the app easier and quicker. The app also updates how photos are handled and gives them more prominence in the timeline. Last, it adds pull-down-to-refresh behaviors for updating the timeline and newsfeed. Facebook 4.0 for BlackBerry OS 5.0 and up is a free download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry is winding down its BBM Music service over the next two months, according to an email sent to current subscribers. April is the last month that subscribers will be billed, and songs will start becoming unavailable in May. The final shutdown date is June 2, 2013. BlackBerry is promoting Rdio as an alternative, and offering a 30-day free trial of that service to affected subscribers. BBM Music was never brought to the newer BlackBerry 10 OS, and Rdio is not yet available for BlackBerry 10. BBM Music was introduced just a year and a half ago. It was a social service that let users share playlists of songs. Each user could contribute up to 50 songs, and users with more contacts had access to more music. The service cost $4.99/month.
Google today announced a second round of spring cleaning that will see yet more services discontinued. The most significant mobile app being axed is the Google Voice application for the BlackBerry platform. Google recommends that BlackBerry owners still interested in using Google Voice switch to the browser-based HTML5 app, which Google says is more secure anyway. Google will end support for Google Voice for BlackBerry next week. The HTML5 app is compatible with BlackBerry Browsers version 6 and up. Other products that have limited days remaining include the CalDAV API, Google Building Maker (tool to model 3D buildings on maps), Google Cloud Connect (plug-in that helped users save Microsoft Office documents to Google Docs), Google Reader (RSS feed), the Search API for Google Shopping, and Snapseed for both Windows and Mac OS. Google says better alternatives for all these services are available elsewhere.
BlackBerry will not sell its new Z10 and Q10 handsets in the Japanese market, reports Reuters. The company's share of the Japanese market has shrunk from 5% to 0.3%, and the smartphone maker can no longer justify the cost of modifying its software to accommodate the Japanese language. BlackBerry will also stop selling its older handsets, though it will continue to provide support for its existing user base. "We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched," said spokeswoman Amy McDowell in a statement provided to media. "Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time. However, we will continue to support BlackBerry customers in Japan." The Z10 and Q10 are the first smartphones to run BlackBerry 10, the company's new operating system. They won't go on sale in the U.S. until later this year.
Verizon Wireless today announced the availability of two new prepaid plans that don't require contracts. The first plan costs $60 per month and includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and 500MB of data. The second plan costs $70 per month and boosts the data allotment to 2GB. According to Verizon, the new prepaid plans can be used with a variety of 3G devices, such as Android, BlackBerry, and iOS smartphones. In Verizon's press piece, it suggests that people can bring their own, older devices if they so wish, rather than purchase a new one. The new plans are available beginning today.
Research In Motion today formally introduced all the core features of BlackBery 10, its brand new operating system. BlackBerry 10 is a wholly new platform built on a QNX core with a new gesture-based user interface. BlackBerry 10 is centered on two key ideas: BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Flow. BlackBerry Hub is the central repository for all incoming messages, including email, SMS, IM, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. It can be called up at any time from within any other application. BlackBerry Flow represents the gestures themselves and how the operating system responds to finger movements across the screen. The new platform supports up to eight applications running at any one time, which are accessed in a new feature called Active Frames. The Active Frame panel makes it easy to see what apps are running and switch between them quickly. RIM has reengineered the touchscreen keyboard to be faster and more intuitive. For example, the touchscreen keyboard in BlackBerry 10 learns how users type. It tracks where they hit particular keys as well as what words they use to improve typing accuracy. The browser has been fully rebuilt to support HTML5, in addition to Adobe Flash. It has features such as pinch-to-zoom. The camera application is faster and more feature-rich. It includes touch-to-focus/shoot, different shoot modes (normal, burst), scenes (action, night), and TimeShift for capturing the best shot of peoples' faces. The gallery application has been given far more advanced editing capabilities, including crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, filters/effects, and easy sharing to social networks. BlackBerry 10 adds an app called Story Maker, which can be used to piece together video segments with titles and credits to create mini movies. Last, BlackBerry 10 brings peace of mind to business customers with BlackBerry Safeguard and BlackBerry Balance. Safeguard can be used to encrypt user data, manage online privacy, and find or lock a lost/stolen device. BlackBerry Balance is RIM's work-personal life management tool that keeps business and personal data segregated from one another on the device. BlackBerry 10 is first available on the Z10 and Q10, which will ship in the coming weeks.
Research In Motion today announced the Z10 and Q10, the first two smartphones to run its brand new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The Z10 and Q10 share many features, though physically they are somewhat different; the Z10 is a candybar touch phone, and the Q10 is a monoblock QWERTY device with a smaller touch screen. Both devices are powered by 1.5GHz dual-core processors with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage. They also support removable microSD cards up to 32GB. The Z10 and Q10 each carries an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash that captures 1080p HD video, with a secondary camera rating 2 megapixels with 720p HD video capture. Wireless support includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, NFC, and GPS, in addition to 4G mobile hotspot. They also include microUSB and microHDMI ports, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Z10: The Z10 features a 4.2-inch LCD touch screen with 1280 x 768 pixels, making a pixel density of 356 pixels per inch. It is 9mm thick.
- Q10: The Q10 is a more traditional-looking BlackBerry smartphone in that it has a smaller, 720 x 720 pixel screen and a physical QWERTY keyboard.
Research In Motion today announced that it has renamed its company to simply BlackBerry. RIM says the new name and brand is a symbol of its relaunch of its BlackBerry platform, devices, and brand.
Research In Motion today announced details about the music and video content that will soon be available in BlackBerry World for BlackBerry 10 devices. The company said that most of the major music and movie studios are behind the content store, which will offer DRM-free music downloads and video rentals/purchases. According to RIM, most movies will be available the same day they are released on DVD, and television programming will be available the day after its airs. Shoppers will be able to preview tracks and make purchases with a number of payment options. The music and video content will first be available in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, with other regions expected to follow later in the year. RIM recently relaunched the web version of BlackBerry World, and the new BlackBerry World app, music, and video store will be part of BlackBerry 10 devices at launch.
Research In Motion today officially launched BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, its smartphone management tool for companies and governments that use BlackBerries. The new version of BES works with RIM's forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, and can also manage devices running Android and iOS. The service adds a number of other features, including the ability to manage internal corporate apps and public apps from BlackBerry World, easier over-the-air activation for end users, and more IT policies. BES 10 also includes RIM's BlackBerry Balance tool, which helps businesses segregate the work and personal information stored on corporate BlackBerries. For example, BlackBerry Balance can be used to wipe the corporate data from an employee BlackBerry, while leaving their personal pictures, music, and settings intact. BES 10 can be downloaded from RIM beginning today. RIM is prepared to launch BlackBerry 10 on January 30.
Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins indicated that the company might sell its hardware business after it launches the BlackBerry 10 platform. Speaking to German publication Die Welt, Heins said the company's on-going strategic review could result in a sale of the hardware business or licensing its BlackBerry 10 platform to other hardware companies. Heins has suggested as much before. "The main thing for now is to successfully introduce Blackberry 10. Then we'll see," he said. RIM has spent the last year focusing on relaunching its BlackBerry platform. BlackBerry 10 is a wholly new operating system that uses gesture-based controls to flow through the user interface. It is based, in part, on the QNX core that makes up PlayBook OS. RIM is prepared to launch BlackBerry 10 on January 30, with its first new smartphones to follow soon thereafter.
Research In Motion today relaunched the web version of its application store with the new name "BlackBerry World." The revised storefront simplifies the look and feel, making it easier to browse and search for content. Beginning today, the web store can be used to download and install apps, and RIM said music and video content will be added later. RIM plans to update the device-based BlackBerry World experience, too, beginning with PlayBook tablets and eventually its BlackBerry smartphones. RIM is relaunching its BlackBerry smartphone platform on January 30, where the first new BlackBerry 10 handsets will be revealed.
T-Mobile USA and Research In Motion today announced the BlackBerry Curve 9315, a monoblock smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard and BlackBerry OS 7.1. The Curve 9315, a variant of the 9310, is an entry-level smartphone that includes a 3.2-megapixel camera, a dedicated BlackBerry Messenger button, GPS and navigation, parental controls, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Curve 9315's display measures 2.44 inches and has 320 x 420 pixels. It supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and includes an FM radio. The 9315 will not be updated to RIM's brand new operating system, BlackBerry 10, which debuts later this month. The Curve 9315 will be available via presale to T-Mobile customers beginning January 16, and should reach T-Mobile stores January 23. It will require a deposit of $49.99 and then 20 monthly payments of $10 if paired with T-Mobile's Equipment Installment Plan. Alternately, customers can pay $49.99 for the 9315 with a traditional two-year voice and data plan.
Research In Motion today amended a licensing agreement it has with InterDigital to include 4G technologies moving forward. The two companies added LTE and LTE-Advanced to the agreement, and extended it by several years. None of RIM's BlackBerry 7 smartphones include LTE 4G. RIM is prepared to reveal its first BlackBerry 10 devices, which are expected to support 4G mobile broadband, later this month. Terms of the extended agreement with InterDigital were not disclosed.
Samsung today announced version 2.0 of its ChatON cross-platform social messaging service. The new version allows users to stay logged in on five different devices at once with a single account. Users can also share and comment on photos and videos in a "Trunk" - one-on-one or in a small group - before sharing them via Twitter or Facebook. It also supports profiles and status updates, turning it into a kind of social network. Animated emoticons and audio clips can be added to messages. ChatON 2.0 is available for Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and via the web at chaton.com.
Twitter today announced the availability of Twitter 4.0 for BlackBerry smartphones. The new app gains several features that are already in use by the Android and iOS versions of Twitter. These include the Connect and Discover tabs, which let you see who's retweeted your Tweets or what's trending on Twitter, respectively. The new app makes it easier for BlackBerry owners to interact with their followers, find new people to follow, and discover interesting content from their smartphone. Twitter 4.0 for BlackBerry is a free download from BlackBerry World.
The government today introduced a new tool that it hopes smartphone owners will take advantage of in order to protect their smartphones and personal data. The Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission, National Cyber Security Alliance, CTIA-The Wireless Association, and Lookout announced the Smartphone Security Checker, a web-based check list that smartphone owners can use to secure their devices. The FCC and its partners make a number of basic recommendations to help protect consumer info that's accessible on smartphones. They suggest smartphone owners set pass codes; avoid rooting or jailbreaking; use security apps that allow for remote location, locking, and wiping; keep the phone's software up to date; and only download apps/content from trusted sources. "With less than half of smartphone owners using passwords to protect their devices, this new tool will be of particular value," remarked FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "[It] is a perfect time to remind consumers to take simple steps, like setting a password, to protect themselves from mobile security threats." The web site lets Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone users customize their security settings. The Smartphone Security Checker is free to use.
Research In Motion today announced the "gold" version of its BlackBerry 10 software developer kit (SDK). This is the final build of the SDK for developers, which can be used to write applications for RIM's forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform and handsets. To-date, the SDK has been in various stages of beta release. The gold SDK includes all the components, APIs (application programming interfaces), and other tools needed to create native BB10 applications. The SDK is available in several different configurations, including HTML5 WebWorks, Adobe AIR, C/C++, and Qt. RIM is hoping to stock the BlackBerry World application store with as many apps as possible ahead of BlackBerry 10's launch. RIM plans to fully reveal BlackBerry 10 on January 30.
Wi-LAN has filed a lawsuit against Research In Motion alleging that the BlackBerry maker is infringing on a single patent related to Bluetooth technology. Wi-LAN says a number of RIM's smartphones, such as the Bold, Pearl, Storm, and Torch, infringe on the patent. It is seeking damages and an injunction to halt sales of the devices in the U.S. Wi-LAN is a patent licensing firm. It has filed similar lawsuits against Apple, HTC, and Sierra Wireless over LTE technology. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Research In Motion today made a final release of BlackBerry Messenger 7 available to BlackBerry smartphones. The software has been in beta testing since mid-November. This new version of BlackBerry Messenger adds the ability to make voice calls over Wi-Fi. The calling feature connects BBM users to other BBM users for free. The app supports a split-screen function that lets customers talk and text at the same time. The app includes a presence indicator so users know when their contacts are available for a voice call. Calls can be rejected with a text message, and the service works with accessories, such as Bluetooth headsets. The new BBM for BlackBerry 7 is a free download from BlackBerry World. RIM has not said if this feature will be included in BBM for its forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.