2011 was a huge year for the wireless industry. Global mobile connections surpassed 6 billion as the world’s total population hit 7 billion people, and worldwide smartphone penetration is now approaching 10%. In the United States, smartphone penetration has now topped 44% as converged, connected devices continue to flood the market across all age ranges. The rapid growth in the smartphone space can be attributed for the most part to two platforms, Android and iOS, and other companies continue to struggle to gain or even maintain their ground in a market that is expanding faster than it ever has before. Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS is heralded as a breath of fresh air but significant sales still elude the company’s vendor partners. On the other side of the coin, age finally caught up with Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS and smartphone users are becoming increasingly disinterested in a platform that was once the most desirable mobile experience in the world. More →
Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie confirmed during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that its next-generation BlackBerry 10 smartphones will not launch until “the latter part of 2012.” RIM on Thursday reported third fiscal quarter earnings that beat its lowered guidance, but the firm projected a bleak fourth quarter that will likely fall well short of earlier expectations. BlackBerry 10 is widely seen as a possible turnaround for the firm, but we’re still more than six months away from seeing the first next-generation BlackBerry smartphone hit store shelves according to Balsillie. Mike Lazaridis added that RIM is currently waiting for a new line of dual-core processors to become available before it will be able to push its BlackBerry 10 smartphones out to market. BGR exclusively reported in November that the recently leaked BlackBerry London could be RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, possibly launching some time in the third quarter of 2012.
As we suspected, Research In Motion might not be ditching the QWERTY keyboard after all. CrackBerry leaked a photo of what may be one of RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 devices, the BlackBerry Milan, on Wednesday. The Milan will no doubt sport a touchscreen display — there isn’t a touchpad in sight — but there aren’t any other specs available just yet. Additionally, RIM appears to have omitted the send/end call keys that have been used on BlackBerry smartphones as far back as we can remember. The keyboard looks a bit more narrow than what’s currently offered on RIM’s BlackBerry Torch 2 smartphone, but the touchscreen looks a big taller, too. It’s unclear when the Milan will finally make its debut, but it could launch alongside the BlackBerry London — a second device rumored to run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. RIM’s BBX operating system, designed for both tablets and smartphones, was renamed BlackBerry 10 on Wednesday. More →
Research In Motion has changed the name of its next-generation operating system to BlackBerry 10 following a trademark dispute over the BBX name. BBX was originally introduced as RIM’s next mobile software platform that will be deployed on the company’s tablets and smartphones. RIM was forced to change it after Basis International won a court ruling in a federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Tuesday that barred RIM from using the “BBX” brand name during a technology conference in Singapore. “The BlackBerry 10 name reflects the significance of the new platform and will leverage the global strength of the BlackBerry brand while also aligning perfectly with RIM’s device branding,” RIM said in a statement. One of RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 devices could be the BlackBerry London, purported images of which surfaced in November. More →
A group of security researchers recently demonstrated on video that they have successfully gained root access to the QNX-based operating system found on Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The PlayBook jailbreak and related “mack truck” security hole these hackers identified could have some serious implications for future BlackBerry devices, but RIM says users should not get ahead of themselves. “Research In Motion (RIM) is aware of a claim made on Twitter by security researchers working together that suggests the ability to ‘jailbreak’ a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet,” RIM said in a statement, noting that no BlackBerry smartphone users are affected. RIM also said it will begin working on a patch for the claimed security hole if its investigation determines the hackers’ claims are genuine, and it will also investigate any PlayBook jailbreaking tool released to the public. RIM’s full statement follows below, along with a video demonstration of security researcher “neuralic” gaining root access to a BlackBerry PlayBook.
We’ve just heard from a trusted source that the dummy device The Verge posted an image of earlier today is indeed a real BlackBerry, and it should in fact launch as the company’s first BBX-based smartphone. Our source told us that the BlackBerry Colt, the first QNX-based handset RIM had been working on that looked just like a smaller PlayBook, was scrapped in favor of the BlackBerry London. In terms of release timing, it’s looking like the London is slated to launch some time in the third quarter next year, possibly late in the quarter. Remember, RIM still has not been able to get BES or BBM working on BBX devices — probably the only two features BlackBerry phones are still known for these days — so launch details are anything but firm right now.
One of RIM’s first BBX BlackBerry devices could be the BlackBerry London, pictured above. The London is purportedly equipped with a dual-core TI OMAP processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat and 1GB of RAM. The Verge said that the London, which could make its debut next year, is about the same thickness as a Samsung Galaxy S II and thinner than the iPhone 4. RIM is also reportedly working on a thinner BlackBerry Torch with a 3.7-inch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The Verge says that the authenticity of the above image and reported specs is questionable, so this could just be a hoax. In either case, we like that someone is designing a sexy new smartphone for RIM.
Speaking with PCMag recently, RIM’s vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development Alec Saunders said that the company’s early BBX-powered smartphones will not resemble the popular BlackBerry Bold form factor. The first BBX devices will instead look like smaller versions of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and will come equipped with screens sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1024 x 600-pixel resolution. Saunders also said the first BBX phones will support BlackBerry Enterprise Server. BGR’s exclusively reported in August that the Waterloo, Canada-based company was building a special version of BES for its new BBX devices. According to rumors, RIM is rushing to get the BlackBerry Colt out of the door in light of BlackBerry 7 device sales that have reportedly underwhelmed, and it is expected to make its debut during the first quarter of next year.
BGR reported exclusive details of RIM’s upcoming BBX-based smartphone code-named the BlackBerry Colt earlier this year, and we have since heard that there is going to be a big emphasis on video calling with the company’s first super smartphone. This obviously means the device will feature a front-facing camera. As far as the BlackBerry PlayBook goes, RIM recently demoed OS 2.0 for the PlayBook, an update to the original OS that brings Android app compatibility along with native email and PIM access. As we reported before, however, there were tremendous obstacles that have prevented Research In Motion from shipping native email, calendar, contacts, BlackBerry Messenger, and other core system apps on the new QNX-based operating system. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said during the company’s last earnings call that the PlayBook would see an update in October but unfortunately, RIM is still struggling with these challenges. Hit the break for more. More →
Earlier this week, Research In Motion introduced the developer beta of BBX OS 2.0, which supports the Eclipse Android development platform on the company’s BlackBerry PlayBook. On Friday, one developer released a video that shows a number of Android applications running on a tablet. We’ve seen a clip of a PlayBook running Android apps from RIM before, but now we have raw footage from an outside source. The video shows a folder on the main home screen called “Android Apps” that is populated with IM+ Pro, IMDb, Gmail, Amazon Kindle, Kik Messenger, Google Places and more, which suggests that a wide range of apps will work on the device. We’re impressed with what we see so far; the apps run without any issue and take just a few seconds to load. We last heard Android support was delayed until late fall and, since it was just pushed to developers, we may have some time left to wait until the feature is released to consumers. Hit the break for the full video of Android apps in action on the PlayBook. More →
During its BlackBerry DevCon 2011 conference on Tuesday, Research In Motion announced its next generation platform, BBX. BBX will be used on the company’s upcoming phones, tablets and embedded devices. RIM said developers can take advantage of HTML5 to bridge the gap between BlackBerry 6, BlackBerry 7 and the BBX platform. However, developers can use native code to create the most powerful BBX apps. The BBX platform includes BBX-OS and will support RIM’s BlackBerry cloud services. The platform takes advantage of the BlackBerry Cascades UI framework, which will be available this fall, and RIM hopes it will allow the company to introduce “super apps” that are deeply integrated with one another, push services and BBM. RIM also announced the native SDK for the BlackBerry Playbook, which allows developers to create 2D/3D games with OpenGL ES 2.0 and Open AL and more. BlackBerry WebWorks will allow developers to add support for BlackBerry 6, BlackBerry 7 and the PlayBook to their applications, too, and it is available on RIM’s developer website now. Finally, RIM introduced a developer beta of PlayBook OS 2.0, which supports the Eclipse Android development environment on the PlayBook. During the BBX presentation, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said RIM has sold 165 million BlackBerry smartphones to date and currently has 70 million subscribers. Read on for the full press release. More →