BlackBerry fans, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. In a memo sent to some customers earlier this week, BlackBerry announced that its most loyal users will soon be able to test pre-release BlackBerry products ahead of launch. The program is open to a limited number of BlackBerry device owners who are registered in the free BlackBerry Beta Zone, which currently has more than 400,000 registered members. More →
If there’s one mobile platform that needs a lifeline these days, it’s BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry’s hardware sales have been in free fall over the past year and most of the devices it has sold have been based on its legacy BlackBerry 7 platform. BlackBerry did announce some good news on Thursday, however, when it revealed that BlackBerry 10 had received the Full Operational Capability certification from the United States Department of Defense. BlackBerry 10 is the only mobile platform to receive FOC so far and the company says that the certification will allow “government employees to realize the full security, productivity, communication and collaboration benefits of the BlackBerry 10 solution.” The company’s full press release follows below. More →
Despite BlackBerry’s dismally low market share in the U.S., it is still working on the next version of its operating system. And now we know what it will look like, thanks to some leaked screenshots picked up by PhoneArena. It looks like the new OS will feature an “Intelligent Assistant” that will presumably work like Siri or Google Now. The new OS also has a number of new features for its camera. It will be able to take panoramas and, more importantly, selfies with timers. The new camera software will also support taking 720p video at 60fps or 30fps. It will also be able to use HDR to improve image quality in high contrast light environments.
More than a year ago, tests pitting BlackBerry’s new-at-the-time BlackBerry 10 web browser against mobile offerings from Apple and Microsoft saw BlackBerry’s offering smoke mobile Safari and Internet Explorer by a fairly wide margin. Plenty has changed since then — Apple released iOS 7 alongside a major redesign and Microsoft issued some updates as well — but one thing definitely has not; results of new browser speed tests published recently by New Relic show that when it comes to loading web pages, BlackBerry 10 still obliterates the competition. More →
While Windows Phone has been steadily closing its app gap, BlackBerry 10 has continued to languish far behind. Business Insider has created a chart using data from mobile analytics firm VisionMobile that illustrates why BlackBerry still can’t get Instagram, Snapchat and Vine to make native apps for its BlackBerry 10 platform. Essentially, there’s not nearly as much money to be made from making BlackBerry 10 apps as there is from making iOS, Android and even Windows Phone apps. More →
BlackBerry is not in a good place right now, having just posted a billion-dollar loss for the second fiscal quarter. But there is some good news to be found on Friday — according to a report from Digitimes, application developers aren’t yet ready to bail on BlackBerry 10. The Taiwan-based website recently surveyed the scene at the BlackBerry Jam Asia 2013 conference this week, and it spoke to a number of developers who said they plan to continue building and supporting BlackBerry 10 apps. Supporting smaller mobile platforms like BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 is attractive to a number of developers because the iOS and Android app stores are so noisy that it is difficult to break through. BlackBerry is currently in talks with Fairfax Holdings regarding a $4.7 billion buyout that was proposed earlier this week. If the deal goes through, it is unclear what the future will hold for BlackBerry’s handset business.
Exclusive: BlackBerry’s newer low cost BlackBerry 10 smartphone slides in below Q5 on price, features
I don’t think I have the words for this, but here we go… Thanks to a close source of ours, we have received pictures and information about one of BlackBerry’s upcoming lower cost handsets, codenamed Kopi. We’re told that this model is set to come in at an even lower price than the BlackBerry Q5, and will feature a faster processor to boot. It won’t have LTE, though it will have a removable battery! Look at it — a Palm Pixi crossbred with a Q5 and it’s not exactly going to win any style awards. More →
The Lumia 1020 may only be available for $300 on one carrier but that doesn’t seem to be stopping it from posting modestly healthy sales. Per Barron’s, Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley has come out with his latest survey of smartphone sales and has found that both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Nokia Lumia 1020 have been doing well over the past month. While the Galaxy S4’s success isn’t surprising, it is interesting to hear that the Lumia 1020 is reportedly doing well even though it’s starting out at a higher price point than rival devices. What’s more, Walkley sees the Lumia brand as a whole having a halo effect for Windows Phone 8, which finally seems to be gaining traction. More →
BlackBerry had better decide on whether it’s going to pursue any “strategic alternatives” pretty soon. Bloomberg reports that rumors of a potential sale of BlackBerry have spooked Morgan Stanley from upgrading its employees’ phones from BlackBerry 7 to BlackBerry 10. An unnamed source tells Bloomberg that the company normally would have had an upgrade plan for BlackBerry 10 in place by now but that the firm did not want to commit to a platform that faces an uncertain future now that BlackBerry is pondering a change in direction. BlackBerry said earlier this month that it’s exploring “strategic alternatives” that “could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company or other possible transactions.”
BlackBerry knows that BlackBerry 10 needs more apps but how will it get them if developers see that the company’s market share is still deteriorating? In an interview with eWeek, BlackBerry vice president of global alliances and business development Marty Mallick said that the company was working overtime to fill in its app gap that still includes Netflix, Instagram and Candy Crush Saga, among others. At the same time, Mallick made note of all the apps that BlackBerry 10 now supports and promoted alternatives to popular apps that delivered similar functionality to the apps that the company is still missing. More →
As if BlackBerry wasn’t already having enough trouble wooing developers and getting top apps on its BlackBerry 10 platform, a new report suggests things are only going to get worse. BlackBerry announced earlier this week that it is exploring a sale of the company as it looks for ways to reverse course, and Forbes contributor Ewan Spence believes the news will probably scare developers away. This would be awful news for BlackBerry and its users, of course, as the company’s app store is already so barren compared to rival platforms. More →
The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that one has a problem. While BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins hasn’t been shy in making clear that BlackBerry is in the midst of rebuilding as the company does its best to recover, some of Heins’s executives are apparently still experiencing some degree of denial. BlackBerry shares plummeted 17% late last month after the company posted a surprise loss. Several noted industry watchers have stated repeatedly that the company desperately needs low-end smartphones to compete in key emerging markets, but the mid-range BlackBerry Q5 is the closest it will come in 2013 — a recent BGR exclusive report revealed that the only additional BlackBerry 10 phone set to launch this year is the high-end BlackBerry A10. As dire as things might look to some right now, BlackBerry India’s managing director Sunil Lalvani said in a recent interview that the company isn’t in any trouble. More →
It’s pretty interesting that 3% of BlackBerry users globally are Nigerian. But it’s downright shocking that more than 18% of BlackBerry’s entire worldwide subscriber base resides in Indonesia. TechinAsia reports that Indonesia has now 15 million BlackBerry users, with half of them at the dominant Telkomsel mobile carrier. Telkomsel has more than 120 million subscribers so it is one of Asia’s heavyweights, though less well known to Americans than DoCoMo or China Mobile. BlackBerry has spent $5 million on building an innovation center in Indonesia to bolster local app development efforts — and now we know why. More →