BlackBerry’s famous hardware keyboard is finally becoming available on the company’s latest operating system called BlackBerry 10 in the coming days, and the company’s new phone is called the BlackBerry Q10. Meshing up BlackBerry’s brand new OS with the same core features and specs of the BlackBerry Z10, the Q10 is the answer for die-hard BlackBerry fanatics. But considering how good the on-screen keyboard is on the Z10 — it’s the absolute best software keyboard I have ever used, in fact — is the Q10 even necessary in this day and age?
BlackBerry on Monday announced that its second BlackBerry 10 smartphone will be available in Canada early next month. The BlackBerry Q10 will arrive on Rogers, Bell and TELUS on May 1st starting at $199 with a three-year service agreement. The smartphone is equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard along with a 3.1-inch 720p touchscreen, a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor, 2GB of RAM, NFC, a microSD slot and an 8-megapixel rear camera. BlackBerry also announced that the Q10 will be available on smaller carriers such as Virgin Mobile, Fido, Koodo Mobile and Sasktel. The company’s full press release follows below. More →
BlackBerry (BBRY) is said to be preparing a major update for its BlackBerry 10 smartphones that could debut later this month. According to BBNews.pl, BlackBerry 10.1 will include a variety of improvement such as a faster camera, added support for HDR photos and the ability to send PIN messages from within the BlackBerry Hub. The update is also said to support an active connection from a BlackBerry device to a computer that will allow users to easily access PC files. The latest rumors suggest that BlackBerry 10.1 could arrive on smartphones at the end of this month or early May.
If you want to understand the major challenges that BlackBerry (BBRY) faces in the American market, look no further than a new survey commissioned by MKM Partners showing that most Americans don’t even know that BlackBerry 10 has launched yet. Per Barron’s, the survey of 1,500 American consumers shows that 82.6% did not know that BlackBerry released its newly revamped operating system earlier this year, while 68% said they had no interest in buying a BlackBerry 10 smartphone. By contrast, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 operating system has significantly higher brand recognition, as just 60.5% of American consumers did not know that Windows Phone 8 devices were available to buy. Smartphone owners accounted for 51% of respondents in the MKM survey, so it seems to have a reasonably good sample of tech-savvy consumers.
It looks as if BlackBerry (BBRY) is planning a successor to its entry-level Curve line of smartphones. Earlier this week, it was reported that the company is working on a low-end BlackBerry 10 device, claimed to be part of the “R-Series.” The handset reportedly includes a QWERTY keyboard, along with 8GB of internal storage, an SD card slot, a 1,800 mAh battery and a price tag between $300 and $400. A user over at the BlackBerryOS forums on Thursday posted an image that he claims to be the upcoming BlackBerry 10 R-Series smartphone. The user gave no details on the device, although the latest rumors suggest it will hit the market later this summer or in early fall. The purported R-Series image follows below. More →
BlackBerry (BBRY) included an Android emulator in its BlackBerry 10 operating system that allows developers to easily port their applications from Android to BlackBerry. The decision to include such a tool paid off for the company, which launched its new platform with more than 70,000 apps. BlackBerry recently announced that its app store is now home to more than 100,000 BlackBerry 10 applications, and it has been revealed that only 20% are ported from Android. While the operating system is still missing key apps such as Instagram and Netflix (NFLX), for the most part BlackBerry has been able to attract developers to its still unproven platform. More →
Earlier this month, BlackBerry (BBRY) confirmed that an undisclosed partner agreed to purchase one million new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. According to AllThingsD, the purchase, which was the single largest in BlackBerry’s history, came from an electronics distributor known as Brightstar. Research firm Detwiler Fenton notes that the company handles most of Verizon’s (VZ) big-box retail distribution, and the partnership gives the carrier less risk if BlackBerry 10 fails to appeal to consumers because it can offload unsold inventory onto the third-party distributor. Verizon usually distributes devices it believes will be popular among consumers by itself, rather than relying on a third-party. This is not the case for BlackBerry 10, though. More →
As BlackBerry (BBRY) continues to fight the bloody battle for No.3 in the global smartphone market, apps are becoming less of a problem for the company’s new platform. Sort of. BlackBerry announced on Thursday that the BlackBerry World app store is now home to more than 100,000 BlackBerry 10 apps. The news comes just seven weeks after the 70,000-app milestone was reached. BlackBerry listed a host of popular apps and games alongside the announcement, but a quick look around BlackBerry World shows that the company still has a ways to go — many top apps are nowhere to be found and BlackBerry 10 seems to be running into the same problem BlackBerry’s PlayBook suffered from, where most of the available apps are just filler. Hopefully now that the 100,000 threshold has been reached, BlackBerry can focus on quality over quantity. The company’s full press release follows below. More →
Another day, another reasonably optimistic projection for BlackBerry (BBRY). Per Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum has more than doubled his price target on BlackBerry shares from $10 to $22 and is now projecting that the company’s profits will “meaningfully” increase as loyal BlackBerry 7 users rush to upgrade to BlackBerry 10 over the next two quarters. The downside, however, is that Gelblum thinks that this boost could be short-lived and that there’s still a low probability that BlackBerry will emerge as a “viable” third mobile operating system alongside Android and iOS. All the same, getting a short-term boost that helps you live to fight another day is better than outright crashing and burning as some other industry watchers have suggested, so this analysis is still welcome news for BlackBerry.
BlackBerry 10 is a stark departure from BlackBerry 7 and other aging versions of the BlackBerry (BBRY) operating system, which is a very good thing in most regards. But in one key area, the company may have strayed too far from its roots. The U.K.’s Communications-Electronics Security Group, which evaluates IT solutions and determines whether or not they may be used by the U.K. government, has decided that BlackBerry 10 is not safe for essential government work, The Guardian reported. Earlier versions of BlackBerry’s OS had received security clearance. The report claims this rejection could cost BlackBerry millions in lost revenue, even if rival devices don’t fill the void — with tens of thousands of handsets currently deployed, the U.K. government is one of BlackBerry’s biggest customers in the U.K. More →
A day after BlackBerry (BBRY) CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company wasn’t going to produce another tablet until it had figured out how to make it more than “just another tablet,” a senior executive said that a sequel to BlackBerry’s Playbook tablet is already in the works. Mike Al Mefleh, a BlackBerry director of product management, claimed in an interview with Emirates 24|7 at the Dubai BlackBerry User’s Forum that the company will release six new BlackBerry devices in 2013, in addition to a new Playbook. The executive didn’t reveal a release timeframe, however sources speaking to Emirates 24|7 suggest the device, which may sport a 10-inch display, could launch by the end of the second quarter. BlackBerry is also expected to update the original Playbook to the BlackBerry 10 operating system later this year.
It doesn’t matter how many heartfelt ballads BlackBerry (BBRY) executives sing — the company still faces a long road ahead if it hopes to regain its status as a major power in the mobile industry. Gartner this week projected that BlackBerry won’t reach a 5% share of the global smartphone market until 2016 at the earliest, which only underscores how difficult it will be for the company to significantly expand while mobile giants Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930) dominate the competitive landscape. What’s more, Gartner doesn’t think reaching a 5% market share is even a guarantee, as it recommends that companies hold off on investing in BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 as a mobile device management platform “until the market makes a clear statement on BB10′s success (or lack thereof).” So while BlackBerry 10 has reportedly gotten off to a fairly encouraging start so far, there are still a lot of pitfalls that could trip the company up in the coming months.
As we’ve said many times before, BlackBerry 10 has an app problem. And now PCMag has taken the time to figure out just how big this problem is and has found that BlackBerry’s (BBRY) new platform offers only 34% of the 102 most popular apps available for iOS and Android. By contrast, PCMag found that Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 currently offers 63% of the most popular iOS and Android apps, giving its app ecosystem a significant advantage over BlackBerry’s. PCMag’s study counts both native platform apps and “functional equivalents,” so it’s likely that the publication counted all the Android apps that have been ported over to the BlackBerry 10 store in recent months.