Now that the speculation about BlackBerry’s sale has finally ended, people have moved on to asking what’s next for the Canadian manufacturer. Earlier this year BlackBerry said it will now focus more on the enterprise market, while releasing only four devices each year. The company’s handset business has contributed a lot to the precarious situation BlackBerry finds itself in right now, even its BB10 devices have failed to regain any significant market share particularly in the U.S. BlackBerry tried its luck a few years ago by releasing a tablet, but that turn out to be a colossal flop. Rumors have started circulating about a BlackBerry PlayBook 2, a tablet powered by the company’s new BlackBerry 10 platform.
BlackBerry 10 was formally unveiled in January. The Z10 was the first BB10 device and was followed soon by the Q10, Q5 and most recently the Z30. The company had previously said that BB10 will be brought over to the existing PlayBook, but a few months ago BlackBerry confirmed that its one and only tablet isn’t going to be updated. The outgoing CEO Thorsten Heins had made it pretty clear that the company would focus on smartphones for now and that it wouldn’t be jumping back in the tablet market once again. Rumors about a BlackBerry PlayBook 2 circulate now as an interim CEO takes the Canadian company’s helm, who has already laid down the law that BlackBerry’s hardware division isn’t going to be shut down for now.
Could a change in top management result in another BlackBerry tablet? Given its precarious financial situation, diving stock price and diminishing cash pile, can the company afford another potential flop? The answers are certainly not clear, and common sense dictates that BlackBerry probably won’t take such a big risk at this point in time. So its best to take all BlackBerry PlayBook 2 rumors with a grain of salt for the foreseeable future.
Nov. 4 proved to be a busy day for BlackBerry as the Canadian organization announced a new mobile device and the resignation of their CEO.
The new smartphone is the BlackBerry Z30, which is touted as the “biggest, fastest, and most advanced smartphone” in the company’s history.
The new smartphone featuring the company’s latest mobile operating system update, BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2, while sporting the largest battery every on a BlackBerry smartphone. The BlackBerry Z30 includes a 2,880mAh battery capacity for up to 25 hours of multiple uses.
The BlackBerry Z30 features a screen size of 5 inches with Super AMOLED display. The device utilizes a 1.7GHz processor with quadcore graphics for quicker page loads and games more detailed than before.
“The BlackBerry Z30 smartphone features BlackBerry’s new generation antenna technology that dynamically tunes reception to give you better connectivity in low signal areas,” noted the Canadian-based organization in a statement. “BlackBerry Paratek Antenna can give you faster data transfers and fewer dropped calls in low signal areas, keeping you connected in more places.”
The device has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 1080p HS video recorder. The front-facing camera has a 2-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording.
In regards to wireless connectivity, the BlackBerry Z30 can connect to Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC.
BlackBerry announced the device on Nov. 4, but stated the BlackBerry Z30 already rolled out in select retailers and carriers since Nov 1. The smartphone, however, has only been released in Spain. It is unknown if the BlackBerry Z30 will launch in other markets worldwide.
In regards to the CEO resignation, as Latinos Post reported, Thorsten Heins announced he will resign from the company and former Sybase chief executive John Chen will serve as his interim successor.
In a prepared statement, Chen stated, “BlackBerry is an iconic brand with enormous potential – but it’s going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim our success. I look forward to leading BlackBerry in its turnaround and business model transformation for the benefit of all of its constituencies, including its customers, shareholders and employees.”
With BlackBerry OS 10.2 making its way around the globe bearing an updated Android runtime, Skype decided it was a good opportunity to make an update available for its BlackBerry 10 app. Although the update screen on BlackBerry World does not provide a change log, the most obvious change you will notice right off the bat is the updated user interface. And it looks good!
As far as we can tell there have also been some other under-the-hood enhancements that make the app run a lot smoother when it comes to scrolling through contacts and long chat conversations. Voice and video seem to be a lot smoother now as well.
However, for some fishy reason, the app has yet to drop the “Preview” nomenclature. Only time will tell if Skype will one day make a native app for BlackBerry 10, but for now, it is working pretty darn well!
Now that BBM has gone cross-platform it seems as though every messaging app out there has been pushing some sort of big update to pull some of the attention away. WhatsApp is the latest, having now release version 188.8.131.52 onto BlackBerry World. The change log, while small, brings some long awaited features and improvements to the mix that are sure to please users.
- Large photo thumbnails on the chat screen.
- Account management features: Change my number, Delete my account
The larger images and changing your number is certainly among the most wanted features and while I’m positive all the BBM users out there can think of entirely too many jokes about why the ‘delete my account’ feature has now been added, I’ll leave that one alone and just say it’s a nice addition for anyone looking to move away from the service. The update is live now in BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry has started rolling out the latest version of its BlackBerry 10 operating system to customers in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
The update, BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2, will be delivered by local mobile networks for the BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Q5 handsets.
BlackBerry OS 10.2 introduces several new features plus “hundreds” of refinements:
Keep your important conversations closer than ever with the new BlackBerry® Priority Hub. Always at your fingertips, Priority Hub learns what conversations are most important to you and automatically puts those messages at the top of your inbox, helping you to stay focused on the most important items. The new attachment view helps you find files and documents across your messaging accounts and within specific message threads.
BBM Video with Natural Sound BBM™
Video has always allowed you to have a live face-to-face conversation. Now, with BlackBerry® Natural Sound, BBM Video and Voice conversations between BlackBerry 10 smartphones sound more natural and realistic. It’s the next best thing to being in the same room. BlackBerry Natural Sound captures a wider sound spectrum, so you can hear subtle nuances that are lost in most cellular calls.
Instant Previews of BBM, SMS and Email from any app
BBM, SMS and E-mail messages now find you no matter what you are doing on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Email, BBM and SMS message previews now appear in any app – you can even respond to your BBM or SMS messages in any app, or go to the BlackBerry Hub with a single swipe to respond to your email. Perfect for keeping the conversation going while you browse the web, watch a video, or use other apps. Of course, you can tailor notifications to the way you work to ensure you’re only notified as much as you want to be.
The smartphone keyboard that knows your next move just got even smarter. With personalized next word suggestion, auto-correction, and the distinctive BlackBerry keyboard layout, we’ve built this keyboard to help you have conversations with speed and accuracy. And on the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Z30, improved audio feedback with distinct tones for specific keys like backspace and shift help you type more confidently because you’ll have more reassurance you’ve hit the right key.
Copy and Paste Enhancements
Copy and paste just got easier. BlackBerry 10.2 gives you more precise cursor control and text selection is now easier. Once you select text, a pop-up menu gives you editing options and direct sharing with BBM, Facebook and Twitter – so you can quickly copy, paste and share.
Faster, Easier Sharing
BlackBerry 10.2 learns how you share and who you share with, helping you reduce the number of steps and amount of time it takes to get your files, photos, or documents to where they need to go. Touching “share” in any app provides suggestions on who and how to share your files based on who you’ve shared with in the past, and the feature only gets smarter the more you use it.
Lock Screen Notification
s When the red light on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone starts blinking, you don’t have to unlock the phone to see your message. Take a peek at the latest email, text, BBM, or notification right from the lock screen to see if that’s the message you’ve been waiting for or one that can wait a while. You can customize which accounts appear on the lock screen and scroll over the icons to display the sender and subject line.
Reply Now lets you respond to incoming phone calls, even when it’s not a good time to answer the phone. Easily send a response through BBM, SMS or email – choose from a list of standard automated responses or respond with a personalised note. Perfect for ensuring that important contacts are always given your attention.
BlackBerry Calendar now comes with an ‘I’m running late’ function so you can instantly let meeting participants know if you’ll be late. You can even specify a new time in your notification. A redesigned interface makes adding an event easier, so managing your time is simpler.
There has been so much talk over the last couple months about Apple and the new iPad that some might have forgotten that Blackberry still exists and according to new reports, the company is getting ready to release the new Blackberry 10.2 software later this week. Blackberry recently revealed a new Z30 phablet and at the same time announced that users would be getting the software upgrade that is going to bring plenty of improvements and enhancements to Blackberry devices. The exact timing of the update is still up in the air as it usually depends on the carriers and what regions they are in.
Latin America is going to be the next place that the company releases the update with the update coming to those in the United States sometime before the end of this year. Blackberry provided a brief change log for the new software and it includes updates to Priority Hub, BBM Video, Keyboard, Copy and Paste, Faster sharing, Lock screen notifications, Reply Now and various Calendar improvements. Blackberry says that the BB10.2 software will also come with updates to Docs to Go, a new Blackberry Hub icon and some improvements to the camera.
The update will be going out to devices that the company released in the last year including the Z10, Q10, Q5 and most likely it will be on the Z30 when it is released. If you want to check for the update when it is available in your region, you can do so by going into your Settings > Software Updates > Check for Updates.
- Priority Hub
Keep your important conversations closer than ever with the new Priority Hub.
- BBM Video with Natural Sound
BBM Video has always allowed you to have a live face-to-face conversation with anyone, anywhere.
- Instant Previews of BBM, SMS and Email from any app
Stay in the flow. BBM, SMS and E-mail messages now find you no matter what you are doing on your BlackBerry.
- BlackBerry Keyboard
- Copy and Paste Enhancements
- Faster, Easier Sharing
- Lock Screen Notifications
When the red light on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone is flashing, you don’t have to unlock the phone to see your message.
- Reply Now
Reply Now lets you respond to incoming phone calls, even when it’s not a good time to answer the phone.
- Calendar Enhancements
BlackBerry Calendar now comes with an ‘I’m running late’ function so you can instantly let meeting participants know if you’ll be late.
Viber for the BlackBerry platform has been updated with new features that bring it almost on par with its Android and iOS counterparts. This is the first big upgrade for the BlackBerry version, since voice calls were introduced back in April.
The new update brings features that allow users to attach images to conversations and also check when one’s messages were last viewed, something similar to what WhatsApp offers. Additionally, Viber has also improved privacy settings, location sharing features and fixed some bugs. This update is compatible with BB 5, 6, and 7, but not the new BB10.
At the release of the update, CEO Talmon Marco said, “BlackBerry is the third largest mobile user base for Viber and is an integral part of our strategy to reach users of multiple platforms.” Back in May Viber had announced that it had crossed 200 million users across the Android, iOS and BlackBerry platforms.
Before today, the only way to enjoy BlackBerry’s BB 10.2 OS was to buy the company’s new Z30 flagship. But, as the company previously promised, that software update’s ready to trickle down to all BB 10 users and should be hitting devices “starting this week.” BlackBerry’s said that the OS update won’t be available from all carriers though, so depending on your wireless operator allegiance, you may or may not see that update notification. When it does arrive, Z10 and Q10 owners can look forward to the new BB Priority Hub which organizes your communications according to importance, message previews throughout the UI and lockscreen, and the ability to reply directly to BBM notifications. If you need some hand-holding for the update process, you can check out BlackBerry’s how-to at the source link.
The long-awaited cross-platform offering, which was delayed after issues arose following the initial launch last month, is now being rolled out in a phased manner.
“To help manage this unprecedented pent-up demand for BBM, we are implementing a simple line-up system to ensure a smooth rollout,” Andrew Bocking, who heads the BlackBerry’s BBM business, said in a blog post on the company’s website.
BlackBerry said last week that 6 million Android and iPhone customers had pre-registered for the launch.
The company said those that had already signed up for the service at BBM.com are being allowed to use the platform right away, while others will be signed on as fast as possible.
BlackBerry’s popular instant messaging platform, BlackBerry Messenger or BBM has finally landed on non-BlackBerry OS platforms, Android and iOS, after a delay of more than a month.
BlackBerry had paused the rollout of the app after an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app leaked online prior to the app’s official release on the Play Store, ‘which resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways’.
Even the current rollout is based on a waitlist with access being granted first to users with a BlackBerry ID, and to people who registered their email address at BBM.com. Here’s our initial take on the BBM for iOS app.
BBM is a free download from the iTunes App Store (and Google Play store) (download/waitlist links if possible) and anyone can sign up for the service through a BlackBerry ID which is required to log-in into the app. If you don’t have a BlackBerry ID, you can create one by providing your email ID and choosing a password.
After signing-in, the BBM for iOS app assigns you a PIN in a manner similar to BlackBerry Messenger on BlackBerry links with the phone’s unique PIN number. It’s worth pointing out that if you sign-in to BBM on another device with the same BlackBerry ID, it will ask you if you’d like to switch the account to the new device. So, one ID can be used only on one device.
You can then add friends by sharing your PIN with them via SMS, email and social networks in addition to QR codes. It’s worth pointing out that they’ll first need to add you in order for you to send them messages via BBM. Even if two iPhones have the BBM app installed the PIN would first appear in Messages and requires other the user to manually enter it. BlackBerry mentions that this 2-way opt-in is in fact a security feature giving you control over who adds you.
The BBM for iOS app looks like it’s been just ported from a BlackBerry 10 device in terms of the user interface, complete with swiping to the right gesture, to reveal a slide out menu for Chats, Contacts, Groups, Updates and Invites.
Coming to the messaging part, you can chat with a single user, in groups where you create or join a group and chat and even be in a group with people who aren’t part of your BBM contact list (this happens when one of your contacts invites you to a chat where that person’s contacts are also chatting), or send one message to a number of people. Up to 30 people can be added in one group chat.
It’s worth pointing out that only text, emoticons, voice notes and pictures can be shared in chats, at this point in time. We tried sending documents including PDF files from a BlackBerry phone but the transfer failed.
Other than that, we were able to send and receive messages without a hitch. The app lets you know if your message has been delivered and even read by the other users by placing a ‘D’ and ‘R’ sign next to the message. It also lets you know when the other person is typing a message and nudge them with a Ping alert.
Unlike other chat apps such as WhatsApp, Line and WeChat, BBM doesn’t support video file transfers and sharing contacts. It also doesn’t offer push to chat, however BlackBerry mentions that BBM Voice (voice chat) will also be introduced to BBM for iOS and Android, in the future, in addition to BBM Channels (broadcast groups) and BBM Video (video chat).
On its native BlackBerry OS platform, BBM offers voice calling through BBM Voice and video chat through BBM Video (only on BlackBerry 10). If you’re part of the Beta zone, you also get access to Channels. It allows sharing files other than just pictures, location, contacts and appointments.
It would be interesting to see how BBM evolves and competes with other messaging apps, as the playing field is now much wider. Overall, it’s an efficient port, with a few transfer limitations that will hopefully be ironed out after the rollout is complete.