Technologizer posts about BlackBerry

Back in May, I said that RIM’s biggest challenge was releasing new BlackBerry models that would please Lance Ulanoff, editor of PCMag.com and long-time BlackBerry user. Too late! Lance, who’s about to leave his PCMag gig, says he’s bought his last BlackBerry.

Posted by Harry at 9:00 am

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It’s always sensible to be skeptical when you read news reports based on anonymous sources. But BGR’s story on the troubles at BlackBerry maker RIM–which has juicy tidbits like the statement that founder Mike Lazaridis once said there’d never be a BlackBerry with a camera or a music player–is a fascinating read.

Posted by Harry at 12:08 pm

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Surprise! Microsoft <3 RIM

By  |  Posted at 4:10 pm on Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. This week is the BlackBerry World conference, probably something a lot of us didn’t know (except for Harry maybe?). Well, Steve Ballmer — yes, the CEO of Microsoft — made news at the conference.

The surprise guest of a talk starring president and co-CEO Mike Lazardis, Ballmer was on hand to announce Microsoft has signed a deal with RIM to become the exclusive provider of search and mapping functions on BlackBerry devices. Even more surprising? Bing and Microsoft would find itself deeply integrated into BlackBerry OS 7, coming later this year.

“This  goes way beyond search box,” Ballmer was quoted by ReadWriteWeb as saying to attendees. “It’s about real tools that help real people get things done.” All in all, it really looks like RIM just handed the keys to the services component of the OS right over to the Redmond company.

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Over at Techland, I’ve blogged about a cool demo I saw at the CTIA show here in San Francisco today: Ford’s new SDK which lets Android and BlackBerry developers write apps that control the Ford Sync in-dash entertainment/information system.

Posted by Harry at 3:09 pm

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RIM Reveals the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet. It Looks Spectacular–So Far

By  |  Posted at 1:58 pm on Monday, September 27, 2010

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It’s always dangerous to judge a new tech product from a demo. It’s even more dangerous to judge one from a canned video and a features list. But here at BlackBerry DevCon in San Francisco, RIM just showed a video of its BlackPad tablet–which turns out to be called the BlackBerry PlayBook, and which the company is calling “the first professional tablet”–and revealed some of the key specs. And from what we know so far, it looks mighty cool–like “this is the most interesting-sounding iPad rival so far” cool.

Here’s the video we just saw:

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Native Union’s Retro ‘Pop Phone’ Handsets

By  |  Posted at 12:55 pm on Friday, September 17, 2010

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When you think of phone headsets, its probably a good bet that what you’re thinking of its the traditional on ear kind. Native Union has taken this and given it a retro feel, launching a line that looks like the traditional corded phone handsets that many of us older folk would be familiar with.

The Pop Phone comes in pink, yellow, dark blue, dark purple and green. The company had already offered two other less “poppy” colors in red and black. The included 3.5mm jack will plug into any iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry, and a button on the inside of the handle would allow for one touch answer and disconnect. The Pop Phone also includes noise-cancelling, which should improve call clarity in noisier situations.

Native Union says one of the most compelling uses for this is on the iPad, as the handset would work with Skype and turn the tablet into a phone. The price is about the same as most other handsets, coming in at $29.99. I have to credit the company with being creative, but will these really sell?

Also available from the company are other less pop-influenced designs including the MM04, which retails for $199.99. That unit can connect up to two phones simultaneously via Bluetooth, and seems more catered towards the business set.

Will the Pop Phone sell though? I’m guessing if you’re a frequent Skyper, maybe getting this for your iPad might be the missing link. But I don’t know how many iPhone users would be willing to plunk down $30 for that old retro feel. I guess we’ll see.



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RIM’s Torch Not Burning So Bright

By  |  Posted at 10:12 am on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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If RIM was hoping its BlackBerry Torch would give it a much-needed boost in competing with Android and Apple, they better look somewhere else. Analysts are pegging debut weekend sales at around 150,000 — while a substantial number, its far below that of its competitors. Take for example the iPhone 4: it sold 1.7 million devices in it first weekend out.

While the phone is currently only available through AT&T for $199 with a two year contract, Amazon was noted to have taken the unusual step of slashing the price on a new phone to $99. Not a good sign for a device RIM once hailed as “the best BlackBerry ever.”



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RIM has posted another video demo of BlackBerry 6, the OS upgrade it says will show up later this summer. As with the earlier one, it looks neat–but it’s presented in the form of a floating screen that isn’t surrounded by a phone, and focuses more on showing cool stuff whipping by then on providing a detailed walkthrough of what’s new.

Posted by Harry at 11:50 am

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Is BlackBerry Maker RIM working on a tablet? Lots of rumors say so. But so far, it’s hard to construct them into a logical picture of what might be in the works, or even a coherent rationale for RIM getting into the tablet business.

Posted by Harry at 11:59 am

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What, another BlackBerry outage?

Posted by Harry at 1:22 am

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Report: BlackBerries to Bundle Flash and Silverlight

By  |  Posted at 3:29 pm on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

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The Boy Genius Report says that it is “pretty much confirmed” that Research In Motion will integrate full Flash and Silverlight run time support into its BlackBerry Web browser. If true, that would be a significant step in the transformation of smart phones into functional mini computers.

Flash and Silverlight are not just about games and streaming videos; the run times power Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Adobe is promoting Flash to be used as a front end for business applications, and Microsoft is positioning Silverlight for business apps.

At SD Times, I have covered component makers that are releasing Silverlight controls (data grids, charts, UI controls) for line of business applications. After all, Silverlight is a subset of the .NET Framework, which is used for business applications.

With HTML 5, Web applications will become even more common, because it will have a built-in application container. Other techniques such as AJAX will also enable Web applications to run within a phone’s browser. (Nokia is betting that standard AJAX Web applications will become popular across its entire portfolio of S60 devices.)

Supporting Flash and Silverlight, assuming it happens, will bring a greater variety of applications to BlackBerry devices. Developers will be able to run their applications on Blackberries using the skills that they have today –without having to learn any specialized RIM technologies. That’s the way it should be; skills should be portable.

By embracing Flash and Silverlight, RIM would break out of the walled garden that smartphones have existed in, making itself more attractive and accessible to application makers. Consumers will win by being able to do more with their devices.



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What’s the Future of the BlackBerry?

By  |  Posted at 11:42 am on Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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RIM BlackBerry PatentBlackBerry maker RIM is a remarkably successful maker of handheld devices and has been so for a very long time–but it doesn’t get a fraction of the press given to that phone-industry upstart Apple. Today, however, RIM is the subject of multiple upbeat stories. An analyst says it and Apple will lead the smartphone market. Fortune has a long and largely positive feature on the company (focusing on the competition with Apple) and says it’s something Apple isn’t: the fastest-growing company in the world.

Seems like a good time for a T-Poll:



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Is the iPhone Accident Prone? Survey Says: Not Much!

By  |  Posted at 8:23 pm on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

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Falling iPhoneA TechCrunch article citing research by SquareTrade, a company that sells insurance plans for smartphones, says that Apple’s iPhone is “an accident magnet.” I wouldn’t have drawn that same conclusion.

SquareTrade’s report, “One-Third of iPhones Fail Over 2 Years, Mostly From Accidents,” should be viewed with skepticism. For starters, while SquareTrade used  a sample of many thousand smartphones covered by its warranty products, it didn’t cleanse its data (for instance by removing unlocked phones), and performed no statistical tests. Rightfully, the report includes the disclaimer:

SquareTrade has made efforts to ensure that the data we present is correct. SquareTrade makes no warranty, express or implied, about the accuracy of the data. SquareTrade is an independent third party, and has no affiliation with any of the handset manufacturers cited in this study. Users of the information in this document acknowledge that SquareTrade cannot be he liable for any damages whatsoever to any individual, organization, company, industry group or representative arising from the use of this data.

TechCrunch seized on the report’s findings that over 20% of iPhones have been damaged in the last 22 months, with cracked screens being the leading cause of damage. But the SquareTrade report doesn’t report on damage rates for other phone models, so it’s impossible to judge whether iPhones are any more likely to crack (or croak altogether) than other brands. Phones, after all, are more likely to get dropped than desktop PCs, HDTVs, or printers–no matter who manufactured them.

The study does say that iPhones are “significantly more reliable” than phones manufactured by Palm and RIM (9.9% of iPhones cited in the survey malfunctioned, versus 15.3% of BlackBerry and 19.9% of Treo phones). And it says that the iPhone 3G is a more reliable handset than the original iPhone.

My statistics are a bit rusty, but a common test called a T-test would have shown whether there was any significance difference between the iPhone’s likelihood of being damaged versus its competitors. The same goes for its supposedly higher manufacturing quality. Bottom line: It’s worth thinking twice before drawing conclusions about the iPhone from a single survey or news report. Colorful graphs always don’t tell us much.



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