Archive for the ‘Blackberry’ Category

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BlackBerry’s wryly jovial CEO Thorsten Heins spent
quite a bit of time talking up the new mid-range Q5 at
this morning’s BlackBerry Live keynote address, but
the folks in Waterloo may be working on a follow-up
smartphone that’s staggeringly different from the one
we saw today. According to a report from KnowYourMobile, the
struggling Canadian company is working an all-touch
BlackBerry smartphone with a 5-inch display.
KnowYourMobile’s Richard Goodwin goes on to note
that the device is currently in testing being tested at
by unnamed Canadian wireless carrier, and the anonymous tester providing the info pointed out that
the device would make its official debut within the
next few months. For what it’s worth, Jefferies’ analyst Peter Misek
foretold of a 5-inch BlackBerry 10 device last month,
but his track record with this sort of thing isn’t exactly
sterling. It should go without saying that you should
be taking all of this with a mighty big grain of salt, but
it’s an intriguing notion to consider. I mean, let’s assume for a moment that this report is
accurate and that such a device really is being
worked on behind closed doors — it’d be quite a bold
move on BlackBerry’s part. It’s not hard to see that a
considerable chunk of people have embraced large
form factor smartphones, and it’s possible that BlackBerry wants to cash in on that consumer fervor.
Then again, this whole thing is just loaded with
question marks that could trip BlackBerry up as it
works to reverse its fortunes. By embracing so many form factors so quickly,
BlackBerry runs the risk of alienating users who have
perhaps prematurely pulled the trigger on an earlier
model. It doesn’t help that there’s plenty of
competition in the hefty smartphone space, either.
Samsung is leading that particular pack with Android- powered devices like the Galaxy Note II, but rivals
like LG and Sony are working to give the Korean
juggernaut some competition. Couple that with
persistent rumors that Apple is working on a larger
smartphone of its very own and BlackBerry’s 5-inch
follow-up may wind up facing the same issues with standing out as the company’s current hardware crop
does. The Q5 is a device that needed to exist — after all, a
huge chunk of BlackBerry’s userbase can be found in
developing markets where relatively few people could
comfortably shell out the money necessary for an up-
market device like the Z10 or Q10. If all goes
according to plan, the Q5 may be the phone that helps BlackBerry maintain its strongholds across the
globe. But a 5-inch BlackBerry? Heins and company
will have to make an awfully strong argument for if it
wants the world to give it a shot.

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The BlackBerry has finally caught up to the world of touch-screen smartphones. It took time – six years, from the launch of the first iPhone – and it may be too late to save the company that makes it. But the BlackBerry deserves to be taken seriously again.Why? Because the new BlackBerry Q10 is a successful marriage of the modern touch-screen smartphone and the iconic BlackBerry keyboard.

Though it can be hard to remember, the keyboard used to be a standard feature on smartphones, before the iPhone wiped our minds with its vision of touch-screen Utopia.

Since then, keyboards have been disappearing from smartphones. Physical keyboards just didn’t fit into the design mold set by the iPhone. Palm Inc. created a credible, innovative smartphone with a physical keyboard, but it was a slide-out version, which made the keyboard seem like a burden and an afterthought. There have also been Android phones with physical keyboards, but they haven’t been very good, and they’ve mostly disappeared.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry has continued to make well-designed phones with physical keyboards. But until now, it hasn’t gotten the software running them quite right. Even with physical keyboards, modern phones need touch screens to control movies, games and other tasks beyond the BlackBerry’s roots in messaging. BlackBerry has experimented with touch screens, but has been partly hamstrung by the pre-touch foundations of its operating system.

After numerous delays, BlackBerry finally came out with a modern operating system this year, the BlackBerry 10 . The company considers it crucial to its future, as the BlackBerry seeks to recapture relevance lost to the iPhone and Android devices.

RIM’s first phone with the new software, the BlackBerry Z10 , is a touch-only device. With the Q10, we really get to see how it works with a keyboard.

On BlackBerrys, the keyboard has always been about more than filling in text fields, and the new operating system takes that further. If you want to send a tweet about what you’re eating for lunch, just pick up the phone, unlock it and type “tweet Turkey sandwich again today.” Hit Enter, and now the world knows about your boring fare before you’ve even had a bite.

Just as you can on some older BlackBerrys, you can also launch applications by typing. If you want to play “Angry Birds,” instead of flicking through screens to look for the icon, you can just start typing “Ang” and the game icon pops up. Again, that’s fast.

The keyboard is handy for music, too. If you’re in the apps screen, just start typing the name of the song or artist you’re looking for, and up it comes.

I haven’t used a keyboard-equipped phone in years, but the Q10 makes it very tempting. There’s no getting around it: it’s a faster, more accurate way to type, even compared with innovations such as Swype, which lets you “type” by swiping your finger from letter to letter.

The keyboard eats up space that could be devoted to a bigger screen, of course. But BlackBerry has saved some space by eliminating the big buttons that resided between the screen and the keyboard on older BlackBerrys. This results in a larger, square screen. It’s very sharp and colorful, too. To some extent, the screen compensates for its small size with a high resolution, which allows it to present a lot of information, as long as you’re willing to hold it close and read small type.

U.S. phone companies haven’t yet said when they’ll sell the Q10, but expect it by the end of May for about $250 with a two-year contract. It’s coming to BlackBerry’s home country of Canada on May 1.

The BlackBerry 10 software made its debut a few months ago on the touch-only Z10. The new operating system is a welcome change, not just for BlackBerry users. It’s very quick to get around the phone, and it seldom leaves me baffled the way many incarnations of Android do. It’s laser-focused on giving you access to email, texts and other means of communication, as opposed to music, movies and games.

One of the coolest features is the “peek.” From any application, you can swipe your thumb up from the bottom of the screen, then right, to slide the application slightly off the screen. That reveals the messaging “Hub,” which gathers your communications. At a glance, you can see which accounts have new messages. If you want, you can slide the app farther to the right, getting you into the Hub to read and write. Swipe left, and you’re back to where you were.

The interface takes time to get used to, and it doesn’t have the simple immediacy of the iPhone. But once you learn it, you can positively zip between tasks.

The downside to the new operating system is its relative dearth of third-party software. There are applications for Facebook, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. A Skype app out will be out soon. But there isn’t any app for Netflix, Amazon or eBay. There are no Google apps, either. The selection of games is particularly poor. There’s only one incarnation of “Angry Birds,” and that’s “Star Wars.”

I also encountered one glitch while using the Q10 for a few days: I was unable to type my response to one email. Leaving it and going back into it did not help until the next day. That’s the kind of problem that’s going to frustrate BlackBerry users, so I hope it’s a rare one, and one the company fixes soon with a software update.

That aside, the Q10 is likely to be attractive to the BlackBerry faithful. It deserves to lure some people over from Androids and iPhones as well. The keyboard makes the Q10 a good complement to a tablet. Use the bigger screen for entertainment, surfing and gaming, and the BlackBerry for messaging.

When I reviewed the Z10 model in January, I found I couldn’t point to anything about it that would make me say: “Forget those other phones: you have to buy this one.” I can for the Q10. If you value a keyboard, this is the one to get.

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BlackBerry has gotten its new touchscreen mobile device on store shelves in more than 20 countries and is very encouraged by the traction that the smartphone is gaining, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said on Thursday.The company’s Z10 (Review), the first in a line of smartphones powered by the new BlackBerry 10 operating system (Review), is on sale in the UK, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, India, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, among other countries. Launches in other countries are coming soon, said Heins.
US launch is due later this month.
“The feedback is very encouraging,” Heins said at the Communitech Tech Leadership Conference in the company’s hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo. “What has been a real surprise for us is that BlackBerry 10 as a platform and product is attracting users that are currently on other platforms.”
“We are just five weeks into this. We have just one product out in 21 countries, so it is early indications, but we are encouraged by what we see and hear from our carrier partners,” he told an audience of leaders of local technology start-ups.
Heins declined to give figures on Z10 sales, as the company is in a quiet period ahead of the March 28 release of its fourth-quarter results.
He said the high-end Z10 had surpassed BlackBerry’s expectations in emerging markets like India, where cheaper entry-level devices are typically popular.
“I was surprised when we launched in India how well the Z10, which is a high-end device, sold,” said Heins. “We shipped into the channel product that we thought would have been good for at least five days and I got an emergency call from our manager in India, saying that they were sold out in two days,”
“Now we are scrambling to re-load that channel.”
BlackBerry, a one-time smartphone pioneer, has bled market share to the likes of Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy line and other devices powered by Google Inc’s market-leading Android operating system.
In a make-or-break move to regain market share and return to profit, BlackBerry introduced the new smartphone to much fanfare in January, and said it was abandoning its old name, Research In Motion, and renaming itself BlackBerry.
A more traditional BlackBerry with a physical keyboard will go on sale next month.
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BlackBerry Friday said its India Managing Director Sunil Dutt has quit the company and he will be replaced by Rick Costanzo, who is the Executive Vice President (Global Sales).”Sunil Dutt has left his position as Managing Director, BlackBerry India with immediate effect,” a BlackBerry spokesperson told PTI.
In the interim, Rick Costanzo, Executive Vice President for Global Sales, will take over the leadership of the India management team as the smartphone maker will start the search for a new sales lead as soon as possible, he added.
“India is an extremely important market for BlackBerry and our aim is to continue to build on our recent momentum with the launch of BlackBerry 10 (Review),” he said.
Dutt, who has served in the Indian mobile technology and telecom sector for 27 years, had joined the Ontario-based company in 2011.
Last month, the Canadian phone maker launched its most awaited model smartphone Z10 (Review IPictures), powered by its latest operating system ‘BlackBerry 10’, in India.
The struggling smartphone maker, which re-christened itself as ‘BlackBerry’ from Research in Motion in January this year, is betting on the new platform to turn around its fortunes.
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BlackBerry’s volatile shares surged on Wednesday after the smartphone maker said one of its established partners had placed an order for 1 million BlackBerry 10 smartphones, with shipments set to begin immediately.The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it is the largest ever single purchase order in its history, a big fillip for the company that is attempting to regain relevance in the ultra-competitive smartphone market, where it has ceded ground to rivals like Apple Inc’s iPhone, Samsung Electronics’ line of Galaxy devices and other devices powered by Google Inc’s Android operating system.
In a make-or-break move to regain market share and return to profit, BlackBerry introduced a new line of smartphones powered by its BlackBerry 10 (Review) operating system, to much fanfare earlier this year. The touchscreen version dubbed the Z10 (Review I Pictures) is already on sale in over 20 countries, while a device named the Q10 with a physical keyboard is set to be launched in April.
The company, which has abandoned its old name, Research In Motion, and renamed itself BlackBerry, did not disclose either the location of the “established partner” or the time frame for the device sales. BlackBerry also did not disclose whether the order is for just Z10 devices or both Z10 and Q10 devices.
Despite the lack of detail, analysts view the announcement as a positive, especially since it comes close on the heels of announcements from Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc the two largest U.S. wireless carriers – that they plan to begin selling the Z10 device later this month.
“The combination of these three announcements gives us more comfort in our May quarter (forecast),” said Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um in a note to clients.
Um, who has an outperform rating on the stock, expects sales of 2.5 million BlackBerry 10 devices in the quarter ending June 1.
BlackBerry’s stock ended the day up 8.2 percent at $15.65 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, while its Toronto-listed shares rose by a similar margin to C$16.04.
After the closing bell, the stock rose further, at 19:00 ET it was trading at $16.07 in the United States.
BGC analyst Colin Gillis however warned that it is too early to read too much into the single sales order.
“It’s good for them. But the reality is the sales are going to be spread out over time,” he said. “This is a nice headline, but it doesn’t answer the questions that are still surrounding the company.”
Last week, BlackBerry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins, said the company was very encouraged by the traction that the Z10 was gaining. Heins said sales of the high-end device had surpassed BlackBerry’s expectations in emerging markets like India, where cheaper entry-level phones are typically popular.
BlackBerry is set to report fiscal fourth-quarter results on March 28, for the period ended March 2.