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August 22 2013

Blackberry Posts User Guides for iOS & Android Versions Of BBM Ahead Of Launch
The launch of BBM for iOS and Android appears to be imminent, as BlackBerry has accidentally published user guides for its forthcoming mobile messaging apps to its own website: here (iOS) and here (Android). The guides explain in detail how the apps function, how to get started, and their various feature sets. For previous BBM users from BlackBerry, most of these details are familiar. The apps are designed to allow for real-time communication between contacts and groups, the guides explain, letting users share pictures and messages, including broadcast messages, multi-person chats, and group chats. Users will also be able to create BBM Groups, where they can plan events, track to-do’s, share photos, and chat with up to 30 people at a time, without the need to add everyone as BBM contacts. BBM will work over both cellular and Wi-Fi, the latter option which is meant to help avoid data charges when traveling. Each user can establish their own BBM profile, where they can choose a display picture, name, and status that their contacts will see, and they’ll also have a unique BBM PIN which they can access by tapping “Show Barcode.” The apps will also include support for various emoticons and emoji, but because the guides don’t include screenshots, we’re not able to see a preview of what these or any of the features look like in more detail. We already knew BBM was to arrive on iOS or Android globally this summer, as CEO Thorsten Heins announced the news at the BlackBerry Live conference in May. The company also began sending out beta invites earlier this month. This is a major move for the struggling company, as BBM has for a long time been one of Blackberry, and the BB10′s, strongest features. At launch, Heins had said that only messaging and group features will be available, but promised that the rest of BBM will eventually make its way to the Android and iOS versions including screen sharing, BBM voice, and the newer BBM channels. The question now for the company is whether it’s too little, too late. Today’s app stores have become saturated with a plethora of mobile messaging apps for users to choose from, including Skype, Whatsapp, KakaoTalk, Kik, Viber, WeChat, LINE, Facebook Messenger, Tango, Snapchat, MessageMe, Path, Voxer, Google Hangouts, and many others. Blackberry is banking on its brand recognition and history in the messaging space, but the large majority of

August 10 2012

RIM: Layoffs Are Ongoing, Will Not Affect BB10
RIM is about to layoff more employees in an ongoing effort to cut $1 billion by 2013. According to one report, as many as 3,000 RIM staffers could get the boot as soon as next week. However, RIM has not confirmed this as of yet. RIM's Global Corporate Communications Manager spoke to TechCrunch this afternoon and confirmed there are more layoffs on the horizon. She went on to explain that the company is "moving quickly for the impacted employees." As RIM communicated earlier, the company plans to eliminate 5,000 positions within the current financial quarter. While RIM hasn't pointed out affected departments and regions, it seems those working on BlackBerry 10 are safe -- well, at least for now.
Tags: Mobile TC RIM
The Kicking Of RIM’s Tires Continues, As IBM Reportedly Considers Its Enterprise Unit
The fear and loathing of RIM has been well-documented by this point. At the end of June, the company released its Q1 2013 earnings, which were more than a little disappointing, with RIM reporting its first operating loss in eight years, that it would be cutting 5K+ employees and that the release of its new BlackBerry were again being delayed -- this time until the beginning of 2013. The acquisition rumors had already been swirling around the BlackBerry maker, and since then, they've intensified, with some big names kicking the company's tires. This morning, Chris wrote about Samsung's confirmation that (again) it was neither considering a buy-out nor a licensing agreement, even though it's been reported numerous times that it, in fact, it's been considering both. And, today, Bloomberg has reported that IBM has "made an informal approach" to acquire RIM's enterprise services unit, which is really at the core of BlackBerry's business.

August 09 2012

The 32GB 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Is Now Available From Canadian Carriers For $550
RIM announced the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook earlier this month and it's finally available from several Canadian carriers. The LTE tablet is slightly upgraded from its WiFi-only counterpart with a 1.5GHz CPU and 32GB storage option, but the main difference is the new LTE radio. The 7-inch PlayBook is a pretty little package and the operating system is finally a contender. The tablet might have a chance if RIM was in a position to price the PlayBook competitively.
Another Day, Another Samsung Denial Of RIM Acquisition And Licensing Rumors
Sorry RIM, it looks like yesterday's stock bump may be all you get out of these acquisition rumors. After a note from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek recently pointed to the possibility of Samsung either licensing RIM's nascent BlackBerry 10 platform or acquiring the company outright, Reuters reported earlier today that the Korean electronics giant hasn't considered either option. If this all sounds more than a little familiar, that's because nearly the exact same sequence of events took place earlier this year.

August 02 2012

GASP! RIM CEO Details Potential Options For Licensing BB10
RIM is in trouble and is seemingly finally listening to reason. Speaking to The Telegraph, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins talked about how RIM could go about licensing its next-gen BlackBerry platform. But that's assuming manufacturers like Samsung or Sony would actually want to build a BlackBerry 10 device. Heins' comments show once again that RIM is exploring all the options for the ailing company. After years of failing to innovate and relying on aging platforms, the company lost its once-dominant grip on the smartphone market. Heins previously briefly talked about licensing options but never with these sorts of specifics. But now, after two killer (read: horrible) financial quarters, the Canadian company is likely open to all options.
RIM Reveals The 4G LTE PlayBook, Plans For A Canadian Debut On August 9
FCC filings, leaked roadmaps, and comments from RIM's top brass all pointed to the existence of an LTE-capable BlackBerry PlayBook -- the only question left was when the thing would finally launch. The answer, according to a new statement released by RIM, is very soon. RIM's LTE PlayBook will launch in Canada on August 9 (with support from a handful of Canadian carriers), where it will remain for the time being. The company hasn’t provided any specifics on when the 4G-capable tab will trickle into other markets, saying only that it will be available in “the coming months from carriers in the US, Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.”

May 03 2012

Confirmed: Scalado’s Camera Tech Is Inside BB10
At RIM's keynote earlier this week, CEO Thorsten Heins unveiled a brand new camera app that will ship along with BlackBerry 10. It was quite impressive. It basically lets you snap a pic, select a subject's face, and sift through frames captured before the moment you pressed the shutter button to make sure everyone looks their best. Perhaps the person on the left had a huge, wonderful smile while the person on the right was blinking. With the BB10 camera app, you will be able to fix that. But the tech seemed awfully familiar. So familiar, in fact, that we had to do a little digging to satisfy our curiosity. Come to find that a company called Scalado, known for their super badass imaging tech like Remove and Rewind, actually invented this tech a while back. At the time we were unsure what the relationship between RIM and Scalado was, but RIM has since responded and clarified that this is, in fact, a licensing deal.

May 02 2012

Thorsten Talks: RIM CEO Sounds Off On Licensing, Updating Devices, And The U.S. Market
Just because the first day of BlackBerry World is over doesn't mean we mobile geeks have run out of BlackBerry-related tidbits to pick apart. Oh, far from it -- in fact, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins took the stage (again) earlier today for a long-running chat with the press, and he has since outed a few juicy new details about the company's strategy going forward. First, let's take a quick look at the things RIM won't be doing, shall we?

April 13 2012

Balsillie The Radical? New Report Shines Light On The RIM That Could Have Been
Once perched atop the highest peaks of the smartphone market, Waterloo-based RIM recently found themselves at a crossroads: should they push ahead on the hardware front, or give it up in favor of their more lucrative network service business? With the more “dictatorial” Heins at the helm, RIM has pointedly chosen the latter path, but a recent report from Reuters paints a picture of what could have been.
Tags: Mobile RIM

April 11 2012

RIM’s Updating Spree Adds BBM Support To Their Facebook, Twitter, Travel And Music Apps
The folks at RIM are no doubt devoting plenty of time and effort to their long-awaited BlackBerry 10 operating system, but they’ve found the time to whip up a few app updates to please the nearly 55 million BBM users out there. First up on the list are a pair of newly-updated Facebook and Twitter apps — users will be able to share their sparkling wit with their BBM buddies from within each of the apps, ensuring none of their friends will be able to escape their ironic jabs and repartee. While RIM is smart to tie engagement with these two major social platforms into their own, they haven't stopped there.
Tags: Mobile TC BBM RIM

April 09 2012

Indian Government To Launch BlackBerry Messenger Snooping System ‘Soon’
BlackBerry fans in India had best stay on the up-and-up lest they want to draw unwanted attention from the country’s security agencies. India Today reported over the weekend that the country’s government is on the verge of being able to capture messages sent though RIM's formerly iron-clad BBM service. Unnamed Indian officials were quick to point out to India Today that their forthcoming ability to capture and crack BBM messages will be used strictly on snoop on devices whose users are suspected of engaging in criminal or terrorist activity.

April 03 2012

RIM Releases Mobile Fusion Device Management Service, Plays Nice With iOS And Android
The folks at RIM can see the writing on the wall — they’ve historically enjoyed plenty of enterprise love, but the recent “bring your own device” trend means headaches not only for RIM, but for the companies that have to manage all of them. In a move to hang on to relevance in the business market, the Waterloo company has officially released their Mobile Fusion device management platform, which aims to simplify how businesses manage a fleet of iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices.

January 23 2012

5 Things RIM’s New CEO Absolutely Must Not Do
Whenever a company appoints new leadership here in the tech world, the blogosphere seems to unanimously post about what the new top dog needs to do to make his or her company better. I promise, you'll see dozens of headlines today talking about what Thorsten Heins must do in order to save BlackBerry. In many cases, I agree with what's being said. RIM's in trouble, and without a new vision the company risks slipping even further behind the competition. You know... "the other fruit company." So rather than list out all of the things Heins needs to do to save the company (which, we can all agree, would take a really long time), I'm going to tell you guys the five things that Mr. Heins absolutely must not, without a doubt, under no circumstances... do. That is, if RIM wants to keep selling smartphones.
No “Drastic Change Needed”? Looks Like RIM’s Stockholders Disagree
Good news: You've been promoted to CEO! Bad news: Public perception of your company has tanked over the past few years, and your stockholders are looking at you to save the day. What ever you do first, just hope that you don't give the world that sound bite that suggests you think everything is okay and that nothing at the company needs to change. Whoops! Less than 24 hours after RIM's executive shakeup, the company is already seeing its first "drastic change": its stock price.
Tags: Mobile TC RIM

January 18 2012

Should RIM Abandon Ship?
Pete Rojas published a thought-provoking piece about RIM and BlackBerry 10. He said, in short, that the Canadian company should wipe out Blackberry OS and run Android or Windows or, barring that, selling out completely and offering a software package over another OS. While both of those are logical positions, I think RIM will end up in far worse shape than those options allow. RIM is popular for three reasons: the keyboard, BBM, and the back-end software. For most of this decade, IT shops have been able to send out fleets of BlackBerry products without concern simply because there was nothing better for email and messaging. Over the past three years, however, that claim has gone completely out the window. I would reckon that a nice IMAP server install is far easier and cheaper than any BB Enterprise Server ever was and, given this screenshot from the actual BBES "purchase" page, there is a lot of sales pressure involved.

December 23 2011

Forget BBX: RIM Faces Legal Woes Over BBM Trademark
I swear, it never ends -- not long after a U.S. court passed down a judgment that saw RIM change the name of their new operating system, the company has once again gotten themselves into a tiff over trademarks. This time, the name in question is "BBM," RIM's preferred shorthand for their popular BlackBerry Messenger service. The lawsuit comes courtesy of BBM Canada, a not-for-profit broadcast and audience measurement organization that's been in business considerably longer than RIM has. Originally known as the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement, the group was originally founded in 1944 and took on the BBM moniker in 2001 -- well before RIM's BlackBerry Messenger service came to be.

December 02 2011

RIM To Miss Earnings Goals After Half A Billion In PlayBook And Outage Charges
RIM has announced that it will be taking over half a billion dollars in charges related to two major failures this fiscal year. First is the immense overproduction of the Playbook tablet, the writedown of which inventory amounted to $485M on its own, or $360M after tax. The second charge is related to the prolonged network outage in early October, though it's unclear whether that money is directly related or being reserved for dealing with ongoing costs like lawsuits. Sales of handsets and services were as forecasted, but a lack of growth must be inferred by their waning market share, and at any rate the sales weren't enough to put RIM at their expected revenue of $5.3 billion for the upcoming quarter. Quarterly earnings are at a level with guidance and predictions of around $1.20 per share, but yearly earnings will miss the expected $5.25 per share, and analysts are calling for as little as $3.50.

November 03 2011

The Fall of Giants: Sony and RIM Continue To Lose Ground
I wasn't surprised to hear that both Sony and RIM are spiraling into market irrelevancy. It's been an inevitability since about 2009 that Sony would see declining fortunes and it's been clear for months that RIM is near death. I'm just sad to see both of them go. Sony is losing because it lost the popular imagination. Once upon a time, Sony build solid, popular products for the world. However, with the rise of mobile technology and the ridiculous Sony Ericsson partnership that effectively hobbled Sony in the cellphone race, Sony lost much of its cachet and could make its money in what folks would term "CE" - TVs, sound systems, and the like - leaving little else in terms of high-turnaround items with an acceptable (but not amazing) margin like laptops, phones, and media players.
Tags: Gadgets TC RIM Sony

November 02 2011

Maybe BBM Music Isn’t So Silly After All
With BBM Music, RIM has thrown their hat into the already crowded mobile music ring. The new service's focus on leveraging your social connections to score some new tunes is a novel twist, but it begs a significant question. Why would RIM release an ostensibly limited music service when you can shell out a few extra dollars a month for unlimited access?
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