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The New BlackBerry Passport Review

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The BlackBerry Passport is an odd piece of kit that shirks conventional design in a bid to really stand apart from the crowd. It’s also the most powerful handset BlackBerry has ever produced, packing in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3GB of RAM, a 13MP camera and 32GB of internal storage (as well as a further 128GB via its SD-slot). In this respect the Passport matches the best of Android, iOS and Windows Phone. But is it enough? Read the rest of this entry

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The Amazon Appstore Is Starting To Look More Relevant

Amazon Unveils Its First Smartphone

Amazon’s Appstore wasn’t even accessible to Australians until May last year, and it has always seemed like very much a secondary player to Google Play. However, two developments this week potentially make it a more interesting distribution platform for Android developers.

The first is the much-hyped launch of the Amazon Fire phone, which will also make use of the App Store. Right now (and for the foreseeable future), this is a US-only product: it’s tied to AT&T and is tightly hooked into Amazon Prime, which makes it unlikely we’ll see it down under for a long while (if ever). Nonetheless, if the Fire phone is a success, then that will create a larger pool of Appstore users.

Secondly, BlackBerry has announced a partnership with Amazon to make Appstore apps accessible to BlackBerry 10 devices. Quite aside from BlackBerry’s shrinking market share, it’s going to be hard to take this one seriously until more details emerge when BlackBerry 10.3 is released later this year.

The ability to run Android apps has long been promoted as an advantage of BB10, but few developers have bothered to make the porting changes required. Amazon’s involvement might change that, and could also give developers a relatively simple path to porting apps to BB10 without needing significant resources.

BlackBerry grasps at mobile payments in attempt to stay relevant

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With its smartphone sales shrinking, BlackBerry is pivoting to enterprise services in order to stay afloat, and now it sees mobile payments as its next big opportunity.

BlackBerry has signed a three-year deal with mobile payments firm EnStream, a joint venture by Canada’s three largest wireless carriers, to secure and transfer credit card information between smartphone owners and banks, BlackBerry announced today. A BlackBerry representative declined to disclose the terms of the deal.

EnStream will use BlackBerry’s backend infrastructure to enable banks and other mobile wallet providers to process near-field communication (NFC) payments.

“Working with EnStream demonstrates BlackBerry’s strategy to extend its core enterprise mobility technologies in new and emerging industries,” BlackBerry said in a statement.

The mobile payments company was already a BlackBerry customer: EnStream uses BlackBerry software to manage and secure subscriber info on SIM cards, the result of a deal it signed in October 2012.

The leaner, more enterprise-focused BlackBerry has launched a suite of mobile services and platforms under its new CEO, John Chen, who is desperately trying to stem the company’s losses. It’s shifted focus away from its handset making business to mobile platforms and services, like its BlackBerry Messenger client and mobile device management platform.

In its March earnings report – the first time Chen was CEO for an entire quarter — the company reported a $42 million loss, which was actually less than what analysts expected. That’s a huge improvement from the third (fiscal) quarter of 2014, when the company announced a monumental $4.4 billion loss and 56% revenue drop.

BlackBerry Z3 Launch Off To A Good Start

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Soon after BlackBerry shuffled top management it announced a five year deal with Foxconn which makes it responsible for design and manufacturing of low-cost smartphones that run BB OS and carry BlackBerry’s name. The first device was unveiled at MWC 2014. BlackBerry Z3 is exclusive to Indonesia right now but multiple reports reveal that the smartphone is off to a good start, something which the company certainly needs.

Indonesia is probably one of the last remaining strongholds of the ailing Canadian manufacturer. It has bled market share in crucial markets like the U.S. and Europe, losing third place to Windows Phone in the process. The Indonesian market has favored BlackBerrys for a long time and the company rewards that loyalty with a smartphone made exclusively for it.

Many retailers have said that they’re seeing strong customer response for the new handset. Some reports also claimed that the Z3 has actually been sold out in Indonesia. The company is promoting it through TV ads and has even set up a massive pop-up shop of sorts in Jakarta’s Central Park Mall. There’s a counter set up which shows how many units have been sold through the pop-up shop, over 1,300 units so far.

With the launch now out of the way BlackBerry is focusing on at least 3 to 4 new devices according to CEO John Chen. One of them will be an all-touch device and others will probably have keyboards. The company is also working on “BlackBerry Classic,” a smartphone that brings back the iconic function key belt from legacy devices.

While there’s no indication as yet if the Z3 will make its way to other markets, the company has previously said that its possible for an LTE capable variant of the Z3 to be launched in the U.S. If offered at a competitive price it may very well position itself as a bona fide competitor in the mid-range off-contract smartphone lineup.

BBM introduces Stickers in the new BBM Shop to add more fun to your chats

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BlackBerry Limited  yesterday announced BBM version 2.1.0.57 will be rolling out to Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices. As promised, the new update will bring “stickers,” the ability to share images in multi-person chats, and the ability to send higher quality photos, videos and presentations.

Stickers are larger emoticons that users can purchase from the BBM Shop to enhance their chats. BlackBerry has also teamed up with the WWE to give away a free WrestleMania 30 sticker pack.

“Stickers are another great example of how we’re making the BBM experience more engaging and fun for our customers,” said David Proulx, Senior Director, BBM at BlackBerry. “Stickers let you personalize your chats and strike the right chord with people around the world who rely on stickers in chats when they connect with colleagues, family, friends, peers and partners.”

BBM users will also be able to send photos as a thumbnail in multi-person chats, and transfer files up to 16MB in single-person chats.

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You can download BBM for free from the Apple AppStore or the Google Play Store.

The BBM for iPhone requires iOS 6.0 or later and it is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Update: Version 2.1.0.57 of BBM is now available. Here’s the changelog:

• Add more fun to your BBM chats with the introduction of stickers available in the new BBM Shop

• Increased file transfer size (16MB) lets you share higher quality photos, bigger files and longer videos

• Picture sharing in multi-person chats makes it easy to send a pic to a group of people so you can all talk about it together

• Other bug fixes and performance improvements

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RIM to launch BBM Music service

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Blackberry maker Research in Motion will apparently be rolling out a music service similar to iTunes and Spotify, although they won’t be directly competing with those companies.

According to source who spoke to Wall Street Journal, the company is currently engaged in developing the service, which will be called BBM Music, and might release it as early as next week while working in conjunction with Blackberry’s BBM service.

“The sources claim that BBM Music isn’t meant to compete with dominating services like iTunes or Spotify, while simultaneously pointing out that it will cost “significantly less” than Spotify (which currently offers free, $4.99, and $9.99 monthly tiers). Instead, BBM Music will supposedly allow users to access 50 songs at a time and share those songs over BlackBerry Messenger with friends,” website Ars Technica wrote.

The service is expected to allow young adults to customise their phones through the service, which would include setting the songs as ringtones, ringback tones, and message tones. According to the source, RIM has already signed deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group and is expected to make an official announcement soon.

BlackBerry Introduces the New BlackBerry Z30 Smartphone

 

After months of rumors and speculation, the super sized BlackBerry Z30 has officially been announced!

Sporting a 5″ Super AMOLED display, 1.7 GHz processor with quadcore graphics and running BlackBerry 10.2, the Z30 follows up the Z10 as the latest all-touch BlackBerry 10phone from BlackBerry. To keep it running all day long, the Z30 features a 2880mAh battery – the biggest battery on a BlackBerry to date. Stereo speakers and BlackBerry’s exclusive “Natural Sound” technology make the Z30 sound great, while new antenna technology from BlackBerry keeps the Z30 connected with faster download speeds in more places.

As for getting your hands on one, the Z30 will be available from select retailers in the UK and Middle East beginning next week, and all other regions going into the holiday season.

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BlackBerry tackles Samsung’s BBM for Android marketing

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The BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app will be made available for Android and iOS devices very soon

Following the BBM rumors that have been heating up, Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry will be making their hugely popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app available for Android and iOS devices very soon.

But Korean electronics giant Samsung has taken the opportunity to field several heavy marketing campaigns stating that BBM “will be coming to Samsung Galaxy devices”.

While the statement is true, BlackBerry issued a statement to allay confusion as to just exactly who will be receiving the social media messenger system.

To add to the confusion, Samsung Nigeria tweeted that Samsung will be receiving BBM on 20 September as part of a three-month deal.

The excitement around the upcoming BBM launch on iPhone and Android devices seems to know no bounds. Although I’m a big fan of this passion, I want to clarify that no one will have an exclusive on offering BBM. We’ll be bringing the app to Android and iPhone users across the globe soon,” said BBM Communications Director at BlackBerry, Victoria Berry.

During the annual BlackBerry conference in May, the company’s CEO Thorsten Heins made the announcement that BBM will be coming to the selected devices. “It’s time to bring BBM to a greater audience. No matter what mobile device they carry,” he said at the time.

BBM for Android won’t be exclusive to Samsung devices as claimed by Samsung Mobile Nigeria twitter account

(Image Source: AndroidCentral)

(Image Source: AndroidCentral)

“No operator or manufacturer will have exclusive access to the messaging platform when it comes to Android”

It seems as though some communication lines may have gotten crossed today when Samsung Mobile Nigeria seemed to imply that it would have a three-month exclusivity on BlackBerry’s upcoming launch of BBM on Android. After hearing from an official Samsung Twitter account indicating that this was the case and reaching out to the companies, we’ve heard back directly from BlackBerry with the following statement:

“The tweet, though very exciting, is incorrect … I want to clarify that no one will have an exclusive on offering BBM. We’ll be bringing the app to Android and iPhone users across the globe soon.”

Now this doesn’t give us any official confirmation for when exactly we can get our hands on BBM, but it does let us know that no particular operator or manufacturer will have it exclusively locked up.

See Captured comments below:

(Image Source: AndroidCentral)

(Image Source: AndroidCentral)

 

 

BBM for Android launches tomorrow?

 

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Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry previously announced that their popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app will be launching to all Android and iOS devices by the end of the northern hemisphere’s summer, and while that time is steadily approaching, no app has been forthcoming.

But invitations sent out to members of the technology press in Malaysia, India and France for a launch event hints that the app might make its appearance on Wednesday 18 September.

According to Phandroid, the application’s application package file (APK) has already been leaked ahead of the announcement.

“If a couple of previous leaks weren’t enough to convince you, then perhaps this useless APK that leaked today is. That’s right — you can download Blackberry Messenger for Android and install it right now,” the site wrote.

But while users will be able to download the application, it simply will not work – just yet.

“The APK is actually quite useless as it won’t connect to Blackberry Services, the network used to push all these bits and bytes around in real-time. You’ll have to use it on a whitelisted device in order to get it to work”

BBM for Android has been heavily promoted by Samsung as a feature on the Company’s Galaxy devices, but the cross-platform messaging app will be making its way to all Android devices, including certain units on Apple’s iOS operating system.

“It’s time to bring BBM to a greater audience. No matter what mobile device they carry,” BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins said during the annual BlackBerry conference in May.