Created by BlackBerry (the company, formerly Research in Motion / RIM,) BlackBerry OS is used exclusively on BlackBerry phones.
BlackBerry announced the Q5 today and we spent a few moments checking it out. Here are our initial impressions.
BlackBerry today announced that it will make versions of its BlackBerry Messenger application for both the Android and iOS platforms. The application and service will be available to the iPhone and Android devices later this summer. Basic messaging and groups support will arrive first, and other features, including BlackBerry Voice, BlackBerry Video, and screen sharing. Additionally, BlackBerry expects that iOS and Android users will also be able to use the just-announced BBM Channels later this year. BlackBerry Messenger has to-date been a BlackBerry exclusive app and service.
BlackBerry today announced a new piece of its BlackBerry Messenger platform called BBM Channels. It acts similar to social networks in that users can subscribe to channels, which are based on certain topics or brands, and receive updates when the channels have new content. Users can create their own channels and push updates to select groups of followers or users in a manner similar to Twitter. BlackBerry imagines that it will be best-used by companies and brands looking to connect with fans.
BlackBerry today announced that the BlackBerry 10.1 operating system will be distributed to the Z10 smartphone beginning today. International variants will receive the update first over the coming weeks, followed by U.S. variants by the end of May. BlackBerry 10 makes it easier to manage Hub conversations, personalize notifications (vibrate, sounds, and indication light), and click-to-call BBM contacts. It also improves image capture with the camera and provides other bug fixes. Last, the 10.1 update will also enable Skype on BlackBerry Z10 handsets. (Skype is available for all BlackBerry devices beginning today, too.) The update will be available on a carrier-by-carrier basis.
Blackberry today announced a new, mid-range BlackBerry handset with a QWERTY keyboard called the Q5. The device will come in pink, white, black, and red. It features a 3.1-inch touch screen, camera, and the BlackBerry 10.1 operating system. The device will ship in select markets, including Europe, Asia, and Latin America, beginning in July. BlackBerry did not specify that the Q5 would come to the U.S.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the BlackBerry Q10 will be available for preorder in the coming weeks, and will reach store shelves in June. Verizon didn't announce pricing. Sprint followed Verizon' announcement to say that it would launch the Q10 in "late summer." Sprint didn't announce pricing, either. Both variants will include LTE 4G support.
BlackBerry today said that the Twitter and LinkedIn apps for its BlackBerry 10 platform have both been updated with new features. Twitter for BB10 now offers more up-to-date content in the Universal Search bar, and fits more content onto each screen. The app also supports automatic caching, so content is available faster when users first start up the app. LinkedIn sees a much more significant update compared to Twitter. With the new version of LinkedIn, BlackBerry 10 users will be able to import their local BlackBerry contacts into the LinkedIn app. The app has been given a visual overhaul, making it easier to refresh content with pull-down gestures, and receive tactile feedback via haptics. LinkedIn for BlackBerries makes it easier to search for companies and lets users see how they may be connected to those companies. Last, the inbox gains several new abilities, such as archiving and deleting messages, and improved inbox search. Twitter and LinkedIn for BlackBerry 10 are both free to download from BlackBerry World.
AOL today announced that it has struck a partnership with Verizon Wireless to distribute its content on Verizon's smartphones and tablets. The content will show up in the Verizon Wireless Home web portal and will be bookmarked within the browser on Verizon devices. The AOL portal will feature up-the-minute news headlines, weather, and maps, as well as provide access to video content. The portal will appear on smartphones and tablets running Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, but not iOS. Customers will be able to customize the type of content that reaches their devices. The AOL content is expected to become available later this summer.
BlackBerry today released a new version of Twitter for devices running BlackBerry OS 5, 6, and 7. The revised application adds a handful of new features, including support for BlackBerry ID credentials for easier sign-ins; a redesigned user profile that includes swipe actions; and more granular control over individual notifications for actions such as retweets, favorites, and new followers. Twitter 4.1 for BlackBerry OS 5, OS 6, and OS 7 is free to download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry today announced that owners of its BlackBerry Q10 smartphone may download Skype from the BlackBerry World app store. Skype requires BlackBerry OS 10.1. The Q10 ships with BBOS 10.1 installed, and is launching in Canada and other select markets this week. The Q10 isn't expected to reach the U.S until late May. For the time being, BlackBerry Z10 owners will not be able to access or download Skype because the Z10 runs BBOS 10. BlackBerry said that it will update the Z10 to BlackBerry OS 10.1 next month. More details about the minor operating system bump will be provided by BlackBerry during its developer conference scheduled to take place the week of May 13.
BlackBerry today announced that a new version of Facebook is available to older smartphones running BlackBerry OS 5 and up. According to BlackBerry, the updated app puts Facebook on older BlackBerries on a more level field with Facebook for BB10 and other platforms. The revised app has new tools, such as a sliding navigation list, to make accessing the various different features of the app easier and quicker. The app also updates how photos are handled and gives them more prominence in the timeline. Last, it adds pull-down-to-refresh behaviors for updating the timeline and newsfeed. Facebook 4.0 for BlackBerry OS 5.0 and up is a free download from BlackBerry World.
T-Mobile USA today said business customers interested in the BlackBerry Q10, which will support T-Mobile's LTE 4G network, can order the device online beginning April 29. Exact availability and pricing details, however, will be shared at a later date.
BlackBerry today said that it expects Skype for BlackBerry 10 to be available at about the same time the Q10 smartphone goes on sale. The Q10 is scheduled to hit stores in late May. Skype is one of many significant apps still not available to the BlackBerry 10 platforms.
The BlackBerry Q10 will reach AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless stores by late May, according to various reports. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal both report that the Q10's price tag will be $249, but none of the U.S. network operators have announced firm availability and pricing details. The Q10 will be the second BlackBerry 10 device to reach the market after the Z10. It differs from the Z10 in that it has a smaller screen and a QWERTY keyboard.
BlackBerry is winding down its BBM Music service over the next two months, according to an email sent to current subscribers. April is the last month that subscribers will be billed, and songs will start becoming unavailable in May. The final shutdown date is June 2, 2013. BlackBerry is promoting Rdio as an alternative, and offering a 30-day free trial of that service to affected subscribers. BBM Music was never brought to the newer BlackBerry 10 OS, and Rdio is not yet available for BlackBerry 10. BBM Music was introduced just a year and a half ago. It was a social service that let users share playlists of songs. Each user could contribute up to 50 songs, and users with more contacts had access to more music. The service cost $4.99/month.
BlackBerry today announced significant updates are available to both the Facebook and Twitter applications for its BlackBerry 10 platform. New features in Facebook for BB10 include the ability to search for nearby friends; the ability to save photos from Facebook to the BlackBerry and improved photo tagging and; the ability to view and respond to events thanks to improved Events tools; and the ability to share more Newsfeed content from Facebook to email, BBM, SMS, or Twitter. Speaking of which, Twitter for BB10 now offers the same Connect Tab available to other platforms, and lets users see more of the content that's embedded within Tweets. Twitter also lets users see how many times one of their Tweets has been favorited. Facebook and Twitter for BlackBerry 10 are both free downloads, and will be available in BlackBerry World in the next day or so.
BlackBerry today announced during its quarterly earnings call that former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis would retire from his seat at the company's board of directors effective May 1. Lazaridis founded BlackBerry with Jim Balsillie, which was called Research In Motion during their leadership tenure. Both Lazaridis and Balsillie left their co-CEO roles in January 2012 and were replaced by now-CEO Thorsten Heins. "With the launch of BlackBerry 10, I believe I have fulfilled my commitment to the Board," Lazaridis said. "Thorsten and his team did an excellent job in completing BlackBerry 10. We have a great deal of which to be proud. I believe I am leaving the company in good hands. I remain a huge fan of BlackBerry and, of course, wish the company and its people well." Lazaridis and Balsillie were often criticized for not recognizing the threat represented by the Apple iPhone, and later, Android smartphones. Sales of BlackBerry handsets fell rapidly during their last year as co-CEOs as consumers flocked to smartphones running Apple's and Google's operating systems instead. BlackBerry launched its brand new operating system, BlackBerry 10, earlier this year. The first BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10, reached AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all within the last week.
BlackBerry today announced that owners of BlackBerry 10 devices in the U.S. now have access to more television programming in the BlackBerry World storefront. BlackBerry recently signed PBS, Univision, and Viacom to its list of content providers, each of which oversees a wide variety of channels and programming. According to BlackBerry, content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, PBS, and others can be purchased directly from BlackBerry 10 handsets. The BlackBerry Z10 is already available from AT&T, and will become available from T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless this week. Pricing for the content varies.
BlackBerry today announced that it plans to offer businesses a solution that will allow them to separate work and personal data on devices running Android and iOS. BlackBerry offers a similar product to BlackBerry smartphones called BlackBerry Balance. The idea is to segregate business and personal information so that it may be kept secure. The new product is called Secure Work Space for iOS and Android, and is managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. The product offers secure apps for email, calendar, contacts, tasks, memos, browsing, and document editing. BlackBerry is previewing the service now, and will offer it to its business customers through a BES 10 upgrade. It will be available by the end of the second quarter.
Google today announced a second round of spring cleaning that will see yet more services discontinued. The most significant mobile app being axed is the Google Voice application for the BlackBerry platform. Google recommends that BlackBerry owners still interested in using Google Voice switch to the browser-based HTML5 app, which Google says is more secure anyway. Google will end support for Google Voice for BlackBerry next week. The HTML5 app is compatible with BlackBerry Browsers version 6 and up. Other products that have limited days remaining include the CalDAV API, Google Building Maker (tool to model 3D buildings on maps), Google Cloud Connect (plug-in that helped users save Microsoft Office documents to Google Docs), Google Reader (RSS feed), the Search API for Google Shopping, and Snapseed for both Windows and Mac OS. Google says better alternatives for all these services are available elsewhere.
Verizon Wireless today announced that interested customers may preorder the BlackBerry Z10 beginning March 14. The Z10 costs $199.99 with a new contract and will be available online and in stores on March 28. Verizon is selling the Z10 in both black and white; the white model is exclusive to Verizon. Verizon also reiterated that it will sell the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry Q10 later this year, though exact availability and pricing details have yet to be announced. AT&T also recently announced the Z10's availability. AT&T began accepting preorders for the Z10 earlier this week, and it arrives in AT&T stores March 22.
BlackBerry today announced that WhatsApp, the popular messaging application, is now available to BlackBerry 10 devices, such as the Z10. Similar to Apple's iMessage or Samsung's ChatOn, WhatsApp is an over-the-top messaging service that uses mobile data connections to pass messages back and forth to other users. It allows smartphone owners to cut down on potential carrier-based messaging fees. WhatsApp for BlackBerry 10 integrates with the native contact application and offers push notifications on the lock screen when new messages arrive. It is a cross-platform service, so BlackBerry 10 device owners will be able to use WhatsApp to chat with friends or family who use Android, iOS, or Windows Phone devices. The app is available for free from BlackBerry World.
Solavei today lowered the price of the BlackBerry Z10 from $999 to $689. The Z10 is being sold off contract via GSM Nation. Those who purchase the Z10 can pair it with Solavei's no-contract SIM card service.
AT&T will start accepting pre-orders for the BlackBerry Z10 tomorrow, March 12th, and release the phone on March 22nd. AT&T will charge $200 for the phone, with two-year contract.
BlackBerry today made available updated versions of the Twitter and LinkedIn applications for BB10. The new version of Twitter (pictured) includes a number of improvements, such as the ability to take or add photos from within the tweet composition screen, as well as insert location data. The new app also makes it possible to see tweets in conversation view, edit the profile picture or header, view Direct Messages from the Me tab, delete tweets from any screen, and block spam users/messages. The new version of LinkedIn for BB10 adds the ability to message contacts directly from their profile page, search for and save job recommendations, filter the LinkedIn Today feed, and view full-screen images of LinkedIn profiles. BlackBerry says that it may take up to 24 hours for both apps to appear in BlackBerry World. They are both free to download and use.
BlackBerry today made available to the BlackBerry Z10 a new system update that resolves performance issues across a number of apps and services. First, the new system software improves the performance of third party apps and helps them run smoother. The email, calendar, and contacts apps have been updated with fixes for Gmail calendars and general improvements to how the apps behave within BlackBerry Hub. Once the system update is installed, the camera should perform better in low light, and the browser should exhibit smoother video playback. Last, the software update promises to improve battery life with more than 60 individual tweaks to the BlackBerry 10 software. The system update, version number 10.0.10.85, measures 150MB and BlackBerry recommends that users install it via Wi-Fi.
Prepaid provider Solavei today announced the immediate availability of the BlackBerry Z10 for Solavei members. The Z10 can be purchased from Solavei's retail partner, GSM Nation, for $999. The Z10 will not reach other U.S.-based carriers until the middle of March the earliest. Solavei is an MVNO that uses T-Mobile's network. It offers unlimited voice, messaging, and data for $49 per month.
BlackBerry will not sell its new Z10 and Q10 handsets in the Japanese market, reports Reuters. The company's share of the Japanese market has shrunk from 5% to 0.3%, and the smartphone maker can no longer justify the cost of modifying its software to accommodate the Japanese language. BlackBerry will also stop selling its older handsets, though it will continue to provide support for its existing user base. "We are in the process of launching BlackBerry 10 globally in key markets and we are seeing positive demand for the BlackBerry Z10 in countries where it has already launched," said spokeswoman Amy McDowell in a statement provided to media. "Japan is not a major market for BlackBerry and we have no plans to launch BlackBerry 10 devices there at this time. However, we will continue to support BlackBerry customers in Japan." The Z10 and Q10 are the first smartphones to run BlackBerry 10, the company's new operating system. They won't go on sale in the U.S. until later this year.
BlackBerry today made Bridge version 3.0 available to BlackBerry 10 devices. Bridge is a utility that connects a BlackBerry smartphone with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. According to BlackBerry, the company focused on bringing a few key features to the BB10 platform. Bridge 3.0 can share the smartphone's internet connection with a PlayBook, control the PlayBook remotely, and share bookmarks and files between the two thanks to the new "Share" framework built into BB10. However, some important features available to older versions of the app have been removed. Specifically, BlackBerry Messenger, SMS, and email are no longer possible to use via BlackBerry Bridge, though they will be added back in later this year. Blackberry Bridge 3.0 for BlackBerry 10 smartphones is a free download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins indicated recently that the Q10 BlackBerry 10 smartphone may not reach U.S. store shelves until May or June. Speaking to the Associated Press, Heins said the device will arrive eight to 10 weeks after the Z10. The Z10 isn't going on sale until mid-March or later, which puts the Q10's release closer to the end of the second quarter. BlackBerry had first suggested that the Q10 might reach U.S. stores as soon as April, but that appears unlikely. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless have all indicated plans to sell the Q10, but T-Mobile USA has not. The Q10 differs from the Z10 in that it has a physical QWERTY keyboard.
BlackBerry today announced that it plans to update the Android runtime within its BlackBerry 10 platform to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Currently, the runtime is at Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread. BlackBerry 10 can run repackaged Android applications, and in fact, about 40% of the 70,000 apps available in BlackBerry App world are ported Android apps. The runtime within BB10 is what makes them work. By updating the runtime to a more modern version of Android, it will help developers looking to port their Android 4+ apps to the BB10 platform. BlackBerry also announced a preview version of the BlackBerry 10.1 native SDK for the Q10. The current SDK supports the Z10. This additional SDK will allow developers to create apps customized for the Q10 hardware, which includes a physical keyboard. It can be downloaded from BlackBerry's developer portal. The Z10 and Q10 are expected to reach the U.S. in March and April, respectively.
Verizon Wireless today announced the availability of two new prepaid plans that don't require contracts. The first plan costs $60 per month and includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and 500MB of data. The second plan costs $70 per month and boosts the data allotment to 2GB. According to Verizon, the new prepaid plans can be used with a variety of 3G devices, such as Android, BlackBerry, and iOS smartphones. In Verizon's press piece, it suggests that people can bring their own, older devices if they so wish, rather than purchase a new one. The new plans are available beginning today.
All four of the major U.S. wireless network operators have committed to support the new BlackBerry 10 platform and Z10 and Q10 smartphones from BlackBerry. Here is a breakdown of what the carriers have announced so far.
- AT&T: AT&T will offer both the Z10 and the Q10. RIM said the Z10 is expected to go on sale in mid-March, with the Q10 following in April the earliest. AT&T did not announce pricing for either handset, nor exact sales dates.
- Sprint: Sprint has only committed to selling the Q10 "later this year," though RIM says it will be April. Sprint has not announced pricing details, though it will offer unlimited LTE 4G service to the Q10 when it goes on sale.
- T-Mobile USA: T-Mobile announced plans to sell the Z10, but not the Q10. It has not announced pricing details, but its variant of the Z10 will support its LTE 4G network.
- Verizon Wireless: Verizon plans to offer both the Z10 and Q10. Verizon did not announce exact availability, but it did price the Z10 at $199 with a new contract. It will also be the only carrier selling the white Z10.
BlackBerry today announced that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless will all be offering details regarding preorders for the Z10 and the Q10 in the next 24 hours. RIM did not say when they will go on sale in the U.S., but the Z10 is launching in the U.K. tomorrow, and in Canada on Friday. RIM said pricing and availability will be announced individually by carriers around the world closer to their actual launch. None of the U.S. carriers have announced a launch date, but the Wall Street Journal reports that neither the Z10 nor the Q10 will reach store shelves before the middle of March. According to RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, the delay is due to the testing processor needed by American wireless network operators. "They do the best they can," said Heins. "Would I have loved to see it earlier? Absolutely. Make no mistake everyone's trying to pull the date in."
Research In Motion today announced BlackBerry Link, a revised version of its BlackBerry Desktop Manager application that works with BlackBerry 10 devices. BlackBerry Link, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, allows BlackBerry 10 device owners to sync their devices to their computers, as well as back them up and perform system updates. BlackBerry Link is also used to sync content, such as movies and music, between smartphones, PCs, and PlayBook tablets. BlackBerry Link is free to download. It will be available in the coming weeks.
Research In Motion today announced the initial batch of companies, apps, and studios that have given their support to BlackBerry 10. Some of the apps that will be available at launch include: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, Whatsapp, Angry Birds, Where's My Water?, Plants vs. Zombies, New York Times, The Economist, ESPN Scorecenter, MLB At Bat, Cisco Webex, Bloomberg, Evernote, SAP, Citrix, Soundhound, The Weather Channel, Delta Airlines, and USA Today. Music studios that have voiced support for BB10 include Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music. Movie studios and video content companies that have committed to BB10 include ABC, BBC, CBS, FOX, MGM, Nickelodeon, Pixar/Disney, Warner Bros. and others. These new apps, tracks, and video clips can all be discovered and downloaded from the new BlackBerry World content store directly on BlackBerry 10 handsets and from desktop browsers.
Verizon Wireless today announced that it will sell the BlackBerry Z10 and the Q10 for $199.99 with a new two-year contract. Both devices will be available in black and white, but the white Z10 will be exclusive to Verizon for an unknown amount of time. Verizon did not announce when the devices will go on sale.
Research In Motion today revealed that its popular BlackBerry Messenger application will include the ability to conduct real-time, two-way video chats (between BB10 devices), in addition to instant messaging conversations and VoIP calls via Wi-Fi. BBM will also be able to share screens with other BB10 devices.
Research In Motion today formally introduced all the core features of BlackBery 10, its brand new operating system. BlackBerry 10 is a wholly new platform built on a QNX core with a new gesture-based user interface. BlackBerry 10 is centered on two key ideas: BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Flow. BlackBerry Hub is the central repository for all incoming messages, including email, SMS, IM, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. It can be called up at any time from within any other application. BlackBerry Flow represents the gestures themselves and how the operating system responds to finger movements across the screen. The new platform supports up to eight applications running at any one time, which are accessed in a new feature called Active Frames. The Active Frame panel makes it easy to see what apps are running and switch between them quickly. RIM has reengineered the touchscreen keyboard to be faster and more intuitive. For example, the touchscreen keyboard in BlackBerry 10 learns how users type. It tracks where they hit particular keys as well as what words they use to improve typing accuracy. The browser has been fully rebuilt to support HTML5, in addition to Adobe Flash. It has features such as pinch-to-zoom. The camera application is faster and more feature-rich. It includes touch-to-focus/shoot, different shoot modes (normal, burst), scenes (action, night), and TimeShift for capturing the best shot of peoples' faces. The gallery application has been given far more advanced editing capabilities, including crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, filters/effects, and easy sharing to social networks. BlackBerry 10 adds an app called Story Maker, which can be used to piece together video segments with titles and credits to create mini movies. Last, BlackBerry 10 brings peace of mind to business customers with BlackBerry Safeguard and BlackBerry Balance. Safeguard can be used to encrypt user data, manage online privacy, and find or lock a lost/stolen device. BlackBerry Balance is RIM's work-personal life management tool that keeps business and personal data segregated from one another on the device. BlackBerry 10 is first available on the Z10 and Q10, which will ship in the coming weeks.
Research In Motion today announced the Z10 and Q10, the first two smartphones to run its brand new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The Z10 and Q10 share many features, though physically they are somewhat different; the Z10 is a candybar touch phone, and the Q10 is a monoblock QWERTY device with a smaller touch screen. Both devices are powered by 1.5GHz dual-core processors with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage. They also support removable microSD cards up to 32GB. The Z10 and Q10 each carries an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash that captures 1080p HD video, with a secondary camera rating 2 megapixels with 720p HD video capture. Wireless support includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, NFC, and GPS, in addition to 4G mobile hotspot. They also include microUSB and microHDMI ports, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Z10: The Z10 features a 4.2-inch LCD touch screen with 1280 x 768 pixels, making a pixel density of 356 pixels per inch. It is 9mm thick.
- Q10: The Q10 is a more traditional-looking BlackBerry smartphone in that it has a smaller, 720 x 720 pixel screen and a physical QWERTY keyboard.