Created by BlackBerry (the company) the BlackBerry 10 OS is used exclusively on BlackBerry phones. Version 10 is a completely new OS compared to BlackBerry 7 and earlier.
Microsoft today made its OneDrive cloud storage service available to BlackBerry 10 devices. The app, which is free to download from the BlackBerry World store, provides users with 7GB of free online storage. Customers can choose to pay for more storage if they wish. The service, which was recently rebranded from SkyDrive, is already available to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices.
BlackBerry today said that several new features are in store for a future version of its BlackBerry Messenger - or BBM - product. According to BlackBerry, it cultivated this list of features based on user feedback. For example, the next release of BBM will allow users to share photos to multiple people within chats. BBM will increase the size of files it allows to be sent between users from 6MB to 16MB. The next version of BBM will also increase the size of the emoticons so they are easier to see within conversation threads. BlackBerry didn't say if these changes will reach all platforms (BlackBerry, Android, iOS) at the same time, or if they will be staggered.
Galveston, Texas has become the first major U.S. city to use phone-based payments completely in place of parking meters. Many cities offer mobile as one option to pay for parking, but still have meters or kiosks as backup. Such cities include Boston, Chicago. Miami, Seattle, and San Francisco. But in Galveston's new deployment, there are no meters nor kiosks. Visitors are encouraged to use the PayByPhone app or mobile web site, or they can call a toll-free number to pay. Those that don't have a cell phone or credit card can pay with cash at a number of the local merchants along the seawall. The app - available for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry - registers payment using license plate numbers, eliminating the need for a receipt left in the window. The service can text users when their parking time is about to expire, and let them easily extend it, avoiding a ticket. The city pockets significantly more from parking fees by avoiding the ongoing costs of meters or kiosks. The service supports new EMV requirements of credit card companies by using CreditCall to process payments.
BlackBerry today announced the Q20, its first phone to combine BlackBerry 10 software with the trackpad, menu & back buttons, and QWERTY keyboard of its more popular older devices. The Q20 will carry over the popular keyboard design from the Q10, but will increase the screen size to 3.5 inches, and include a larger battery. Send and end keys are also included next to the menu and back keys. New BlackBerry CEO John Chen described the phone as a reaction to consistent customer feedback that "the hard buttons and trackpad are an essential part of the BlackBerry QWERTY experience." Few other details were released. The phone is planned to be available in the second half of 2014.
BlackBerry today announced the availability of sticker packs in the BBM Store for BlackBerry devices. Stickers are sold in packs of 20 to 25, and are typically centered on a theme or character. The stickers can then be inserted into BBM chats to make them more lively and entertaining. The limited external beta for stickers and the BBM Shop begins today. BlackBerry didn't say how limited the beta will be, nor when it might expand to all users.
T-Mobile today announced a new promotion meant to quell the anger it caused recently among BlackBerry users. Beginning Friday, T-Mobile is offering all BlackBerry users (even those on other carriers) $200 to bring in their old, working BlackBerry and trade it in for any smartphone currently sold by T-Mobile. This offer can be combined with T-Mobile's Contract Freedom promotion, which pays the Early Termination Fee associated with some contracts. That means potential customers can get up to $200 by trading in their old BlackBerry as well as have their ETF taken care of. Taking it a step further, T-Mobile is offering its own, existing BlackBerry customers an additional $50 (total of $250) if they upgrade from an old BlackBerry to a new BlackBerry Q10 or Z10 smartphone. The promotion rolls out to retail stores February 21. T-Mobile said that it will offer expedited shipping to customers for BlackBerries not stocked in its stores.
Facebook has agreed to purchase WhatsApp, a maker of over-the-top messaging applications for smartphones. The deal is valued at about $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in stock. The WhatsApp messaging service is available to the Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms and lets users avoid texting fees by sending messages through data networks instead. Facebook said the acquisition will help it "accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies." WhatsApp counts about 450 million users, 70% of which are active each day. Facebook said that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp will be operated separately.
BlackBerry today made good on its promise to deliver a version of BBM for older Android handsets. BBM for devices running Android 2.3 Gingerbread is now available in the Google Play Store. It can be downloaded for free.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen took T-Mobile to task today for a campaign it recently ran suggesting that BlackBerry customers drop their BlackBerry in favor of a different smartphone on T-Mobile. In a post to the company's blog, Chen thanked BlackBerry's customers for speaking out in protest of the "clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion." Chen said it is working on a special promotion for T-Mobile BlackBerry customers that it will reveal soon. Chen finished by saying, "I would like to remind [T-Mobile] that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile. I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again. Notwithstanding the current challenge, we remain very excited about BlackBerry’s future."
Skype today revealed improvements to its mobile applications that answer common customer complaints. Moving forward, Skype will more reliably sync chat threads across multiple devices, be they smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The service now offers synced read receipts, as well, so users know their messages were delivered and read. The app has also been improved so that it opens faster, resumes quicker, and conserves power better. Individual apps for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry should become available in their respective app stores over the next few days.
BlackBerry today made an updated version of its BBM messaging product available to Android and iOS devices. The update is significant, and adds hallmark features such as BBM Voice and BBM Channels. BBM Voice lets users make free calls to other BBM users via Wi-Fi or cellular data networks. BBM Channels is a social network of sorts, and lets users subscribe to the channels of those who they find interesting. The update also makes it easier to share photos, videos, and documents; adds support for Dropbox for file sharing; and adds a wide array of new emoticons. BBM 2.0 for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively. BlackBerry is also making a small update available to the BlackBerry version of BBM, which adds Dropbox integration. It is free to download from blackBerry World.
Andrew Bocking, the executive in charge of BlackBerry's BBM product, has decided to leave the company. BlackBerry operates BBM as a separate business unit now that it is available to BlackBerries, Android devices, and the iPhone. Bocking's departure means BBM will fall under the purview of John Sims, who joined the company as recently as December. BBM is one of the four central businesses identified by CEO John Chen as key for the company moving forward. Bocking was appointed by Chen's predecessor, ousted CEO Thorsten Heins.
BlackBerry today announced that updates will be available for both the Android and iOS versions of BlackBerry Messenger this week. The revised application adds several new features, chief among them the ability to find friends. The app can scan the device owner's contact list and determine if any of the contacts are already registered BBM users. Further, BBM users can send invites to those not using BBM through the finder feature via SMS or email. BBM for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.
BlackBerry today made Facebook 10.3 available to smartphones running BlackBerry OS 10 and up. The updated social networking app includes a wide number of new features. For example, Facebook for BlackBerry now supports inline tagging when composing status updates. The app also adds notifications for news stories when they are posted to the user's newsfeed, makes it possible to delete or hide posts from the timeline, as well as lets users cache content for offline viewing. Facebook 10.3 is free to download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry today announced the pending availability of BlackBerry Messenger for Android devices running version 2.3.3 Gingerbread. The app entered open beta today, and BlackBerry intends to fully launch the app for Gingerbread devices next month. BBM is already available to Android devices running version 4.0 and up. BlackBerry did not say if the Gingerbread version will include all the same features found in the 4.0+ release.
BlackBerry today announced version 10.2.1 of its operating system for BlackBerry smartphones. The update adds a wide number of new features, and makes significant changes to the behavior of several key apps. For example, users can create filters in BlackBerry Hub and customize their own pinch gesture to automatically view the filtered messages. The phone application makes it easier to answer or reject calls with a new swiping motion. Users can now create SMS and email groups for simpler bulk message addressing. The lock screen adds actionable notifications, such as the ability to open incoming messages. The updated operating system adds a picture password, which uses a combination of a picture and a PIN to unlock the device. BlackBerry 10.2.1 lets users customize what appears on the settings menu, save web pages for offline reading, set preferred contact syncing, and improves the device/battery monitor to keep track of the handset and its status. The update adds an FM radio to the BlackBerry Z30, Q10, and Q5, lets users set automatic software updates over Wi-Fi, and adds more business-centric features that rely on BES 10. According to BlackBerry, BBOS 10.2.1 is available beginning today in the U.S., Canada, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific region. Exact timing will depend on carrier approval of the operating system. BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 is compatible with all BlackBerry 10 devices.
BlackBerry today said that it plans sell off nearly all of its real estate holdings in Canada. The company will, with its partner CBRE Limited, accomplish the divestiture through a combination of sale-leasebacks and vacant asset sales. According to BlackBerry, the sale covers more than three million square feet of office space. BlackBerry did not say how much money it hopes to make or save from the real estate sale. The move is meant to help BlackBerry shore up its balance sheet. Nokia took similar measures in 2013.
BlackBerry today indicated that Fairfax Financial Holdings will purchase another $250 million in debentures from BlackBerry, which should help improve its cash position. Fairfax already owns a 14% stake in BlackBerry and late last year bought $250 million in debt financing. Today's investment boosts its share of BlackBerry debentures to $500 million. BlackBerry took on the investment late last year after failing to sell itself to private investors. The company has struggled to sell smartphones in the face of fierce competition from rivals such as Apple and Samsung.
BlackBerry has hired Ron Louks to serve as president of devices and emerging solutions. Louks has worked for both HTC and Sony Ericsson in the past. Louks is being tasked with reviving BlackBerry's flagging smartphone division. The company recently announced that it will co-develop a new low-cost smartphone with Foxconn as it hopes to kickstart a comeback.
BlackBerry today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a start-up called Typo. Typo, which was founded by Laurence Hallier and Ryan Seacrest, announced the pending availability of a keyboard accessory that attaches to the Apple iPhone. The accessory is meant to help iPhone owners type on their device. According to BlackBerry, Typo lifted its design from BlackBerry. "This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry's iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design," said the company. BlackBerry contends that its physical keyboards are one of its market differentiators. The lawsuit was filed in California.
BlackBerry was forced to remove Twitter for BlackBerry version 10.2.2 from its app store after discovering a large number of bugs in the app. The company received numerous complaints from customers about the application and is investigating the problems. In the meantime, BlackBerry suggests that users downgrade to Twitter version 10.2.1 until the newer version is made available once more.
BlackBerry today announced a number of changes in how it will operate moving forward. It plans to transition its internal structure to four business segments: enterprise services, messaging, QNX embedded, and devices. BlackBerry believes this change will help it focus better on each individual business unit. The company said it has struck a five-year deal with Foxconn, a hardware manufacturer, to help it develop low-cost smartphones for emerging markets. It expects to announce the first such devices early next year. It will be a 3G smartphone that runs BB10. BlackBerry also plans to reveal new automotive cloud services, based on its QNX platform, in January. BlackBerry noted that its BBM messaging service has been downloaded and installed on more than 40 million Android and iOS devices since it became available earlier this year. The company generated revenue of $1.2 billion for the quarter, but saw smartphone sales drop significantly from 3.7 million in the previous quarter to 1.9 million in the current quarter. The company posted a loss of $4.4 billion, much of which it attributed to write-downs of unsold phone inventory.
BlackBerry today announced a significant update to the Twitter client for devices running BlackBerry OS 10 and up. Twitter 10.2.2 adds a handful of features, including the ability to see photo previews when images are embedded within posts; the ability to set BBM status from within Twitter; the ability to reply to Tweets with a new composition tool; and improved search results. Twitter for BlackBerry 10 is free to download from BlackBerry World.
BlackBerry today announced the availability of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10.2 software. The mobile device management suite for companies adds a handful of new features, including expanded support for Android and iOS devices. Companies that use BES 10.2 will be able to control app and system updates pushed to Android and iOS devices, as well as sandbox and secure work data separately from personnel data on devices owned by employees. BES 10.2 gives end users self-service options in order to help reduce calls to IT, and lets businesses manage more devices (up to 100,000) for less money. BES 10.2 can be downloaded directly from BlackBerry.
BlackBerry today said that BBM Channels has graduated from beta status and will begin rolling out this afternoon to all BlackBerries running OS 5 and up. BBM Channels 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. BBM Channels will be available for download from the BlackBerry World store starting at 3pm Eastern Time.
BlackBerry today announced another shift at the top level of its management. The company said that Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear, and Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben will both leave the Company. Further, James Yersh will replace Brian Bidulka as its Chief Financial Officer and Roger Martin, a board member since 2007, has resigned. The changes follow the departure of CEO Thorsten Heins, who was replaced by interim CEO John Chen. "BlackBerry has a strong cash position and continues to be the top provider of trusted and secure mobile device management solutions to enterprise customers around the world," said Chen. "I will continue to align my senior management team and organizational structure, and refine [BlackBerry's] strategy to ensure we deliver the best devices, mobile security and device management" solutions.
John S. Chen, BlackBerry's new chief executive officer and chairman of the board, issued a statement today about the company's direction. According to Chen, the company is committed to regaining its former stature in the mobile industry. "We have begun moving the company to embrace a multi-platform, BYOD world by adopting a new mobility management platform and a new device strategy. We are also leveraging our tremendous assets, including BBM, our network and QNX. While we are proud of these accomplishments, we know there is more work to be done. I know that it's going to take time, discipline and tough decisions to reclaim BlackBerry's success and we are ready for that challenge." Chen went on to say that the company remains committed to its customers and won't desert them. "We also want our customers to know that BlackBerry has significant financial strength for the long-haul," said Chen. "I believe in the value of this brand. With the right team and right strategy in place, I am confident that we will rebuild BlackBerry for the benefit of all of our constituencies." Chen was installed as BlackBerry CEO just last week after the company decided to remain an independent firm, rather than allow itself to be acquired. It accepted $1 billion in capital from Fairfax Financial Holdings, and ousted Thorsten Heins, who served as CEO from January 2012 to November 2012. Chen is officially an interim CEO while the company looks for a permanent replacement for Heins. Sales of BlackBerry smartphones have dwindled to a very small percentage of the market over the course of the last year, despite the launch of new hardware such as the Z10 and Q10.
Verizon Wireless today indicated that the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone will be available online beginning November 14. It costs $199.99 with a new two-year contract, or $22.91 per month for 24 months with Verizon Edge.
BlackBerry's new chief executive officer, John S. Chen, today said that the company has no plans to shutter its smartphone business unit. "I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business," said Chen, speaking to Reuters. "I have done this before and seen the same movie before." Chen is confident that the company has all the right ingredients to stage a meaningful comeback. Chen is taking the reigns from Thorsten Heins, who is exiting the company after arranging a $1 billion investment from Fairfax Financial Holdings and other firms.
BlackBerry has altered course and is no longer seeking to sell itself. The company today announced that it plans to replace CEO Thorsten Heins, replace several board members, and has secured $1 billion in financing from Fairfax Financial and other investors. The company was originally awaiting word from Fairfax Financial on a deal that would have seen the smartphone maker sold in its entirety to the private equity firm for $4.7 billion. Fairfax's deal had a deadline set to expire today. That deal is now off the table, as Fairfax was unable to raise the entire $4.7 billion. Instead, Fairfax is making a major investment in the company and Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will join BlackBerry's board. Fairfax is bringing in John S. Chen to serve as Executive Chair of BlackBerry's Board of Directors and interim CEO while the company searches for a new chief executive. Chen will replace Heins, who will resign once the deal closes. Heins has been CEO since January 2012, when he replaced former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. "Today's announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors," said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry's Board. "The Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. We are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner."
Former BlackBerry CEO and co-founder Mike Lazaridis is close to reaching an agreement with private equity firm Cerberus that would see them make a joint bid for the ailing smartphone maker. According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, Lazaridis and another co-founder of BlackBerry, Doug Fregin, may combine their own shares with capital from Cerberus. BlackBerry already has an offer on the table from Fairfax Financial Holdings with a November 4 deadline attached. If no other legitimate offers come through before November 4, Fairfax can move forward with its bid to acquire the company and take it private. Both Cerberus and Lazaridis have previously and separately made noise about making bids for BlackBerry. Several other firms have expressed interest, too, but no solid offers have been made other than the one from Fairfax. The Journal's sources say that while a deal between Lazaridis and Cerberus is a possibility, they may not make a bid in time to beat the November 4 deadline. Following its initial report, the Journal later reported that Qualcomm is talking to Lazaridis and Cerberus, as well.
Verizon Wireless today announced that the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone will reach company stores in early November. The device will be sold for $199.99 with a new contract, or for $22.91 for 24 months for customers who choose Verizon's Edge upgrade plan. The Z30 has a 5-inch HD display and runs BlackBerry 10.2.
SAP does not have any gaps in its mobile business services, said CFO Werner Brandt, and the company is unlikely to make any sort of play for BlackBerry. "Blackberry doesn't fit with our strategy," said Brandt in an interview with Euro am Sonntag magazine. SAP, based in Germany, offers software and services to businesses. BlackBerry has been shopping its business around to potential suitors while exploring strategic alternatives. It has an offer on the table from Fairfax Financial holdings, and several others have signed non-disclosure agreements with the company in order to assess the company's financial standing. Reuters reports that Google, Intel, and Cisco are still mulling whether or not to take a stab at acquiring all or portions of the ailing smartphone maker. The offer from Fairfax has a November 4 expiration date, meaning if no other significant offers are made before then, it can move forward with its acquisition plans.
BlackBerry today announced the release of BlackBerry OS 10.2. The updated operating system introduces a wide range of new features, such as Priority Hub, which learns what conversations are important to the user and automatically puts those messages at the top of the inbox. The inbox is now better at handling attachments, which can be organized across conversations. Other new features include improved BBM Video messaging with "natural sound"; previews of BBM, SMS, and email messages from within any app; improvements to the keyboard and copy-and-paste behavior; better sharing tools across social networks; reply to incoming calls with email, SMS, or BBM; and general improvements to the calendar. According to BlackBerry, BlackBerry 10.2 will be available in Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East beginning this week. It will reach Latin America next month, but won't reach the U.S. until "this winter." As always, the timing of the operating system update's availability will depend on each individual country and carrier.
BlackBerry today announced that it is restarting its aborted launch of BlackBerry Messenger for the Android and iOS platforms. The application should appear in the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store later today. In order to manage demand for the app, BlackBerry has established a sign-up process for it. Mobile device users interested in the messaging application will need to download the app and register to reserve a place in line. BlackBerry will then email people who've downloaded/installed the app when it can bring them aboard the service. BlackBerry said people will be able to monitor their "spot in line" to see how long it will take to activate the service, but it didn't provide any sort of estimate on how long that might be. According to BlackBerry, more than 7 million Android/iOS device owners have already registered to receive more details about the app. BlackBerry originally attempted to launch the app last month, but ran into trouble with the rollout and postponed it.
BlackBerry today announced a minor update to Facebook for its BlackBerry 10 devices. There are a handful of new features in the application, including the ability to delete status updates and other posts from within the app itself. Facebook for BlackBerry also now lets users preview links before posting them; use the app and view videos in landscape mode; see when chat messages have been read; as well as share wall posts on a friend's wall, in a group, in a list, or in a message. Facebook 10.2.2 for BlackBerry 10 is free to download from the BlackBerry World app store.
Founder and former co-CEO of BlackBerry, Mike Lazaridis, has indicated interest in buying the beleaguered smartphone maker. Lazaridis has increased his stake in the company from 5.7% to 8% this year. According to a security filing, Lazaridis has asked Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to review his stake and a possible bid. BlackBerry is currently weighing strategic alternatives and already has a $4.7 billion offer on the table from Fairfax Financial Holdings.
Wi-Lan today announced that it has resolved its patent-related suit with BlackBerry. The company sued BlackBerry over Bluetooth and LTE patents, which it alleged were violated in devices such as the BlackBerry Bold, Pearl, Storm, and Torch. Though terms of the agreement were not made public, BlackBerry has agreed to license some of Wi-Lan's patents. Wi-Lan has filed similar suits against Apple and HTC.
BlackBerry today announced that a new version of Twitter is available to devices running BlackBerry OS10, such as the Z10 and Q10. The updated application adds a number of new features, including the ability to view, create, subscribe, and edit Twitter lists; see trends based on personal interests and location; and scroll through tweeted images in the photo image gallery. The new app also showcases related account profiles, makes it easier to see which tweets have video links, and syncs read DMs across all devices and Twitter accounts. Twitter 10.2.1 is free to download from the BlackBerry World app store.
Cerberus Capital Management, a private capital investment firm, has expressed interest in BlackBerry, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. Cerberus is looking to sign a confidentiality agreement with BlackBerry so it can more fully assess the company's potential. BlackBerry is courting private equity companies in hopes of salvaging itself. It already has one offer on the table from Fairfax Financial, totaling some $4.7 billion. When asked to comment, BlackBerry said, "We do not intend to disclose further developments with the respect to the process until we approve a specific transaction or otherwise conclude the review of strategic alternatives."