Tag: blackberry

BlackBerry shows off its security escape route

Andy-Dufresne-with-arms-wide-openTroubled smartphone maker BlackBerry revealed its cunning plan to escape doom by becoming a security company.

BlackBerry showed off a suite of security products that safeguard everything from medical gear to Hollywood movie scripts.

BlackBerry whose smartphone market share has dwindled, is trying become a little more software-focused. BlackBerry’s Chief Executive John Chen said in an interview just before an event in New York said that he was satisfied with the progress on the turnaround so far.

“I laid out the $500 million software revenue target and I’m still comfortable with that commitment for this fiscal year, it looks good,” he said.

The full turnaround he has been promising could take longer than initially promised. Going by his early timetable, BlackBerry would now be about six months away from seeing real traction from its overhaul.

Chen said he now sees it taking about 12 to 18 months for investors to reap rewards.

Analysts have been sceptical about the company’s ability to steadily and sustainably grow software revenue, even as revenues from its smartphone unit and legacy system access fees decline.

“We’re patiently building the product pipeline and the sales channel,” he said.

“There is still much work to do, I’d love for everything to move faster, but I caution people to be a bit patient because we can’t rebound in a very short period of time, no company can. We are doing all the right things for the long term and the company is out of financial trouble.”

The outfit does have a few problems as it had not set itself up as software delivery company and did not have a decent channel.

BlackBerry’s Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard, adding that measures taken in the last year have improved BlackBerry’s ability to identify and target potential clients.

Blackberry calls in the Cisco kid

hqdefault (2)Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry has named former Cisco Kid Carl Wiese as head of global sales – a move which is expected to shake-up the company’s channel.

Wiese has spent the past 12 years at Cisco, first heading advanced technology sales and later its collaboration-product sales efforts. Those teams focus on aspects such as security and web conferencing, areas that BlackBerry is trying to expand within.

Wiese, who has previously worked with Apple, Avaya, Lucent and Texas Instruments, will be responsible for driving its go-to-market strategy and global sales efforts.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said in a statement said that Wiese had extensive experience in enterprise software and emerging technology solutions, which will be instrumental as BlackBerry moves toward stabilising revenue. Or in English, making money again.

The move comes less than three weeks after BlackBerry posted weaker-than-expected sales growth from its software business in the first quarter.

Chen, who set a software revenue target of $500 million for the current fiscal year, has built his turnaround plan around a software growth strategy, hoping sales from device-management software and fledgling areas like the Internet of

Things can replace BlackBerry’s traditional service fee structure and falling revenue from smartphone sales.

BlackBerry declined to comment on whether Wiese’s appointment, which followed his successor John Sims’ exit was tied to weaker-than-expected software revenue growth. But it is expected that he will look to the channel to improve the company’s bottom line.

BlackBerry is also widely expected to debut a new Android-based smartphone this year in an attempt to boost its hardware sales.

Redmond wants a Blackberry slice

blackberry tartThe dark satanic rumour mill is churning out a hell on earth yarns claiming that Microsoft is close to buying up a slice of the canadian telecommunications company BlackBerry.

A few other tech companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei are also amongst those interested in buying the outfit but Microsoft has been wining and dining a few investment firms to assess their chances of taking over BlackBerry.

Its plan is to upgrade its intensity in the business mobile solution segment and its patent portfolio in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), as well as mobile platform and communications sectors.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturers are mainly intended to invest in BlackBerry so that they can improve their brand visibility across US and European business sectors.

So far it is all rumour and speculation but BlackBerry has frequently been tipped to be ready for buying out before and it has never happened.  However sources in the Redmond lair have admitted that the stuffed head of Blackberry would look nice on its CEO’s wall.

BlackBerry said recently that it will  lay off number of employments across the globe and will merge its device software, hardware and applications business. It also indicated that it was “changing assets to profit” by development opportunities and accomplish benefit over all regions of business.

So far that involves scaling down its mobile phone division, which might mean Microsoft  will have to move fast if it there is going to be anything left of Blackberry.

Blackberry puts security on IoT

Samsung Browses BlackberryTelephone outfit BlackBerry is launching a new certificate service that will help bring the security level it offers on smartphones to the Internet of Things

Certicom, a subsidiary of BlackBerry, announced a new offering that it contends will secure millions of devices, expected to be part of the Internet of Stuff (IoT).

It said that it had already won a contract in Britain to issue certificates for the smart meter initiative there with more than 104 million smart meters and home energy management devices.

The service will make it much easier for companies rolling out such devices to authenticate and secure them, the company said.

In another move BlackBerry also outlined a plan to expand its research and development efforts on innovation and improvement in computer security.

Dubbed the BlackBerry Centre for High Assurance Computing Excellence (CHACE) said that it will to develop tools and techniques that deliver a far higher level of protection than is currently available

 

BlackBerry makes a profit

Samsung Browses BlackberryIt seems that BlackBerry has turned the corner as it reported a quarterly profit today – results that sent its share price up by over five percent.

Revenues however fell to $550 million for its quarter, down from $793 million in the same period last year. Net profit was £28 million, compared to a loss in the same quarter last year of $148 million.

So what’s BlackBerry doing right? It seems that CEO John Chen is keeping a close eye on expenses but its revenue from software rose 20 percent in the quarter, accounting for $67 million in revenues.

Despite its formerly impregnable position as the handheld of choice for the corporate market, sales of its more up to date models don’t appear to be particularly good.

BlackBerry is attempting to change its model from hardware and services to software.

Wall Street analysts hailed the profit figure but fretted about the revenue, which the company had estimated would be $786 million.

GCHQ builds a very British supercomputer

logoBritish spooks have built themselves a new supercomputer made by connecting Blackberry Pis all made in Britain.

GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA, has created a 66 Raspberry Pi cluster called the Bramble for “educational” purposes. It is not clear what those education purposes are, but you are unlikely to need a supercomputer to make a dry martini, or do your seven times table.

The spooks had an internal competition to invent something and three, unnamed, GCHQ technologists decided that other Pi clusters were too ad-hoc. They set created a cluster that could be reproduced as a standard architecture to create a commodity cluster.

The basic unit of the cluster is a set of eight networked Pis, called an “OctaPi” – one thing you have to admit is that the Raspberry Pi. The size of the OctaPi was dictated by the need to make the unit reasonable from the point of view of size, power consumption, cooling and so on. The Pis are driven by power over ethernet (PoE) to reduce the wiring and each one has an LED display.

Each OctaPi can be used standalone or hooked up to make a bigger cluster. In the case of the Bramble a total of eight OctaPis makes the cluster 64 processors strong.

There are two head control nodes, which couple the cluster to the outside world. Each head node has one Pi, a wired and WiFi connection, realtime clock, a touch screen and a camera.

All of the Pis are model Bs, but changing to a B2 would make the cluster a lot more powerful and cost about the same.

Rather than just adopt a standard cluster application like Hadoop, OctaPi’s creators decided to develop their own. The software to manage the cluster is now based on Node.js, Bootstrap and Angular.

The Bramble was shown off at the recent Big Bang Fair held in Birmingham, UK, which was aimed at getting children interested in science and engineering.

According to the press release: “The initial aim for the cluster was as a teaching tool for GCHQ’s software engineering community… The ultimate aim is to use the OctaPi concept in schools to help teach efficient and effective programming. Watch this space for more details!”

SEC investigates Blackberry deals

watchdogWatchdogs  for the US Securities and Exchange Commission are snuffling around the rump of a January 14 spike in trading in BlackBerry options that took place hours before Reuters reported that Samsung Electronics was in talks to buy the Canadian smartphone maker.

One trade took place at 12:06 p.m. on that day, when there was a purchase of options with the rights to buy 200,000 shares of BlackBerry stock at a strike price of $10 a share.

In the afternoon, Reuters reported that Samsung had offered to buy BlackBerry for as much as $7.5 billion, valuing its stock at between $13.35 to $15.49 per share.

BlackBerry’s stock shot up 30 percent on the news meaning that someone was laughing all the way to the bank. If the buyer had been able to sell the options at that high they would have been able to make a profit of $490,000 on a $20,000 investment.

Both companies later denied they were in talks and BlackBerry’s shares tumbled. Reuters subsequently corrected its story to make clear that the discussions were between advisors.

Blackberry denies Samsung buy out

 blackberry-juicerBlackberry has moved to dismiss claims that it is about to be bought by Samsung.

The source of the rumours was Reuters which claimed that a deal was close and Samsung was  ready to make an offer that John Chen and BlackBerry’s board may be reluctant to refuse. Samsung is willing to pay roughly $7.5 billion for BlackBerry’s assets – including its patent portfolio – Reuters claimed.

Apparently Samsung became interested in Blackberry two months after the two companies entered a strategic partnership to bring BlackBerry’s BES12 cross-platform EMM solution to Galaxy smartphones and tablets that feature embedded KNOX technology. At the time, the two companies indicated that they were looking forward to future ventures together.

The move seems all logical, but it is not quite, but completely and utterly untrue claimed Blackberry.

In a statement the company said it was aware of certain press reports published today with respect to a possible offer by Samsung to purchase BlackBerry.

“BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s policy is not to comment on rumours or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further,” the phone maker said.

Lenovo in talks to buy Blackberry

ripeunripeChinese telecom gear maker Lenovo is in talks to buy Lenovo and is expected to offer the company $15 a share later this week.

Lenovo and BlackBerry refused to comment and this is not the first time that the two have been rumoured to be involved in a tie up.

Senior Lenovo executives have indicated an interest in BlackBerry as a means to strengthen their own handset business. Last year, when BlackBerry said was exploring strategic alternatives, Lenovo was named as an obvious buyer.

The Canadian government put the brakes on any deal when it announced that any sale to Lenovo would not win the necessary regulatory approvals due to security concerns. At the time, the Canadian government had swallowed the US Cool aid which stated that Chinese companies were turning over data to their government through secret spyware. In fact, US companies were turning over data to their government.

BlackBerry’s secure networks manage the email traffic of thousands of large corporate customers, along with government and military agencies across the globe. Under Canadian law, any foreign takeover of BlackBerry would require government approval under the Industry Canada Act.

Analysts also say any sale to Lenovo would face regulatory obstacles, but they have suggested that a sale of just BlackBerry’s handset business and not its core network infrastructure might just sneak past the regulators.

BlackBerry was believed to want to off-load its handset business, even as the arm turned a profit before special items in the last quarter.

BlackBerry chief executive officer John Chen has said in the past he sees the handset business as core to the company for now, as it will foster sales growth over the next few quarters until the software and services business begins to generate new revenue streams in the first half of 2015.

Blackberry loses $207 million

blackberry-juicerThere’s still a way to go for Blackberry even though it launched a new smartphone earlier this week.

The company turned in a loss of $207 million for its second financial quarter.  That’s way less than the $965 million it made in the same quarter last year.

The Canadian company said revenues for the quarter amounted to $916 million – with 46 percent representing hardware, 46 percent services, and eight percent for software and other sales.

Blackberry shifted 2.4 million smartphones to end users and cut down its channel inventory.

John Chen, CEO and chairman of the company said: “We delivered a solid quarter against our key operational metrics and we are confident we will achieve break even cash flow by the end of financial year 2015. “Our workforce restructuring is now complete.”

It said it hoped to maintain its strong cash position in the future and will look for opportunities to “prudently invest in growth”.

Blackberry goes square with Passport design

blackberry-juicerMobile phone company Blackberry officially released its Passport device, which has a square touch screen and a touch enabled QWERTY keyboard.

It said the unit follows the design of real passports.

The device uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for the display and stainless steel to make it that bit more rugged.

The screen is 4.5-inches square using a 1:1 aspect ratio and a 1440 x 1440 pixel HD display. It has 32GB of storage and a 13 megapixel camera.

The keyboard lets you perform touch functions on the keyboard, scroll web pages, and leaving the full screen space for viewing.

It comes with Blackberry 10.3 operating system along with Amazon Appstore and Blackberry Blend.blackpass

It claims that it has long battery use – and for a very active user provides up to 30 hours of life.

The unit comes with speakers and a quad microphone system/  It’s available now, worldwide.

BlackBerry buys a UK company

blackberry-juicerMobile manufacturer BlackBerry said it has bought a UK company Movitu. Financial details of the transaction weren’t revealed.

Movitu makes so called virtual identities for mobile operators that lets many numbers to be active on a single device.

BlackBerry said this help device management for bring your own device (BYOD) and corporate environments.

The Movitu Virtual SIM platform lets business numbers and personal numbers be used on the same device with separate billing for voice, for data and for messaging.

The advantage is that employees can use the same phone for both company business and their own personal use.

The Virtual SIM capabilities will be offered by BlackBerry through mobile operators for all main smartphone operating systems, including Android, iOS and Windows.

Blackberry turns back on phones

ripeunripeThe other fruity company which once had the world in the palm of its hand, Blackberry, is now turning its back on handsets and created a new business unit that will combine some of its most brilliant ideas and patents.

Dubbed BlackBerry Technology Solutions the outfit will be headed by Sandeep Chennakeshu, the former president of Ericsson Mobile Platforms and former chief technology officer of Sony-Ericsson.

John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive officer said that by combining all these assets into a single business unit will work rather well and open new revenue streams.

Chen has already stripped out much of Blackberry’s consumer-oriented businesses, sold property and laid off employees.

Analysts say that the new unit reinforces the fact that Blackberry’s days as a handset vendor are behind it as it moves “very aggressively” toward a different business.

Blackberry has not had much luck flogging its gear in the consumer market. It could not get its products out on time and faced stiff competition from other smartphone.

Chennakeshu, who has 73 patents to his name,  is well known in the wireless, electronics and semiconductor industries.

BlackBerry Technology Solutions includes QNX, the company that BlackBerry bought and used to develop the operating system that became the platform for its new smartphones, and Certicom, a former independent Toronto-area company with advanced security software.

BlackBerry Technology Solutions will also include BlackBerry’s Project Ion, which is an application platform focused on machine-to-machine Internet technology, Paratek antenna tuning technology and about 44,000 patents.

 

NSA proof phone rooted in five minutes

756px-Lu_Zhishen_Water_Margin_2The ultra secure “NSA-Proof “Blackphone was hacked in just inside five minutes during a Blackhat hacking conference.

@TeamAndIRC rooted the device without needing to unlock the bootloader and turned on ADB on the device. The vulnerability that allowed this to happen is now semi-fixed and needs the user to take action to be able to exploit the weakness.

Blackphone was made by Silent Circle and Geeksphone, and it is designed to provide a suite of secure services running on a fork of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Called PrivatOS, it is meant to provide a consumer level access to secure options that protect personal data from being leaked to third parties.

It was dubbed as “nsa proof” by her Majesty’s loyal press mostly as what passes for humour in such circles, because it came out after the Snowden affair.

Still its ironic that yet again even the most secure of Android phones are susceptible to the inherent to Android OS which was never built with security in mind.

Blackberry and Blackphone have been scrapping over which one is the most secure.  BlackBerry, sniffed that Blackphone was okay for the average Joe and plain Jane, but“unacceptable” for enterprise and pretty customers. The reason was that Blackberry could protect the whole of the communication because it controlled the network, while the Blackphone could only look after the client end.

@TeamAndIRC assures everyone that it will be working out how to prove that Blackberry is just as bad and will get onto it right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Blackberry crush over

blackberry-juicerThe long and painful restructuring of Canada’s Blackberry mobile phone outfit is officially over.

According to an internal memo, spotted by Reuters. BlackBerry’s Chief Executive John Chen has said that the restructuring notification process and the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind the company.

So if your bottom is on a seat and you are reading the memo, then your job is safe for now.

Chen said that “barring any unexpected downturns in the market” Blackberry will be starting to hire staff in some areas such as product development, sales and customer service.

He thanked those who stayed with the company through the process and did not flee like rats from a sinking ship.

To give an idea of the scale of the cuts, over the last three years BlackBerry has lost 60 percent of its staff.

Chen, who took the reins at BlackBerry roughly eight months ago, has moved rapidly to stabilize the company by selling non-core assets, partnering to make the company’s manufacturing and supply chain more efficient, and raising cash through property sales.

In the memo, Chen told employees that he believes BlackBerry is now well on its way to recovery and that he is confident the company will meet its goal of being cash flow positive by the nd of the current fiscal year.

Chen stressed in the memo there was “no margin for error to complete BlackBerry’s turnaround to success,” and he called on employees to remain focused as the company rolls out an upgrade to its device management system and its new Passport and Classic devices later this year.