Tag: blackberry

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.

Don’t fear the Big Blue Apple Alliance

blue-appleThe glorious alliance between soft fruit Apple and Big Blue has not put the fear of Jehovah into other potential fruity alliances.

According to Reuters  top executives at Dell and BlackBerry scoffed at the deal with their best scoffing sticks.

The pair have been trying to re-invent themselves, and some of the tame Apple press claims that the glorious Apple-IBM alliance will stuff up their efforts.

John Swainson, who heads Dell’s global software business, said that the Apple-IBM made a good press release but there was nothing in it which was worth taking seriously.

Swainson, who spent over two decades in senior roles at IBM, point out that IBM reps will be unable to flog Apple gear to their client base. He said that they were rubbish at selling that sort of thing when it had an IBM logo on it, so they are going to be just as pants at trying to sell stuff with an Apple on it.

While it is true that Apple products are better marketed, Swainson said they lack the depth of security features that many large business clients like banks need.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen told the Financial Times that the alliance was like when “two elephants start dancing”,

Dell and BlackBerry have declined to discuss whether they would consider teaming up, but some analysts, bankers and others have argued in the past that a partnership between the two underdogs potentially made sense.

Dell has a huge sales team, vast network of business clients and is focused on growing its security and device management capabilities which is everything that BlackBerry needs.

Android still miles ahead of iOS

googleplaycardsA report said that Google’s Android operating system is the leader of the pack for smartphone operating systems.

IDC said that it had a 39 percent share of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, amounting to 226.1 million units and giving it a 78.1 percent market share.

Signficantly behind was the Apple iOS, shipping 51 million units and holding a 17.6 percent share.

Next came Windows Phone, with volumes of 8.8 million units and a three percent market share. It showed the largest increase for the quarter with 46.7 percent growth in the quarter.

Blackberry held 0.6 percent of the market and saw a steep decline of 77 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

For the whole of 2013, the Android operating system shipped 793.6 million units out of an overall market of just over a billion units.

Daisy provides Blackberry fizz

DaisyDaisy Distribution is teaming up with BlackBerry by offering a partner incentive.

Daisy’s registered partners need to accumulate points – earned by selling Blackberry10s or BES10.2 CALs.

If partners tip up at its Evolving Solutions event, they’ll get a £50 voucher which can be used to close the fist sale.

BB10s are worth two points while BES10.2 CALs notch up five.  When they get to a minimum of 50 points, the partners can cash in. And if they clock up more than 300 points during the 1st of February to the 3rd of April, they can win up to £1,000.

Evolving Solutions kicks off at Whittlebury Hall & Spa on the 23rd of January.

Android leaps ahead in smartphone sales

Keep taking the tabletsA report from analyst company Gartner shows that while the Android OS has lept ahead in the third quarter of 2013, Apple’s iOS has lost share.

According to Gartner figures, Android has 81.9 percent share, iOS 12.1 percent, and Microsoft 3.6 percent.  In the same quarter last year, the figures were 72.6 percent, 14.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

Gartner attributes growth of Microsoft sales to decline in the shares of other OSes – particularly Blackberry, which had 1.8 percent in Q3 2013 compared to 5.2 percent in the same period last year.

On the smartphone device front, Samsung has 32.1 percent, Apple 12.1 percent, Lenovo 5.1 percent, and LG 4.8 percent for the third quarter.

The figures for smartphones shipped for the whole year is expected to reach 1.81 billion units, up 3.4 percent from 2012. Gartner thinks that in mature markets, people will buy smaller sized tablet over replacing older smartphones.

Midland boys win Grand Prix prize

grand_prixDaisy Distribution has named the two winners of a spiff it was offering on Blackberry products.

Dave Webster and Stuart Mico, who together own Midland Communications, will fly out to the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, and win five star accommodation for four nights, three day hospitality race access as well as Golden Circle entry to the post race concert.  They also get premium passes to the theme parks on Yas Island.

Daisy partners also had to complete the Blackberry 10 e-learning modules.

Julien Parven, MD at Daisy said: “The promotion proved to be a huge success, being open to our existing partners, those acquired through the recent MoCo Communications acquisition and other independent channel partners.”

Smartphones overtake feature phones

smartphones-genericSmartphone sales are up again, but growth is slowing. The worldwide market gobbled up 435 million phones in the second quarter, up 3.6 percent over the same period last year. However, worldwide smartphone sales have now reached 225 million units, up 46.5 percent from a year ago.

It was only a matter of time before smartphone shipments outpaced feature phone shipments and according to Gartner, this happened last quarter. Feature phone, or dumb phone shipments totalled just 210 million units, down 21 percent year-on-year.

“Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions.

Samsung still reigns supreme, with 71.4 million units shipped last quarter and a 31.7 percent market share. Apple ranks second with 31.9 million units, but it is losing market share fast. LG and Lenovo had a very good quarter, shipping 11.5 and 10.6 million smartphones respectively. ZTE ranked fifth with 9.7 million units. Nokia, HTC, Blackberry and Sony are no longer in the top five. However, the top five vendors accounted for just 60 percent of the market, while 40 percent went to smaller outfits, including an ever increasing number of Chinese white-box manufacturers.

gartner-smartphones-august2013

Gartner found that much of Samsung’s demand is now coming from mid-tier products and high-end devices with ASPs up to $400. It concluded that Samsung needs to do more to make its mid-range offering more appealing.  Oddly enough Apple also saw a dip in ASP, which is currently at the lowest level since 2007. This is the result of surprising strong sales of the iPhone 4 in some markets. Apple has recognized the trend and it plans to introduce a new, cheaper iPhone next month.

But Lenovo is the name to look out for. It’s making a killing in the dreary PC market and it’s doing even better in smartphones, although much of its effort goes unnoticed in the west. Lenovo almost doubled its share over the last 12 months and the company plans to bring its smartphones to western markets soon, possibly even next year.

Android remains the dominant operating system, with a 79 percent share, up from 64.2 percent a year ago. Apple’s iOS ranks second with a 14.2 percent share, down from 18.8 percent in Q2 2012. Microsoft gained some ground, but Windows Phone 8 still has a tiny share, 3.3 percent, up from 2.6 percent last year. Blackberry’s share halved to 2.7 percent and the Canadian company is now looking for a buyer. As with all things Blackberry, the decision comes three years too late.

Samsung pushing into Blackberry’s security territory

shoe phoneSamsung is managing to take over Blackberry’s mobile customers by promising them a layer of security to the standard Android.

Blackberry was always able to target business customers and government contracts because of its encrypted network system.

However it is starting to look like that is coming unstuck. Samsung is close to signing deals for its devices with the FBI and the US Navy, which have been traditional Blackberry customers.

Blackberry’s offerings have been looking somewhat out of date in comparison to the Android phones out there, however Blackberry has been able to claim that it was much more secure than anything else on the market.

That is where Samsung’s  KNOX slots into the market.  Samsung is touting it as a “comprehensive enterprise mobile solution” . KNOX addresses the mobile security needs of enterprise IT without invading the privacy of its employees.

In addition Samsung has hired executives away from BlackBerry, creating an enterprise-focused division within the company, and collaborating with third-party software firms.

Getting high profile contracts is an import step.  In the US Samsung also appears to be doing well, winning corporate customers from companies like American Airlines.

 

Blackberry UK boss heads for the door

blackberry-z10Blackberry UK and Ireland managing director Rob Orr has quit after just ten months on the job. According to Mobile News, Orr has quit with “immediate effect” and his departure has been confirmed by the company.

Blackberry said Orr resigned his post with immediate effect and wished him well for the future. Orr took over the UK operation of the fledgling smartphone maker in August. He joined the company in June 2006 and he became vice president of Blackberry EMEA three years later.

Earlier this year Orr oversaw the launch of Blackberry 10, which at this rate might very well be the company’s last operating system. Blackberry released two smartphones based on the new platform, the Z10 and Q10, but over the last five years the mobile landscape changed drastically and Blackberry’s traditional market has slowly evaporated, as business geeks traded in their trusty QWERTY crackberries for iPhones and Galaxies.

Handset sales up, Samsung gains share

nexus4-ceSmartphone wars are becoming rather predictable. Every quarter sales notch up and every quarter Samsung emerges as the big winner. The last quarter was no exception. However, growth is slowing as the market matures, although there is still plenty of room for growth in emerging markets. 

Worldwide phone sales totalled 426 million units in the first quarter, up 0.7 percent year-on-year. Smartphones saw a lot more growth, with sales totalling 2010 million units, up 42.9 percent from a year ago, according to a Gartner survey.

Sales of feature phones are down in all regions except Asia, while smartphones accounted for 49.3 percent of all phone sales worldwide, up from 34.8 percent in Q1 2012. At the same time feature phone sales contracted 21.8 percent.

“Feature phones users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further, either way the prospect of longer replacement cycles is certainly not good news for both vendors and carriers looking to move users forward,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said.

Samsung saw its market share go up from 21.1 percent to 23.6 percent. Apple also did well, growing from 7.8 to 9 percent, while Nokia’s share dropped from 19.7 to 14.8 percent. However, looking at smartphone sales, Samsung’s share was 30.8 percent, up from 27.6 percent. It was trailed by Apple at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent. LG grabbed the bronze, with a 4.8 percent share. Huawei also had a good quarter, upping their share to 4.4 and 3.8 percent respectively and outperforming former heavyweights like Nokia, Sony and HTC.

Android is still the dominant mobile operating system, with a share of 74.4 percent, up from 56.9 a year earlier. Apple’s iOS share stands at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent a year ago. Just so it wouldn’t look like a two-horse race, Blackberry is still in the game with a 3 percent share, down from 6.8 percent last year. Apparently BB10 did not make a huge difference. Windows Phone has a 2.9 percent share, up from 1.9 percent last year. It is growing, but at a painfully slow rate.

Blackberry hit by yearly revenue drop

ripeunripeBlackberry lost two percent of revenue in its fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, down $49 million, and a massive 36 percent drop from $4.2 billion year on year. However, it forecasts breaking even for the next quarter and a mobile analyst has told us the company should be financially viable for some time to come.

For the quarter, hardware accounted for 61 percent of the revenue, 36 percent for service and three percent for software and other revenue. It shipped six million Blackberry smartphones and roughly 370,000 Playbook tablets.

One half of the two-headed dragon that founded and used to run the company, Mike Lazaridis, will be leaving the company.

For its outlook, Blackberry said it will be increasing marketing spend for Q1 of fiscal 2014 to support Blackberry 10. This is a planned 50 percent increase in marketing, and the firm thinks it will be near breaking even, citing lower cost base, a more efficient supply chain and better hardware margins.

Jim Dawson, analyst at Ovum, told ChannelEye that every other company that’s suffered a severe drop in device revenues has struggled because cust cotting at a rapid rate is difficult. “Blackberry appears to have done a great job executing on its CORE strategy which includes reducing costs, and has managed to bring costs down significantly,” Dawson said. “As such, it was profitable this past quarter and should break even next quarter”.

“Given its good cash balance and lack of debt, it should be financially viable for quite some time at this rate, so I’m not overly concerned about the drop in revenues,” Dawson said. “I’m more concerned about the drop in subscribers, which is a longer-term indicator that it’s losing customers faster than it can win new ones”.

Europe to binge on cheap tablets

nexus7The tablet boom is still going strong and according to Forrester Research, plenty of growth is expected over the next few years. Tablet ownership in Europe is expected to quadruple by 2017.

At the moment, an estimated 14 percent of European online consumers own a tablet, and the number should hit 55 percent by 2017. But who stands to gain from the boom?

Retailer scorns Blackberry’s “sold out” claims

blackberry-z10UK retailers have rubbished claims by the mobile phone maker formerly known as RIM that its white Blackberry has sold out.

BlackBerry boss Thorsten Heins buzzed enthusiastically that the BlackBerry Z10 white model is completely out of stock after only being launched last week.

While retailers have said that the BlackBerry Z10 has seen an exceptional first sales week it was not quite what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins painted, when he claimed that the white version was sold out already and the black was hard to stock up again.

Mobile retailer Phones 4u has confirmed that while over 55 percent of its 680 stores sold out of the BlackBerry Z10 over the launch weekend, the lighter hued handset is, unlike Heins’ comments suggested, still available.

In fact Trusted Reviews said that if you are prepared to do the leg work you can easily find one. In the UK London-based Phones 4u outlets are the exclusive supplier for the white BlackBerry Z10.
Oxford Street has both colours and was telling worried punters that they did not have to run to pick one up as they had shedloads out the back.

Regent Street only had the white BlackBerry Z10 left.

Heins does need the Z10 to be a success, but does seem to be overestimating how well it is doing. Analysts claiming Heins is attempting to boost the hype surrounding the new device, particularly as many of them think that the phone is too little too late to save RIM, er Blackberry.

Scott Hooton, Chief Commercial Officer at Phones 4u said that while a few stores did sell out of the Blackberry Z10 on launch weekend, but the outfit replenished its stock within hours.