Blackberry Priv Receives Permanent Price Cut

The current smartphone sector is extremely competitive and it’s a huge challenge to produce something which has widespread mass market appeal. At the higher end, Samsung and Apple remain the dominant force but there is competition from other leading manufacturers. The LG G4 and its predecessor received superb user reviews but didn’t really translate into the sales numbers the company hoped for. On another note, the advent of cheap Chinese handsets offer superb value for users on a budget. Furthermore, many consumers are content with their existing model and see no reason to upgrade.

Despite Blackberry’s strong history in the mobile market, they’ve struggled to adapt and remain relevant due to the rise of other manufacturers. Part of this is down to their own custom operating system which failed to attract app developers and resulted in a low adoption rate. As a result, many developers believe it’s not a worthwhile financial investment to create apps with such a low return. This also applies to Windows phone models. Eventually, Blackberry realized the dominance of Android and iOS and decided to launch a brand new phone without the Blackberry operating system.

The ‘Priv’ is Blackberry’s first high-end Android device with a concealed keyboard. This is quite a novel idea given the popularity of touch screen handsets. Of course, the Priv offers great flexibility to use the touch screen and a membrane keyboard. This makes it easier to compile e-mails or write large documents. Blackberry’s long-term success in the smartphone market heavily relied on the Priv’s performance and initial sales had been “quite positive”. However, figures released by the company last week showed further decline in their hardware division.  This prompted the company’s CEO to suggest Blackberry might pull out of the smartphone sector altogether if they fail to make a profit by September.

To react to this worrying situation, Blackberry have instigated a permanent price cut on the Priv across various regions. For example, in the US, it’s been reduced from $699.99 to $649.99. UK buyers will experience a price cut from £559 to £529 which Europeans can now acquire the handset for €729. In Canada, for some bizarre reason, the price remains unchanged.

BlackBerry Lays Off 200 Employees in Restructuring Programme

BlackBerry’s position in the global smartphone market has been extremely fragile due to the rise of iOS and Android devices. Additionally, the BlackBerry 10 operating system was a commercial failure and struggled to entice app developers to the platform. Personally, I quite like Blackberry 10 but it’s difficult to make users migrate if their favourite apps are missing. This is a similar problem faced on Windows mobile handsets. Thankfully, Blackberry’s management finally realized the operating system was limiting the appeal of their devices, and decided to create a brand new model using Android. The Blackberry Priv has a sliding keyboard, gorgeous touch screen, and premium feel backing. It’s quite uncommon for modern handsets to include a keyboard, which makes it a great choice for business users writing long e-mails.

Whether or not the move to Android will reinvigorate Blackberry’s mobile sales is unknown. I don’t think the Priv name did them any favours because it doesn’t evoke any kind of enthusiasm for the product. This is a shame because the Priv is a fantastic device and well worth checking out! Sadly, BlackBerry’s turbulent financial situation means they have to make some pretty tough decisions. Recently, the company laid off around 200 employees in Canada and Florida. The official statement reads:

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,”  

“As a result, approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.”

BlackBerry also laid off 75 manufacturing workers at its Sunrise, Florida office between February 4th and February 26th according to a notice filed with the State of Florida. In theory, BlackBerry is working on two new handsets sporting the Android operating system. Although, it’s unclear if a BlackBerry 10 powered device will ever be released again. At the current time, BlackBerry could exit the smart phone sector unless efficiencies are made or there’s an upturn in profit margins.

Image courtesy of CrackBerry.com

Windows Phone Store Gets BBM Beta After Reaching 10,000 User Sign-Ups in 24 Hours

BlackBerry’s popular messaging app, BBM, is stated to have reached the 10,000 sign-up number for Microsoft’s Windows Phone Beta in about 24 hours. This means that Windows Phone users running on Windows Phone 8 or above operating systems are now able to download the app from the Windows Phone Store.

The company has stated that it will release the app in beta form at first, but this does not mean it will lack features present on other platforms, such as the iOS or Android. It is said that BBM Chat, BBM Groups, Find Friends, BBM Feeds and even Pin to Start are available in the Windows Phone app.

Due to its lack of funds, BlackBerry has extended its service to other platform in order to monetize its products. We have previously seen Microsoft do the same with its mobile version of Microsoft Office, having it released for both iOS and Android ahead of its own Windows Phone operating system.

Also, BlackBerry has stated that BBM users decide on which platform they would like to see the service. Since most demand was previously for iOS and Android, Windows Phone fell short and did not receive the app. However, its addition to the Windows Phone Store will also benefit both users and the company, having users talk on their preferred messaging app and BlackBerry making a lot of money out of it.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

BlackBerry Adds Stickers to its BBM Instant Messaging Applications To Attract Users

One of the best features of an instant messaging application, besides all of your friends using it, is stickers. Just like Viber, it appears that BBM is starting to offer this service to its users.

BBM is planning to take advantage of the oversized emoticons phenomena to attract more people into using its BBM service, deploying stickers for users to send and receive in their conversations. The packs have names such as “CosCat”, “Gilbert’s Tales” and “Bubble Bot” and will be sold directly from the application, containing around 20 to 25 images a pack.

It is also said that some stickers packs may be available for free, including one of that reworks existing BBM emoticons for the larger new medium. BlackBerry stated that the stickers will enter a closed beta today, however no information about when they will be available to everyone or how to join in was given. Also, BBM received a recent update which added a number of features to Android and iOS as well, including voice calls, support for its Channels feature, location sharing, and attachments.

BlackBerry is moving towards providing a great quality application, full of features, and as of recent stickers as well. However, what it really needs now is users.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

BBM Messenger Gets Find Friends Feature, Helps Find Nearby Friends To Add

BlackBerry is improving its popular BBM for iOS and Android, and we all know it since the company just launched an update for both platform recently. A new feature has been introduced as well, coming by the name of Find Friends.

That the feature does is it searches for nearby friends that use the BBM client as well, and if it finds them, you can then choose to send them your PIN through an invitation. It is not something that revolutionary, since other applications such as WhatsApp or Viber have something similar, but it will be a nice addition for those of you that want to know exactly who is using the app and not flood all your friends who don’t use the app.

But of course, for those who still want to nag their friends into joining BBM Messenger, an email and SMS invitation feature will also be present which will give a link to the respective iOS, Android or BlackBerry store to download the app.

After the BBM Messager receives the update, the Find Friends feature will appear the first time you launch the application, and afterwards you can find the feature in the “Invites” tab menu, which can be tapped and accessed from the bottom menu bar.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

BlackBerry Bringing BBM Voice And BBM Channels To iOS And Android Users This Year

People all over the world were overly excited with the launch of BBM services on iOS and Android. Millions were waiting in line for a spot to get connection through BlackBerry’s IM service, where you had to wait for an e-mail to confirm your account. BlackBerry literally got flooded with subscription requests on BBM’s the launch day.

However, it seems that BlackBerry has something new coming for the popular IM service. Since BBM on iOS and Android only support text messages, BlackBerry decided that iOS and Android users should benefit from BBM Voice and BBM Channels, currently available to BlackBerry smartphone users. The features are nothing new compared to other apps used daily, but since the BBM service received such a big response from iOS and Android users, it would be a strategic move for BlackBerry to add some more features to its growing service.

BBM Voice is a voice call feature, such as Skype or Viber. It basically lets the user call another account as a normal phone call, only it will use the internet to connect instead of using up your subscription minutes or filling up your bill. Those with unlimited mobile internet subscriptions will probably be thrilled about this.

BBM Channels is a sort of social network, ‘more like Tumblr’ as a BlackBerry representative describes it, where users can find a topic they are interested in, such as a brand, an interest, a hobby etc. and join in on the conversations of the given topic. It is an interesting and ‘robust’ idea as they have put it, however we will just have to see if the service will get the desired attention and user appreciation.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Re-TWQt8W8[/youtube]

We see that users will also be able to share photos and voice memos, as well as their location for a limited amount of time. How they will implement it, that is a good question indeed. The updated version of BBM has not been given an official release date, but it is said to hit the appstores somewhere in February, if not sooner.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Endgadget

Windows Phone’s Marketplace Will Not Get BlackBerry’s BBM Anytime Soon

BlackBerry’s BBM is available for iOS, Android, as well as BlackBerry itself. Though, nothing is heard about the newly rising Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft’s WP Marketplace has been short of applications, including well-known and used applications. This is the case for BBM too, whereas the app will not be seen in the WP Marketplace anytime soon.

The news comes directly from BlackBerry’s senior director of BBM, stating that BBM will become available in Windows Phone devices when demand for it will suffice the investment in porting the application. This does not mean that Windows Phone will be discriminated though. BBM will also be ported to other platforms, including Microsoft’s WP operating system, but later on as it is expected. Looking at Vine and Instagram, both application eventually got ported to the WIndows Phone Marketplace, but only after the number of demands reached an acceptable number seen from a financial point of view.

As all businesses out there, BlackBerry is always judging from a financial point of view. And currently, it does not make any sense to release a WP variant of BBM since there are not enough users interested in downloading the application on their Windows Phone powered devices, hence BlackBerry is most likely to lose money in porting the app rather than make more money by launching it on other platforms.

Currently Windows Phone is slightly surpassing BlackBerry in global market share, while iOS and Android are miles away. If Microsoft will make some serious changes in the new Windows Phone update which will be announced in April, maybe BBM will have a change in popping up in the Marketplace sooner rather than later.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Micromax Canvas Turbo with 5-inch 1080p display, 2GB RAM, 13MP To Launch In India

Micromax has launched the most expected Canvas Turbo, the company’s latest flagship smartphone in India. It has a 5.0-inch having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, CGS (Continuous Grain Silicon) IPS display, powered by 1.5 GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6589T processor and runs on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean. It has a 13-megapixel auto focus rear camera with LED Flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera similar to the Canvas 4. It has Camerazzi camera which offers a lot of features including 360 degree panorama, Cinemagraph that lets users animate still photographs (.GIF) and Object Eraser feature allows users to erase unwanted objects from still pictures that are shot with the smartphone.

The Canvas Turbo has Freewheel feature which gives access to various apps and features with one click (SMS, Call, Pop-up video player and Pop-up Browser). It has full aluminum casing and packs a 2000 mAh battery. It supports OTA updates and comes pre-loaded with BBM & Hike for Instant Messaging, Spuul to Watch Free Movies, Kingsoft Office to read, write and edit attachments On-the-Go, M!Security, M!Unlock, M!Live portal and Game-hub.

The Micromax Canvas Turbo comes in pristine white and midnight blue colors and is priced at Rs. 19,990 (MOP). It would be available from leading retail outlets across India from October 26, 2013.

Thank you Fonearena for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Fonearena

BlackBerry OS 10.2 Update To Arrive This Week

BlackBerry has announced the release date for the OS 10.2 firmware update. BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Q5 are the devices eligible for upgrade, while the Z30 is running on 10.2 out of box.

The BlackBerry 10.2 update brings a new Priority Hub, BBM Video with Natural Sound feature, messages preview from any app, better keyboard, easier sharing options, lockscreen notifications, better calendar and reject call with SMS/BBM option.

BlackBerry 10.2 launches for the BlackBerry smartphones in Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe and the Middle East this week. Latin America will be getting the update in November, while USA will follow at the begging of winter. Of course, the update rollout also depends on if your device is unlocked SIM-free or carrier-locked. If you got your Z10/Q10 on a contract you may have to wait a few more weeks to get you phone up to date.

Details about the features and improvements which come with the new OS 10.2 are listed below:

  • Priority Hub
Keep your important conversations closer than ever with the new Priority Hub. Always at your fingertips, Priority Hub learns what conversations are most important to you and automatically puts those messages at the top of your inbox, helping you to stay focused on the critical items. On top of that, the new attachment view helps you organize files and documents across your messaging accounts and within specific message threads.
  • BBM Video with Natural Sound
BBM Video has always allowed you to have a live face-to-face conversation with anyone, anywhere. Now, with Natural Sound, BBM Video and Voice conversations between BlackBerry 10 smartphones sound more natural and realistic. It’s the next best thing to being in the same room. We’re able to accomplish this because BlackBerry Natural Sound captures a wider sound spectrum, so you can hear subtle nuances that are lost in most cellular calls.
  • Instant Previews of BBM, SMS and Email from any app
Stay in the flow. BBM, SMS and E-mail messages now find you no matter what you are doing on your BlackBerry. See email, BBM and SMS message previews appear in any app – you can even respond to your BBM or SMS messages in any app or go to the BlackBerry Hub with a single swipe to respond to your email. Perfect for keeping the conversation going while you browse the web, watch a video, or use other apps. Of course, you can tailor these notifications to the way you work to ensure you’re only notified as much as you want to be.
  • BlackBerry Keyboard
The smartphone keyboard that knows your next move just got even smarter. With personalized next word suggestion, auto-correction, and the distinctive BlackBerry keyboard layout, we’ve built this keyboard to help you have conversations with speed and accuracy. And on the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Z30, improved audio feedback with distinct tones for specific keys like backspace, and shift helps you type more confidently because you’ll have more reassurance you’ve hit the right key.
  • Copy and Paste Enhancements 
Copy and paste just got easier. Not only does BlackBerry 10.2 offer more precise cursor control, text selection is now easier. Once you select text, a pop up menu gives you editing options and direct sharing with BBM, Facebook and Twitter – so you can quickly copy, paste and share
  • Faster, Easier Sharing
BlackBerry 10.2 learns how you share and who you share with, helping you reduce the number of steps and amount of time it takes to get your files, photos, or documents to where they need to go. Touching “share” in any app provides suggestions on who and how to share your files based on how you’ve shared in the past, and the feature only gets smarter the more you use it.
  • Lock Screen Notifications
When the red light on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone is flashing, you don’t have to unlock the phone to see your message. Notifications on the lock screen now let you take a peek at the latest email, text, BBM, or notification to see if that’s the message you’ve been waiting for or one that can wait a while. You can customize which accounts appear on the lock screen and scroll over the icons to display the sender and subject line.
  • Reply Now
Reply Now lets you respond to incoming phone calls, even when it’s not a good time to answer the phone. Easily send a response through BBM, SMS or email – choose from a list of standard automated responses or respond with a personalized note. Perfect for ensuring that important contacts are always given your attention.
  • Calendar Enhancements

BlackBerry Calendar now comes with an ‘I’m running late’ function so you can instantly let meeting participants know if you’ll be late. You can even specify a new time in your notification. And, with a redesigned interface that makes adding an event easier, managing your time is simple.

BlackBerry 10.2 OS gives you a lot of new reasons to love your BlackBerry 10 smartphone, and we haven’t even mentioned the updates to Docs to Go, a new BlackBerry Hub icon, camera enhancements—but the best way to experience all BlackBerry 10.2 has to offer is to try it for yourself. Remember to back up before updating

Thank you GSM Arena and Blackberry.com for providing us with this information.

BlackBerry Tries To Reassure Customers With Open Letter

In an attempt to reassure worried customers and investors, Blackberry has issued an open letter addressing customers, partners and fans. The open letter is trying to deliver the message that “You can continue to count on BlackBerry” despite the company’s troubled performance this year. The most recent incident that caused people to lose faith in BlackBerry came when they announced a $1 billion inventory write-down on the Z10 handset that failed miserably to meet sales expectations.

The open letter acknowledges that “These are no doubt challenging times for us and we don’t underestimate the situation or ignore the challenges” but it also states “speaking of those dramatic headlines, it’s important that we set the record straight on a few things”. Blackberry claims that with substantial cash reserves and a debt free balance sheet, combined with a restructuring aimed to cut expenses by 50%, there’s no way Blackberry is going under any time soon. They also claim that their best in class productivity tools, security, enterprise mobility management and mobile social networks will continue to make them a competitive brand in the future.

You can read the open letter for yourself right here. What do you think of BlackBerry’s situation?

Image courtesy of The Verge

BlackBerry Pauses BBM Release On Android And iOS

BlackBerry have paused the global launch of its BBM app for Android and iOS because it has had too many users to deal with. Apparently the unreleased Android version of the app is to blame and as soon as the BBM servers for Android came online the service became strained. BlackBerry claim they had 1.1 million active users within the first 8 hours of the service going online – that’s before they even announced it.

BlackBerry made the following statement to address their change of plan:

“Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already – more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app – is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.

Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it’s ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. 

Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit www.BBM.com to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.

As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone. Please follow @BBM on Twitter for the latest updates and go to www.BBM.com to sign-up for updates about BBM for Android and iPhone. These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry.”

Image courtesy of Blackberry

BBM For Android And iOS Coming September 21st

Blackberry have announced that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) will be available on Android and iOS from September 21st. To run BBM on your Android or iOS device you must have iOS 6 or iOS 7 and Android 4.X or higher.  BBM is a BlackBerry-developed messaging platform that has over 60 million users who spend nearly 90 minutes on average using the service per day. 10 billion messages are sent via BBM every day which BlackBerry claim is nearly twice that of rival messaging platforms when comparing average messages sent per user per day.

Key Features

  • BBM Chat – Enjoy real, immediate conversations with friends on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones. Not only does BBM let you know that your message has been delivered and read, it also shows you that your friend is responding to the message.
  • More than chat – With BBM you can share files on your phone such as photos and voice notes, all in an instant.
  • Keep your group in the loop – Multi-person chats are a great way to invite contacts to chat together. BBM Groups lets you invite up to 30 friends to chat together, and go a step further than multi-chat by sharing photos and schedules. And, with Broadcast Message, you can send a message out to all your BBM contacts at once.
  • Post Updates and stay in the know – BBM lets you post a personal message, profile picture and your current status, and lets your contacts know instantly in Updates.Your unique PIN – Every BBM user has a unique PIN that maintains your privacy, so you don’t have to give out your phone number or email address to a new or casual contact.
  • Your unique PIN – Every BBM user has a unique PIN that maintains your privacy, so you don’t have to give out your phone number or email address to a new or casual contact.

BBM will be available to download from the BBM website from September 21st.

Image courtesy of BlackBerry

BlackBerry Phones with the Longest Battery Life

One of the biggest complaints right now about smartphones is the short battery life. For good reason, people think they’re cellphone battery should last the entire day. However, that’s a challenge for many owners that use apps or surf the Internet a lot. So, if you’re in the market for a new cell phone and want one that has a long battery life, take a look at these four options from RIM.

BlackBerry Z10

 

Image via Flickr by Official BlackBerry Images

The BlackBerry Z10 is the phone that is expected to turn business around for RIM in a good way. It is the largest BlackBerry smartphone to date and it doesn’t have the typical QWERTY keyboard found on most of RIM’s phones. Instead, the BlackBerry Z10 has a custom hardware keyboard that rivals other networks. Plus, you can use BlackBerry BBM for Android to interface with other smartphone users.

One of the greatest features on this phone is its battery life. It offers 13.5 hours of talk time. Most other smartphones have a hard time reaching six or seven hours. This is thanks to the BlackBerry Z10’s 1800mAh battery. Plus, the phone comes with several battery optimization features to help you get more performance out of your battery. According to CrackBerry, people have reported anywhere from 30 to 50 percent longer battery life.

BlackBerry Q10

Image via Flickr by Janitors

When the BlackBerry Q10 finally comes out, it is expected to crush the BlackBerry Z10 in terms of battery life. And that’s saying something since the BlackBerry Z10 is so good. The BlackBerry Q10 is going to have a 2100mAh battery. It is the biggest battery ever put in a BlackBerry phone. Additionally, the display is more efficient so it uses less battery life. Plus, the Q10 is going to come packed with all the same battery optimization features as the BlackBerry Z10.

BlackBerry Bold 9700

Image via Flickr by Paymentmax

Most people are switching over to the BlackBerry Z10, but the BlackBerry Bold 9700 still has an impressive battery life for its size. It has 6.5 hours of talk time. Plus, most people reported that the battery on their BlackBerry 9700 lasted through the entire day, which was pretty awesome since most competitors couldn’t say that. Yes, you can just plug your phone in when you get in the car or are just sitting at your desk, but it’s a bit of a hassle. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 eliminates that problem.

BlackBerry Torch 9810

Image via Flickr by mobile_dekho

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 has a cool slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a 1270mAh battery. It provides up to 6.5 hours of talk time. That’s just as good as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 model. However, the BlackBerry Torch 9810 comes with a lot more impressive features than the BlackBerry Bold 9700. For instance, there is predictive text, voice memo, an organizer and proximity sensors.

For most smartphone users, battery life is a factor, especially if they run a lot of apps or get on the Internet a lot. That’s one of the reasons BlackBerry smartphones stand out—they have powerful batteries.

 

BBM For Android Will Not Be Samsung Exclusive Says BlackBerry

Android Central reports that BBM for Android will not be a Samsung exclusive like previously reported. An official Samsung Twitter account recently tweeted that this was the case and that Samsung had secured a 3 month exclusivity deal with BBM but BlackBerry have dispelled such claims, stating that:

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

Interestingly this means that when BBM does come out for Android and iOS it will be open to any handsets and for any network carriers to use – there will be no restrictions on it. Of course its interesting that BBM are even taking the route of letting other operating systems use its proprietary chat software. With the declining popularity of BlackBerry handsets BlackBerry feel this is a necessary move to stay competitive and personally I agree with them. Who knows in a few years time BlackBerry might just scrap the BlackBerry OS, use Android phones and specialise in their existing software portfolio of BBM and their email platform.

Image courtesy of Android Central