Crippled smartphone maker RIM needs new leadership in the worst way. So the company's top executives have walked the plank. But will that be enough?
Over at Harvard Law, the ever-clever Jonathan Zittrain has a good idea--software to tell smartphone users exactly what data is being transmitted from their phones. The Apple and Carrier IQ user tracking scandals are helping to focus our minds on this issue. Our phones transmit all sorts of data about our activities. Surely we should know what they're sharing with the phone company, the phone maker and who knows who else. Somebody really ought to create an app for that...and quick.
Despite the declining popularity of RIM's iconic smartphones, they're still mighty big in Indonesia. So when they announced a half-price sale in Jakarta, things got out of hand...
...because millions of cellphones are being routinely tapped for "quality control purposes:"
Looks like Best Buy is cancelling orders for the ill-fated BlackBerry tablet...
Four decades ago, Intel created the first true microprocessor. We're all still trying to catch up.
If I'm reading this right, we won't see BlackBerry phones running a next-gen operating system until the third quarter of next year. Are you kidding me?
A new study finds that cell phones don't cause brain tumors. Well, all right then.
The company's bragging on how easily Android apps can be ported to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. This might have been exciting news back when the PlayBook was just being released. If Android support had been available from day one, it might have mattered. But since then, the PlayBook has proven a dismal flop, and nobody cares whether it's Android-compatible or not. Sorry, guys.
Just days after the horrific global breakdown of the messaging service for its BlackBerry phones, Research In Motion Ltd., introduces BBX, the new and improved operating system for BlackBerry phones. It's likely the company's last chance to hang onto a decent share of the smartphone market. So it better be good.
I know that lots of cell phones are pretty crappy, but this is ridiculous!
Your BlackBerry should be working again. The company's reputation for reliability, not so much.
...if you're in California. The governor there just vetoed a bill that would have required cops to get a warrant before viewing the data stored in a suspect's phone. So now, a cop can just take your phone and start skimming through whatever he finds there.
...you're probably not doing it on a BlackBerry.
Consumer Reports has $10,000 burning a hole in its public-spirited pockets. And it's ready to hand it over to the best new Consumer Reports smartphone app. Interested?
In India, anyway. Indians love those pushbutton phones, mainly because the country's phone networks are still too primitive to handle all the data traffic stirred up by iPhones. Whatever the reason, RIM needs all the wins it can get.
BlackBerry RIM seems to have learned a lesson from the red-hot sales of HP's defunct TouchPad tablet, when it was priced at $99. The BlackBerry PlayBook's price won't be cut that far, at least not yet. But it's a start...
No matter how much I like the new BlackBerry, its parent company has fallen upon hard times.
Take it from me, the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 is one heck of a great phone. And yet it's left in the dust by the hottest Android devices, like the Droid Bionic.
To read this article, you'll have to subscribe to bostonglobe.com. It's free, till Sept. 30. After that...well, somebody's got to pay my salary. Here's hoping it's you!
The British government considers shutting down social networking services and cellphone texting during periods of social unrest...
...as hackers attack the company for speaking out about British rioters who use BlackBerry mobile phones to plot new outrages.
The good news: BlackBerry phones are still popular. The bad news: They're popular with British rioters.
Massachusetts is an iPhone state, according to Cambridge mobile advertising company Jumptap. They've surveyed the US to identify the dominant smartphones on a state-by-state basis. The Northeast and Midwest tend to be iPhone country, while the West and Southwest favor Androids. But in New York State, BlackBerry rules.
Research In Motion lays off 2,000, about 10 percent of its workforce. Further proof that the maker of BlackBerry phones is in real trouble.
The company's highly-touted, much-denounced PlayBook tablet is being outsold--by tablets running Microsoft Windows. That's like being outsold by the Etch-A-Sketch.
A new website claims to provide accurate information about the safety of apps for Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Android phones. Worried about downloading an app infected with malware? Maybe these guys can help.
Seven new models this year from embattled smartphone maker RIM.
They better hurry..
Boy Genius Report serves up the details on how the maker of BlackBerry went astray.
And here's the proof! A third of iPhone owners think their phones have 4G data service; only a quarter of BlackBerry users think so. Of course, neither line of phones currently offers a 4G version. But more iPhoners have been fooled than BlackBerry users. So there!
The Internet's nearly full up, because of all the phones and tablets and game consoles and such that we keep plugging in. But a new Internet addressing scheme is about to solve that problem--permanently.
Nostradamus I'm not. After months of predicting that the popularity of the iPhone and Android would clobber sales of BlackBerry phones, along comes the company's quarterly sales report.
$5.49 billion in revenues, up 40 percent in the quarter ended Nov. 27. Net income up 45 percent to $911.1 million. And unit sales of phones hit 14.2 million, beating analysts' expectations.
Not bad. At all.
Still, a growing percentage of the sales are coming from outside of the US and Britain. BlackBerry parent company RIM still needs an answer to the iPhone and Android, which are surging in its core markets.
But all in all, it looks like BlackBerry's "decline" is quite a profitable one.
This much--Dell drops BlackBerry for Windows Phone 7. There go 25,000 BlackBerry users. And Dell will offer a product to help move other BlackBerry-based corporations onto Windows Phones instead.
Location-based services like Foursquare really aren't too popular, according to this report. Sure, all the cool kids like to talk about "checking in" and becoming the "mayor" of this nightclub or that coffee shop. But most folks don't see the point. I used Foursquare myself for several months but have lately wiped it from my BlackBerry without regret. Does me no good that I can see, so why bother? Besides, why should I report my movements to Foursquare? Go hire a private eye if you're that interested, but you'll get no help from me.
Just touch the screen to call for help. That's the idea of a new emergency rescue app called Forsse. You pay $14.95 a month to install it on your phone--just Android for now, but versions are being prepared for the iPhone and for BlackBerries. One touch activates the app. Another touch triggers an alert to a remote monitoring station that uses GPS to figure out your location and send help. The service also starts recording any audio coming over your phone. I haven't tried Forsse yet, but it sounds like it could come in mighty handy.
Texting while driving is now illegal in Massachusetts, and in most other states too. So...what's a driver to do? Turn off the phone, or put it out of reach. Or check out some of these clever apps...
I've been sending and receiving a lot of cellphone text messages lately, mainly to myself. Call it research.
The new Massachusetts ban on texting while driving may save lives, although I have my doubts. But it certainly provides an economic stimulus for makers of cellphone software and accessories that are designed to keep our eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Some software apps block the use of your phone while driving. Others let you keep right on texting, by reading the messages out loud and even letting you reply by talking rather than clicking.FULL ENTRY
Research in Motion Ltd. unveiled a BlackBerry tablet computer today, just as expected. The new PlayBook will run an entirely different operating system from today's BlackBerry phones, and will support Adobe Flash, unlike the Apple iPad. As RIM's strength in smartphones continues to fade, this could be just the gamechanger that the company needs. But only if the PlayBook is really good. We'll find out when the product makes its debut in 2011.
Could be, according to this story from the Wall Street Journal.
With Hurricane Earl bearing down, you've probably stocked up on canned goods and bottled water. Now all you need are a few good smartphone apps. If you've got an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry, you can download a host of inexpensive programs that can help you stay safe. I haven't had a chance to try them all, but here are a few that could come in handy.
Apple iPhones and Android phones come with basic weather apps that deliver bare-bones forecasts. But you can install additional apps that provide more detail. The Weather Channel, the popular cable TV network, offers a good free app for iPhones, BlackBerries and Androids. Weather Underground's Who Is Hot? is an even more comprehensive app for the iPhone, while Android users should check out MyWeather. Both these apps are free.
For more specific alerts, consider the aptly-named iPhone app Hurricane. This $1.99 software displays the storm's latest wind speeds, barometric pressures, and features updated radar maps along with predictions of the storm's likely path.
Your smartphone's a valuable tool if you're caught up in the storm.. Apps like Disaster Readiness 2011 for the iPhone or First Aid for the Android contain detailed information on treating injuries and documenting property damage for your insurance company. First Aid is free; Disaster Readiness 2011 costs $1.99.
For the BlackBerry, there's USBMIS Mobile First Aid and CPR, developed with help from the American College of Emergency Physicians. This app costs $2.99 and is also available for the iPhone. Look for it in the BlackBerry App Store.
Most of the newest smartphones can double as flashlights in an emergency, thanks to light-emitting diodes mounted next to their built-in cameras. These LEDs are intended for flash photography, but can be programmed to issue a steady beam of light. Of course, this drains the battery, so use this feature sparingly.
You'll need to install a flashlight app; there are plenty to choose from at the Apple and Android online app stores. Some are free, while others can cost a buck or so. Flashlight apps are also available for BlackBerry phones, but you can get by without one. If your BlackBerry has a built-in video camera, just turn it on, and then hit the spacebar on the phone's keyboard to turn on the light. But this method turns on the video camera as well as the light, speeding the drain on your battery. Instead, you can purchase an app that will only turn on the light.
Don't have an LED light on your phone? There are apps that make the phone's screen emit a brilliant glow; some of these are free.
Maybe your next BlackBerry should be an Android phone. This article makes a respectable case for the idea.
Blackberry's parent company RIM has to change the game--and fast. Just today, a Morgan Stanley analyst cut the company's stock rating to SELL. Analysts hardly ever do that unless they see disaster ahead. A switch to Android might be the only way out.
Vibrant, the cool new Android phone from Samsung, is on sale at Amazon.com today for one red cent. Wow!
This ties in with the report earlier this week about the price of the BlackBerry Torch falling by 50 percent to $99. I may have read too much into that, as this is the price charged at Amazon, and it seems they've got a habit of slashing prices on new phones. So while I stand by my view that the Torch can't compete with the latest iPhone and Android offerings, the price cut doesn't indicate total desperation. At least not yet.
Here's PrivacyStar for the Android. It's, an app that blocks unwanted cellphone calls and protects you from telemarketers. I've tried the PrivacyStar app for the BlackBerry, and thought it pretty good.
It takes a lot of work to build the navigation maps on your smartphone. Here's how it's done.
In a summer where other smartphone makers can't keep their products on store shelves, Research In Motion Ltd. has just slashed the price of its new BlackBerry Torch from $199 to $99, a blunt admission that it's just not selling all that well.
No surprise here. it's a very good BlackBerry, maybe the best yet. But compared to the latest iPhone and Android phones, it's not so hot.
Given reviewers' underwhelming response to the new BlackBerry Torch, (here's my take) and the ongoing efforts by governments to compromise the BlackBerry's top-notch data security features, parent company RIM needs a game-changer. A good tablet device could be it. But are all the rumors true? Beats me. Still, here's the latest--a $500 pricetag, and a November launch,
In Saudi Arabia, anyway. But is this good news or bad? Did BlackBerry parent company Research In Motion agree to let Saudi authorities snoop on message traffic? If so, other countries will want the same thing. And if they get it, who'll trust their BlackBerries any more? And when will governments demand that other cell companies do the same?
The new BlackBerry Torch is a fine phone, but...have you seen the new iPhone 4, or the Droid X or the EVO 4G or the Samsung Vibrant?
There's a tidal wave of really fine new smartphones hitting the market this summer, and compared to the rest, the Torch is merely good. And that's no longer good enough.
Too difficult to spy on them, apparently. It's a sort of backhanded endorsement. But it's also a creepy warning of things to come. What other tech gadgets will soon be banned because they prevent governments from spying on us? And how far will that trend progress in our own country?
So says Bloomberg News. It's reporting that Research In Motion, in a bid to compete with the Apple iPad, will introduce its own "BlackPad" tablet device in November. The new gadget will have Wi-Fi wireless networking, as well as Bluetooth for data sharing with the user's BlackBerry phone.
RIM's seen its market share slip as the iPhone catches on with the corporate and government markets that the BlackBerry has long dominated. RIM hopes to slow the bleeding by announcing a major new smartphone on Tuesday. Taking on Apple in the tablet market would be a remarkably aggressive play, but that could be just the thing to get RIM back on track.
Besides, everybody else wants a piece of the iPad. Microsoft's chief Steve Ballmer said yesterday that his company's going all out to build a rival tablet; Hewlett-Packard plans Microsoft-based tablets for corporate use; and Korea's LG is working on a tablet based on Google's Android software.
iPhone and Android are moving in for the kill, unless RIM can revitalize the aging BlackBerry platform.
Some just aren't worth the bother, according to a rather good piece from Network World. For instance, you don't need a special app to turn the flash of your BlackBerry into an emergency flashlight. There's a built-in feature that'll take care of it. Read the whole thing for more useful tips.
A horde of excellent new phones have set consumers on a buying spree, and smartphone makers are having trouble keeping up.
Bad antenna or no, Apple's smartphone business is on track to generate twice the profit of all its rivals put together. Dude.
With 160,000 of them being switched on every single day, Android-based smartphones are snatching market share from all the others. Of course, Windows phones are being clobbered, but even the iPhone is taking some hits. Notice, though, that RIM's BlackBerry platform is still out front and holding its own. BlackBerry is doing better than I'd have expected, but the company needs a major upgrade to prevent a major share collapse. Those touch-screen Androids and iPhones are just so much easier to work with.
Some apps let you do it, but their accuracy and ease of use leave something to be desired, as I discovered firsthand.
We've heard that one before. But it's become a lot more plausible lately, due to the rise of mobile devices and cloud computing . Here's long-time tech analyst Henry Blodget, warning Microsofties that the end is near...
I'm not talking about digital viruses, either. I mean good old-fashioned germs, the kind your mom was worried about when she taught you to wash your hands after using the bathroom. Needless to say, even the cleanest of us are covered with microscopic bugs, and some of them end up on our smartphones whenever we touch them. Which is why the world needs something like this--a gadget disinfector. Personally, I just use those disinfectant wipes every now and then. But maybe it's time for an upgrade....
The US government is dominated by BlackBerry users, right up to President Obama. But that's starting to change, as a tidal wave of smart new iPhone apps far surpasses the software available for BlackBerries.
It's a smart way to get back some of the cash you paid for aging gadgets. Here's how...
Word on the street suggests that BlackBerry will soon unleash a slider phone that might put it in a better position to fend off the iPhone and Android challenges. We shall see...
Perhaps you envy people with those cool push-to-talk phones--the kind that let you instantly speak to someone else on the network without having to dial the number. Well, a new app called Push2Talk lets you do the same thing with higher-end BlackBerries, like the Bold, Storm and Curve. Got a friend with one of these phones? Each of you can buy the app for $4.99. Install it, then swap the PIN numbers of your BlackBerries, just as you would to use the BlackBerry instant messaging network. Now you can instantly send shout-outs to the other person by highlighting his name in the Push2Talk app, and pushing a button on the left edge of the phone. Hitting the button records your voice message. Release it, and the recording is sent to the other phone, arriving about two seconds later.
The software has an annoying way of cutting off the last second or so of your voice message. It helps to hold the button for a second longer after you're done speaking. Still, they need to fix this irritating problem.
Push2Talk only works with BlackBerries; each phone must have the app installed, and users must share their PINs with each other. But that makes the software quite useful for those with lots of BlackBerry-toting friends and colleagues. Lots of businesses, including the Globe, issue BlackBerries to dozens or hundreds of workers. For these companies, Push2Talk could be a worthwhile investment.
Amtrak plans to introduce Wi-Fi Internet access on all its trains nationwide.
The latest Google Maps for Android phones offers an overlay that shows local bicycle paths. The same feature has just appeared in the BlackBerry version of Google Maps, and you can get it right here...
The researchers at Nielsen know, and they're spilling the beans.
For instance, the average iPhone has 37 apps on board, compared with 22 for Androids and a mere 10 for BlackBerries. And 21 percent of Americans now have a smartphone. And there's more interesting data where this came from...
RIM's BlackBerry phones are still huge sellers, mainly because of their robust features for connecting securely to corporate networks. But Apple is catching up. It's just a matter of time before iPhone--and Android, for that matter--supplant BlackBerry, thanks to superior ease of use and hugely bigger libraries of appealing software apps. Unless BlackBerry comes up with a game-changer, and fast.
According to this Reuters story, next generation cellphones and 4G Internet service may become widely available faster than you might have expected. Consumers have fallen in love with high-speed wireless, and carriers are eager to cash in.
...is the prospect of its key corporate customers migrating to--gack!--the iPhone.
Well, it's starting to happen. And while it's not exactly a rush to the exits, this could be a sign of something grim for RIM, BlackBerry's creator and Canada's top high-tech company. The BB just can't touch the iPhone or Android for sheer ease of use, or for number of available apps. Unless RIM can turn things around, the writing's on the wall for BlackBerry.
I didn't much care for Foursquare at first blush. This article makes me think I should give it another shot...
Just look at the early adopters of the iPhone in the enterprise. Executives gave up their CrackBerry addiction for sleek, easy-to-use iPhones running consumer apps such as iPod, Facebook, travel apps, foreign-language voice-to-voice translation apps, and, especially relevant to executives, golf apps like Golfshot GPS. iPhones have been trickling down org charts ever since.
But don't take my word for it, check the numbers. It's the tale of two companies. RIM's stock price today is around $70-a-share, nearly the same as it was a year ago. In the same time period, Apple stock has steadily soared from $120 last year to $260 today. The Silicon Valley company continues to be a Wall Street darling. In the world of technology and innovation, if you're not flying, you're falling.
Earlier this year, Carbonite issued an iPhone app, and it's pretty sweet. Customers can log in to view their files, and send them to others as e-mail attachments. It even let me play some of my backed-up audio files through the iPhone's speakers, though I don't think this feature supports all audio formats.
Recently, Carbonite announced a BlackBerry app as well. Here's the web page for it. But I'm danged if I can find the app here. Too bad; I'm looking forward to trying it.
More details here...
Hard for us Americans to grasp, mainly because Nokia has so utterly flopped in the US market. Nearly everybody here has heard of the iPhone or the Android phone. But mention Nokia's Symbian phones, and the usual response is "huh?"
I interviewed the CEO of Nokia last year. He admitted that the company's done a wretched job here in the Land of the Free, but that it's finally getting its act together. They better hurry, with so many people snapping up iPhones, Androids and BlackBerries. Even so, Nokia's still number one. And don't you forget it.
Users of Android and BlackBerry phones are about to lose one of their biggest advantages over the iPhone. Meanwhile, iPhoners will at last be able to run apps in background--like Pandora for streaming music - while playing games or surfing the Web.
Everybody knew this had to happen someday. The iPhone is perfectly capable of it. But Apple was worried about performance and battery life issues. Not any more.
(Photo above is by Reuters.)
On the whole Opera Mini 5 is a genuine improvement--with one huge exception. No, make that a tiny exception: Extremely small type fonts. Mini 4 let me blow up text large enough for easy reading, even on a BlackBerry Bold's small screen. But Mini 5 abandoned the extra-large setting, making on-screen text nearly unreadable.
I wrote to Opera tech support to complain about it. In a day or so, I got a response. You're absolutely right, said a company official. We need to fix that. And they have. Opera tweaked its large type setting to make the type really large. I'd still prefer it a bit bigger, but at least now it's readable. And the company moved like lightning to get it done. I like to think it's not because I'm a journalist, but frankly, I don't care. Because people like me, with aging eyes, can still use Opera's very good browser. Hurrah!