Articles by Adam Zeis

BlackBerry 10 Review - 2014 Edition

When BlackBerry 10 was first introduced on the BlackBerry Z10, there were some noticeable things missing that just should have been there from the start. For longtime BlackBerry users moving from BlackBerry OS 7 to BlackBerry 10, some big functions seem to have been kicked to the curb — including (but not limited to) bedside mode, custom notifications for contacts, level 1 notifications, and deleting messages server-side.  Updates to BlackBerry 10 added in many features that were mysteriously missing from the start, but there was still a ways to go to get things where they needed to be and to have a solid mobile OS.

The first major update was with OS 10.1. This brought along many tweaks and fixes and included updates for native apps like Twitter and Facebook as well as more technical additions like simple password, gestures for messages and better e-mail synchronization options. It was a great update and arrived just six months after the launch of BB10, but it still left users wanting more.

Then came OS 10.2 — the most feature-packed update yet. This one came with all kinds of new features and was arguably what BB10 should have been when it launched nine months earlier. OS 10.2 offered up new features like lock screen previews, instant preview and reply, priority hub, camera updates, the Android Jelly Bean runtime, multiple alarms within the clock app and much, much more. (See our master change log for the full list of updates).

OS 10.2 was widely adopted by many carriers across the globe, but some decided to skip 10.2 in favor of OS 10.2.1 — an update that would bring along even more new features. Starting on January 28th, 2014 BlackBerry began their global rollout of OS 10.2.1 to carriers across the globe.

So let's dive into OS 10.2.1, which we'll just refer to as BlackBerry 10 here, and see all of the greatness that makes it tick.

CrackBerry Asks: Would you want a dark-themed Hub?

The dark theme / light theme debate has been ongoing for quite a while. As soon as the BlackBerry Q10 was released, Z10 owners were screaming to get some dark theme action as well. Then when an OS update took the dark theme away, Q10 users yelled that they wanted it back. So ultimately BlackBerry made the choice to give users the option to choose between the light or dark theme in apps like the calendar and contacts.

BlackBerry announces BES12 - One enterprise mobile device management system for all smartphones

BlackBerry has announced BES12, a new MDM solution that will allow for managing of all devices. Previously it was required to have more than one system for legacy BlackBerry devices, BB10 devices and iOS/Android/Windows Phone devices, but with BES12 everything can be managed all in one place.

BlackBerry announces the BlackBerry Z3

BlackBerry has announced the BlackBerry Z3 today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Z3 (aka "Jakarta") is an entry-level BlackBerry 10 device that will be geared toward emerging markets. It is also the first device from BlackBerry's partnership with Foxconn

The Z3 joins the BlackBerry Z10 and Z30 as an all-touch BB10 device. It is due out in April in Indonesia (hence the Jakarta codename) for under $200 retail price — the cheapest BlackBerry 10 device by far — with plans to expand availability beyond Indonesia in the future. The Z3 has only a 3G radio, no LTE, which isn't surprising given the price point, though BlackBerry CEO John Chen did say that BlackBerry has "a plan to take that phone out globally with LTE sometime in the future before I die."

BlackBerry announces the BlackBerry Q20 - A keyboard phone with the classic trackpad and function keys

We heard through the grapevine that this one was coming, and sure enough, today BlackBerry has announced the BlackBerry Q20. The physical keyboard device is the third BlackBerry 10 QWERTY model with one striking difference — it marks the return of the "tool belt" (trackpad and function keys) that we haven't seen since BB7. 

QNX Brings Mobile-Class User Experience to Secure and Reliable Embedded Systems

Today QNX has introduced their latest generation QNX Neutrino OS. The QNX OS 6.6 is designed to bring new graphics, UI, security and more to developers and allows them to create all kinds of products for everything from industrial automation to in-flight entertainment. QNX OS 6.6 is tops for security, adding things like enhanced heap, stack, and memory layout protection to help thwart potential malware.

The QNX OS 6.6 also supports the new QNX SDK for Apps and Media, which allows developers to create UI's using HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

QNX OS 6.6 and the QNX SDK for Apps and Media is scheduled for February 28th.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen: 'I think it's a pretty big deal if we could save BlackBerry'

Since becoming CEO of BlackBerry we've already seen some bold moves from John Chen. He dug in right from the start and began making changes in hopes of turning around BlackBerry and getting things back on track for the long haul. He has a vision for what needs to be done, and so far he's done a great job of executing. There's still a long way to go, but John Chen has the company pointed in the right direction.

BBRY up 5% on reports of new devices, BBM to Windows Phone

BlackBerry stock (BBRY) is up over 5% this morning on reports of BBM heading to Windows Phone as well as rumors of a new QWERTY device. BlackBerry announced earlier today that BBM, which recently was made available on iOS and Android, will soon be arriving on some Windows Phone devices as well. Upon the release it will make BBM available across all of the major mobile platforms.

Newest BlackBerry 10 device could see the return of the trackpad and function keys

MWC has kicked off in Barcelona and while we still haven't heard anything about a new BlackBerry device, there are rumors that the BlackBerry Z3 should be getting an official announcement very soon. A new twist has been added to the mix as well however as now The Globe and Mail is reporting that we could also see a new full-QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device added to the lineup.

Future Ford Sync units to be powered by BlackBerry's QNX, not Microsoft

Ford is reportedly ready to ditch Microsoft in favor of BlackBerry's QNX car platform in future upgrades of its in-car Sync system. Ford has had various issues with their MyFord and Sync systems over the last few years, bringing down their quality ratings and causing them to seek other options for their vehicle infotainment systems. They are said to be making the switch to the QNX platform for all of these systems in the very near future. 

BES 10.2 now available - Brings along BlackBerry Web Services for Universal Device Service

The rumors have been abundant over the last few weeks, and today BES 10.2 is officially available. There are plenty of new features in tow, the highlights of which is Blackberry Web Services (BWS) support for Universal Device Service (UDS). The addition of BWS helps to close the gap between UDS and BlackBerry Device Services.

All EA titles free in BlackBerry World through February 28th

BlackBerry has just announced that starting today, all EA titles in BlackBerry World are free to download. This of course varies by your region and device, but you should be able to snag at least a few items at no charge. You have between now and February 28th to get in on the fun. 

CrackBerry Asks: Will you still use WhatsApp now that it's been sold to Facebook?

The big news yesterday was that Facebook bought the popular instant messaging service WhatsApp for over $16 billion. WhatsApp is one of the biggest messaging services out there, partly due to it being available on so many platforms. The service won't be getting Facebooked right away (if at all) — WhatsApp says the app will "remain autonomous and operate independently". 

BlackBerry's next phone may feature a gesture-based physical keyboard

As it turns out, the device we saw earlier today may very well be the BlackBerry Windermere. According to BGR, the rumored device isn't yet in production as BlackBerry is currently working with a "large partner". The device would only make it out of the prototype phase if that partner decides to move forward.

The phone itself is much wider than what we've previously seen and features a QWERTY keyboard with just three rows of keys. To access the symbols and numbers, the Windermere uses gestures on the physical keys that would bring up numbers, accents, symbols and other characters — much like the current virtual keyboard of BlackBerry 10.

Leaked photos show off QWERTY BlackBerry 10 prototype

So ... we're not sure just what this little guy is or where it came from, but here it is. It's a funny looking BlackBerry 10-ish device with somewhat of a QWERTY keyboard (notice there are no numbers or symbols). It kind of looks like a super early BlackBerry Q5, but the word on the street is that it may actually be a developer device for an upcoming BlackBerry 10 phone — possibly the Windermere device we've heard about previously.

Rogers introduces early upgrades with Rogers Next

Now Rogers is joining up with the early-upgrade train, now letting those customers on a 2-year contract upgrade to a new device after 12 months. Rogers Next allows customers to get a new, premium device for $0 down with no upgrade or connection fees. There are a few caveats to the new plan, but if getting devices early is your thing, it may be worth it.

  • When you upgrade to a new device or join Rogers as a new customer, you have the option to subscribe to the Rogers Next program for a monthly fee of $24.99 or  get the program with Rogers Device Protection Premium included for $29.99 - a device support service which retails for up to $11.99 per month;
  • After 12 months, trade in your current device in good working order for a new smartphone of your choice that has a subsidized price of up to $250;
  • You pay $0 down for the new device on a new two-year term, and your remaining FLEXtab™ balance and connection fees are waived;
  • You then have the option to continue your enrollment in Rogers Next to get another new device in 12 months for $0.

Head to Rogers for more info

Big brands are already embracing BBM Channels

BBM Channels has just recently gone cross-platform and is now available for BlackBerry, Android and iOS devices. BlackBerry users have enjoyed BBM Channels for quite some time now, but users on Android and iPhone are just getting their first taste of the awesome social platform. While many users have created some great channels of their own for everything from jokes to cars to movies — there are some big brands that are also getting into the BBM Channels action as well.

A look at the BlackBerry Z3 'Jakarta' from all angles

Just yesterday we got a first look some renders of the upcoming BlackBerry Z3 "Jakarta" and today some more images popped up giving us an even deeper look. They're still just renders of the device (not actual images) but it does give a good idea of what to expect from the entry-level device.

Here are all of the new emoticons in BBM

BBM 2.0 is rolling out on BlackBerry, Android and iOS, and along with updated features like Dropbox integration and location sharing, there are over 100 new emoticons included. Now you'll be able to carry on full conversations using just emoticons thanks to the new set that includes animals, romantics, characters and full set of sad faces.

What does a 64-bit octa-core BlackBerry even mean?

Octa-what? I'll admit that at times all of these deep specs escape me. But hey, that's what we have Bla1ze for. There are all these rumors of a new 64-bit octa-core BlackBerry floating around, but what does it actually mean?