Articles by Adam Zeis

BlackBerry looks to block U.S. sales of the Typo keyboard

Things are starting to heat up now. As the Typo keyboard takes the iPhone world by storm, BlackBerry has now asked a California court to block sales of the device in the U.S. BlackBerry has accused the Seacrest-backed accessory of patent infringement (with good reason) even though some of the design elements differ slightly than those on the physical keyboard of the BlackBerry Q10.


Hit the jackpot with Slots King for BlackBerry 10

Magmic has just released one of the best time killers you can find on your BlackBerry. Slots King give you some awesome slot machine action on the go and you can play anywhere, anytime. The 5-reel vide slot machine will let you spin all day long complete with bonus spins and a fun minigame. If you're a fan of Texas Hold'em King then you'll definitely want to check this one out as well.


QNX Software Systems launches new Cloud business

On the Inside BlackBerry Blog today, CEO John Chen introduced QNX Software Systems' new Cloud business. The dedicated group will be a part of QNX and will "support the Internet of Things" — bringing solutions for embedded platforms, networks and devices as well as machine to device interaction. The group will work alongside the existing organizations that already serve the embedded market and will be dedicated to bringing the solutions to market in a timely and cohesive manner.

Alec Saunders has been named as the Vice President of the QNX Cloud business. Marty Mallick has now been appointed as Vice President, Global Alliances and Ecosystems which combines his current role with developer relations. 

Read the full post below.


BlackBerry's floundering founders fled the fight two years ago today

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie leaving BlackBerry. There was certainly plenty of news over the course of their tenure at BlackBerry, but there was arguably more that went down at BlackBerry in just the two short years after they left the company than all of the previous years combined. 

The two stepped down from their positions as co-CEO in January 2012 and Thorsten Heins took the wheel for what would be a bumpy road. During his time as CEO we saw the company rebranded from RIM to BlackBerry, new execs appointed, the addition of Frank Boulben as CMO (and of course Alicia Keys), the launch of BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry's "strategic review" and the company nearly going private. Sadly things didn't go quite as planned under Thorsten Heins' watch and in November of last year he too stepped down from BlackBerry as John Chen was named the new BlackBerry CEO. 

Here's a look at the biggest stories to come from BlackBerry over the past two years:


BlackBerry Announces Plans to Divest Canadian Real Estate Holdings

BlackBerry has announced today that it will "divest the majority of its commercial real estate portfolio" in a partnership with CBRE Limited. BlackBerry will offer up a total of over 3 million square feet of space through both a sale-leaseback and vacant assets sales. The plan will help BlackBerry by providing additional income and resources to support their current and future operations. No financial details were disclosed however.


This Porsche Design P'9983 concept will really get your motor running

As if the BlackBerry P'9982 wasn't enough to drive the high-end BlackBerry lovers wild, a fan-made concept for the Porsche Design BlackBerry P'9983 kicks things up another notch. Built off the BlackBerry Q10, the P'9983 is Porsche Design device with a physical keyboard and a longer display. While it somewhat resembles the BlackBerry P'9981, this version builds upon the hardware and is of course running BlackBerry 10.


Pentagon will hook up 80,000 BlackBerry devices to new system beginning on January 31

Starting January 31st, the Pentagon will be hooking up 80,000 new and old BlackBerry devices as well as 1,800 iOS and Android devices as part of their plan to move information access to mobile devices. The $16 million project, which began in 2012, aims to give users secure access to information when mobile and don't compromise military data or corrupt defense networks when on the go.

"The new year will bring new mobile capabilities to as many as 100,000 DoD users," Pentagon officials said in a statement. "DoD will begin deploying version 1.0 of the unclassified mobility capability Jan. 31 and will build out capacity to support up to 100,000 users by the end of the fiscal year."

At the end of January, users will have access to the app store, support for Defense encryption keys, and several other services, including Defense Connect Online. 

This is a huge win for BlackBerry and something that will hopefully spread to other agencies as well, allowing users with company-issued devices as well as BYOD programs to use BlackBerry phones as secure devices in the corporate environment. 

Note: The 80k devices aren't being purchased — they are devices already owned by the DoD that are being hooked up to the new system


Sprint allows Easy Pay customers to upgrade their phone whenever they want

Today Sprint has announced that customers on Easy Pay plans will be able to upgrade devices "whenever they want" — for a limited time. Sprint users on Easy Pay can head to sprint.com/upgrade to check eligibility where they can then purchase a device though Sprint Easy Pay and cover the cost over a 24 month period. Users can keep their old device or sell it back using Sprint's Buyback program.

Hit up the full press release below for all the details.


Wednesday DIY: Limited edition BlackBerry Z10

If you've been jealous of your friends that are rocking a limited edition red BlackBerry Z10, here's your chance to join the club. A recent listing on eBay (and a handful of others) is offering up the red limited edition Z10 housing right now for the mediocre price of $69.99.

The auction states that the housing is "100% original" and includes a red LCD screen and digitizer assembly, middle frame, back housing and battery door.


Blackphone aims to be the world's most secure phone

Debuting at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Blackphone is setting out to be the world's most secure phone. The device is GSM unlocked and will run a custom version of Android called PrivatOS. Users will be able to make and receive secure phone calls, send and receive secure messages, transfer documents privately, browse though a VPN and more. No pricing or specs were reveled for the device however.


Should BlackBerry make its own detachable keyboard for iPhone?

It's not secret that Kevin fell in love with his Typo keyboard during CES last week — that is until he wore it out. Being a long-time BlackBerry user it's only natural that he'd be awesome at typing a pseudo-BlackBerry keyboard, no matter what device. I played with the Typo a bit myself and while it's not ideal, it certainly makes for a great solution for keyboard lovers.

A thread has turned up in the forums posing the question, Should BlackBerry make its own detachable keyboard for iPhone? We figured it was best to ask the CrackBerry Nation for some input on this one as so far things seem split down the middle. Some users think that doing so would detract from actual BlackBerry phones while others say the more hardware the better. 


Qualcomm Toq BlackBerry 10 app in the works

I am sure many of you know that we recently launched our new site dedicated to smartwatches, but sadly there aren't any watches that currently have official support for BlackBerry 10. There are a few great third-party Pebble apps and we've even seen the Sony Smartwatch 2 working with BB10, but that's about it. 

That may change soon however as forums member moneytoo is working on an app for the Qualcomm Toq. Currently the app only supports phone calls and the dev says there is still much work to be done, but it's a great start and something we're definitely looking forward too. 


In the driver's seat with QNX at CES 2014

This year at CES the QNX team had no just one, but two new cars to show off. The Porsche and Bentley are back in the garage and replacing them is a Kia Soul and a sweet Mercedes CLA45 AMG. I had the pleasure of strapping into the drivers seat of both cars to check out all of the awesome tech QNX packed in this year.


QNX set to show off three connected cars at CES

The team from QNX is once again on the ground at CES, and this year they'll not only show off one car, but three. The trio of rides includes two technology concept cars and the QNX reference vehicle.

A Mercedes CLA45 AMG will be outfitted with all kinds of QNX goodies including vehicle-to-vehicle calling, multiple navigation engines, rear-seat interaction and more. A Kia Soul will be showing off QNX Acoustics technology with Engine Sound Enhancement, QNX Acoustics for Active Noise Control and more. Lastly the reference vehicle will be making its second appearance at CES with a QNX infotainment system. 

Check out the full press release below and stay tuned for more on QNX from CES! If you simply cannot wait to see more, have a look at the QNX Flickr account.


Pebble announces the Pebble Steel - Available for pre-order now for $249

Pebble has announced a new premium version of the popular smartwatch today dubbed Pebble Steel. The Steel will be available in two versions — a Black Matte and Brushed Stainless — and will come with matching metal bands as well as a black leather strap. The Pebble Steel will be sporting Gorilla Glass and an anti-fingerprint coating as well.

While Pebble doesn't yet officially support BlackBerry 10, there are some great third-party apps that keep the two working together without much compromise. The Pebble Steel is available for pre-order now for $249 and will begin shipping on January 28th.

If you're interesting in the Pebble, Pebble Steel (or any other smartwatch for that matter) be sure to head over to Smartwatch Fans for all the latest news and coverage from the CES show floor


Smartwatch Fans Podcast 00 - Ground Zero!

In our inaugural episode of the Smartwatch Fans podcast, Kevin, Phil Nickinson of Android Central and Rene Ritchie of iMore join me for a quick podcast to get things started. Unlike our last podcast where I could barely get a word in, Kevin didn't talk over me too much on this one so I couldn't resist posting it. There's plenty more to come, but for this round we talk about the launch of SmartwatchFans.com, our recent visit with Pebble as well as what to expect from CES for smartwatches (LOTS).

You can find the feed below and subscribe in any way you choose, then give this one a listen and let us know what you think in the comments! Be sure to head over to SmartwatchFans.com for all the smartwatch news you can handle!


New BBM for Android hits Beta Zone - Includes Channels, Voice and more

If you were worrying about the progress of BBM for Android — fear not. A new version has hit the BlackBerry Beta Zone that brings along many of the anticipated features Android users have been waiting for. In addition to some new tweaks and enhancements, the update has over 100 new emoticons, improved file sharing, BBM Channels and BBM Voice. 


AT&T dishing out up to $450 for convert T-Mobile users

In what seems like a never ending battle between the two carriers, AT&T is now offering up to $450 for T-Mobile users who switch services. Starting today, AT&T users can trade in their old devices to receive a promo card of up to $250 and also an additional $200 per line when changing their service to an AT&T next plan, buying a phone at full price or activating a device they currently own.

Overall it's not such a bad deal if you have T-Mo service in your area. Also a pretty bold move by AT&T. Check out the press release below for more.


BlackBerry 'Hercules' concepts bundle phone, watch and tablet designs

We've seen plenty of great concepts for BlackBerry phones this year, but the latest (and most likely last of 2013) shows off not only a phone, but also a tablet and smartwatch. 

Forums member Ziro1 posted up these awesome concepts for the Hercules Collection -- a bundled set of BlackBerry phone, updated PlayBook and Smartwatch. These are some pretty awesome ideas and I could definitely get down with the whole collection thing. 


BlackBerry Jakarta reportedly won't have a physical keyboard

BlackBerry CEO John Chen dropped word of the upcoming BlackBerry Jakarta on the earnings call a few weeks ago. Making the device much more than a rumor, the BlackBerry 10 based, Foxconn manufactured device will be a low-cost entry for emerging markets. While we don't know much beyond that, BGR is now reporting one thing that the device will not have -- a physical keyboard.


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