Rumor: Samsung to Make Blackberry 10 Devices

When Google acquired Motorola, most major Android device manufacturers like Samsung and HTC must naturally have felt threatened. Samsung, the largest Android device maker, knows better than to keep all its eggs in one basket. It has already hedged its investment in Android device development with bets on alternative platforms including Bada and Tizen.

However, according to the latest rumor sparked by a comment by an analyst, Samsung may be looking to invest around $1.5 billion in Research in Motion, the creator of Blackberry devices, and may also license the upcoming Blackberry 10 operating system for use with its own devices.

If this rumor were to be true, Samsung would have device offerings powered by every major platform except iOS. It already has bets on Android, Windows Phone and Bada.

RIM’s stock was up 5% on this rumor, which if true, could save RIM, which is on the verge of extinction as its devices fail to attract customers while iOS, Android, and now Windows phone gobble up its market share.

Maybe RIM should really look at becoming a services company, while spinning off the handset division. Its current strategy hardly seems to be working. Partnering with Samsung, or selling off its handset division to it could be the shot in the arm that it desperately needs.

RIM Rolling Out BlackBerry 7.1 OS Update

Research In Motion has announced via their blog about the launch of the new BlackBerry 7.1 OS. Even though the bump in the OS version is quite minor, the BB 7.1 OS update does bring in quite a lot of new features and changes.

With BB 7.1, RIM finally allows users to use their BlackBerry handset as a Mobile Hotspot. Other new features include FM radio support on Curve 9360 and 9380, universal search throughout the OS (finally!), the ability to share contacts, media file and even invite friends to BBM via NFC, dubbed as BlackBerry Tag by RIM. The BBM client, BlackBerry Travel, Traffic and the BlackBerry Maps app have also been updated to the latest version.

In the United States and other regions of the world where applicable, BB owners would also be able to make calls via Wi-Fi, if their network operator allows for it.

RIM has already started rolling out the BB OS 7.1 update to carriers all around the world beginning from today and will continue the roll-out in the coming weeks as well.


RIM Under Fire From BBM Canada

It would seem that RIM hasn’t had it bad enough this year. From poor tablet sales, to service outages, and now a swarm of lawsuits, RIM is taking a beating.

BBM Canada, a company also based out of Canada, is claiming trademark infringement for the use of “BBM” in RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger campaigns. Back in October,  RIM revealed BBX as the name for their new QNX-based platform, shortly thereafter, a US court decision forced them to rename to “BlackBerry 10″ due to trademark infringement filed by a company that develops software, aptly named “BBX”. Fast forward a few months, and RIM is in an extremely similar situation. The BlackBerry team has been heavily marketing and branding themselves with the “BBM” moniker for the past few years, it’s quite obvious that the recent swarm of lawsuits over IP and trademarks has awoken many companies to the money that can be made.

The issue has become quite a public one, numerous statements have been made by both RIM and BBM Canada with regards to their concerns. The President and CEO of BBM Canada, Jim MacLeod, said We want our name back… I find it kind of amazing that this wouldn’t have been thought about before they decided to use the name. The same thing goes for BBX..

The two companies will be in court early January 2012 to plead their cases, RIM has provided a press release which indicates they very much plan to fight for their right to use the acronym.

RIM Media Statement BBM Trademark Litigation: December 23, 2011

Since its launch in July 2005, BlackBerry Messenger has become a tremendously popular social networking service. In 2010, RIM started to formally adopt the BBM acronym, which had, at that point, already been organically coined and widely used by BlackBerry Messenger customers as a natural abbreviation of the BlackBerry Messenger name. The services associated with RIM’s BBM offering clearly do not overlap with BBM Canada’s services and the two marks are therefore eligible to co-exist under Canadian trademark law. The two companies are in different industries and have never been competitors in any area.

We believe that BBM Canada is attempting to obtain trademark protection for the BBM acronym that is well beyond the narrow range of the services it provides and well beyond the scope of rights afforded by Canadian trademark law. RIM has therefore asked the Court to dismiss the application and award costs to RIM. Further, for clarity, RIM’s application to register BBM as a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is pending and we are confident that a registration will eventually issue. The inference by BBM Canada that CIPO has refused RIM’s BBM trademark application is quite frankly very misleading.

With low profits in Q2 2011, RIM is going to have rely on throwing weight around, instead of money, to resolve the trademark infringement case. With all the lawsuits happening in the mobile sphere, it’s really not surprising that innovation has taken a back seat. They’ve found a way to make money, without actually shipping any products. Maybe RIM should hire a few interns whose sole job is to Google new product names, to ensure there won’t be any conflicts.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS Update Pushed to 2012

If you were waiting for the PlayBook to get an update to OS2.0 before actually being useful, unfortunately you’ll have to continue waiting.

While RIM is going against all odds and continuing to provide support for the PlayBook, the shiny brick won’t be getting the expected update to OS 2.0 until February of 2012. It’s not the recently announced BBX, but it is supposed to be a fairly large upgrade for existing users. It wouldn’t be a product from Research in Motion if it didn’t ship missing crucial features, would it? Of course not, so it’s very fitting that RIM has decided to leave BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) support out of the update. That’s right, it’s going to take an additional 4 months of work before the system is polished up, but it still won’t have their proprietary instant messaging functionality. Feel free to purchase a new $500 (likely) BlackBerry to accompany your $700 PlayBook so you can use BBM with it. That’s a pretty good option, right?Maybe news of RIM doling out a couple of hundred PlayBooks loaded with OS 2.0 beta might make you feel better. Developers and any other DevCon attendees were given a new PlayBook. So, technical journalists, hobbyists and other random kids got them, but not paying customers. Members of the BlackBerry Early Access Program will also be getting closed betas of 2.0 shortly, this is mainly for tackling Enterprise support and integration.

In a post to the Inside BlackBerry Blog, Senior VP of BlackBerry PlayBook at RIM, David Smith gives a few reasons for the delay and lack of features upon launch.

First off, we have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBMâ„¢ application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release. We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry ® users around the world and we’re still working on it. In the meantime, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to continue to use BlackBerry ® Bridgeâ„¢ to securely access BlackBerry ® Messengerâ„¢ on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high resolution display.

These betas will be rolled out over the course of this year and are an important next step to bringing our unmatched enterprise app deployment, device manageability, security and email integration capabilities to the tablet category.

There is a bit of good news in the tidbit. When OS 2.0 does pop around for download, it will bring integrated email, calendar and contacts. Your “business ready” tablet, isn’t exactly business ready at all, but it soon will be.

The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.

Hopefully this means a few software managers at RIM got slapped with a trout and are now starting to put actual work into the PlayBook. Their half-assed Android Player isn’t going to bring any new customers, so hopefully the brand spanking new OS, BBX, will make it to smartphones by February with the new PlayBook OS in tow.

RIM Reveals BBX Disappointment at DevCon

Today, Research in Motion officially announced BBX. BBX is the culmination of their legacy OS merged with what QNX has been building for the past year or so.

The developer conference that RIM hosts, DevCon, takes place over the next few days in San Francisco and then moves to Asia and Europe in the following months. New devices, new endeavors and anything new to RIM is normally announced at the event. So far, BBX has been the most ‘exciting’ thing. No new smartphones, no new tablets, and most certainly no devices running BBX have been discussed thus far.

So, what makes BBX so special? For starters, it’s a completely new platform — except it’s already on the PlayBook, which was an abysmal failure in comparison to other tablets. Okay, well they now have new development environments! HTML5 with WebWorks, Adobe Air, Native C/C++ and an Android Runtime. Even if developers don’t flock to using “web technologies” for their apps, you can surely rely on the vast Android Market, right? Before you do that, be sure to check out what will and won’t work with their Android Player  — almost nothing useful will work as it should.

What did RIM do properly? They announced they were abolishing some of the barriers to start developing for the platform. You no longer need to register to download the SDK. You no longer need to show ‘notarized papers’ to start developing. Leave the credit card in your wallet, it’s now free become a BlackBerry third party developer. That’s right, previous to today, you had to create an account, identify yourself and fork over cash before you could write a single line of code with their tools. If anybody was wondering why RIM was having a hard time attracting real talent, wonder no more!

RIM plans to use BBX to provide unification to their smartphones, tablets and other embedded devices they have in the works. BBM is there, push notifications are there, and their now-defunct proprietary communications backhaul  is there too! Everything you love (and hate) about BlackBerry is basically going to stay the same for the foreseeable future.

If RIM plans on gaining back the confidence they lost earlier this month, they will have to pull out all the stops over the next 2 days. We can only hope that the Waterloo-based company has an ace in the sleeve before they end the game.

RIM’s Response to Recent Service Outage; $100 Worth of Free Apps as Apology

If there’s one thing you use your BlackBerry for, it’s games, right?

In response to the recent BlackBerry service outage, which left millions of users across the world with a completely useless device, RIM has apologized for the disruption and is attempting to win some confidence back. In a Press Release issued early this morning, Research in Motion announced they will be offering premium apps  to customers as an expression of appreciation. The short list of apps and games will be available later this week, and will stay “free” until the end of 2011. It’s about as free as the $40/month you pay your carrier for access to RIM’s proprietary backhaul.

Likely, you have a BlackBerry for enterprise use (because it’ll cost the company too much to drop the antiquated service), well RIM isn’t ignoring you either. Corporate enterprise customers will receive one month of free technical support. A whole 30 days of technical service tacked onto your existing ball-and-chain contract with RIM — free!

The complete selection of premium apps will become available to download at BlackBerry App World over a period of four weeks beginning Wednesday, October 19th.   The selections over this period will include the following (with more to come):

•  SIMS 3 – Electronic Arts
•  Bejeweled – Electronic Arts
•  N.O.V.A. – Gameloft
•  Texas Hold’em Poker 2 – Gameloft
•  Bubble Bash 2 – Gameloft
•  Photo Editor Ultimate – Ice Cold Apps
• Pro –
•  iSpeech Translator Pro –
•  Drive Enterprise –
•  Nobex Radioâ„¢ Premium – Nobex
•  Shazam Encore – Shazam
•  Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant – Vlingo

RIM’s enterprise customers will also be offered one month of free Technical Support.   Current customers will be offered a complimentary one month extension of their existing Technical Support contract, and customers who do not currently have a Technical Support contract will be offered a one month trial of RIM’s BlackBerry Technical Support Services – Enhanced Support, free of charge.   Additional details about the program and information about how to register will be available at

It’s a pretty unclear message that RIM is sending. “Our service was down for 3 days and you were left with a brick in your pocket, here are some free games to play (for when the service goes out again), and if you pay for the service, we’ll offer your free technical support (to tell you when the service goes out again)“.

It should also be noted that of the 12 listed apps that RIM will be offering customers, most of them  require  an active data connection to be of any use. You can’t use Shazam, Nobex Radio or the iSpeech applications without service.

So be sure to fire up AppWorld on your BlackBerry and grab those games before the service goes down again, we all know you can’t survive with BrickBreaker for another 3 days.

Kik Comes Back To BlackBerry

It’s been 10 long months for Blackberry users who coerced their friends into using Kik, have been waiting for a new app. If you recall, Kik landed themselves in hot water with RIM when they first released their real-time chatting application. It was a direct competitor to BlackBerry Messenger and it was suspected they were using unsanctioned API and mimicking RIM’s own messaging service. They were ousted from the App World in November of last year.

Almost a year later, Kik has released a reworked and revamped client for their cross-platform service. It’s a universal Java app, built with no service calls or APIs that are specific to RIM. No RIM-owned NoC infrastructure notifications are being used. The app is lacking in a few features, like sending pictures and it’s missing support for the PlayBook — but it’s back and RIM can go fly a kite.

Kik is distributing the BlackBerry app exclusively on their site, as RIM is unlikely to allow it back into the App World for fear of users abandoning their proprietary service. Who can blame them, when RIM is having issues with their service, leaving users stranded for days due to outages.

Kudos to Kik for working around the blocks that some pinheads at RIM put in place, as an attempt to force existing users to stay with their inferior products and services.

Kik aims to be a completely free, cross-platform solution for instant messaging across mobile devices. It’s available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and now, again, BlackBerry platforms. Visit the Kik Blog  for full details and to download the app to your PaperWeight  BlackBerry.

RIM Reports Q2 Results: Revenues Down, Only 200K Playbooks Shipped

Research in Motion just announced their Q2 FY2012 results for the quarter ended August 27, 2011, and they seem to indicate just what everyone suspected.

Its revenue in the second quarter dropped to $4.2 billion, down 15% from the last quarter and down 10% from Q2 2010. Its net income has dropped to just $329 million, less than half what it was in the last quarter.

Blackberry smartphone shipments dropped to 10.6 million, while Playbook shipments were just 200,000. It’s very likely that this number is the number of Playbooks shipped to retailers, and not actual sales. Compared to the sales of the Apple iPad, this is a laughable figure.

The results have been much lower than expectations. Investors have started dumping the stock already, with $RIMM down more than 18% in after-hours trading.

Rumors suggest that the Blackberry Playbook may soon be going the HP Touchpad way. Blackberry is banking on its new OS 7 devices to boost sales in the next quarter, but that seems to be a remote possibility for now. It seems that RIM’s future depends on the success of the QNX platform that it plans to launch in 2012.

You can download the earnings release for Q2 FY12 here – Research In Motion Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2012 Results

BlackBerry Offers to Help in Tracking Down London Rioters, Official Blog Gets Hacked in Retaliation

You are probably aware of the shameful display of hooliganism that has ravaged several British cities including London, just a year before it is due to host the Olympics. According to reports, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was the primary tool used to spread and organize the riots.

The riots started on August 6, in response to the Police shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. A protest march by a couple of hundred people turned violent, and resorted to rioting, vandalism, and looting. Over the next few days, the disturbance spread to several other cities including Birmingham, Liverpool, and Nottingham. As mentioned earlier, the vandals, who were mostly youths, resorted to using BBM as the primary means of communication. UrbanMashup has dug up evidence that illustrates how BBM was used to spread information about areas that were being attacked and were vulnerable.

Reacting to the widespread allegations of misuse of BBM during the riots, the official BlackBerry UK Twitter account promised to co-operate with the police during the investigation. It issued the following brief statement on the aforementioned micro-blogging platform:

We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.less than a minute ago via CoTweet Favorite Retweet Reply

Although RIM has declined to reveal the extent of its co-operation with the police, according to The Inquirer, The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act could be used to force Research in Motion (RIM) – the Canadian manufacturer of BlackBerry, to hand over data from its encrypted BBM network.

This announcement obviously didn’t sit well with some people. A group called Team Poison defaced the official BlackBerry blog in retaliation. Team Poison has urged RIM to not cooperate with the UK police, as it believes that handing over BBM data will lead to innocent bystanders, who were at the wrong place at the wrong time, getting implicated. It also threatened to release RIM’s UK employee database to the angry rioters, if the Canadian company didn’t back down. The offending blog post has already been removed by RIM, but a screenshot provided by an HN user is embedded below.


PlayBook App Player For Android Apps Appears

What was promised by Research in Motion, back before the launch of the PlayBook, was apps…Android apps at that. The PlayBook launched and immediately took a vertical nosedive due to missing important features such as a native e-mail, calendar and even contact support. The spotlight was quickly taken away while RIM fended off anonymous employee letters describing their downfall.  It’s hard to imagine things are about to change with leaked software, especially when  employees are  moving to competitors.

The well talked about, but never seen, ‘Android app player’ for the PlayBook has been leaked by N4BB, a BlackBerry enthusiast site. In what can only be described as a “boneheaded move” by RIM, pertinent package information containing links to the unreleased player were stored within an easily accessed file for an update to their desktop managing software.

The app player provides a secure chrooted environment containing Dalvik runtimes to allow the PlayBook to seamlessly run supported Android applications atop their QNX platform. The technology works extremely similar to Myriad’s Alien Dalvik  which was demoed on a Nokia N900 in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Although it is a poor substitute for actual native applications, leveraging the ecosystem of a competitor is a move that has many analysts curious as to what is going on inside RIM. A good experience with Android apps on the PlayBook may drive users to purchase one of the many Android tablets available, tossing away their mediocre BlackBerry paperweight. On the other had, a poor experience with Android apps on the PlayBook will leave users shaking their hands on the way to purchase a real Android tablet, again, tossing away their mediocre BlackBerry paperweight. RIM has some serious decisions to make as to their future.

If you’re one of the (un) lucky few with a PlayBook, the leaked file is hosted on servers managed by RIM, so if you’re planning on getting the “real deal” make sure you act fast before it’s pulled. Hosting mirrors will allow you to get it no matter what, while keeping RIM busy, but to be sure you’re getting a vetted installer, you might want to wait until it’s publicly available.

Via N4BB