How does that old song go? Everything old is new again? I’m reminded of it every time Samsung and BlackBerry get wrapped up in some will-they-won’t-they acquisition intrigue like they did yesterday. In case you somehow missed all the fun, Reuters reported that Samsung offered a cool $7.5 billion to BlackBerry as part of a potential buyout deal. In the hours that followed, BlackBerry balked, Samsung shot the notion down and investor hope — seen in the form of surging BBRY stock prices — all but evaporated.
Samsung and BlackBerry have an interesting history together, at least as far as rumored business tie-ups go. In very early 2012, a poorly sourced acquisition report from a tech blog caused BlackBerry (well, RIM at the time) shares to surge in price. Samsung denied it was looking for a deal. Then, later that year, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek released a note to investors fingering Samsung as the company most likely or most interested in licensing BlackBerry 10 for its own phones. Considering how fervently Samsung’s been trying to make its alternative Tizen platform a thing, that scenario doesn’t seem all that outlandish. So what’s different this time around? Why would Samsung want to envelop BlackBerry in its many folds? Well, a bunch of reasons, really.
First up, there’s the patent angle. The folks in Waterloo have nearly 44,000 patents tucked away in BlackBerry’s global coffers (about 10 percent were granted in the US), including a set of recently awarded ones that protect concepts like a wearable that lets users access their phones without punching in a code first. Fine, that one in particular is hardly intriguing, but make no mistake: BlackBerry has some really juicy ones. Law360 did a deep dive back in 2013 and found that of the lot of them, 2,500 BlackBerry patents pertaining to “Security, Email, Messaging [and] Data Delivery” provide the backbone for the company’s standout security and networking features.
Those patents — and their analogs filed in different countries to afford BlackBerry global intellectual protection — are worth a small fortune alone. Still others pertaining specifically to information encryption (mostly owned by a BlackBerry subsidiary called Certicom) are being licensed for use by the United States government because the elliptic-curve cryptography techniques they outline are just that good. What happens when other security-minded organizations bite the bullet and decide they need to use that tech too? They pay up, big. Cha-ching for BlackBerry, and that revenue stream could be Samsung’s too.
And hell, let’s just get really pragmatic here. Remember Nortel? We can’t blame you if you don’t, but the former communications juggernaut sold off over 6,000 of its patents and patent applications in mid-2011 in exchange for around $4.5 billion. Even if all Samsung wanted to do was flip BlackBerry’s huge store of intellectual property, it’d still have a somewhat decent chance of turning a profit. Oh, and that’s not to mention the extra ammunition that IP would provide if/when Samsung gets wrapped up in another giant legal kerfuffle like it did with Apple. Patents are power, protection and profit all rolled into one.
But let’s take the legal nitty-gritty of patents out of the mix for just a moment. Despite a shift to alternative devices and platforms, BlackBerry’s phones and services are still being used by businesses, conglomerates and governments the world over. That’s a level of enterprise savvy and infiltration that Samsung hasn’t yet been able to match, even with its Knox security initiative on the books and some promising momentum — why, just last year the NSA gave Knox its blessing for governmental use… after a handful of security researchers managed to poke disputable holes in the fabric of Samsung’s security. If Samsung wants to truly own the enterprise space, picking off one of its most notable (and most vulnerable) competitors is a great way to do it.
And hey, it’s not like BlackBerry has a huge hand in making phones now anyway; its deal with Foxconn allows the company to essentially offload not just the manufacturing, but also the distribution of future BlackBerrys straight to the Chinese company. Design work is still done in-house, but Samsung could easily take over those teams and keep a quiet stream of new BlackBerrys flowing if it wanted to.
So yes, there are a few perfectly plausible reasons why Samsung would (and arguably should) snap up BlackBerry. But why now? It’s all about the shifting market, friends. The Samsung we have now isn’t exactly the same, old “let’s throw everything at the wall and see if it sticks” company we’re so used to watching. It’s not selling as many of its flagship phones as it thought it would, and you can’t really deny that those devices have been a big driver of growth for Samsung these past few years. In order to please all those finicky shareholders, Samsung’s got to keep the gravy train going, and when growth in one direction slows, you’d better believe the company will try to find a catalyst to make sure things move.
On the flip side, BlackBerry’s starting to dust itself off a bit now that former Sybase chief John Chen is sitting at the head table. It’s cutting costs. It’s retuning to the company’s mission. It’s pushing ever closer to profitability. Hell, it just might get there (Chen says it’ll happen sometime in 2016), and by then, it’ll be that much more expensive a target for anyone looking to buy. By kicking off these talks now, Samsung just might be trying to buy low.
Even now, some might balk at the price Samsung reportedly offered — after all, the deal involved paying a hefty premium on each of BlackBerry’s shares. And BlackBerry’s reported $7.5 billion price tag stands in stark contrast to the relatively paltry $200-ish million Samsung paid for SmartThings, an originally crowdfunded hardware company that the Korean titan gobbled up not too long ago. Here’s the thing about the Internet of Things market: It’s young. It hasn’t solidified yet. There’s no clear market winner. You can think of Samsung’s $200 million as a ground-floor investment. But BlackBerry? That’s a company with rebounding clout, and one of the most ardent, devoted and possibly craziest fan bases you’ll ever see. Alas, both companies have buttoned up on the matter, so we might not ever know what they saw in each other. One thing’s for sure, though: This isn’t the last time you’ll hear these rumors. Everything old is new again.
Smartphone makers were still reeling from the arrival of Apple’s touchscreen-only iPhone when 2008 rolled around. Research in Motion (RIM), a mobile manufacturer best known for its BlackBerry line and QWERTY keyboard prowess, was at the top of its game and primed to jump into this emerging form factor. That year, it launched the BlackBerry Storm smartphone — a direct rival to Apple’s handset. As RIM’s premier effort in touchscreen smartphones, it offered an interesting spin on the interface with what it called SurePress. This was a touchscreen you could depress or click; an innovation RIM hoped would bridge the gap between the company’s current physical keyboard-accustomed clientele and the next generation of smartphone buyers. The Storm was RIM’s attempt to solve the “problems associated with typing on traditional touchscreens” and leverage its longtime experience with clickable keys. While the phone had a sleek and solid build, a vibrant 3.25-inch display and was backed by Verizon’s network, that SurePress technology ended up doing more harm than good.
Touch-typing on a screen that required a tactile click for each letter put a damper on the fluidity and speed of the messaging experience — a con echoed in many reviews. Not only that, but also the software, BlackBerry OS 4.7, wasn’t built from the ground up for touch-style navigation, making the experience far from intuitive. It was just a hopped-up version of the previous operating system that had powered QWERTY- and trackball-based devices like the Bold. It did have some impressive media capabilities, though, offering unparalleled Microsoft Office functionality on a smartphone for RIM’s enterprise customers.
Out-of-the-box, however, the Storm failed to include a way for Mac users to sync their audio and data, a glaring omission that would have otherwise helped lure back potential iPhone converts. RIM was forced to hurriedly address this, as well as other issues, with software updates to the phone and even pushed out an improved model a year later called the Storm 2.
RIM, as they say, was “once bitten, twice shy,” and it wasn’t until 2013 that it once again ventured to release an iPhone-like competitor with the touchscreen Z10. The company even used that device’s launch event to rebrand as BlackBerry. While the Z10 had an OS that was custom-tailored to the touch experience, the effort ultimately failed to ignite a comeback. And the results of that misstep have been haunting the company ever since.
Did you own a BlackBerry Storm? Add it to your Engadget profile as a device you had (or still have) and join the discussion to reminisce or share photos of your device with other like-minded gadget fans.
In 2011, BlackBerry was rumored to be developing a media box to compete against the likes of Roku and Apple TV. While that device never made it to market, it looks like the company did manufacture some units, as proven by pictures posted on the CrackBerry forums. These photos were taken by user “isaac708,” who claims he got 10 BlackBerry Cyclones (the device’s code name) inside a box full of server stuff from a RIM liquidator. Half of those units came with a remote control, and some of them can actually connect to the internet via WiFi as well as stream videos to a TV using HDMI connection. One of the images he posted even shows the box’s user interface with the YouTube and Slacker apps in full view, though Netflix, which is also supposed to be part of Cyclone’s repertoire, is nowhere to be seen. While the device’s fate is likely up in the air (if it hasn’t been scrapped yet) due to the company’s ongoing struggles, the pictures after the break should give you an idea of how it looks.
Source: CrackBerry Forums
If you are one of the users who are still using BBM then there’s a big update coming your way which will offer larger file sharing and new features for group chats.
Bringing BBM in line with most other cross-platform messaging services, users will now be able to share photos in group chats and to assist with this the file limit for sharing files has been increased from 6MB to 16MB.
Blackberry have said that they are planning on making the emotions in the chat bigger too, so great news if that’s something you’ve been longing for.
The post Blackberry updating BBM to allow for larger file sharing appeared first on AndroidGuys.
This morning’s earnings report may not have been BlackBerry’s favorite moment, but John Chen seems confident in his vision for the company’s future — and his ability to turn things around. Speaking with a small group of analysts and reporters, Chen mentioned that this coming year will be critical for BlackBerry, saying that it will be an investment year. We can’t say we disagree; certainly the deal with Foxconn (which Chen specifies does not involve any licensing agreements, ensuring government relations remain under BlackBerry’s control) will require a lot of additional effort and resources on his company’s part. Chen seems adamant that this “investment” will not include layoffs, however, “if [he] can avoid it.” Certainly no guarantee, of course, but Chen is confident that this quarter was just a hiccup that will help BlackBerry find future financial success, and that he expects his company to be cash flow-neutral by 2015 and profitable by 2016, and wants to do it using growth, rather than saving money through cuts. In fact, Chen plans to build up an Enterprise sales force “to take it back to the market.”
Chen also spoke to his new position as chief executive, saying that the “interim” title has been removed, and he’s now the man in charge for the foreseeable future. But for how long, exactly? As long as it takes to get the company on strong financial footing. “My step one was to have the company financially out of harm’s way. I can’t say I’ve done it today, but we are on a good path.” He definitely wins the prize for the most confident CEO of the year.
Additionally, Chen mentioned that BlackBerry will be building a security technology center in Washington, DC to work with big government clients like the Department of Defense. This new center, which will be several thousand square feet, will primarily employ engineers (although he doesn’t specify if these engineers will be transferred there or if BlackBerry will enjoy a hiring spree). This makes sense, given Chen’s insistence that one of the company’s biggest areas of focus must be on security for regulated industries, in which government relations will play a huge role.
Also, if you’ve been concerned that these recent announcements mean that the company may not put as much of an emphasis on keyboards as has done in the past, good news: the new CEO doesn’t plan to ditch keyboards anytime soon — he mentioned that BlackBerry customers still want them, so he’ll continue to listen to his customers.
Now that we’ve seen all the leaks and heard all the rumors, RIM has finally announced the BlackBerry Bold 9790 and Curve 9380, welcoming two new members to the OS 7 family. Picking up where the Bold 9780 left off, the comparatively higher-end 9790 boasts a 2.44-inch touchscreen display with 360 x 480 resolution, and is powered by a 1GHz CPU. The QWERTY-equipped handset also ships with 8GB of onboard memory and features a microSD slot that offers up to 32GB of additional space. The Curve 9380, meanwhile, is an all touchscreen affair, with a 3.2-inch, 480 x 360 display and a five megapixel camera. RIM hasn’t offered any other details on the 9380’s specs, though the company did specify that both devices will offer NFC and augmented reality support, and will come pre-loaded with BlackBerry Messenger, Documents To Go Premium, and BlackBerry Protect. No word yet on pricing or availability, though RIM says to expect a launch “over the coming weeks.” Find more details in the full PR, after the break.
We make our own truth. That’s how IDC can come up with roughly the same numbers as fellow research firm Canalys and crown Apple the king, when its rival called Android top dog — it’s all about how you slice it. See, where as Canalys bundled all Android handset makers together, IDC has broken them up, which leads to a rather interesting twist — the largest smartphone maker in the world is now Apple. Cupertino’s growth of 141.7-percent in shipments year over year was enough to push it past Nokia (which slipped to number three) and Samsung (which climbed two spots to take the silver medal), while RIM and HTC rounded out the top five. That being said, no one is running away with the lead here, and Sammy’s continued stratospheric rise should keep Apple on guard. Check out the full report after the break.
RIM has unveiled five new Blackberry 7 handsets – the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930, the BlackBerry Torch 9810, 9850 and 9860. All models will pack a QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen controls and the long-rumoured NFC connectivity.First confirmed at the companys BlackBerry World in Florida, the BlackBerry 9900 is the makers slimmest smartphone to date and throws a touchscreen into the mix, giving it a definite advantage over the brands existing flagship model, the BlackBerry Bold 9780. But how do the two phones compare in other areas and will it be worth an upgrade when the new handset hits the shelves. We took a closer look at the specs to see whats what.
Here they are folks. Months after we first got our hands on pre-release Torch and Bold Touch handsets, RIM is finally ready to show off its latest hardware. They’re all powered by a 1.2GHz processor, have 768MB of onboard RAM and — most importantly — run the latest operating system BB OS7.
RIM claims its new OS is 40 percent faster at browsing compared to OS6-based smartphones, and 100 percent faster than OS5 handsets. It also supports RIM’s Liquid Graphics technology, which uses a dedicated graphics processor for smoother scrolling, zooming and panning.
Hands-on impressions follow after the break, and stay tuned because we’re updating this with more info from the London launch event as we get it, with full galleries and a hands-on video following imminently.