BlackBerry confirms decision to ditch hardware division, all phones to be made by third-parties in future
It might not come as a surprise considering recent BlackBerry handsets have been OEM models made by third-parties, but the company has confirmed that it will no longer make hardware of any kind in-house going forward.
As part of its second quarter financial results, BlackBerry announced that it plans to scrap handset development in favour of a software and services-only strategy going forward.
“We are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” said John Chen, the company’s executive chairman and CEO.
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That means there will still be BlackBerry handsets – using Android as the operating system – but they will not be made by BlackBerry itself.
Instead, they will be like the rumoured handset codenamed “Argon”, the DTEK60, which will be made Alcatel. It will follow the DTEK50 released earlier this year, which was also made by Chinese firm TCL Corporation, which owns the Alcatel brand.
That particular handset was very similar to the Alcatel Idol 4 and the DTEK60 is thought to be a rebranded Idol 4S in all but name.
Traditional BlackBerry fans will be saddened by the news, but the company has been in trouble for some time and the writing has long been on the wall for its own handsets.
Its move to concentrate solely on security software and services was expected by most.
Tinder’s next stab at monetization is, effectively, a queue jump system. Activating a new “Tinder Boost” will turn your account into a “top profile,” helping you to “skip the line” for 30 minutes. The idea is pretty simple — Boost and you’ll head to the front of everyone’s queue, increasing your visibility and the likelihood of a match. If you have a Tinder Plus subscription ($9.99 or $19.99 per month, depending on your age) you’ll get one “free” Boost every week. Any user can also buy Boosts individually.
Tinder is testing the feature in Australia, and hopes to roll it out worldwide “soon.” The option could be divisive given it provides an advantage to people with deep pockets, rather than those who might be a better match for people in their local area. Premium, or promoted profiles are a common feature on dating sites, however, so this isn’t really a new idea — just one that’s been re-engineered for Tinder’s swipe-based matching system.
Click & Grow, a company selling indoor garden and herb kits, has released two cabinet-like structures you can use to grow veggies, herbs and other plants inside your house. The company calls them “Wall Farms,” and it says they’re powered by a proprietary, fully automated, NASA-inspired technology. To be precise, they use nanotech growing materials that supply just the right amount of oxygen, water and other nutrients a plant needs. Just put the veggies in the solution and watch them grow. Hopefully, that means you’ll be able to raise living things, even if you’re the type who can kill the hardiest succulents.
Click & Grow also says that plants raised in their proprietary solution contain more vitamins than their ordinary counterparts. Plus, they supposedly grow 30 percent faster than those planted in soil. We guess you’ll have to try it out yourself if you want to confirm if both claims are true. The three-tier, fully automated Wall Farm unit will cost you $799, while a smaller, non-connected version will set you back $199. Take note that you’ll also have to purchase plant and solution refills on top of those, though.
If you’ve been looking to build an indoor garden, check out a timelapse of the bigger Wall Farm below to get an idea of how fast herbs and veggies can grow in the company’s nanotech solution:
Source: Click & Grow
Apple is building hardware for next year’s iPhone model at its offices in Herzliya, Israel, and referring to it internally as the “iPhone 8,” according to an employee there who spoke anonymously to Business Insider. The employee works on soldering components for Apple and gave vague references to how “different” the 2017 iPhone will be from the iPhone 7, which falls in line with rumors about the iPhone 8’s radical redesign, without providing detailed information to add to the previous reports.
Still, the naming scheme of next year’s iPhone is one of the device’s most talked-about aspects. Normally, the smartphone would carry the “iPhone 7s” moniker given that it will be following this year’s iPhone 7, but given the major changes Apple plans to introduce to the iPhone in 2017, it seems unlikely the device will receive an “S” name. Because of this, there’s a good chance Apple may decide to skip directly to the next full number, naming the 2017 iPhone the iPhone 8.
The Apple employee speaking with Business Insider keeps this idea alive, mentioning what’s coming “next” from Apple and discussing the iPhone 8 “unprompted” in the conversation. The same source, “who only spoke in broken English,” added that the 2017 version of the iPhone will have a better camera than the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, which is expected at this point in Apple’s yearly upgrade cycle.
Speaking to Business Insider outside Apple’s Herzliya office at Maskit Street 12, the Apple employee said staff in Israel are working on what’s coming “next” in Apple’s product line, giving a specific mention to “iPhone 8.”
The worker used the term “iPhone 8” unprompted in our conversation. That was interesting because the next logical name for the iPhone to be released in 2017 should be “iPhone 7s.” iPhone 8 isn’t due until 2018.
The radically redesigned iPhone 8 is said to include an all-glass body, edge-to-edge display with the camera and Touch ID integrated into it, no traditional Home Button, and potentially wireless charging. The device’s launch will also fall on the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone’s debut, back in 2007, leading to even more speculation that Apple will land on a specialized branding instead of a simple “S” naming scheme.
But because it’s so early in the rumor cycle — and because Apple’s R&D offices in Herzliya have nothing to do with marketing and branding of the iPhone — it’s best to take today’s report with the usual grain of salt. Tim Cook visited the Herzliya offices when they opened last year with rumored focus on storage space, processors, and communications chips being worked on by around 800 employees.
Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
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Guangzhou man claims his Note 7 caught fire less than 24 hours after delivery — but isn’t handing it over for inspection.
Even as Samsung makes strong progress with its Galaxy Note 7 exchange program and looks to reassure customers around the world that the new Note 7s are safe, there’s a new report of Note 7s catching fire in China.
Note 7s sold in China were originally through to be unaffected by the battery glitch causing some phones sold elsewhere to overheat and explode, however some devices sold as part of a preview program were recalled two weeks ago. Today’s report from Bloomberg says 25-year-old Guangzhou resident Hui Renjie says his phone caught fire less than 24 hours after it was delivered from Chinese outlet JD.com, burning his fingers and his MacBook in the process.
“We are currently contacting the customer and will conduct a thorough examination of the device in question once we receive it,” the Korean company said in an e-mailed statement.
A Samsung representative reportedly visited Hui shortly after the incident, however according to Bloomberg, “he declined the offer because he doesn’t trust the company to reveal the reason for the fire, and plans to publicize the issue.” Which by all accounts he’s succeeded in doing.
Two other battery fires in China have been investigated by Samsung, which has attributed them to external heating — i.e. the original source of the fire wasn’t the battery, as in reports centered around the old Note 7 with the defective cell.
It’s too early to draw any conclusions from this latest report, and since the owner isn’t willing to hand it over for analysis, we may never know what caused the fire. There are many things that can go wrong and suddenly cause all the power contained in a lithium-ion battery to release at once. (Heat from the nearby MacBook is one possibility.) It’s also worth noting that these reports have been isolated to China so far — and explained away by the manufacturer where it’s been able to investigate.
Elsewhere, Samsung continues to reassure customers that the new Note 7, with its green battery icon, is safe to use.
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7
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- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
- The latest Galaxy Note 7 news!
- Here are all four Note 7 colors
- Complete Galaxy Note 7 specs
- Join the Note 7 discussion in the forums!
November launch likely, with prices for the Nougat-powered slab rumored land between $480 and $700, depending on RAM and storage options.
It certainly looks like Huawei’s leaving nothing on the table for the launch of its upcoming big-screened handset, the Mate 9. The latest details unearthed from Chinese social network Weibo by Playfuldroid show off what looks like six distinct colors and finishes for the phone, along with Leica branding for its dual rear cameras.
According to a pricing slide that’s leaked alongside these renders, it looks like there’ll be three tiers for the new phone. The base model has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and costs 3,199 Chinese yuan ($480). Mid-tier is 4GB and 128GB for 3,899 yuan ($580). And the highest-end Mate 9 packs a whopping 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for 4700 yuan ($700). As the slide shows, the model you choose will dictate the colors available, with the black Mate 9 only being available in the highest price tier.
The Mate 9 as shown here doesn’t quite match up with what we’ve seen from some earlier leaks, which used a different style camera enclosure without any Leica branding. The photography brand’s logo is plain to see in today’s renders, which also appear to label the lenses as having an aperture of f/2.0. (An improvement on the P9’s f/2.2.)
The Huawei Mate 9 is rumored to come with the company’s unannounced Kirin 960 chip, featuring ARM’s latest high-performance Cortex-A73 cores. Also look for the Mate 9 to be the showcase for Huawei’s new EMUI 5, based on Android 7.0 Nougat, which does away with many of the more obnoxious customizations of previous EMUI versions.
As for availability, judging by the date on the phone in these renders — sometimes, but not always an accurate indicator — we should be looking at a launch sometime around November 18.
MORE: Why it’s time to start getting excited about Huawei
Is the Pokémon Go Plus worth it?
You can explore the world of Pokémon Go for free if you have a smartphone, but if you really want to take this game to the next level you can buy a $35 wrist button. At least, that’s what Niantic and Nintendo want you to think when you see Pokémon Go Plus on the shelf. This inexpensive little gadget is all about keeping you in the game even when your phone isn’t in your hand, by buzzing your wrist when there’s something nearby for you to do in the game.
If being tethered to Pokémon Go without looking at your screen is an appealing idea for you, there’s a lot to like about this simple little accessory. Here’s how to get the most out of the experience.
Walking with Pokémon Go Plus
The biggest benefit to having Pokémon Go Plus on your wrist is not needing to have your phone in your hand or carefully positioned in a pocket while you walk around. Walking in Pokémon Go powers incubators for hatching eggs, and encourages your designated Pokémon Buddy to give you extra Pokémon Candy the more you walk. It’s a huge part of the game, and keeping your screen on while you do so is kind of tedious. Pokémon Go Plus lets you walk with your screen completely off and in your pocket. As long as that wristband is connected to your phone, every step you take is recorded in the game. This means you get those kilometers in much faster than you normally would, because it’s always paying attention to how far you’ve walked.
You can really take advantage of Pokémon Go Plus by being just a little more active every day. Anything from a casual walk through a grocery store to a sprint down the street in hopes of catching your bus across town gets counted by Pokémon Go Plus. It’s fantastic encouragement to go for a walk during your lunch break or even just park further away the next time you’re at the store. It all adds up quick when you don’t have to fire up the Pokémon Go app to capture those steps, which means more eggs hatched and more candy received!
Checking in at Pokéstops
You’ll get a small vibration on your wrist and a flashing blue light in the center of the wristband every time you’re near a Pokéstop that’s ready to be spun. Instead of pulling your phone out and checking the app, you just tap the button on your wrist and it will check in for you. This works whether you’re walking down the street or stopped at an intersection with a Pokéstop nearby, and every time the Pokéstop recharges you’re notified to check in again. When you finally do check your phone, you’ll see all of the items you received in your Journal and in your Inventory.
One weird note with Pokéstops through Pokémon Go Plus: checking in with the button doesn’t always turn the stop purple. This doesn’t mean you can check in twice — we tried repeatedly — but it is something worth keeping in mind as you switch between playing with just the wristband and playing on your phone.
Catching all the Pokémon
A green or yellow light flash on your wrist means there’s a Pokémon nearby for you to catch. Green flashes mean it’s a Pokémon you’ve encountered before, and yellow means it’s a Pokémon not currently in your Pokédex. Before you tap that button and try to catch yourself a Pokémon using nothing but your wrist, there are a few things to consider.
Pokémon Go Plus will only ever throw a single standard red and white Pokéball on your behalf. If the Pokémon breaks free of that single standard Pokéball, it breaks free immediately and flees. You don’t get another shot to catch that Pokémon, it’s gone. This is particularly troubling when you can’t actually see what you’re going to be catching, so your best bet is to only use Pokémon Go Plus to catch something if you have absolutely no plans of otherwise stopping to catch it. You should probably always avoid trying to capture something that flashes yellow on your Pokémon Go Plus, especially once you reach level 20 or higher in the game.
Overall having Pokémon Go Plus on you can be handy, and it’s hard to argue with the price, but it’s important to figure out how to fit it into your particular style of gameplay before you go for a jog with it on.
- Join our Pokémon Go forums!
- How to deal with GPS errors in-game
- Which team should you choose?
- How to play without killing your battery
- The Ultimate Pokémon Go Game Guide!
- Listen to the Pokémon Go podcast!
YouTube has launched a version of its app designed specifically for users on slow data connections or with limiting data caps.
YouTube Go has been developed initially for users in India but will then be rolled out wider after a testing period.
It is designed to work well even when there is low or no connectivity, offering to save versions of videos for offline viewing. In addition, it tells you exactly how much data a download or playback will consume. And it gives image quality options to watch and download videos.
A standard definition video might take 12MB or more to download or view, but a lower quality version could be available for a fraction of that.
Previews of videos are available, to choose whether you want to continue to watch, but they do so through a gallery of stills rather than rolling video, again saving data.
The final data saving feature is that you can share a video with friends and family nearby without using a phone connection. It will transmit locally from app to app.
YouTube Go is free and can be requested in India by signing up on a dedicated webpage. Once testing is over it will become more widely available.
Mastercard is once again offering its customers free travel on London’s public transport networks. Mastercard gave Apple Pay users free travel in November 2015 and for October this year, Android Pay users are the lucky ones.
The offer will only apply to Mondays in October and travel is restricted to Tube, tram, bus, DLR, TfL rail, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. Mastercard has also said it will only pay up to £30.50 per day and will issue the money back as a refund, you’ll have to pay for it initially.
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You also have to touch in on the contactless readers using your Android Pay phone with your Mastercard registered.
And to help through either your morning or evening commute, Mastercard has teamed up with Caffe Nero to offer Android Pay customers one free coffee or hot drink on each Monday in October. Again, you’ll need to pay for the drink initially and Mastercard will refund the money back.
Full terms and conditions can be found on Mastercard’s website.
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Android Pay has been available to use in the UK since May this year and works in much the same way as Apple Pay. You need to register your card with your smartphone and tap it on an NFC reader to make a payment.
You don’t need to scan your fingerprint as you do with Apple, because not all Android phones have fingerprint scanners on them, but you do need to enter a PIN code or pattern to authenticate the payment.
The dual lens camera on the Huawei Mate 9 has been the subject of much speculation in recent months. First came a leak showing off the dual camera setup, albeit in a different configuration to the Huawei P9, then came the news of a 12-megapixel or 20-megapixel camera. But throughout those leaks and rumours, we were unsure if the Mate 9 would have Leica camera branding like its P9 sibling.
However a new leak on Chinese site Weibo shows the Mate 9 will in fact have Leica branding, on a new set of rendered images. Lecia’s logo can be seen in between the two lenses and they claim to have an aperture of f/2.0, which improves upon the P9’s f/2.2.
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It’s no real surprise to see Leica appearing on a second Huawei phone since the two companies have agreed a partnership and have opened a jointly operated research and development centre at Leica’s headquarters in Wetzlar, Germany. The collaboration has been formed to produce a “wide range of photographic and mobile device applications” as well as “computational imaging, augmented reality and virtual reality solutions”.
It seems Huawei is taking the camera technology inside its smartphones incredibly seriously and it’s not just some marketing ploy to attract customers.
The leaked slides picked up by Weibo also give away three tiers of the phone with varying amounts of storage and memory, with different colours reserved for each tier.
The entry level model will have 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and will be available in graphite, silver and gold. The next phone will have 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and will be available in graphite, white, gold, rose gold, while the top level model will have 6GB RAM, 256GB storage and have six colour options: graphite, white, gold, black, rose gold and brown.
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- Huawei Mate 9 now due in November?
- Huawei P9 review: The flagship and the folly
The Huawei Mate 9 was initially expected to be released in December but that’s now been brought forward to November. Whichever month it’s released in, we’ll almost certainly see it before Christmas.