Samsung and BlackBerry Announce Strategic Partnership

Samsung and BlackBerry announced a strategic partnership. The deal will bring the Canadian company’s highly praised mobile security solutions to the Korean giant’s lineup of Android devices.

The end result of the partnership between the two companies will be available in early 2015. It will merge BlackBerry’s BES12 cross-platform EMM solution and Samsung’s KNOX into a single security suite for Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Samsung KNOX and BES12 will offer complete separation of business and personal data. The upcoming security suite will also provide enhancements that address some of the Android-specific security issues.

The deal is a win for both parties. It will instantly make Samsung a major player on the enterprise market. BlackBerry on the other hand, will surely welcome the fresh stream of cash to its business.

Source

The New BlackBerry Passport Shown off in a video!

The BlackBerry Passport will soon hit retail shelves, but Carphone Warehouse has jumped the gun and posted a video hands-on of the device. The video shows the BlackBerry Passport in detail and shows off its key features, some of which haven’t been revealed by the company before.

As you’d expect the keyboard is excellent on the Passport. It also doubles as a touchpad and supports gestures. A swipe to the left deletes a word, while up and down swiping scrolls a web page.

The phone is quite tough as well, thanks to its stainless steel frame. There’s also a special shortcut button to the BlackBerry Assistant on the right side of the phone. You can use it to set reminders and search the web, among more.

While the video has since been removed from the retailer’s YouTube channel, a copy has been uploaded, which you can check out below.

The new BlackBerry Passport is edges closer to release!

BlackBerry-Passport-edges-closer-to-release

There’s a fair amount of anticipation among BlackBerry device enthusiasts for the upcoming BlackBerry Passport. We’ve already seen this device several times, and now the BlackBerry Passport has edged a step closer to release.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen officially revealed the Passport back in June and further to this we saw the phone pictured in a white color option. It has a rather unusual wide form factor that we weren’t too sure about at first, the phone looked more stylish than we’d initially thought.

Before the launch of a new smartphone to the market the device has to pass through various regulatory procedures, and last week a device thought to be the BlackBerry Passport appeared at the FCC. Now the phone has received GCF Certification too, so all is looking promising for the rumored September release.BlackBerry Passport edges closer to release b

The phone is thought to have a Snapdragon 800 processor, a square 4.5-inch display with resolution of 1440 x 1440, 3GB of RAM, and a 3450 mAh battery, and will release running BlackBerry 10.3, a very appealing lineup of specs. It also has a new-look physical QWERTY keyboard and it’s targeted at business users, although it could well appeal to non-enterprise users too.

There’s no BlackBerry Passport release date available yet, but it’s interesting to know that the FCC confidentiality agreement expires on September 12th, which perhaps gives us a hint. If you’re interested in this upcoming device you can already register your interest in it at BlackBerry here.

Do you like what you’ve seen and heard so far about the BlackBerry Passport smartphone? Will you be pre-ordering this handset when pre-orders open?

BlackBerry fires CEO Thorsten Heins, scraps buyout plan!

blackberry-e1327295119928

As a long-time competitor of, and what many believe to be a casualty of, the iPhone, we’ve been keeping a close eye on BlackBerry’s situation over the past several months. The last we heard, the company had agreed to sell itself to Fairfax Financial Holdings for $4.7 billion.

But apparently that’s no longer the plan. In a bit of a surprise move, BlackBerry announced this morning that it has given up on its effort to sell itself to a large investor, and that it will be replacing Thorsten Heins with former Sybase chief John Chen as interim CEO…

The news came in the form of a press release, where BlackBerry announced that rather than bid for it, Fairfax Financial will lead a group of investors that will pour more than $1 billion into the battered Waterloo-based company. The money will come in the form of a debt sale.

From the press release:

“BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY; TSX: BB), a world leader in the mobile communications market, today announced that it has entered into an agreement pursuant to which Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (“Fairfax”) and other institutional investors (collectively, the “Purchasers”) will invest in BlackBerry through a U.S. $1 billion private placement of convertible debentures.  Fairfax has agreed to acquire U.S.$250 million principal amount of the Debentures.  The transaction is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.”

BlackBerry says that today’s announcement marks the conclusion of the review of strategic alternatives it announced on August 12, 2013. It’s confident that an immediate cash injection is the best route for the company to take, and says it’s already begun making necessary changes.

blackberry-10-event-header

Here’s more on the executive shuffle:

“Upon the closing of the transaction, John S. Chen will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and, in that role, will be responsible for the strategic direction, strategic relationships and organizational goals of BlackBerry.  Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, will be appointed Lead Director and Chair of the Compensation, Nomination and Governance Committee and Thorsten Heins and David Kerr intend to resign from the Board at closing.

In addition, Mr. Heins will step down as Chief Executive Officer at closing and Mr. Chen will serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer pending completion of a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.”

In addition to ceding the CEO post, Heins will step down from the board of directors, as will director David Kerr. Heins was hired as BlackBerry’s chief executive following the exit of its then co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie—well after the company began its downward spiral.

But Heins hasn’t done much, if anything, to slow the bleeding. BlackBerry announced back in September that it would be writing off nearly $1 billion in unsold smartphones and cutting 40% of its workforce. That’s over 4,500 layoffs, one of the largest ever for a Canadian company.

Putting all of that behind us, though, it will be interesting to see what John Chen and the new board members can do. I think it’s admirable that they’re going to try to rebuild (although I’m not sure if they really had a choice or not), instead of taking the easy way out like Palm.

BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone and Android is here, get downloading!

bbm for iphone and android

After months-long back and forth, the horribly embattled Canadian smartphone makerBlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, has announced that its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) software has finally rolled out to iOS and Android devices today.

Announced as a staggered roll-out for Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store, the secure instant messaging software employs a reservation system.

That’s bad news for those who haven’t signed up early at BBM.com as they will be forced to wait in line before they can use the app. On September 22, BlackBerry was forced to halt the planned roll-out of BBM for iOS after a leaked Android build had caused its servers to fold…

According to the official BlackBerry blog, upon installing and firing up the app, users will need to enter their email address in order to hold their spot in line.

“We will email you as soon as you reach the front of the line and can start using BBM,” reads the post by BBM head Andrew Bocking.

If you’re among the six million people who’d previously signed up through BBM.com, you can start using the instant messaging app immediately, BlackBerry said.

Download BBM for iPhone free from the App Store now.

Download BBM for Android free from the Play Store now.

The 30.9MB download is optimized for the iPhone 5/5s/5c’s taller screen and requires an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

The app lets you chat with friends on iPhone and other smartphones that run BBM and includes such features as multi-party chat and sharing and always-on connectivity.

The software lets you create your own BBM profile from scratch, share photos, files, documents, voice notes and more, use emoticons in chat messages, see when the other person is responding to your message via handy typing indicator, know when messages have been delivered (D’s) and read (R’s) and more.

If you’re creating a BBM profile in-app, you can even set animated GIFs for your profile image and of course update your status.

Additional privacy options allow you to control how to share your information by using PINs instead of phone numbers or email addresses (“so that it’s more private”). Plus, you always have full control of who can contact or message you.

As for group chat, BBM groups help you share pictures, lists and appointments with group members.

“You can even be in a group with people who aren’t part of your own BBM contact list,” notes BlackBerry. If you participate on a multi-person chat, BBM lets you send a message to multiple BBM contacts at one time.

Owners of iPhone and Android devices in Africa will be able to download the app in three days’ time. Samsung customers in Sub-Sahara Africa can download BBM today from the Samsung Apps store.

A million Android users installed the leaked version in just seven hours, per BlackBerry.

“What you don’t know is that more than one million people have found creative ways to side load BBM on their iPhone”, reads the post.

The company will publish another blog post tomorrow to provide us with an update on the line-up and to share “more detail about the work the team has done over the last several weeks”.