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.


Nokia takes a swing at BlackBerry on Twitter!

After mocking the iPhone 5 for being monochromatic and not funky enough, now Nokia has set its aim on the freshly re-structured BlackBerry.

This time, the Finns have chosen to use Twitter rather than making a dedicated video. In the tweet Nokia says that “Blackberries make a great snack, but for the world’s best business smartphone try a #Lumia“.

Nokia takes a swing at BlackBerry on Twitter!

And this isn’t a random tweet, either, as it’s officially been promoted by Nokia to reach a larger audience. Strangely though, the public slap is accompanied by a yellow-colored Lumia 920. I can see this one clashing with the black suites that many business people wear.

BlackBerry hasn’t answered yet, probably because it now has more important things to do than take part in trash-talk with a company in as big trouble as itself.

BlackBerry 10 will launch on Jan 30 next year with two new phones!

After getting delayed, RIM’s BlackBerry 10 platform finally has a launch date set. On January 30, RIM will hold multiple events across the world simultaneously where it will launch both the OS and the first the BlackBerry phones to use it.

The BB 10 OS will hit the ground running – it will launch with “a large catalog of the leading applications from across the globe and across all categories” and a FIPS 140-2 certification (which means that government agencies can switch to BB 10 right away and count on security). You can read more about FIPS 140-2 over here.

During the event, RIM will give details on the two launch phones and their availability. We’ve most likelyseen them already – the touchscreen operated L-series and the more traditional QWERTY-packing N-Series. Then there’s the rumored BlackBerry 10 Aristo device with a quad-core Krait and a 4.65″ AMOLED 720p display.

RIM’s press release didn’t say anything about the first two BlackBerry 10 phones, so the Aristo remains in the rumor mill for now, but the company did say that the phones are being tested by 50 carriers (with more on the way), pointing to a wide launch.

RIM confirms new phones, BlackBerry 10 OS is essentially complete!

Good news for fans of Research In Motion: the embattled BlackBerry maker may soon see some much-needed light at the end of a long tunnel as the company has confirmed putting finishing touches on the way overdue BlackBerry 10 operating system. RIM also has some new phones and they’re all done, too.

Yesterday, RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins agitated spirits with news that his company is actively seeking partners to license BlackBerry 10 software, which was unveiled three months ago. It would mark a significant departure for RIM as the company never allowed a third-party to make BlackBerry-certified handsets.

Today, Heins reveals a couple more tidbits on the state of the BlackBerry platform…

Arik Hesseldahl of AllthingsD interviewed RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins on the current state of affairs. RIM, Heins claims, is readying a “one-two punch” for the BlackBerry for early 2013.

Heins said the BlackBerry 10 software is currently going through its final phase of “polishing” but is essentially complete. The company has taken a lot of criticism for postponing the launch of devices running the new OS several times. 

Not sure if Heins deserves benefit of the doubt given numerous BlackBerry 10 delays in the past. As for the new devices, RIM is keen on exploring dual strategy, with two types of new phones:

One with an all-touch interface nearly identical to a prototype shown at a RIM developers conference in Orlando in May; the other at first glance looks more like a traditional BlackBerry sporting the iconic Qwerty keyboard.

The way I read this, RIM isn’t ready yet to break with the past and start anew. It’s probably a logical move to give its 80 million fans what they want (a traditional BlackBerry phone with that famous clickety-clack keyboard) while luring first-time RIM buyers with all-touchscreen devices.

Within those two types there will be three product segments, essentially high-end, mid-tier and lower-tier devices aimed at different market segments and price points. Heins didn’t talk about target prices.

Again, this strikes me as way more reasonable strategy, especially compared to RIM’s previous co-CEOs who wouldn’t budge and instead stubbornly insisted that the world stood still while they sold their obsolete devices to enterprise.

New devices will take advantage of RIM’s acquisition of startup Paratek, which specializes in a technology that allows phones to transmit and receive on multiple frequency bands using just one antenna.

RIM’s new phones will utilize this tech for improved call and data quality. In addition, it will let RIM manufacture fewer variations of devices to cater for different markets.

And what about folks who dumped their BlackBerry phones in favor of Android?

First we’ll serve the loyal BlackBerry customer base. Second, we’ve heard of some BlackBerry users going to Android and being dissatisfied. We’ll try to win them back, one by one if we have to.

I guess this right here puts to rest whispers of Samsung buying RIM.

I don’t want to see RIM disappear.

The company kicked off the smartphone revolution, it invented mobile messaging and email and for (too) long was synonymous for smartphones, until the iPhone came along in 2007.

Losing RIM would be a tragedy for all cell phone users, regardless of the camp they belong to.

Worse, it would be a tragedy for competition and the entire mobile landscape.

Thousands of very talented people have already been booted from RIM and many more thousands will be let go as RIM’s new management cuts costs aggressively, attempting to save the company from oblivion.

Boy Genius Report‘s Zach Epstein wrote an excellent analysis of RIM’s fate (“the giant with no legs”) and all the wrong moves the company made in years past.

Siri-like voice assistant turns up in latest BlackBerry 10 alpha update.

No matter what your opinion of Siri is, you have to admit that it has really sparked an interest in digital assistants. Voice commands and recognition obviously existed long before the feature, but not like this.

And you don’t have to look any further than the competition for proof. Shortly after Apple unveiled its Assistant last fall, other manufacturers started beefing up their voice technology. Samsung, for example, now has its S-Voice, LG has Quick Voice, and there are several others bubbling up…

RIM is the latest phone-maker to try its hand in smartphone secretaries. CrackBerry is reporting that the company has added a Siri-like function to the latest BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha update. Here it is in action:

Keep in mind that this is just a developer alpha (which comes before beta), so there’s a chance that this feature could change dramatically before the final BlackBerry 10 release, if it even makes it that far.

Of course, our money is on RIM keeping it around, as it seems like digital voice assistants are more of a necessity for smartphone-makers these days, rather than a luxury. Something that, once again, can be attributed to Siri.

But Apple didn’t just inspire a string of copycats, it actually pushed the technology forward. Many would argue that that new Google Now feature in Android 4.1 is actually better than Siri in several ways. And I’d have to agree.

It’ll be interesting to see where voice recognition tech is two years from now.