Blackberry shares the big one with the cops

17 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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Blackberry’s sole remaining selling proposition – security – has gone up in smoke with the revelation that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has the master key to decrypt messages on consumer phones. Investigative stories by Vice and Motherboard document how the Mounties read encrypted messages, and leave little doubt that it was with the company’s active assistance

Neither the RCMP, nor BlackBerry ever confirmed where the global key actually came from and the documents shed little light on the matter.


Blackberry joins the Android party

15 August 2015 by Steve Blum

Sometimes, you just have to drink the bong water.

Finally, Blackberry is generating some buzz. The Canadian company is preparing to make and bring to market an Android powered phone, according to the website. It’s a necessary step, if the company has any hope of wringing value of out the ashes of its former empire.

Blackberry is still trying to find its way in the world. Historically, it’s had three core competencies: an operating system, hardware manufacturing, and a secure platform for enterprise software.… More

Mr. Robot offers a field guide to the phonies of the geek world

4 July 2015 by Steve Blum
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A Holden Caufield for the 21st century.


Hollywood’s latest excursion into geekdom is Mr. Robot, a new series on the USA Network. I only saw the first episode, but the memes and tropes presented have a certain ring of truth. One of the funniest was the observation that the fastest way to identify a techno-wanker is by the Blackberry he displays…

There he is, Terry Colby, the CTO. Even though he’s the head technology guy at one of the biggest companies in the world, he owns a Blackberry.


Blackberry finds hope for the future in its first major technology licensing partnership

21 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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Sometimes you get the best stuff at the very end.

Blackberry unveiled a new tablet device this week, called the Secutablet. With a price north of $2,000, it’s intended for a limited market but it does show that the company finally has a plausible long term survival strategy. It’s a change of direction for Blackberry, one that executives have talked about for the past three years. Instead of making devices and operating systems, they are focusing on their core competency – security – and leveraging the brand identity that goes along with it.… More

Blackberry rolls a classic for executives of a certain age

21 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Some form factors just work.

The hot, new innovation from Blackberry last week is a small phone with a small, physical keyboard. Sound familiar? If not, Blackberry is helpfully calling it the Classic.

There is no shortage of people – Barack Obama and Arianna Huffington included – who like the 1990s Blackberry look. It offers unique functionality and the company’s new management is happy to provide it.

When I look at new products that catch on quickly, there’s a question I always ask myself: is the success due to designers offering consumers a genuinely new benefit, a way of meeting either a preexisting or completely new need?… More

New Blackberry phone aimed at small share of small market

27 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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The Blackberry Passport was unveiled this week. It would be a great product, if it ran the Android OS. It’s physically unique in a useful way. The phablet form factor makes it possible to do work on it, in the classic document-centric sense. The physical keyboard will suit some people better than virtual ones, even though the layout is less than intuitive. And it’s rugged, which makes it attractive to a wide range of users, particularly people who work on their feet or outside.… More

After hitting bottom, the only way Blackberry can go is up

7 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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I was dead, but I got better.

Blackberry is salvaging something out the wreckage of its mobile phone business, by porting its BBM chat service – formerly Blackberry Messenger – to the iOS and Android platforms. And it’s claiming a fair amount of success. According to a spokesman at this evening’s Showstoppers CES press, Blackberry has doubled its BBM user count – going from 40 to 80 million users worldwide – in the two months or so since it launched its iPhone and Android apps.… More

A roach clip for Blackberry

28 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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The familiar scent of Blackberries.

Wall Street investors seem happy to take what Fairfax Financial Holdings is offering for Blackberry and let the dwindling mobile phone company waft away in the wind. Subtract out the cash that Blackberry is holding, and the net sale price is about $2 billion, a sad end to a psychedelic slide that began at $83 billion five years ago.

Like Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia, Fairfax’s offer seems to be based on the chemically impaired notion that Blackberry isn’t in the final stages of a terminal crash.… More

Buyers might have to settle for stems and seeds, but Blackberry CEO won't

16 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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It was a lot bigger before I took a hit.

In the week when Apple is giving its new iPhone a final bath in unicorn tears and Samsung begins a campaign to put a mobile phone on every wrist, Blackberry went on sale. And for rolling a big fat one for shareholders, CEO Thorsten Heins will get $56 million.

He’d already pretty much given up on phones. Blackberry can’t sell much of anything to anyone who isn’t already using their devices.… More

HTC won't help its shrinking share by shrinking a phone

19 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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It used to be bigger.

Combined, Samsung and Apple are selling about half the world’s smart phones, with 30% and 19% market share respectively in 2012 according to IDC. Much of Samsung’s growth from 19% in 2011 came out of HTC’s hide. Its share was cut in half over same period, dropping below 5% and putting it more or less in a tie with Nokia and Blackberry.

At least it was still in the top five then.… More