Blackberry is betting big on their new line of smartphones, headlined by the Passport. It bears a resemblance to the Bold, but with a larger screen and a more intuitive keyboard. The Waterloo company is also winning back corporate clients who are disenchanted with the entire concept of bring your own device.
One of the big concerns over Blackberry and the primary reason many corporations have switched away was due to the app ecosystem. Many of the top apps like SalesForce and Teamviewer do not have native apps and these are essential to doing business. In order to win back customers Blackberry signed a new agreement with Amazon to bundle their phones with the Amazon Appstore, as the primary destination to download content. This will open up the availability of a wider selection of apps and make it easier for your average user to install what they want, without having to sideload anything.
At a well-known investment firm in New York City, something strange is happening: Mobile app performance issues and privacy concerns have sparked a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolt, and now many employees are asking for their corporate BlackBerry back. “It’s a nightmare,” says an IT executive speaking on condition of anonymity.
Battery draining, stress on the corporate servers from many different devices are hindering app updates and providing security. “Things like this drove a wedge between IT and the users,” says the IT executive. “We became Big Brother. Everyone was convinced that we were doing this because we wanted to see what the hell they’re doing. In reality, it’s all about protecting the data.”
There is a movement now to step away from Android, iOS and Windows and embrace Blackberry once more. BlackBerry’s new BES10 and soon to be BES12 really takes care of many issues I.T departments are having now. Blackberry Balance helps segregate the work and personal life and new firmware updates will make them more viable.
The Blackberry Leap smartphone is a departure from the most recent products, such as the Classic and Passport. It is a fully touchscreen model, similar to the Z10 and Z30. The formal ID number is the Z20 and it actually just arrived at the FCC seeking approval.
What is this phone all about? Well, if you are still loyal to the Blackberry brand, its fairly exciting. It has a five inch display with 1280 x 720 HD resolution, 294 PPI, 8MP Rear camera, 16GB of expandable storage and has up-to 25 hrs of battery life according to the specs put out by BlackBerry. BlackBerry has priced the device at $275 USD and its going to be available in April or May.
A hands on preview of the device has been released by Blackberry, giving us a sense of the form factor.
Here is another take on the concept of a smartphone offering an e-ink display . The Midia InkPhone made its debut at the CeBIT show with rumors of it being finally ready to hit the streets soon enough. We have been seeing the unique phone design from Chinese manufacturer Onyx for over a year now and it’s really good to see it emerge in its production ready avatar at last. Engadget has mentioned that the e-ink phone will be hitting streets in Germany and Poland where it will be cost 140 Euros, which comes to about $195.
As for the salient features of the device, the biggest of them all is the 4.3 inch e-ink display that it comes with. Also with a resolution is 800 x 480, images and texts are pretty sharp too. Then of course there is the energy saving attribute that e-ink display have come to be known for, which in case of the InkPhone stands at 2 weeks of usage on a single charge. This no doubt will be a boon for business users or for those who’d prefer to give up on some fancy features just to gain battery life.
The rest of the specs speak of a 1 Ghz Rockchip CPU, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. There is also a micros SD card slot, 1800mAh battery along with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. The device runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There is no camera though, something that is increasingly becoming the biggest USP of modern day smartphone devices. The black and white display together with slightly less screen refresh rates compared to conventional LCD panels wouldn’t have made the InkPhone suited for photography in any case. Apart from photography, the other aspects that the InkPhone will be seen lacking will be its inability to playback video or game playing.
The InkPhone will however serve as an excellent mobile ebook reading device and should serve well to die-hard ebook enthusiasts. Being equally readable in direct sunlight will no doubt be another definitive plus for the InkPhone. E-Book reading apps such as the Kindle too works well enough with the InkPhone as should other popular ebook reading apps such as the Kobo, B&N and such. Overall, the InkPhone may not be a mass market device but should serve well in a niche market, which again could be big enough if the device work delivers what it promises.
You can pre-order this phone today at Shop e-Readers .
Yotadevices has announced they are fleeing Moscow and moving their global headquarters to Toronto. The main reason they are doing this is to tap into a number of former Blackberry engineers and to circumvent the growing number of US trade sanctions levied towards Russia.
This company is mainly known for the YotaPhone, which employed some very unique design principles. It had a high resolution LCD full color touchscreen on the front and an e-ink panel on the back. Users got the best of both worlds, an e-reader and a fully featured phone.
When we reviewed this device in our Good e-Reader Labs, I did not give it a very compelling rating or endorsement. The e-Ink screen frequently crashed and it needed to be interacted with via the D-Pad and physical buttons.
Yota Devices plans to raise $100-million in capital within the next year, with the help of Toronto-based investment bank Jacob Securities, and potentially list the company on the Toronto Stock Exchange by 2015. They also are nearing a global rollout of their second generation Yotaphone with a touchscreen e-ink panel.
Blackberry Mexico has confirmed that the new Blackberry 10 operating system will be hitting the Playbook in the next few weeks. This will ensure that many of the most popular apps, such as Netflix and Instagram, will finally be available via our Good e-Reader App Store.
Blackberry 10 is the latest operating system to hit the Z10 and Q10 smartphones . It took years of development to ready it for a commercial release and is the last hope of Blackberry to remain relevant in the hardware world.
Many top executives at Blackberry have claimed they have no plans to make any more tablets, as they see them as a dying technology. Instead, the company is betting on licensing out BBM and its BES technology out to Apple and Android developers.
Still, the Playbook crowd is tremendously loyal to Blackberry and the fact that BB10 is finally going to be released will breath new life into it. This will ensure that thousands of apps will be able to run on the platform.
Amazon has opened up its Amazon Coins for use outside of the Kindle Fire tablet range. Amazon’s virtual currency will now be compatible with other Android smartphones and tablet devices. However, the coins can only be used to make purchases from the Android App Store. Further, this is valid only for the countries where Amazon has launched the virtual currency, which includes the US, UK, and Germany.
This virtual currency launched last year in the US, and was later expanded to the UK and Germany. The online retail giant encouraged Kindle Fire tablet users to make their purchases using the Amazon coins, throwing in various incentives in the process. For instance, every Kindle Fire purchase came bundled with 500 coins free, which otherwise will cost $5. Further, purchases made using Amazon coins incur a discount of 10 percent. Users also get to earn the coins when downloading some specific apps or after having reached a particular level in some games.
Amazon introduced Amazon coins as alters the buyer’s mindset; they are led to believe they are spending virtual currency and not real dollars. Also, with the coins sold in batches of 500 for $5 or 1,000 for $10, users can feel like they are getting a lot of the virtual currency to play with for little actual money. The aim has been to make users to spend more by simplifying the buying process. Unleashing the currency on the entire Android family of smartphone and tablet devices is no doubt a step in the right direction in achieving much higher levels of transactions.
Yota Devices, the company behind the YotaPhone 2 has an unviable business model in trying to break into the lucrative North American market.
The smartphone’s creator has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund the handset’s entry into the US market, with American backers able to pre-order the YotaPhone 2 for as little as $500. The campaign goal was a cool $50,000 and less than a day remaining they have reached over $80,000.
It is important to note that these phones are pre-orders and the entire concept of the crowd funding campaign was to gauge demand. Yota also made it very clear that the majority of this money would be used to pay the necessary licensing fees to have it certified by the FCC and other regulatory bodies. In reality, due to Indiegogo Flexible Campaign policies Yota Devices keeps all of the money they raised, regardless if they launch it in the US or not.
Yota Devices is a Russian company and they sold their first generation phone primarily in Europe. Their second generation model made it to the UK, where it was met with trepidation due to the high cost and unknown brand. Many carriers would not carry the device, which increased the cost further.
I think the entire YotaPhone concept is flawed. Relying on a notoriously shady website to generate funds just to see if there is a demand and the phone isn’t even certified in the market its trying to break into. Will Yota use the $80k they raised to certify it for the US market, or will they use the money to work on a 3rd generation model? Will they actually ship the phones to the users that ordered them without the FCC certification?
There are too many questions swirling around this companies business model for the US market. I know many serious digital readers might think this phone is amazing, due to the 4.8 inch E INK screen and 5 inch AMOLED display. Regardless, I would recommend to not invest in it until its commercially available from a legit website.