Tag Archive for ‘BlackBerry’

Avoiding BlackBerry’s Fate ➝

Marco Arment:

Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for.

If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.

I have been using Siri a lot more over the past few days — mostly to see how it compares to Google’s offerings. As a general rule, I don’t use Siri for much. Not necessarily because it isn’t good, but because I don’t like to interact with my device in that way. I’d rather type in a quick search query than awkwardly speak out loud to my phone.

Perhaps that will change in time as more people use voice features on their devices — if everyone’s doing it, those who aren’t will seem out of touch. And if that’s the case, then maybe Apple did place the wrong bet on privacy versus big data.

But if Apple’s wrong, couldn’t they eventually partner with Amazon, Google, or some other company to integrate their voice services into iOS? That wouldn’t put them in a perfect situation — not owning a core aspect of their OS. But Apple has something that none of these companies do — incredible hardware. No matter how far behind Apple is in big data-based AI, other smartphone manufacturers are showing very few signs of catching up to Apple’s level in hardware quality. And because of that, I think they’ll always have a place at the table.

‘Plucky Young Startup Blackberry’ is Shaking Up The Phone Market ➝

G. Keenan Schneider, writing on NoOctothorpe:

Sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes to solve a problem no one knew they had. I can only imagine BlackBerry will hold onto this for… Oh, I don’t know, maybe ten years or something while the rest of the phone market shoots off in a completely different direction, leaving this new Canadian company to bask in its own sort of twisted reality where it dominates the mobile landscape.

A vertical slide-out keyboard on a smartphone is the very definition of forward-thinking innovation. Apple, you better hold on to yer butts.

Samsung Announces Keyboard Accessory  ➝

In addition to the Galaxy S6 Edge+, Note 5, and Gear S2, Samsung also announced a snap-on keyboard for their newest smartphones. As Matt Birchler put it on Twitter, “Gotta get that hot Blackberry market.” But honestly, are there any users left who still pine for the days of hardware keyboards?

RIM’s New PlayBook Promo ➝

Speaking of $300 tablets, RIM has slashed prices on every available model of their BlackBerry PlayBook to $299. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

(Via TechCrunch.)

RIM Recalls Nearly 1,000 Faulty BlackBerry PlayBooks ➝

Sean Hollister reporting for Engadget:

We found the BlackBerry PlayBook to be a pretty solid piece of hardware, but it seems there was a problem batch — an inside source tells us that nearly 1,000 faulty tablets were shipped to Staples, and now they’re being recalled.

A RIM spokesman has told CrackBerry that the reason for a recall is that some BlackBerry PlayBooks sold were “unable to properly load software upon initial set-up.”

Joshua Topolsky Reviews the BlackBerry PlayBack ➝

The OS is still buggy and somewhat touchy. Third-party apps are a desert right now, if not in number, then certainly in quality. The lack of native email and calendar support hurts. The worst part, however, is that I can’t think of a single reason to recommend this tablet over the iPad 2, or for that matter… the Xoom. And that’s what it really boils down to here; what is the compelling feature that will make buyers choose the PlayBook over something else?

Maybe products like this contributed to RIM’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis deciding to call a halt to his recent BBC interview.

BGR Snags hands-On Demo with PlayBook ➝

Boy Genius Report’s Jonathan Geller managed to get some time with a BlackBerry PlayBook and recorded a 10 minute hands-on demo of the device.

From the video’s description on YouTube:

Check out our exclusive up close and personal demo of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with RIM’s Julian Dolce, Platform Lead of the QNX team.

It’s actually a great looking device with smooth scrolling and a slick interface. I love how they shamelessly stole webOS-style cards and swiping from the bottom bezel to “minimize” an application. But, swiping from the top bezel is a terrible idea.

Swiping from the bezel works in webOS because there are only a couple of commands. But, there are just too many on the PlayBook. How are users supposed to know that they exist? The example from the video was in the camera application where you can swipe down from the top bezel and a menu bar will appear that allows you to change the aspect ratio, go to the camera roll, or change to different scene modes. But there is no on-screen indication that this menu bar exists. There are APIs that will allow developers to add this menu bar to their applications but it isn’t required. So unless the developer decides to tell you that it exists, users will just be randomly swiping to figure out whether or not the command exists.

But, it’s not just the top and bottom bezel that’s touch-sensative, all of them are. And if RIM allows developers API access to all of them, developers will either have to use on-screen indicators telling users about these commands or simply hope that the user is willing to spend a few minutes with each application randomly swiping the bezel trying to find new features. I’m not too keen on touch-sensative bezels. If it’s not important enough for a dedicated button and doesn’t warrant a place in the on-screen user interface, then it probably doesn’t need to be there at all.

RIM Buys Design Company TAT ➝

From RIM’s Inside BlackBerry weblog:

Today we are pleased to confirm plans for The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) team to join Research In Motion (RIM). We’re excited that the TAT team will be joining RIM and bringing their talent to the BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphone platforms.

TAT’s work can be seen on 20% of all touch phones sold worldwide. TAT has worked with many big-name companies over the past several years including Fujitsu, Samsung, Google, and Motorola.

RIM’s devices have really been lacking on the user interface front and TAT looks like the perfect company to help fix that problem. RIM knows where their problems lie and are willing to do what it takes to fix them.