We're familiar with much of BlackBerry's history, but there are a few unanswered questions: why did Jim Balsillie resign his board position, for example? And why did the Z10 launch ahead of Q10, to disastrous results? Thankfully, The Globe and Mail has addressed some of these mysteries through a detailed exposé. We now know that Balsillie left the board after BlackBerry axed an "SMS 2.0" plan that would have replaced carriers' text services with BlackBerry Messenger. Thorsten Heins wanted the company to remain focused on hardware, according to the newspaper. As for the Z10? Heins reportedly prioritized the all-touch phone over the objections of board members like Mike Lazaridis, who saw the Q10's keyboard as necessary for standing out in a crowded market. There's even more to the story than these two revelations, so you'll want to visit the source link if you're wondering just how BlackBerry ended up in such dire straits.
Details about an eventual sale of BlackBerry are slowly but surely starting to pick up steam. Following a confirmation from the Waterloo-based company about it being open to seeking "strategic alternatives," The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that members of the board are "aiming to run a fast auction process" which could be finalized as early as November of this year. Sourcing the well-informed people familiar with the matter, the publication goes on to say that BlackBerry has narrowed its list of potential buyers, with the sales process "expected to begin soon." We'll see how long it takes for Thorsten Heins and Co. to find someone interested in the troubled brand, but something tells us it won't be much longer before this story reaches its climax.
On the heels of today's earnings release, Blackberry vice chairman Mike Lazaridis announced that he'll leave the company on May 1st. The exec founded the company formerly known as Research in Motion almost 30 years ago, with Jim Balsillie as its early CEO -- who resigned this time last year himself and recently sold off his remaining shares. Lazaridis said that he'll focus instead on his new Quantum Valley Investments venture, which recently backed a research center in his home town of Waterloo, Ontario.
One cannot overstate the importance of this phone. This, the BlackBerry Z10, is the device upon which the fate of BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion) hangs. That's not to say that the company will disappear if the Z10 -- and the BlackBerry 10 OS that it contains -- is not a mass-market success. But if this phone does not do its job of extending the reach of the 'Berry OS beyond those die-hard loyalists who have clung on to their Bolds and Torches and Storms, it's safe to say that BlackBerry is in for some very hard times.
The company hasn't exactly bet the proverbial farm on this BB10 release, but with massive financial losses tempered only by job cuts, plus an absolutely tectonic shift among the executive leadership and corporate culture architected by CEO and President Thorsten Heins, the phrase "make or break" feels pretty apt. So, then, is this the phone that's good enough to woo buyers away from the Galaxy S III or the iPhone 5 or any of the other delicious devices on the other platforms? The short answer is that no, as of now it isn't quite -- but of course it's a lot more complicated than that. Join us as we explore.
The final pieces of the puzzle are falling into place just ahead of the big reveal on January 30th. The carriersareon board, there's appsgalore and now Visa has approved RIM's Secure Element Manager (SEM) for its mobile payment system. Being given the green light means that BlackBerry wont have to worry about being upstaged by the flood of Android devices coming down the pipeline with NFC payment solutions embedded in them. It's also a major boost to the SEM platform developed by the Canadian firm which has already won the backing of many carriers in its homeland, like Bell, Rogers and TELUS, but has struggled to gain a foothold in the US. For more, check out the PR after the break.
Thinking about beefing up your IP profile? Try giving IBM a call. For twenty consecutive years, it's been awarded more patents than any other company. According to IFI Claims Patent Services, IBM was issued 6,478 patents in 2012. To put things into perspective, its closest competitor, Samsung, trailed Big Blue by nearly 1,500 patents. No small wonder the company is the tech world's intellectualpropertybroker.
Some of the year's biggest patentwarriors made the top 50 list too. Both Apple and Google's patent awards grew significantly over previous years, surpassing 2011's numbers by 68 and 170 percent, respectively. The house that T.J. Waston built, on the other hand, grew only a meager 4.8 percent. Still, with patents in health, banking, defense, social networking, cloud computing and beyond, IBM probably has a few years left at the top. Ever onward, IBM. Ever onward.
Top dog at RIM Thorsten Heinsheavily implied that video chat would be added to BBM when BlackBerry 10 showed up, and now possible confirmation of the feature has come from what are thought to be leaked presentation slides. Originating on CrackBerry's forums, the images have been taken down on various sites, leading us to believe they're legit and that strongly worded requests have led to their removal. Not only do they suggest BBM video chat is coming to BB10, but also the ability to screen share during these video calls. Another slide details a new task manager for the OS called "BlackBerry Remember," which can sync with Outlook and -- based on its description and what was uncovered in the gold SDK -- may include Evernote integration. We've contacted RIM for comment and will update you with any response, but until then, take a look at the slide above and the pair hidden after the break to assess for yourself whether they're the real deal.
Update: Here's RIM's statement, which doesn't really come as much of a surprise:
"We understand that there is a lot of excitement for BlackBerry 10. We will launch the platform on January 30th and until then we won't comment on speculation."
While BlackBerry 10's final build has yet to be seen by the masses, its hardware has arguably received more views than PSY's Gangnam Style. After sporting the codenames London and L-Series, RIM's upcoming full-screen handset appears to have settled on the recently leaked "Z10" branding. Spicing things up is an alleged inventory screenshot from Carphone Warehouse obtained by N4BB displaying a product listing for a BlackBerry Z10. Sure, this could be nothing more than a placeholder for things to come, but at least now we have a new frontrunner in the Name RIM's next smartphone game. One thing's for sure, BB10 will officially be revealed to the world on January 30th and of course we'll be there to bring you the play-by-play.
Lest you forget there's another mobile player hedging its bets on a big comeback, RIM's released a tiny teaser of its upcoming BB 10 handset via its site. The image, which appears alongside a tag promising a "Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented." experience, is part of a registration campaign for news updates on the unreleased platform. There's really not much to glimpse from the enshrouded peek Waterloo's offering up, but with the abundance of leaksthat've sprung up over the past few months, we have a pretty decent idea what that hardware might look like. The big BB 10 reveal's set for January 30th -- a little more than one month away -- so you won't have to wait much longer to witness the full monty.
While RIM has already taken to directly rewarding developers who write for BlackBerry 10 in order to stock up its app catalog, it's about to offer a slightly stronger incentive for the gaming crowd. An upcoming Got Game Port-a-Thon starting November 16th will give producers $100 for every game successfully ported to the upcoming platform, with the perks climbing the more titles make the leap. Three or more ports net a BlackBerry PlayBook, and the first handful who port five or more get a Dev Alpha device to test their creations in a truly native environment; particularly avid developers porting 10 or more games will even score a trip to the Game Developers Conference this March. The catch, as you'd imagine from the telethon-inspired label, comes from the fixed timeframe. There's just 36 hours open for submissions once the event starts, which will have most developers scrambling to get their code ready in advance. If RIM gets all its developer ducks in a row, however, we'll have no shortage of fun (or distractions from work) when the first BlackBerry 10 devices hit the shelves.