Displaying items by tag: Blackberry

BlackBerry mobile phones are back

Written on Thursday, 20 August 2020 12:47

The BlackBerry keyboard dethroned by touchscreens will live on in a new 5G smartphone planned for release next year, according to a deal between OnwardMobility and Foxconn Technology Group.

 

Texas-based OnwardMobility will work with a Foxconn Technology Group subsidiary on a BlackBerry smartphone powered by Android software and tailored for 5G networks, the companies said in a joint release.

 

BlackBerry announced early this year that Chinese electronics group TCL will no longer have rights to design, make or sell its smartphones as of the end of August.

 

The new smartphone will make its debut in Europe and North America, and be designed to appeal to the increasing number of people working remotely, according to the release. The agreement announced gives OnwardMobility the right to develop, engineer, and market a BlackBerry 5G smartphone. FIH Mobile, a subsidiary Taiwan-based Foxconn, is to design and manufacture the new device.

 

“Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience,” said OnwardMobility chief executive Peter Franklin. “BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data.”

 

Franklin added that the deal would “deliver a new 5G Android BlackBerry smartphone with a physical keyboard.”

 

BlackBerry's share of the global smartphone market has fallen to virtually zero since it dominated the market with its keyboard design a decade ago. The rise of Apple's iOS and Android-powered handsets with touchscreens prompted BlackBerry to abandon the market to concentrate on software and services.

 

BlackBerry, based in Canada, licensed its smartphone technology to TCL in

2016 in a failed effort to revive its fortunes.

Published in Devices

BlackBerry ditches keyboard with new ‘Motion’ smartphone

Written on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 07:47

BlackBerry officially announced its new smartphone called BlackBerry Motion featuring a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD display and no physical keyboard – a surprising move for the company that has built its character on having phones that have a keyboard. The device is notably IP67-certified meaning it is dust and water resistant.

The phone comes packed with a Snapdragon 625 chipset with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of built-in storage and a 4,000mAh battery. The chipset is known to be power efficient, so paired with a strong battery the BlackBerry Motion could deliver an impressive performance. It will have the same Android 7.1 as the BlackBerry Keynote smartphone.

The device was officially unveiled at GITEX Technology Week in Dubai in early October. The BlackBerry Motion will retail for around $460, according to GSMA Arena. It is currently available for pre-order in the Middle East (UAE and Saudi Arabia) and will be shipped on October 22. The smartphone will also be available in Europe, where it’s expected to cost €499. 

Published in Devices

Canadian multinational firm BlackBerry has officially announced it has sold its messaging tools which can be used for encrypting phone calls and text messages to the US federal government – following an endorsement from the National Security Agency (NSA). BlackBerry confirmed that it received notification from the NSA’s National Information Assurance Partnership which reviews commercial technology products to see if they meet enhanced security standards for governments use.

There fear that eavesdroppers are listening in to government communications continues to rise, and has done so over the last number of years. In 2014, one of the first high-profile cases of calls being intercepted was an encrypted mobile phone conversation between a senior US State Department officer and the US ambassador to the Ukraine - the call was intercepted and subsequently leaked online.

BlackBerry is providing the NSA with messaging tools based on technology from Secusmart which is the start-up business the Canadian company acquired in 2014. The start-up had garnered international attention after it won the contract to secure German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone in the wake of allegations by a former US intelligence contractor that her phone had been hacked by the NSA.

However, the case into the alleged phone bugging was dropped in 2015, when German prosecutors declared it had not found enough substantial evidence to continue the investigation. BlackBerry has confirmed that its encrypted voice and text messaging products are by other government agencies in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, although Germany remains its biggest customer.

US politics is currently rife with allegations of hacking with two separate investigations underway to determine if Russia played a role in the US presidential election, or if any of Trump’s team conspired with Russian authorities in relation to the election. The FBI and CIA both said it believed Russia was responsible for the e-mail hacking of Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.

Published in Government

With an estimated 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how we live, and the Enterprise of Things is transforming how we work. As such, BlackBerry Limited announced productivity and security enhancements to its enterprise software platform designed to power the Enterprise of Things.

As part of BlackBerry Secure, the most secure and comprehensive platform to connect people, devices, processes and systems, BlackBerry® Enterprise Mobility Suite provides secure, management policies and controls across key platforms (iOS, Android™, Windows® 10, macOS, and Samsung Knox™) and device ownership models such as BYOD and Corporate Owned. It can be delivered on premises, as a cloud service, and now includes the following features to improve productivity and security:

  • Manage and Secure Microsoft Office 365 Mobile Applications: IT can manage and apply protection policies to Microsoft Office 365 mobile applications such as Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint from BlackBerry UEM.
  • Access Business Data on Unmanaged Laptops: Users of BlackBerry Access, will now be able to securely work with business data on their personal or BYOL (Bring-Your-Own-Laptop) Windows 10 and MacOS computers.
  • Provide In-line Comments, @Mentions and DocuSign: BlackBerry's secure Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solution, BlackBerry Workspaces, has been updated to allow in-line comments, @mentions and alerts. DocuSign has also been integrated, adding a key workflow for legally binding documents such as loan applications and financial transactions.
  • Leverage Application Analytics: BlackBerry Analytics can now track daily and monthly active users, daily minutes used, usage by OS type and version, daily launch count and user engagement by feature (such as 1:1 chat vs group chat). This application analytics capability gives IT and developers the key insight they need to increase business productivity, such as modifying UX flow, modifying training or altering maintenance schedules.
  • Manage More Wearables: BlackBerry has extended its endpoint management software capabilities to include modern workforce devices such as smart glasses. Applications specific to wearables, such as Ubimax and Atheer, can also be securely managed.

"The explosion of devices and consumer applications is making it increasingly difficult for enterprises to balance information security and compliance with productivity and connectivity," said Billy Ho, executive vice president of enterprise software, BlackBerry.

"MDM and EMM are simply not enough, which is why we offer a Unified Endpoint Management platform that lets companies secure and manage these devices, plus the associated applications. By making it easier to use, we are removing one of the biggest IT challenges - getting employees to use corporate applications."

The company's industry-leading security is trusted by organizations in government, defense, intelligence and other environments with the most stringent security requirements. In addition to more than 80 security certifications, BlackBerry was once again named a Leader in Gartner's June 2017 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites.

This year, the company moved higher in execution and farther in vision and was one of four EMM vendors to be positioned in the Leaders' Quadrant. BlackBerry also received the highest score in all six use cases of Gartner's August 2016 "Critical Capabilities for High-Security Mobility Management" report.

US chipmaker Qualcomm has been left reeling following the decision made by an arbitration panel to award Canada’s BlackBerry a sum of $814.9m in a settlement dispute relating to royalties for certain past sales. In 2016, both companies took the decision to arbitrate the dispute which centered on Qualcomm’s agreement to cap certain royalties applied to payments made to BlackBerry under a licensing deal.

US listed shares of BlackBerry have risen to around 16% at $8.94 in heavy premarket trading, whilst Qualcomm was down around 1% at $54.81. However, the arbitration panel sided with BlackBerry and ordered Qualcomm to pay the Canadian firm $814.9m in royalties. Qualcomm has voiced their displeasure at the decision, but the payment is binding and the decision is not appealable.

Qualcomm is currently fighting a high-profile lawsuit which was field by Apple Inc. in which it has accused the organization of overcharging for chips and alleged that it refused to pay some $1billion in promised rebates. In addition to this, Qualcomm has faced strong criticism from the US government who accused the company of deliberately resorting to anticompetitive tactics in order to maintain a monopoly of the key semiconductors in mobile phones.

Despite the dispute, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said Wednesday that the companies "continue to be valued technology partners." He said BlackBerry will continue to collaborate with Qualcomm, specifically for security in the auto industry and in application-specific integrated circuits. BlackBerry said a final award including interest and reasonable attorneys' fees will be issued after a hearing on May 30. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP represented BlackBerry in the proceeding.

Published in Finance

Canadian mobile-native security software and services firm BlackBerry Limited recently shared new details on its broad licensing strategy which addresses the growing need for secure, connected devices and endpoints in today's Enterprise of Things.

The first phase of BlackBerry's licensing strategy, announced in September 2016, was focused on providing the most secure and comprehensive Android software for smartphones around the world manufactured and marketed by TCL Communication, PT BB Merah Putih and Optiemus Infracom Ltd.

The company is now pursuing additional endpoints which could include tablets, wearables, medical devices, appliances, point-of-sale terminals and other smartphones.

"There is an incredible opportunity for connected devices to improve lives, but to realize its full potential, privacy and security must be embedded in every end point from the start,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry.

“For example, companies providing medical monitoring devices must protect health data on the device, guarantee it connects securely to the healthcare system, and most importantly ensure that it cannot be hacked, BlackBerry Secure helps solve this triple threat.”

"We have taken a long-term and thoughtful approach to our licensing strategy, which includes an expansive view of the entire Enterprise of Things ecosystem. As part of this strategy, we will work with a wide range of manufacturers to integrate BlackBerry Secure software into both BlackBerry-branded and co-branded devices."

The company also reported its financial results for the three months and fiscal year ended February 28, 2017. Non-GAAP revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 was $297 million with GAAP revenue of $286 million. Approximately 80 percent of the fourth quarter Software & Services segment revenue (excluding IP licensing and professional services) was recurring. BlackBerry had over 3,500 enterprise customer orders in the quarter.

"I am pleased to report that our Q4 results came in at or above expectations in all major metrics," said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "In the quarter, we continued to grow our mix of software and services revenue across the company. In turn, this allowed us to expand our operating margin and report positive free cash flow. In addition, our balance sheet continues to strengthen and benefit from reduced capital requirements with our focus on software and licensing.”

TCL Communication launched the BlackBerry KEYone smartphone on February 25 at MWC 2017 following the inking of a licensing agreement with BlackBerry in late 2016. The BlackBerry KEYone smartphone smartly keeps legacy features beloved by Blackberry users, yet goes miles beyond the traditional Blackberry device.

TCL chairman and CEO Tomson Li said at the event that BlackBerry licensed its security software and service suite, as well as related brand assets, to TCL Communication, who would design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices. The new product became an instant hit as soon as it was launched and received nine awards from media organizations, making it one of the most highlighted products at MWC.

KEYone is turning the way the keyboard on a smartphone is normally used on its head by combining the touch screen with a physical keyboard, providing users with a large input space in comparison to what one gets with the standard 5.5-inch full-touch-screen smartphone.

By combining the smart keyboard with the popular touch gesture recognition and BlackBerry's traditional touchpad features, the device allows users to browse web pages, check emails as well as input and send messages by touching the keyboard in a more convenient and intuitive way.

KEYone was awarded the Best of MWC 2017 by Pocket-lint, the largest independent product evaluation platform in the UK, for its unique design. Pocket-lint commented that one of the positive results of the brand licensing tie-up between BlackBerry and TCL is that the KEYone continues the legacy and spirit of BlackBerry by preserving the classic full keyboard that is favored by loyal BlackBerry users.

KEYone stands out with its iconic BlackBerry design and security features. The new smartphone is designed with unwavering attention to detail from the ground up in terms of the security and performance aspects that are so important to users. It delivers a secure experience available among Android-based smartphones in the market by running on a reinforced operating system and the proprietary technology behind the design of the security key.

Besides the unique design and the security features, the phone's additional functionalities are expected to reshape the mobile communication experience for business, government and corporate users. Powered by a 3,505 mAh battery, the highest capacity among existing BlackBerry devices, the BlackBerry KEYone delivers a measurably longer standby time.

In addition, the battery can reach a 50 percent charge within 36 minutes with the support of the Qualcomm Quick Charge technology. Time-pressed users can choose BlackBerry's Boost charging option for a quick charge enabled with the turbo boost technology.

TCL Communication also showcased the interoperability of software-defined radio UE and commercial TD-LTE small cell base stations at the MWC. As 5G telecommunication technology gradually takes root worldwide, software-defined radio can be expected to play an increasingly important role in driving software-driven telecommunication systems. This offers developers the flexibility and reusability of upgrading applications and systems, without the need to replace hardware components every time there is a software upgrade.

The demonstration showed how the Open Air Interface (OAI) UE can receive a live downlink video stream from China-based telecommunication network optimization products manufacturer Sunnada Communications' commercial TD-LTE small cell. OAI is a leading open-source software that emulates LTE systems on general purpose processor platforms.

TCL Chairman and CEO Tomson Li said in an interview that he is optimistic about 5G technology and believes 5G products and technology will be the trend of the future.

TCL Communication has already foreseen the trend and undertaken a substantial amount of R &D in anticipation of the next generation of 5G technology. Although no mature 5G products have yet appeared, relatively mature development platforms have already been established. Manufacturers such as TCL Communication are able to demonstrate 5G technology for partners. The TCL chairman and CEO concluded with conviction: the 5G era is just around the corner.

Li said he is deeply impressed by the rapid development of China's mobile communication sector. From mobile phones and devices to the number of users on the networks of China's mobile operators, Chinese manufacturers have moved to the front of the line and are increasingly becoming a leading force in the world's mobile communications industry.

Published in Devices

BlackBerry Limited announced its most advanced and secure embedded operating system (OS) for the automotive industry at CES in Las Vegas on January 4, 2017. QNX Software Development Platform 7.0 (QNX SDP 7.0) is a 64-bit OS that builds on the proven reliability of QNX technology and raises the bar for security and performance in cars. At CES 2017, the technological capabilities of QNX SDP 7.0 were demonstrated in BlackBerry QNX’s 2016 Jaguar XJ and 2017 Lincoln MKZ concept cars.  

“With the push toward connected and autonomous vehicles, the electronic architecture of cars is evolving - from a multitude of smaller processors each executing a dedicated function, to a set of high performance domain controllers, powered by 64-bit processors and graphical processing units,” said John Wall, senior vice president and head of BlackBerry QNX.

“To develop these new systems, our automotive customers will need a safe and secure 64-bit OS that can run highly complex software, including neural networks and artificial intelligence algorithms. QNX SDP 7.0 is suited not only for cars, but also for almost any safety- or mission-critical application that requires 64-bit performance and advanced security. This includes surgical robots, industrial controllers and high-speed trains.”

QNX SDP 7.0 provides high performance and enhanced kernel-level security through an array of features, including microkernel architecture, file encryption, adaptive time partitioning, a high availability framework, anomaly detection, and multi-level policy-based access control.

Featuring the next-generation QNX Neutrino Realtime OS and QNX Momentics Tool Suite, this reliable OS helps guard against system malfunctions, malware, and cyber attacks by implementing a multi-level, policy-driven security model that incorporates best-in-class security technology from BlackBerry. The OS also offers a safety pedigree proven by certification to ISO 26262 ASIL D (the highest level achievable) for automobiles and to IEC 61508 SIL 3 for industrial automation systems, and by compliance with IEC 62304 for life-critical Class III medical devices.

As automakers look to consolidate domain functions such as infotainment, telematics, and digital instrument clusters into a virtual cockpit controller, QNX SDP 7.0 provides a realtime OS that supports 64-bit for the ARMv8 and Intel x86-64 architectures, along with virtualization capabilities. QNX SDP 7.0 can help ensure that these automated systems perform all processes and actions reliably, within the pre-defined amount of time needed for successful and safe execution.

The Must-See BlackBerry Concept Cars at CES 2017

BlackBerry QNX unveiled a Jaguar XJ concept car with a new digital cockpit design that combines the infotainment and instrument cluster functionality. It showed two operating systems running safely and securely on a single System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor. BlackBerry QNX hypervisor software safely separates and isolates the infotainment system and graphics, meaning the infotainment system can safely re-start without affecting the instrument cluster.
BlackBerry worked with Rightware Cluster UI to build the QNX Cluster graphics monitor that can detect failures in the safety system. The Jaguar XJ concept car also features BlackBerry’s QNX Acoustics Management Platform (AMP) for clear high-definition in-car communication, active noise control, and engine sound enhancement.

BlackBerry QNX also took the wraps off of its autonomous Lincoln MKZ concept car, showing QNX SDP 7.0 capabilities in action on Renesas’ CES test track (LVCC North Hall, Gold Lot).  BlackBerry QNX worked with Renesas, the University of Waterloo, and Polysync to develop the prototype vehicle that demonstrates Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities.

Using LiDAR, radar, forward-facing cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), and inertial measurement units (IMU), the car can detect obstacles on the road, anticipate dangerous driving situations, and present warnings to avoid collisions to keep drivers and passengers safe. The QNX Platform for ADAS processes data generated from the sensors in realtime, and also records and plays back the data off-line for feature development and testing. 

Also on display at BlackBerry’s CES booth was a 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish model that is now shipping with BlackBerry QNX’s latest in-vehicle infotainment software technology. The new infotainment system is the control center, seamlessly integrating audio, hands-free communication and vehicle status technologies into the cabin. It also has an upgraded satellite navigation system with a quicker address input, advanced traffic information, and support for Apple CarPlay.

BlackBerry also showcased BlackBerry Radar, its secure end-to-end hardware and software asset tracking solution for the transportation and logistics industry. Radar provides more sensor readings, more often than any other solution on the market today. This allows customers to accurately monitor assets, manage yards, analyze utilization, measure efficiency, and reduce theft based on a near realtime view of the fleet.

QNX SDP 7.0 is the latest in a string of momentum updates BlackBerry has made in its software transformation, and comes less than a month after the company released a mobile-native, secure software platform for the Enterprise of Things, and two weeks after the unveiling of the BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre. The beta release of QNX SDP 7.0 is available now for evaluation and product development. General availability is scheduled for Q1 2017. 

Published in Internet of Things

BlackBerry Limited and TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCL Communication) announced that they have entered into a long-term licensing agreement, providing acceleration to BlackBerry’s transition into a security software and services company. Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry will license its security software and service suite, as well as related brand assets to TCL Communication who will design, manufacture, sell and provide customer support for BlackBerry-branded mobile devices.

BlackBerry will continue to control and develop its security and software solutions, serve its customers and maintain trusted BlackBerry security software, while TCL Communication will manage all sales and distribution and serve as a global distributor of new BlackBerry-branded mobile devices along with dedicated sales teams.

As BlackBerry recently announced, it is transitioning its handheld devices strategy to focus on continued software innovation – ultimately providing the most secure and comprehensive software for devices around the world, while working with third parties to develop hardware and distribute and market the BlackBerry handset brand. 

The agreement with TCL Communication is BlackBerry’s first global licensing agreement and expands on its existing relationship, which led to the introduction of the DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets on Android which deliver the standard of security that customers and partners trust.

“At TCL Communication, we are committed to creating the best portfolio solutions, while ensuring the quality support to consumers and enterprise users who trust the integrity of the BlackBerry device and the brand’s security leadership, coupled with the Android platform,” said Nicolas Zibell, CEO of TCL Communication. “Together with BlackBerry’s smartphone software platform, this partnership will strengthen our position in the global mobile market.”

The relationship between TCL Communication and BlackBerry builds upon their respective leadership positions in mobile communications, as well as existing work together on the DTEK50 and DTEK60 handsets. By working with TCL Communication, the fourth largest handset manufacturer in North America and top-10 globally according to IDC, BlackBerry is ensuring its branded devices will be available around the world.  

“This agreement with TCL Communication represents a key step in our strategy to focus on putting the ‘smart in the phone’ by providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a platform that mobile users prefer and are comfortable with,” said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry.

“TCL Communication is the natural choice to license BlackBerry’s software and brand on a global scale. We successfully partnered with them on the DTEK series of secure smartphones and we’ve been impressed with their excellence in hardware design, development and manufacturing. With our unparalleled expertise in mobile security and software and TCL Communication’s vast global reach and consumer access, we are confident that BlackBerry-branded products developed and distributed by TCL Communication will address the needs of BlackBerry users and expand the availability of BlackBerry Secure products throughout the world.”

TCL Communication will be the exclusive global manufacturer and distributor for all BlackBerry-branded smartphones with the exception of the following countries: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Additional information on the product roadmap and availability of devices will be available in coming months.

BlackBerry recently announced an agreement signed with Ford Motor Company for expanded use of BlackBerry’s QNX and security software. The deal signifies an acceleration in BlackBerry’s pivot from hardware to software in support of the automaker’s goal of providing connected vehicles and mobility to its customers.

“The future of the automobile is all about embedded intelligence. I believe our expertise in secure embedded software makes us the preferred technology provider to put the smart in the car,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at BlackBerry. “Ford is an industry leader and the opportunity to contribute our world-class technology to their products is a privilege. Ford’s expanded application of our software and services illustrates the diverse and broad value we can bring to market.”

As part of this agreement, BlackBerry will dedicate a team to work with Ford on expanding the use of BlackBerry’s QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom security technology, QNX hypervisor and QNX audio processing software. The terms of the deal are confidential.

“With the success of our SYNC 3 system globally, which is based on the BlackBerry QNX operating system, we understand the importance of the connected car experience to our customers,” said Raj Nair, Executive Vice President Product Development and Chief Technical Officer at Ford Motor Company. “Growing our expertise, experience and use of the BlackBerry QNX embedded software platforms will help ensure we deliver the high-quality, highly secure experience that our customers expect.”

The combination of BlackBerry’s expertise in security and QNX’s mission-critical operating systems and software for automotive applications, allows the company to offer the most secure, trusted and reliable platform that can power every aspect of the connected car.

BlackBerry’s QNX software powers more than 60 million vehicles, including the SYNC 3 Infotainment system in Ford’s current models.

Published in Telecom Vendors
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