BlackBerry 10 Right on Schedule – RIM Stocks Soar

BlackBerry 10 Right on Schedule - RIM Stocks SoarInvestors still have some faith left in RIM. Shares of Research in Motion Ltd. leapt to more than 4% to $8.90 as the company finally announced the debut date of its long-awaited and almost-forgotten new BlackBerry 10 OS. The launch event, which RIM says will be hosted in several countries, is set for January 30. Two new BlackBerry phones are also expected to take center stage at the launch.

The date announced by RIM is months ahead of a Jeffries & Co. forecast that said the OS would most likely launch in March, missing the critical holiday shopping period this year. The delay of the new OS, previously set sometime in the first quarter of 2013, has caused RIM stocks to fall as the BlackBerry brand faced intense competition from Samsung and Apple. RIM has been banking on the sales of BB10 smartphones to resuscitate its ailing shares in the smartphone market. Aside from Samsung and Apple, RIM has Nokia and HTC to grapple with, as both companies also struggle to regain their footing in the smartphone arena. Bloomberg Business Week previously reported that RIM stocks had dropped 5.3% in New York with shares falling to an overall 46% this year. This was the company’s biggest decline since September 21.

Stocks first rallied to 14% after CEO Thornsten Heins pronounced that the Canadian telecommunication and wireless company has moved into the “Lab Entry” or testing phase of the BB10 with 50 carriers. But even with this pronouncement, analyst Peter Misek remained unimpressed, saying that lab testing would usually take three to six months.

RIM was hit hard in mid-October after losing a contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to the Apple iPhone. ICE ditched RIM, which it had been using for the past eight years, because it felt that the BlackBerry platform no longer suited its needs, while the iPhone offered a secure and manageable platform. ICE has around 17,600 employees and its iPhone order is estimated to cost around $2.1 million. Earlier in the year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives also dropped BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone.

RIM Courting Government and Businesses

With the announcement of the official launch date, the company is optimistic that interest in BlackBerry handsets will be fanned anew. Aside from government officials, RIM is also trying to win back employees who use their smartphones as BYOD mobile business phones. Heins, quoted in the New York Times, says of the new OS, “It is stress relief; it doesn’t make you look at all your applications all the time. This is going to catch on with a lot of people.”

RIM Banks on BB10 Flow UI

The new models will have no home button and will include a red LED light that flashes when a message is received. RIM is also expected to launch a model with a physical keyboard. Heins said that home buttons are unnecessary in the new OS, because BB10 will be able to use apps simultaneously without needing to switch repeatedly between them. The result is a more fluid user experience, which enable users to “flow” between tasks and experience seamless navigation. Aside from this, it will also feature BlackBerry Hub, which shows feeds, messages, calendar events, and notifications in one “hub” or area instead of several locations.

Does the prospect of a still-fighting BlackBerry on the market still register on the radar of most these days? How about you? Would you consider using a BlackBerry in the future if it could compete with what other companies have been giving us? Please leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

U.S. Army Apple iPhone App – Will It Be Enough To Attract New Recruits?

The United States Army is introducing a new smart phone application that will allow recruits, and one would assume all soldiers, to blog, tweet, and be more social. The new application will be designed for the Apple iPhone, but BlackBerry, Android, Web OS, and Windows Mobile users will be able to access the U.S. Army Web site known as “Army Strong Stories.”  Military personnel can post their stories, but it is unclear whether they can post their war adventures. The new PR move is hoped to attract more recruits by offering applications for smartphones that are projected by some to command a 50% market share by the end of the year.

Recruitment numbers are down slightly according to reports, though the exact numbers were not released. In an effort to attract new recruits, the U.S. Army is hoping that smartphone applications will be an added attraction to military life. But there were a few thoughts that came to my mind when I read this news.

First, I wondered how much freedom will the U.S. Army allow soldiers in telling their stories on a blog, tweet, or Facebook posting? One would think with all of negative publicity that has been generated by the release of information by WikiLeaks, that the restriction would prohibit the free exchange of information. The U.S. Army could make it almost impossible for any posting that it could conclude was sensitive to national security.

Next, I thought if the U.S. Army was trying to expand its ‘cool’ factor by using the Internet as an attraction, why would someone want to enlist in the Army to get something they already have in civilian life? Even without the Army application, soldiers can blog, tweet, and use Facebook already on their own. So what would the attraction really be to induce civilians to enlist? I personally would doubt that a soldier passed application would be enough incentive.

I took a look at some of the stories posted at the “Army Strong Stories” site and they seemed very generic  in nature. I saw no blood and guts war stories. I also want to be clear that I support our military 100% and believe the men and woman who serve our country have my respect.

But am I looking at this with a jaundiced eye?

How about offering new recruits a free phone and free cell service during their enlistment?

What is your opinion? Will an Army application attract more recruits?

Source – fastcompany

Do You Rely on Your Phone?

Someone asked recently if I could live without my cell phone. Ten years ago, I could have. Back then, wasn’t smart at all. It was big. It had a lot of buttons on it. But it didn’t really DO much.


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

These days, my smartphone has turned into the best computer I’ve ever had. It’s with me anytime I leave the room, let alone the house. I don’t (and can’t) always carry my iPad or laptop with me. I certainly don’t haul my desktop around. My phone is always in my pocket and I can use it to do nearly anything I can do with the other devices.

My phone allows me to stay better connected with the world around me. I’m able to do most of what I need to do from wherever I am – I’m even always online. This is a more powerful computer than what I had back in high school. I don’t need a physical keyboard or mouse for a device to be a computer. It’s a basic input/output device. That’s all I need.

I don’t know if – today – I could live without my phone. I truly don’t think I could. How about you? Could you live without your phone?

Boost Mobile Offers ‘Shrinkage’ To Lower Your Monthly Bill

The prepaid plan wars are starting and we consumers are going to benefit. As Straight Talk and their prepaid plans continue to attract customers, other providers are now trying to stem the tide of losing clients.Boost Mobile, an off shoot from Sprint has added what they describe is ‘shrinkage’ to their offering. Here is how it works. Every six months that you pay your bill on time, your monthly fee is reduced by $5. If you pay every month on time for 18 months, your plan fee drops to only $35 a month for unlimited talk, text and surfing. Below is a graph that shows how the ‘shrinkage’ system works:

How Shrinkage works

Monthly Payment Amount
Initial
MonthlyTotal 12 On-
Payment6 On-TimeTimeTotal 18 On-
AmountPaymentsPaymentsTime Payments
Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage$50$45$40$35
BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage$60$55$50$45

In addition a recent article also stated that:

Shrinkage is available with Boost Mobile Monthly Unlimited and BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited plans. As of Oct. 14, existing Boost Mobile customers simply go to www.boostmobile.com or call 1-888-BOOST-4U to sign up for Shrinkage. New customers coming to Boost on the $50 or the $60 BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited plans as of Oct. 14 will automatically be part of Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage.

A customer’s on-time monthly payment date is the same day each month and each on-time payment moves the customer’s monthly cost toward the lower amounts. Consumers who miss their monthly payment date will not be penalized; they will not lose any on-time payments accrued toward the next Shrinkage payment milestone or lose any reduced monthly payment already achieved.

If you are a Boost Mobile customer, I would give them a call and sign up for this offer.

Tracefone, which owns Straight Talk, Net 10 and Safelink now claims 15 million US subscribers. But this one statement came as a surprise to me:

TracFone Wireless is a subsidiary of América Móvil S.A.B. de C.V. (“AMX”) (BMV: AMX; NYSE: AMX; Nasdaq: AMOV; LATIBEX: XAMXL), the fourth largest cell phone company in the world and the largest in all of the Americas with more than 200 million cell phone subscribers.

Comments welcome.

Source – Tracefone

Source – ion

Is iPhone It For The Enterprise

There should be an image here!While Android may be making huge gains in the grand scheme of things, it looks as if the enterprise world will be that run by iOS. This means the iPhone is destined to rule the enterprise market.

This piece from VentureBeat indicates that the iPhone remains the upcoming kings of the enterprise mobile world. No idea how well this will hold with Android creeping up and the upcoming Windows Phone 7.

Personally, I think it’s too late for any new comers to dethrone the iPhone and the best chance of any gains will come from BlackBerry. Even at that, I wouldn’t want to hold my breath on this.

Are These For Real? Google And A Secure Cloud or Facebook With A Smartphone?

The two top stories for today, tomorrow, and most likely the coming week concern two major Internet companies. First we have Google with an announcement that some three million business users have flocked to the cloud. Next there is the rumor that Facebook may be launching its own smartphone. When hearing this news I jumped for joy and yelled ‘yippee’. Just kidding.

Actually both bits of news are going to have a major impact on our lives. How?

Let us take the news from Google about its business cloud venture in which it stated:

Cloud computing is about making your information easily accessible from anywhere, on any device. Until today, organizations looking to secure their information beyond a password have faced costs and complexities that prevented many of them from using stronger security technologies. Today we are changing that with the introduction of a more secure sign-in capability for Google Apps accounts that significantly increases the security of the cloud: Two-step verification. For the first time, we’re making it possible for organizations large and small to use this technology in just a few clicks for free. In the coming months, we’ll also be offering this same security to our hundreds of millions of individual Google users.

Two-step verification is easy to set up, manage and use. When enabled by an administrator, it requires two means of identification to sign in to a Google Apps account, something you know: a password, and something you have: a mobile phone. It doesn’t require any special tokens or devices. After entering your password, a verification code is sent to your mobile phone via SMS, voice calls, or generated on an application you can install on your Android, BlackBerry or iPhone device. This makes it much more likely that you’re the only one accessing your data: even if someone has stolen your password, they’ll need more than that to access your account. You can also indicate when you’re using a computer you trust and don’t want to be asked for a verification code from that machine in the future.

Some of you in the past have denied the fact that cloud computing is going to be in your future. You have stated that you will not place your precious documents or other items in the cloud because you believe it would not be secure. You have also stated that you do not believe that any company, including Google, can keep its servers in action 24 x 7 without a failure of some type.

For those of us who have been using Google Gmail for several years, we have come to expect and accept the reliability of the system. Have there been minor outages? Yes there have been. But you must admit these have been rare and they seem almost nonexistent during the past year or so.

Second we have the Facebook rumor of a smartphone. This rumor I like because I am a firm believer that the more companies we have in any market, the better it benefits consumers. Lower pricing and better services come to mind. In one recent article it states that:

Facebook is “for sure” using Google’s Android operating system as the basis for its phone software, according to a plugged-in Silicon Valley source. This means that Google is now essentially helping Facebook attempt to destroy Google!

Using Android is probably the easiest and best way for Facebook to go about this, so it makes sense. (And it explains why Tseng joined Facebook and not a startup, or something else.)

As far as this rumor goes, I am of the belief that we should believe it when it happens. Why is it that some people always want to make their article appear to be so important by using the ‘we will destroy you theme?’ LOL

So what do you think? Your opinions as always are welcome.

Source – Google

Source – Silicon Valley

Straight Talk – No BlackBerry Support And AT&T Now Available

During the past few weeks I have received quite a few comments to the three articles I have written concerning Straight Talk. For some of the questions that were asked, I did not have an answer. So I contacted Straight Talk Customer Service and this is its response to two of the issues I was asked about:

Dear Ron,

Thank you for your interest in Straight Talk Wireless. We are responding to your recent inquiry.

We understand that you would like to inquire if a BlackBerry phone can be used with Straight Talk. We also believe that you want to inquire when AT&T service will begin.

We regret to inform you that you cannot use a BlackBerry phone with Straight Talk since we are only able to activate handsets manufactured specifically for Straight Talk Wireless.

With regards to your concern about the service with AT&T, we are happy to inform you that we have already started the service. You can buy phones which has the SIM card since these are the phones that are utilizing AT&T towers to have its service. However, we cannot assure that every area will have the coverage of the service. In order for us to check the availability of the service in a specific area, we need to have its ZIP code.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact one of our customer care representatives at 1-877-430-2355.  For your convenience, our representatives are available Monday-Sunday from 8:00 AM to 11:45 PM EST.

Thank you for being a Straight Talk Wireless customer.  We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

Straight Talk Wireless

I hope this answers some of the questions that were asked.

Comments welcome.

Will The RIM BlackBerry Torch Be Able To Singe The iPhone And Android?

Research In Motion has been working for some 16 months with the folks at AT&T, to bring to us a smartphone that will be able to compete against the likes of the iPhone and Android phones. The new RIM BlackBerry Torch incorporates a standard keypad that many BlackBerry users prefer instead of the virtual keyboards that many new phones have. But for those who also want a virtual keypad, the Torch provides it as well. So what makes the new Torch so special?

The Torch has three times the input options of the iPhone: You can tap on a virtual keyboard on the 3.2-inch, 480 x 360 pixel display, you can slide out the hardware keyboard preferred by most BlackBerry users, or you can use an optical trackpad to select menu items.

Overall, the Torch is slightly larger than the iPhone, even with the keyboard tucked in, and weighs 5.6 ounces to the iPhone 4’s 4.8 ounces.

BlackBerry 6 also sports a universal search feature. When you search, the BlackBerry Torch not only queries e-mail, calendar, and apps on the device, but also external services such as Google and YouTube. An API lets developers make other services searchable here, too.

Gone are the days when folks used their smartphones only for e-mail and SMS. Now you also need to be able to link to Twitter, Facebook, IM and so on. BlackBerry Torch integrates multiple social feeds into a single dashboard, organized by time. Likewise, a native RSS reader and podcast manager handle the same tasks for your newsfeeds and podcasts. It’s about time the BlackBerry got these features, because most Android phones today do this out of the box.

Which does make one wonder. Is RIM falling behind Apple and Google? Will they be able to keep pace with their new offering? Or has Apple and Google stepped out way ahead of the crowd?

I do know one thing. The screen shots were not very impressive. Just my two cents.

Comments welcome.

Source – Gadget Lab

AT&T Releases QR Code App

I’ve talked before about QR Codes with Microsoft releasing its own code system. Today, AT&T announced a mobile app for BlackBerry and Android phones. This custom QR Code reader is a catch up to the mainstream boom that is becoming of QR Codes.

AT&T is announcing two services with this release: Create-a-Code servers and a scanner. The QU Code scanner is able to scan QU, Datamatrix, UPC, and EAN codes. The app is avilable right now at http://scan.mobi on any of the AT&T mobile devices. Another option is to get it at the BlackBerry App World and on the Android at the Android Market.

The usability of this app works just like other scanning apps such as ShopSavvy or RedLaser, letting you focus and scan a code that you want to find out about.

What makes this app different is in the menu options, which includes a direct link to AT&T’s Create-a-Code site, where the site will guide you through creating a QR Code for your website or contacts. The site lets you sign-up for free and lets you create five codes that last for one year that you can use. You then can download the QR code in different formats to use at your whim.

RIM – It Was A Good Run With BlackBerry

There should be an image here!“It was fun while it lasted.” This might be what Research In Motion is thinking as it watches its world come crashing down around it.

It seems that Apple is claiming that 80% of the Fortune 500 companies out there are testing out switching their employees to the iPhone. It should be interesting to see how many employees shoot back with “Can I have my BlackBerry back?”

There is no question whatsoever that the Apple iPhone was a massive game changer. Nothing to date has matched the iPhone with its lines of people wanting to buy one down to the integration of syncing things with iTunes. But with all of that said, I firmly believe that unleashing this as an enterprise tool is asking for trouble – unless there is a means of creating a walled garden to prevent users from downloading time wasting games while at work.

[awsbullet:Mike Lazaridis]

iZup Application – Prevents Texting & Phone Calls While Driving, But Does It Work?

I don’t believe that there is any ‘sane‘ person that cannot agree that texting while driving is a very dangerous activity. According to some reports I have read, it is estimated that about 6,000 people, mostly teens, lose their lives each year while talking or texting on a cell phone. So this morning while watching NBC morning news, I viewed a story about a software product called iZup, which disables a cell phone while a vehicle is moving. The news article about the product indicated that the software was currently only available for the BlackBerry, but that the company was working on apps for the iPhone as well.

I took a look at the iZup software on its Web site, and it states the following about the product:

iZUP is a mobile application developed by Illume Software that helps you avoid distractions caused by your mobile phone.

This innovative product holds text messages, e-mails and calls while you’re driving, yet always allows unlimited access to 911 and a list of authorized phone numbers.

  • Software solution (no hardware required)
  • Prevents outgoing text messages, emails and phone calls while driving
  • Sends incoming calls to voicemail and holds text messages when the vehicle is in motion
  • Prohibits web browsing and application use while driving
  • Three authorized phone numbers allowed (e.g. mom, employer, etc.)
  • One authorized application allowed (e.g. navigation application)
  • Emergency 911 quick dial always available
  • Emergency application disable
  • Emergency 911 notification sent with a map to account holder showing location and time of the call
  • Time-delayed for stop lights, stop signs and heavy traffic
  • Tamper alert notification sent to account holder when a user attempts to disable iZUP

Though the application has strong possibilities, I do not believe that it does enough. I would like to see an application that entirely prohibits ALL texting and talking while driving, with no exceptions. In fact I believe that ALL cell phones should be automatically disabled in a moving vehicle.

I am sure there are those who will disagree with my sentiment. To those people I would say this. How important is that phone call if it costs someone their life? If it was your mother, brother, sister, child, spouse, or other loved one that was killed by a driver who was texting, would you be understanding and say the phone call was worth a life?

Comments welcome.

Source – iZup

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If Apple Doesn’t Change, The iPhone Will Be A Niche Product – Says Who?

The owner of Kaspersky, Eugene Kaspersky, has made a dire prediction in which he claims that the Apple iPhone will be a niche product in 5 years. He further claims that Apple needs to change their ways, if they wish to survive, since they are cramping the style of app developers. He even goes on to say that the Apple iPhone may even not exist in 5 years.

In a recent article it also states that:

The founder of Kaspersky Lab says that of the five main mobile platforms currently in existence, the only two guaranteed to last beyond the next five years are Android and Symbian. Open-source platforms will outlast closed systems such as the iPhone OS, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile, believes Kaspersky. To survive, the closed systems need to change their approach and get rid of their restrictions for developers, he says.

WOW! This man needs a new crystal ball! LOL

Why is it that very since Apple became a company, someone, somewhere is always predicting their demise? For a company that is constantly going out of business, they seem to be doing very well. So well, that they continue to buy up companies and introduce new products at a rapid pace. Their products continue to be stylish, well designed and in demand by millions of users.

I personally believe that this prediction is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Comments welcome.

Source

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BlackBerry Outages Without A Clue On A Fix

No one who uses a BlackBerry wants to hear about the services offered being down. Yet despite this, that is exactly what has happened. Seems that RIM just had a run of bad luck with the messaging systems being out, effectively crippling BlackBerry users all over the country.

The social media Web sites have apparently been running wild with this, undoubtedly doing wonders for RIM’s PR team as it scrambles around to deal with damage control. But I think the biggest killer of all of this had to be not so much the missing email or calendaring, it’s the fact that even browsing the Web was affected!

Suddenly, despite all of the frustrations I have had with it, the iPhone doesn’t seem all that bad. Perhaps it’s the lack of a central service to fall apart that makes the difference here? Who knows for sure? The key thing, however, is that all of us are able to take a note from this and remember. Any mobile product that draws itself from a centralized service like the BlackBerry does is up for potential disruption. Certainly something to consider when purchasing enterprise friendly phones in the future!

[awsbullet:blackberry user]