Articles by Crackberry Kevin

Last Chance CrackBerry Nation!! Friendly reminder here that this contest closes on Tuesday, September 23rd at midnight PST. If you haven't entered yet, do it now!

Amazon App Store Sale

It looks like Bla1ze — CrackBerry's new Editor in Chief — is sleeping in this morning (he's still getting the hang of this whole waking up early to blog thing), so here's a little FYI for all of you running the Amazon App Store on your BlackBerry 10 phone.

For today and Saturday, Amazon is giving away 30 paid Android apps for free!

At the time of this posting, I have not checked each app to see how it runs on BlackBerry 10, so be sure to test things out and drop a note in the comments with your results. And if you're not running the Amazon App Store on your phone, click here for a tutorial on how to install it. It looks like US, India, Australia and the UK are all supported regions for this sale. That said, it may also show up in other regions, so if you find the apps are on sale for you be sure to spread the word. And keep in mind, the Amazon App Store will soon be officially supported by BlackBerry, so you can consider loading it up as a head start.

Here's a full list of apps and games covered by the Amazon App Store giveaway, which are temporarily available for free (31 in the US):

Thanks, Vivek!

Vivek Bhardwaj and Thorsten Heins

Late Sunday night, in response to a question posted in the CrackBerry forums, I publicly broke the news that Vivek Bhardwaj is no longer at BlackBerry.

In reality, this was old news. Vivek has not been with BlackBerry since the middle of May, which is when I first found out and spoke to Vivek directly about his decision to leave. As you can imagine, I was bummed to hear the news. Vivek has been one of CrackBerry Nation's favorite BlackBerry people ever since he made his stage debut at BlackBerry World alongside then CEO, Thorsten Heins, where he gave us our first glimpse of BlackBerry 10. An eloquent speaker, amazing on-stage presenter who delivered flawless demos time after time in front of thousands of people as well an all around awesome guy to hangout with, it's a definite loss for #TEAMBLACKBERRY. Both Vivek and I knew, like me, that BlackBerry fans would be bummed out when word got out about his departure, which is why we didn't rush to make it known. Eventually though, the word would have to get out.

There's a new chief in town!

It's been an exciting few days for BlackBerry fans and we're closing off the week with some exciting CrackBerry news of our own. I've been pondering shaking things up here for a while now, and today I'm happy to officially pull the trigger and announce some exciting changes to our editorial team.

I say officially, as behind the scenes we've already been beta testing the revised team structure since I sought out the community's feedback a week ago in the forums (we also talked about it in detail on Thursday's CrackBerry podcast). The changes have been well received and nothing has blown up yet, so we're going to make them stick!

Jessica Simpson loves her CrackBerry! #tbt

It's Thursday, which means it's Throwback Thursday. So while sitting through the procedural part (the boring part) of the BlackBerry's Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, I took a stroll through some of CrackBerry's old Thursday posts and came across this beauty, which I posted on a Thursday some SEVEN years ago. On Thursday, June 21st, 2007 to be precise.

You can't really argue with Jessica Simpson, circa 2007, rocking a BlackBerry 8700. And how about that t-shirt she's wearing? Hot Damnnn!!!! :)

CrackBerry Asks: What do you think of the BlackBerry Passport name?

On BlackBerry's Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO John Chen leaked out that the rumored phone we've all been referring to as "windermere" is ultimately going to launch as the BlackBerry Passport.

I think this name is freak'n BRILLIANT. By conventional smartphone standards, the BlackBerry Passport's dimensions are kind of whacky, with the phone being super wide. The dimensions literally are Passport-like (see our brilliant mockup above for visual proof). There's no phone on the market like this right now. Heck, even compared to traditional full qwerty BlackBerry device models, it stands out in a big way. Which is the other brilliant part of the Passport's name and design.

With a phone like the Q10 or even the upcoming BlackBerry Classic, at a glance the "average consumer" could easily think the device is an "old" BlackBerry. Trained eyes can spot that the Q10 has no "toolbelt" and the keyboard is straight which gives away that it's a BB10 phone and not an older BlackBerry. With the Classic bringing back the toolbelt, however, untrained eyes still could easily think it's an older BlackBerry vs. something new. With the Passport, there will be no misinterpretation. When people bust out their BlackBerry Passport in public, it's going to stick out and catch people's eyes. They'll KNOW it's the new BlackBerry. And with a name like BlackBerry Passport which so adequately describes what the phone looks like, it's going to be an easy name to remember as well. The BlackBerry Passport isn't just a new phone - it's a built-in advertising campaign for the company.

John Chen

During the Q&A portion of BlackBerry's Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO John Chen answered a question which sheds some light on BlackBerry's strategy as it concerns the profitability of the BlackBerry hardware devision.

"If we ship 10 million phones in a year, we'll be profitable on phones (hardware). That's the model we're going after."

Historically, most people heard the name BlackBerry and only thought about BlackBerry as a smartphone business. When John Chen took over the reigns of the company, he wasted no time in repositioning BlackBerry to be looked at as a portfolio of four business units: handsets/hardware, enterprise (BES), messaging (BBM) and machine to machine systems (QNX/Project Ion). Under this notion, Chen also made it clear that each of these business units needs to be looked at differently as each are in a different stage (BBM is a startup, QNX is a growth opportunity, etc.) and that ultimately each unit needs to be profitable.

This statement today by Chen gives us a little more clarity as to what BlackBerry needs to keep doing in terms of handset sales to keep that division in the black. Chen has been clear that he wants to keep making BlackBerry phones, but obviously if things are not making money he's going to do whatever is necessary to make sure the company is in profitable territory. The 10 million break-even target is not an astronomical number - it should be a number BlackBerry can hit (hopefully with ease!). This should give CrackBerry Nation confidence that we'll have plenty of new hardware to salivate over down the road.

On today's BlackBerry Q1 earnings call, BlackBerry CEO dropped word that the rumored BlackBerry "windermere" will launch as the BlackBerry Passport! It's a fitting name given the size of the Windermere. Visually, it's a WIDE device - it almost has the dimensions of a Passport.

Beyond the name, Chen also said the phone will be officially unveiled this September in a launch event in London. Personally, I'm loving the name. It's one that business users and frequent fliers will definitely appreciate. You never leave home without your Passport!

AGM

Just a quick update for all the CrackBerry readers out there who are going to be paying close attention this Thursday to BlackBerry's earnings report and Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

I originally planned on making the trip to Waterloo for the event as I have the past three years so I could attend the AGM in person. Unfortunately, turns out I forgot I have my own AGM to attend on Wednesday night that I can't miss which screws up getting me to Waterloo in time for the event (advice: avoid being President of your condo board at all costs).

Father's Day Sale!

If socks and ties won't cut it for your dad this Father's Day, we suggest you get him a gift he'll both love and appreciate in the form of new accessories for his BlackBerry! In honor of all the awesome dads around the world, we have loads of goodies in stock and on sale at ShopCrackBerry for all of your devices including the BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10. Everything is 20% off during our Father's Day Sale (now through June 16th Midnight PST) and that means you can save big on cases, batteries, headsets and more. And dad's don't worry - if you don't think your kids will take advantage of this offer, it's OK to treat yourself on Father's Day. ;)

How to get your stories on the CrackBerry homepage!

Back in April I wrote an article making a call for passionate BlackBerry enthusiasts who wanted to have their voices heard on the CrackBerry homepage.

We got a BIG response. TOO BIG, in reality. With over 70 people applying, the administrative side of things became a little too daunting for me given my crazy schedule these past couple of months (seriously, I still owe reply emails to a bunch!). I was aiming to bring at least five new regular voices onto the team. We ended up only trying out one person. That's a whole lot of awesome voices we haven't heard from yet. And after Chris Umi's controversial editorial yesterday (he's so fired for having an opinion) a few more of you have expressed you wish you could have your opinion published on CrackBerry's homepage.

So after mulling all of this over, I have come up with the optimal solution. I've figured out the process that will allow us to audition new regular writers for CrackBerry easily while also giving those who just want their voice heard one time on the homepage that chance. And we're putting the onus on YOU. Shit or get off the pot, right? ;)

In the CrackBerry forums we have a setup a new forum for CrackBerry Homepage Article Submissions. Be sure to Read the Read First thread in there, which outlines the process and details. It's all in there. I think it'll work. Let's give it a try.

I'm excited to see your best articles up on the CrackBerry homepage!

BlackBerry AGM!

It's time for my annual pilgrimage to Waterloo, Canada, the birthplace and hometown of BlackBerry, to attend the company's Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

This will be my fourth year attending the AGM and John Chen will be the fourth CEO to take the stage in as many years. We were there for the end of the Mike Lazaridis / Jim Balsillie co-CEO reign and we were there for the Thorsten Heins era has he worked to bring BlackBerry 10 to market. This year we'll hear from John Chen, now just over six months on the job, as he works to rebuild value for shareholders.

A wonderful weekend of CrackBerry fun at the Canadian Grand Prix!

What an AWESOME weekend!! The 2014 Canadian Grand Prix is now racing history, and what a race it was. I can't help but think maybe the CrackBerry team's presence brought a bit of bad luck, as for the first time this year the Mercedes F1 Team — who is sponsored by BlackBerry — was not at the top of the podium on Sunday afternoon. That said, it was easily the most exciting race of the season and we had a blast all weekend long spreading the CrackBerry and BlackBerry love through the streets of Montreal. Be sure to watch the Story Maker video above for a recap of the weekend, and keep reading for more of the details, including the contest winner for a CrackBerry Racing Polo shirt!

BBM Channel Chat vs. Twitter

BBM Channel Chat

I'm starting to become a pro at BBM Channel Chats! I have now completed four regularly-scheduled BBM Channel Chats. My Channel Chat is set to turn on automatically every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30pm ET / 6:30pm GMT for thirty minutes. Last week I reminded people that the chats were going to take place, which made for a BIG turnout each session and made things CRAZY for me to manage (read my reactions to Chat session #1 and #2).

This week I didn't remind people that the BBM Channel chat was going to take place. I wanted to see how the turnout would differ. As I expected, it was much quieter — around 20 participants on Monday and ten today — which made it much more manageable from my end. I could actually chat with people vs. just say hello and goodbye as I bounced around conversations. Last week I had way more people participating, which pretty much made it into a BBM Stress Test. It was basically impossible to keep up while jumping back and forth between so many individual chats.

I love Story Maker on BlackBerry 10! Have you put it to use yet?

I'll be on honest. Before June 1st, I had never really used the Story Maker app on BlackBerry 10. That's not to say I had never opened the app before. I absolutely became familiar with Story Maker when BB10 launched. I made a few quick throw away videos from clips and photos on my phone, just so I knew how it all worked, and I've spent some time in the app since monkeying around with it so if and when I'd need to use it, I'd know what to do. I knew it was a good app, but I didn't realize just how good it was until now.

BlackBerry World

My recent editorial on BlackBerry app developer revenue being down has sparked a lot of great discussion among developers in the community.

Among the suggested solutions we outlined of things BlackBerry could do for BlackBerry app developers to make more money, there is unanimous agreement that BlackBerry selling more phones would help the most. Expanding on this point, I received an email this morning from a major BlackBerry app developer with an idea on how this could be done:

WhatsApp CEO mocks Apple for copying WhatsApp features in iOS 8; clearly forgets he systematically ripped off BBM feature by feature

Having followed the mobile game for a longgggg time now, it's very clear that everybody copies everybody. Yes, some borrow more than others. And some do it quietly, while others get on stage and take credit for inventing features that have been around elsewhere for years.

Yesterday at Apple's WWDC conference, Tim Cook and his team got on stage and announced a bunch of new features in iOS 8. Some were innovative, while others clearly were "stolen". You can read our article here which sums up the new features in iOS 8 and highlights the ones that look BlackBerry 10 like.

Also joining in the fun of pointing out what Apple borrowed for iOS 8 was the recently-turned gabillionarie CEO of WhatsApp, Jan Koum. Following the event, Jan tweeted out on his personal account very flattering to see Apple "borrow" numerous WhatsApp features into iMessage in iOS 8 #innovation

"Loyalty doesn't feed my family, BlackBerry. I need incentives. I need to make more money."

I recently caught up with a friend who is an independent app developer. He's capable of developing for other mobile platforms, but historically he's focused on BlackBerry app development and has been quite prolific at it over the years. There is a good chance you have downloaded one or more of his apps.

It didn't take long for me to ask my friend —who's name I'm going to leave anonymous for this post — how his app sales have been going lately. His reply? "Pretty terrible."

It wasn't a totally surprising thing for me to hear. It's well documented where BlackBerry 10 phone sales are at, and for the most part those buying BlackBerry OS phones these days are less the app buying type (lots of corporate issued BBOS phones happening in those numbers, or it's low cost handsets and the owners are looking for free apps vs. paid ones). In other words, a lot of the app-hungry BB10 phone owners have already bought their apps, and with their appetite mainly satiated with what's available and relatively small numbers of new BB10 owners stepping up to fill their app plate, app sales are flat-lining, and not at a high daily number.

Win a BlackBerry Classic or Passport!!!

Win a BlackBerry Classic or Passport!!!

Login to CrackBerry.com and leave a comment to this article for your chance to win an IOU for a BlackBerry Classic or BlackBerry Passport (windermere) when it becomes available!!

UPDATE: The BlackBerry Windermere is officially the Passport — the BlackBerry Classic will be launching in November!

June is here and I wanted to start the month with an awesome CrackBerry contest. I was thinking about giving away an in-market phone like the BlackBerry Z30 or Q10, but I know so many of you in our CrackBerry audience are already looking forward to two new flagship BlackBerry 10 devices that will be coming to market in the months ahead: the BlackBerry Classic or BlackBerry Passport.

The BlackBerry Classic has already been officially announced by BlackBerry, and brings the traditional BlackBerry trackpad and menu and back buttons to the BlackBerry 10 experience. The "Windermere" is still rumored, but is looking to be pretty 'effen cool, with some crazy specs that include a BIG display and a capacitive touch keyboard. If you win this contest, you'll get an IOU for whichever device you choose, as soon as the phones become available. For more info on these phones, visit our BlackBerry Classic or BlackBerry "Windermere" topic pages.

How To Enter:

Simply login to CrackBerry.com and leave a comment to this article letting us know which of the two phones you'd want to win, and why. Contest is open worldwide. Contest ends midnight PST on June 30th.

That's it for this one. Enter. Enter now. And good luck!!

#MobileFit

June 1st is here, which means #MobileFit Month has begun across all of our Mobile Nations sites, including Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore, WPCentral and Connectedly!

To kick off #MobileFit month right, I woke up early and went for a Sunday morning run. If you're looking for a little motivation to get active today, be sure to hit play on the video above. ;)

The training montage video was recorded my BlackBerry Z30 and edited with BlackBerry 10's native Story Maker app. I have to say, Story Maker is AWESOME. It's so easy to use and produces such an awesome product.

[ Read CrackBerry's Tutorial on Using Story Maker on the Z30 ]

If you have a Fitbit be sure to join our #MobileFit Fitbit Group. We already have over SIX HUNDRED members in the group! Because events like this always have some hardcore people who go to the extreme, we're giving away prizes not just to those who top the leaderboard, but also at random to other participants. So don't be worried about winning... It's really about setting your own goal for the month and making it happen. I'm aiming to beat 15,000 steps a day in June. And yes, while there's no app yet for BB10 (or Windows Phone for that matter), you can use fitbit with your desktop.

We have a lot of great mobile health and fitness related content coming at you the entire month of June. BlackBerry-related content will of course show up here on CrackBerry, and if you want to see EVERYTHING we produce across all mobile platforms and devices, be sure to hit up the #MobileFit event page at connectedly.com/mobilefit.

Ok, that's it for this article. It's a beautiful day outside so I'm going to get back out there and rack up some more steps. After all, getting healthy and being active is what #MobileFit month is all about!

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