Articles by Crackberry Kevin

Guess my Picture Password and win contest!

BlackBerry 10 Picture Lock

Okay, so it's been a while since we've done an awesome contest here on CrackBerry, so to get back in the swing of things I'm actually taking a suggestion from the forums for our next one. In honor of the release of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1, we're doing up a sweet quick contest that will show just how amazing this new OS is. I call this one the "Guess my Picture Password and win!" contest.

Former BlackBerry CIO coming out of retirement to be Chief Innovation Technology Officer at Samsung USA

Take this one with a grain of salt as it hasn't been officially announced, but I received word via a reliable source today that BlackBerry's former CIO, Robin Bienfait, will be coming out of retirement soon and moving over to the competition. Specifically, she'll be taking up the roll of Chief Technology Innovations Officer at Samsung Telecommunications America.

Robin was BlackBerry's CIO from 2007 until December 2012, when her retirement was announced rather abruptly during RIM's Fiscal Q3 2013 earnings report. Her LinkedIn profile currently states that she's "In Transition".

Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President of BBM, leaves BlackBerry (of his own volition)

Executive Vice President of BBM, Andrew Bocking, has left BlackBerry. Bocking had most recently been the head of the BBM team after moving from his position as Executive VP, Software Product Management and Ecosystem at BlackBerry where he played a huge role in bringing BB10 phones to market. It hasn't been confirmed if he was fired or chose to depart on his own, but BlackBerry has confirmed that he is no longer with the company.

Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and while you're probably thinking flowers and chocolates for the significant other in your life, you don't want to forget to take care of the other sweety in your life. You know the one we're talking about. The one that's in your hand all day long. Your phone!

In honor of Heart day, you can show your BlackBerry a little love and save 20% on ALL BlackBerry cases and accessories at in our Valentine's Day Sale. To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code sweet20 during the checkout process. FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US / Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!

We have tons of accessories in stock for the BlackBerry Z30Z10, Q10, Bold 9900 and more! Be sure to take advantage of the savings while they last. 

And for those of you have multiple-mobile loves in your life, don't forget the sweet20 coupon also works at, the iMore Store and Windows Phone Store. Your shopping cart will follow you through all four stores, so you can buy from all four stores and checkout once. You gotta love that!

Take me to and let the love fest begin!

Craig Johnston

Long time readers of CrackBerry will know the name and voice of Craig Johnston. Going back six years to February 2008, it was Craig Johnston who co-hosted CrackBerry Podcast Episode 001 with me. Craig was active on our podcasts for several years and occasionally would drop a post here on the blogs, imparting his immense knowledge of BlackBerry's history to our CrackBerry audience. Remember, Craig has been in the enterprise mobile space since 1999 and was a user of the original pre-BlackBerry device, the RIM 850.

Over his years working in enterprise mobile, Craig has managed BIG mobile device installations —we're talking over 40,000 users — and today is working as Enterprise Mobile Strategist for NTT Data. When he's not doing that, he's likely working on writing mobile device-related books, of which he's written 13 to date, or playing with wearable tech, his new addiction (he's also a Google Glass Explorer).

"BlackBerry is going think of ways to capitalize on the current climate, with public concern over hacking and the NSA"

This past Friday, FastCompany published an editorial titled Is BlackBerry Actually Going To Turn It Around? Featuring several interview quotes from BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, and supporting quotes by me (I spent an hour on the phone with the story's author earlier in the week), it's a positive piece that seeks to examine why we are seeing a turn around in the company's share price since John Chen came onboard. Looking at percentage gains, BBRY is one of the hottest stocks of the year.

It's a solid read, so I encourage all of you to jump over and read it in its entirety. 

Read the Full Story at Fast Co.

How do you describe BBM Channels to others?

BBM Channels

My financée is currently living in Paris, getting her MBA. At the moment, she's deep in thought trying to figure out her thesis topic. It's a critical thing for her to get right for a couple reasons: one, because it's 40% of her final grade; and two, because she's going to spend a ton of time working on it over the next nine months so she better choose the subject carefully and make sure it's one that she likes.

One of the tips her professor gave her was to make sure her thesis topic is refined enough that it passes the "elevator pitch" test. In other words, while riding up an elevator from the main floor to fourth floor with another person, she should be able to concisely relay the thesis idea before the elevator stops. 45 seconds, there or about. It's a necessity to thesis planning. It helps keep all the research and work to be done focused, and when it comes time to present and be graded it on it, there's a clear expectation set.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because it got me thinking about BBM Channels, and specifically my concern that it doesn't yet pass the "elevator pitch" test. As I wrote recently, I'm getting really excited for BBM Channels, and I **want** to tell people about it. Yet, I'm having this issue that when I try and tell others about the awesomeness that is BBM Channels, I can never cleanly and concisely tell them what is in 45 seconds or less. It's a confusing thing to talk about.

Kevin Bench

If I had my way, we'd have a quality page up on the internet about every single topic and question you can imagine that's related to BlackBerry. So when you come to the site or hit up Google (even Bing!) and search for something BlackBerry related, the odds are high that you'll land on that quality page produced by the #1 destination for everything BlackBerry,

That's always been our goal since DAY #1, and it still is to this day. From our February 27th, 2007 press release:

T-Mobile BlackBerry Z30

I'm a big fan of T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere. He does the kind of shit that I would likely do if I were the CEO of a big company that's in a similar position. I mean, I don't see him doing really ballsy things like eating raw onions, punching muggers in the face or baring it all on youtube, but he knows how to attract attention to himself.

Recently he got the attention of the CrackBerry community by deciding that T-Mobile USA would no longer carry BlackBerry phones in retail stores, instead making the decision to fill the demand via direct shipping. Sad news, but at least BlackBerry 10 phones were still available to T-Mobile customers. Except of course, for the BlackBerry Z30.

BlackBerry Q10 Flashlight Tip

One of the handy dandy new features in BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 is the ability to turn on the Flashlight in a uhh.. flash from the Quick Settings drop down menu. 

On taller phones like the BlackBerry Z10, Z30 and P'9982, after you upgrade to 10.2.1 the Flashlight app is automatically added to the Quick Settings drop down (this is the menu you see when you're on the homescreen and swipe down from the top of the phone).

However, after updating to OS 10.2.1 on the Q10 and Q5, it appears BlackBerry stuck to just three rows (six shortcuts) showing by default vs. the five rows (eight shortcuts) that show up on the taller phones. And on the Q10, the Flashlight app didn't make the cut to the 10.2.1 defaults.

How to watch the Super Bowl from your BlackBerry today!

The Big Game. The Superb Owl. Super Bowl XLVIII. It's on, TODAY. And you can watch it from your BlackBerry.

If you plan to be out and about when the game kicks off, you can easily tune in right on your BlackBerry (or Android, iOS & Windows Phone) thanks to the NFL Mobile app. The only setback is that you'll have to cough up the $5 subscription fee, but that shouldn't be too much to ask if watching on your phone is the only option. 

Behind the Scenes of the BlackBerry Super Bowl Commercial

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the official launch of BlackBerry 10. We're also coming up on the one year anniversary of BlackBerry's first-ever Super Bowl commercial.

This Sunday the Broncos will be battling it out against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, and this year there will be no new Super Bowl commercial from BlackBerry. In lieu of a new one, I figured we could take a look back at last year's commercial.

Reactions to BlackBerry's Super Bowl commercial were extremely mixed. In our follow-up poll, 15% of you loved it, 25% of you thought it was "good enough", 31% of you thought it needed to be more aggressive, and 27% said WTF was that?!. Oh yeah, and 2% thought it needed more Hollywood. Speaking to many BlackBerry employees around and after that time, apparently even internally the reactions to the commercial were mixed (there was some debate about whether or not to follow through and air it).

Kevin Gets His Haircut

At this moment, a year ago today, Adam, Bla1ze, Marcus and I were on the ground in New York City, putting the finishing touches on CrackBerry's BlackBerry Z10 Review and getting ready to leave our hotel for the Pier 36 venue where BlackBerry 10 would be officially unveiled to the world. The unveiling wouldn't be contained to just NYC, however. For the BIG BANG, BlackBerry coordinated a global launch event with Toronto, London, Paris, Johnnesburg and Dubai also included in the launch day extravaganza. 

I was feeling both sick and extremely excited. Excited as all hell for the launch. And a little sick as I just found out that my ponytail was going to get chopped off in front of thousands of people as one of the pre-show warm-up acts (in case you forgot, I went on a haircut strike while waiting for BB10 to get released. And it turned out to be in front of millions of people since CNBC decided to air it live). 

Save 15% on ALL BlackBerry cases and accessories at ShopCrackBerry during THE BIG GAME Sale!

Whether you're cheering for the Seahawks or Broncos this Sunday, we're celebrating Super Bowl XLVIII here on CrackBerry with a good 'ol fashioned ShopCrackBerry sale (this way, everybody wins!). The sale starts now and goes through until Midnight PST on Monday night.

Until then, you can save 15% on ALL BlackBerry cases and accessories at in our Super Bowl Sale. To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code BOWL15 during the checkout process. FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US / Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!

We have tons of accessories in stock for the BlackBerry Z30Z10, Q10, Bold 9900 and more! Be sure to take advantage of the savings while they last. Enjoy the game!

Take me to!

Everything you need to know about BlackBerry OS 10.2.1

On January 28th, 2014, carriers around the world began pushing out BlackBerry's latest update for the BlackBerry 10 operating system, taking it up to version 10.2.1. The rollout of BlackBerry 10.2.1 is a global one, but not all carriers received the update the first day. BlackBerry expects that by the end of February all BlackBerry 10 owners will have the update available to them. 

In true CrackBerry fashion, we've been all over this update, so in this post we wanted to roundup the most important links in regards to BlackBerry 10.2.1. A lot of exciting new features were introduced in this update, including the ability to install Android apps onto your BB10 phone. It's exciting stuff, so we'll keep this update short and you can click on through below to discover everything you need to know about BlackBerry 10.2.1.

Site Update: We're switching up the homepage default on CrackBerry back to the traditional blog view!

When we pulled the trigger on our CrackBerry site redesign last March, we introduced a new homepage design. Now, we didn't abandon the traditional blog view - it was still always accessible by tapping the "Switch to Blog View" button on the homepage, but by default we gave you the new featured view. The featured view was more headline driven, and presented a lot of stories on the page, but arguably made for a less (quickly) scannable browsing experience.

Tonight, while sifting through some of the early 2014 CrackBerry Reader Survey results, I decided most of you seem to just tolerate the Featured View rather than love it. And you all seem to love our award-winning CB10 app, which follows a more traditional chronological order of content presentation.

So because I love change, I love testing things, and I love trying to make all of you happy (knowing that I don't always succeed), we just flipped the switch on the homepage defaults.

Now if you visit on your desktop browser, or on your mobile, you will now see the traditional blog view by default. For those of you who do love the featured view, it's still accessible by tapping the "Switch to Featured View" button. These settings are of course remembered via a browser cookie, so once you choose your view it will stick so long as you accept cookies.

I'll leave at that for now, and let's see how it goes. If we ultimately don't like the change, we can always flip it back. Enjoy!

Instagram on BlackBerry 10

Earlier today BlackBerry began its official rollout of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 around the globe. All carriers — even those in the USA — should have it pushed out to BlackBerry 10 device owners by the end of February. 

It's a great update that includes lots of productivity enhancements as well as BlackBerry OS throwback features that are sure to please legacy BlackBerry users. For the full list of what's new, I encourage you to check out the BlackBerry 10.2.1 change log. Especially for those in the USA who never received the 10.2 update, you're going to LOVE the whack load of new features coming at you.

2014 CrackBerry Reader Survey!

While you're waiting for BlackBerry 10.2.1 to download (or for the update to appear!), you can kill a few minutes and help us out a bunch by taking our CrackBerry 2014 Reader Survey.

As it is, we all know CrackBerry is the #1 BlackBerry community, authority and resource in the UNIVERSE, and we pay pretty close attention all year long to your praises, wants and gripes. A survey like this helps us put it all into better context however, and also lets us see how things are shaking out between our different Mobile Nations communities.

2013 was a big year for us. We launched the our new site design, we rolled out the award-winning CB10 app, and on the editorial front we took things to a new level as we covered the BlackBerry 10 launch from our Toronto and NYC offices before heading to Orlando to put on our CrackBerry Live show from BlackBerry World.

We want to keep pushing hard in 2014, but we want to make sure we're putting our efforts into the things you want to see more of, and making changes as necessary if there are areas we can improve.

As a token of our appreciation, when you're done the survey you can drop in your email or username for a chance to win a coupon code for $100 of free BlackBerry accessories from! Thanks for helping make the greatest smartphone-dedicated community in the world even greater!

Take the 2014 CrackBerry Reader Survey!

PSA: Before you update to BlackBerry OS 10.2.1, **make sure** you have enough space!

This Public Service Announcement comes to you via our Mobile Nations webmaster, Tom Kaminski (@ttkaminski), who ran into a snag this morning while trying to upgrade his phone to BlackBerry 10.2.1.

Tom went a little crazy last month downloading free games and movies in BlackBerry's giveaway, so he filled up his device storage a lot. This morning when he heard the news that BlackBerry 10.2.1 was available, he went into Settings > Software Updates and manually checked for an update and discovered one was available.

At that point in time, no error message was given that he didn't have enough storage space left to complete the download and install. Instead, over an hour later when he was 90% through downloading the OS update, it failed. Then he checked the hub to discover the notification Device Storage Almost Full - Consider moving or deleting files.

I wouldn't put the blame on Tom for this one. When he went to download the update, at that point it should be checking that there's enough storage remaining to complete the download and installation. Let's put that one on the feature wishlist for BlackBerry 10.3. [ Update: As you'll read in the comments, it looks like the OS does check, but maybe it's not properly checking the size of the entire download, so you can run into what Tom experienced. Either way, make sure you have plenty of space! ]

In the meantime, learn from Tom's experience here and CHECK THAT YOU HAVE PLENTY OF FREE MEMORY before beginning your OS update.

How long did it take you for BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 to download and install?

It's an exciting day in CrackBerry land, with BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 officially now here and beginning to rollout around the globe on multiple carriers.

After waiting a long time for this update to get released, I couldn't help but notice this morning that the update itself is taking a while to download. So far, out of my BlackBerry Z10, Z30, P'9982 and Q10, it's only on the Q10 so far that the update showed as available after manually checking for updates (Settings > Software Updates > Check for Updates).

After hitting the download button, over an hour later I'm still only at 80% finished downloading the 645MB update (note, file size seems to vary between people a bit).

In other words, it's taking a while. Other members of the CrackBerry team are experiencing the same sort of lonnnng download process.

I'm expecting this will be the norm for everybody out there, but figured it wouldn't hurt to check in with the community, so you know what you're getting into before you start the update.

If you have received the update and downloaded it, how long did it take?! Let us know in the comments!