Articles by Crackberry Kevin

BlackBerry knocks Knox in its latest blog post, reminding customers Samsung's vaults have faults

John Sims is BlackBerry's newly-appointed President of Global Enterprise Services, and he's wasting no time in letting customers know why BlackBerry trumps the competition in managing mobile devices in enterprise.

Following up the news that the Pentagon is getting hooked up with 80,000 devices, Sims took to the Inside BlackBerry Business blog and tore into shortcomings of Samsung's KNOX offering, which is trying to make inroads for Samsung into enterprise. 

It's a great write up, which you can read in-full below:

keyboards, Keyboards, KEYBOARDS!

Outside of the BlackBerry users who know and love their physical keyboards, there hasn't been too much discussion on the subject of physical keyboards in the past couple of years. We are now living in a touchscreen world as far as most of mobile is concerned. Heck, even "CrackBerry Kevin" has adapted to tapping on glass just fine. I love the BlackBerry 10 touchscreen keyboard, and can type just fine on Android (well, I can swipe just fine thanks to Swype), iOS and Windows Phone keyboards too.

While consumer and enterprise demand for physical keyboards exists, the rest of the market has largely left it up to BlackBerry to fulfill that demand. It makes sense too. A friend of mine who works on the product team at a major not-BlackBerry smartphone manufacturer once told me, "There is no demand for keyboard smartphones — people only want BlackBerry smartphones with keyboards". Most other attempts by manufacturers to launch keyboard phones the past few years — like the Motorola Droid Pro — never amounted to more than a niche device with minimal carrier support and miniscule sales. It just doesn't make sense for other manufacturers to dedicate the financial, personnel, and research and development resources to developing a physical keyboard smartphone when it's a small and mature category that has been so clearly owned by one company.

While that friend may have been right about it not making sense for other smartphone manufacturers to launch a phone with a front facing QWERTY, the buzz generated by Typo's BlackBerry look-alike keyboard for iPhone has dragged physical keyboards back into the headlines. The interest, no matter how casual, has demonstrated that there is a segment of iPhone users (likely former Palm and BlackBerry users) who would like the option to be pushing on buttons instead of tapping on glass. While it may not be a growing segment, these fans of physical keyboards have a desire that's not being fulfilled. There is definitely is a place for physical keyboards in this 2014 smartphone world, and there will continue to be for years to come.

While physical keyboard users know this, it seems like the rest of the world has forgotten about the benefits that physical keyboards offer to their users. It's been almost comical for me to read through the recent surge of Typo editorials and reviews and all the comments that follow. There's a lot of lack of understanding out there, a lot of educating that's needed.

When I read comments like "I can type faster on a touchscreen, why would anybody want a physical keyboard?!" I just cringe. No shit, Sherlock. As a guy who's logged a lot of finger miles on physical keyboards, I too can type faster on on a touchscreen. All-out speed isn't the reason why people like physical keyboards. Let's do a quick recap of the reasons people still love their physical keyboard.

From the Editor's Desk: One year ago tonight...

I was sitting in a condo high above Toronto, Canada, snapping the photo you see above and posting this from the editor's desk entry. I had arrived in the big smoke earlier that day with my (future) bro-in-law @jayhum, getting ready for what we knew would be a crazy month of work which we hoped would also have a little fun mixed in. The next day Adam Zeis, Bla1ze and Simon Sage all arrived in town, and we took possession of our one month condo rental which we dubbed CrackBerry's BlackBerry 10 Launch Campaign Headquarters

What's going to happen to BlackBerry

Earlier this week I joined Rene Ritchie on our Vector podcast to talk BlackBerry. Back in October 2013 we recorded a show together on the topic of What happened to BlackBerry. Though recorded relatively late in the year, that episode went on to be our single most downloaded podcast episode across all Mobile Nations podcasts for 2013.

With lots of change at BBRY between then and now, including a new CEO at the helm of the company, in this episode we talk about What's going to happen to BlackBerry. This podcast is a great follow up audio companion to the in-depth interview we conducted with BlackBerry CEO John Chen in Las Vegas at CES 2014.

Whack My Phone!

Bored at work this Friday afternoon? Then click on through from your desktop computer to Whack My Phone, where you can be entertained for minutes on end destroying iPhone, Windows Phone and Samsung (aka SVMSUNG) devices. Weapons at your disposal include a crowbar, axe, baseball bat, blow torch, handgun and chainsaw.

Clearly the game's developer was a BlackBerry fan, as you won't find any BBs in this one. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if the developer was Waterloo-based on this one. :)

Android OS Nicknames

Android likes the sweets with Gingerbread, Jelly Bean and Kit Kat. Windows Phone has gone fruity in the past with Tango and Mango and is waiting on the color Blue. Heck, even if less celebrated externally, internally Apple gives ski resort names to iOS, with iOS 7.1 honoring the upcoming Olympics with Sochi.

How about us BlackBerry fans? Well, we're looking forward to the release of BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. TEN DOT TWO DOT ONE. Trying saying that tens times fast.

I want my BlackBerry Q50 to have this design

I want my BlackBerry Q50 to have this design

A week ago on Instagram, I posted the photo above with the caption:

Spotted: BlackBerry Q30! Oh wait, no, that's a black iPhone in a Typo. #gettingsued #ces2014 #ripoff

In the moment I was just being silly for my social followers, but if you look at image above, it looks a lot like the dozens of "dream BlackBerry concepts" we have seen mocked up over the years. A good chunk of CrackBerry Nation has been wanting a bigger and taller screen on their physical qwerty devices for years now.

With the BlackBerry Q10, we did get a BIGGER 3.1" high resolution display (thanks BB!), but it came to us with a 1:1 aspect ratio. In other words, it's a big square. There are two big drawbacks to the square display design.

Hot off the wire: BlackBerry Announces Completion of Acquisition of Additional U.S. $250 Million Debentures by Fairfax

Hot off the wire and straight to the CrackBerry homepage... 

BBM

Heading into CES 2014, the Mobile Nations team had a bit of war in deciding what group messaging platform to use for our week in Vegas. With 22 people on the ground from the Mobile Nations team (and ten more from GeekBeat), that's a lot of people — with very varying opinions — to please.

No surprise, I wanted us all on BBM. The Android guys wanted to use Google Hangouts. GeekBeat suggested GroupMe, which the Windows Phone guys were ok with as they had an app for that. A lot of the members of the team have WhatsApp installed and it is available on all platforms, but nobody really seemed to be in Whatsapp's corner pushing for it. And I *think* most of us had Facebook / Facebook Messenger running, but nobody on the team would admit to using it, never mind suggesting it as our solution for the week.

We all agreed we needed to be on the same app and in a single chatroom, that wasn't up for debate. And I wanted to make sure we had the BEST group messaging solution possible at our fingertips, not simply the one that was available on every platform. If that meant some people had to carry around two phones for the week because the app we picked wasn't available on their platform, then so be it.

Z10

At this time last year, I was packing up my bags and getting ready to move CrackBerry HQ to Toronto for a month so we could tackle the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 with gusto. And that we did. It was a crazy month and literally one of the most memorable of my life. The trip culminated with CrackBerry's over-the-top BlackBerry Z10 Review.

When BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 goes official -- which will hopefully be sooner rather than later -- we're going to take some time to do a re-review of BlackBerry 10 and all of the BlackBerry 10 phones. A lot has changed in the OS since those earlier builds that the Z10 went to market with.

Though Alicia Keys has been given notice and will no longer be BlackBerry's Global Creative Director after January 31st, based on the photos that were posted yesterday to her social accounts, it's at least looking like she's keeping her commitment to the Q10 live until then. Yesterday she was on her way to see Michelle Obama, so having a BlackBerry in hand would be the fashionable thing to do:

On my way to the The White House see the First Lady to screen The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete and talk about higher education in the United States. Too many of our kids are facing unfair obstacles - we need to step up for them. Shout out to Michelle Obama for fighting the good fight! 

On our CrackBerry editorial team chat, we just couldn't help but chuckle over the fact it's an iPhone taking the picture of her using a BlackBerry and posting it to G+. She clearly loves all da phones and platforms! Which hey, I understand that. I love my BB and often walk around with multiple devices, including those from the competition (here's the latest top trending thread in the CB forums giving me flak about it).

John Sculley

Former Apple CEO John Sculley took to Bloomberg TV yesterday, where the discussion went towards BlackBerry. Sculley, a BlackBerry user himself, was in the headlines a few months back as one of parties that was potentially putting together a bid to buy BlackBerry while the for sale sign was on the company.

During the interview, Sculley talks about BlackBerry's hidden value being in its BlackBerry Enterprise Servers. Sculley has involvement in another company called OpenPeak, who's in the business of security and managing data on enterprise devices. With BES having 675 carrier relationships around the world, Sculley saw the merger of OpenPeak and BlackBerry (BES specifically) as being a match made in heaven.

My Money is No Good Here

I had one thing on my must-do list for tonight... and that was to get out of my house and go buy our Community Webmaster @ttkaminski a Microsoft Surface tablet. He needs to get his hands on one asap for site testing purposes.

I thought it would be an easy task. But HELL NO. Turns out all those Holiday Gift Guides actually work. I couldn't find a Surface or Surface Pro tablet anywhere in Peg City tonight. While shopping and dismayed by the empty shelves under the Surface demo units, I messaged our Windows Phone Central's guys on their GroupMe group, and they informed me that "yeah... Surface tablets sold pretty well over the holidays".

CESlive

Because it's our #CESlive wrap up video!! Seriously, what a crazy week for the Mobile Nations and GeekBeat teams. We had 70 guests take to the stage over the course of 4 days, which be brought back to you LIVE. On top of that, the entire Mobile Nations team across Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore, Windows Phone Central and Smartwatch Fans were blogging like crazy to bring you the stories from the show as they happened.

Be sure to hit play on the video above. We had the cameras rolling the whole week, but for your viewing pleasure we compressed it down to 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Enjoy the video, and be sure to like it on youtube.

NOW, if you want to watch a second video from CES 2014, or third, fourth, or hundredth, just hit up our CES page at the link below where you can view all of this year's coverage.

Check out ALL of Mobile Nations' CES 2014 Coverage

Seidio Booth Tour

CES 2014 has come to an end, as has our #CESlive coverage for the year. It was an amazing week (and a busy one to boot!), with 70 guests taking to our stage over four days.

One of our big sponsors for the year was Seidio, a company we were extremely excited to have come onboard. Like Mobile Nations, Seidio has been around since the beginning of the smartphone era, going back to 2002. Over the years they've always made a great selection of cases, charging docks and extended batteries for popular smartphones on all platforms.

Be sure to hit up the video above for a video walkthrough of Seidio's booth at CES 2014. Derek from Seidio walks us through some of the different products they had on display, including the new OBEX case which is tough and waterproof yet great for everyday use. 

For more info and to buy, you can visit seidioonline.com, or view our selection of Seidio accessories at ShopCrackBerry.com.

BlackBerry Live

During our CES interview with BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, we asked him about the cancelation of this year's BlackBerry Live event. Here's what he had to say:

For  2014 we decided to spend the money differently and focus on a more targeted audience - CIOs of the regulated industry that we talk about, or hosting a symposium on Wall Street. We'll do those types of things and support maybe some CEO conferences like the Fortune, the Gartner, something of that sort. This is so we can speak directly to the people that need to learn, "Oh wow, they're doing this end-to-end and stuff." That's part of how the marketing will support the sales, support the strategy, and that technology needs to complement it.

As a fan of BlackBerry Live, formerly BlackBerry World, formerly the Wireless Enterprise Symposium, I'm obviously more than a little sad to see the BIGGEST BlackBerry event of the year get stricken from the calendar. That said, I think the decision is a logical one given where things are at for BlackBerry, and also given that their go forward strategy is to embrace all platforms. BlackBerry needs to take that message to where the people are already going, vs. attract them to a BlackBerry conference. For 2014 it makes sense.

Nest

In other big tech news today.... Google just announced they have entered into a deal with Nest Labs, Inc., to acquire the company for $3.2 Billion in cold, hard, cash. Nest of course is the company that makes the fancy self-learning thermostat and smoke alarm systems for your home.

From the press release:

Nest’s mission is to reinvent unloved but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms. Since its launch in 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat has been a consistent best seller--and the recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) has had rave reviews.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, said: “Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now--thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, said: “We’re thrilled to join Google. With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world.”

Nest will continue to operate under the leadership of Tony Fadell and with its own distinct brand identity. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the US. It is expected to close in the next few months.

I can't say I'm all that surprised that Nest got acquired by somebody, but it's pretty crazy to see the valuation at $3.2 Billion for a company that only launched its first product in 2011. It's also super crazy to think that back in September Fairfax put in its bid to buy BlackBerry for $4.7 Billion. Only a $1.5 Billion difference. 

Whenever Google buys somebody, I always think back to 2011 and that controversial editorial I wrote on the 10 Reasons why Google will buy Research In Motion. There was a lot of logic in the reasoning at the time, and ultimately Google did buy a mobile manufacturer, but they went with Motorola instead.

Now, I'm curious, does anybody out there in CrackBerry Nation own a Nest? Like it? Love it??

John Chen w/ CrackBerry Kevin

BlackBerry didn’t have a big booth on display at CES last week, but that doesn’t mean the company sat out the biggest tech event of the year. The BBM team was there spreading the word of BBM 2.0 which will soon land on iOS, Android and, of course, BlackBerry. QNX also was there, showing off its latest hotness for use in automotive consoles and displays. And, perhaps most important, BlackBerry’s new CEO John Chen was there.

In back-to-back meetings all week, Chen worked in some time to speak to the media, including an exclusive lunch date with CrackBerry. Unfortunately, the desert dryness had the better of my voice, so I wasn’t quite my usual chatty self. It was all good though, with Mobile Nations' Marcus Adolfsson joining as my wingman — between the three of us we had a very productive conversation and an enjoyable meal.

Because we tag-teamed the lunch, I decided Marcus and I should also tag-team the followup articles. Be sure to read Marcus’ interview with Chen, which does a great job of capturing the on-the-record discussion from our lunch date and goes into a lot of detail on BlackBerry’s near-term strategy going forward. As for this follow-up article, I’m going to focus on what wasn’t said.

Keep reading for my key takeaways from our discussion.

Typo for iPhone

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you've been seeing some of my updates as I put the BlackBerry-esque Typo keyboard for the iPhone to the test. Now it's time for a bigger update to the in-depth Typo review I posted previously.

In that review I noted that the build quality felt a little on the cheap side and that durability was something I had concerns about. It didn't take long for me to run into an issue. Less than 72 hours of use later (and that was really at 50% use as I've been dual-wheeling the Typo and my P'9982 all week), the E button quit working reliably on the Typo. You can see the evidence in the Instagram video below. Sometimes it still works, but more often than not it doesn't register a click.

Earlier this week while in Las Vegas for CES 2014, I went to the Porsche Design store and bought myself the new Porsche Design P'9982. The full touchscreen P'9982 is essentially a $1990 pimped up version of the Z10. It's crazy expensive, but I'm loving it. If you missed the video we made of the purchase experience, you should definitely watch it

Still here in Vegas, I walked into the store again today to say thanks to the staff for being so cooperative on letting us shoot the P'9982 video. As soon as I walked in the store though, a glimmer of gold caught my eye (longtime CrackBerry readers know I LOVE GOOOOLLLLD).

Pages