Is it the security? Is it the keyboard? It’s probably a combination. We’ve seen several celebrities, such as Leonardo Dicaprio who uses a Q10, talk about their love of BlackBerry. Perhaps there’s some overlap with enterprise and celebrity that isn’t fully understood yet.
In any case, it’s interesting to see that Martha Stewart still uses a BlackBerry. It goes nicely with BlackBerry’s brand as she is an incredibly busy person that probably answers hundreds of emails per day.
The Ottawa International Game Conference is on its 3rd year and the conference has just put out a call for speakers. The OIGC is an annual game industry conference in Ottawa, Canada, that runs from May 25th to May 27th, and features speakers, workshops, panels and some great parties. The conference is currently looking for content and if you’re in the industry, head over and suggest something.
Head over to this link on the official Ottawa International Game Conference page for more details. The deadline for submissions is March 10th, 2014.
Alec Saunders, the incredibly outspoken VP of Developer Relations, is now the VP of QNX Cloud. This is interesting for a few reasons:
1) The new CEO John Chen is shifting the company’s efforts over to the enterprise, and perhaps Developer Relations isn’t as important now.
2) QNX has been making the most news these days, especially at CES, and is arguably the strongest company in the “BlackBerry Portfolio”.
3) Recently, BlackBerry released OS 10.2.1, which gives users the ability to install Android .apk files directly onto a BlackBerry 10 phone. Perhaps this means Android is the consumer app play moving forward.
There’s definitely a culture shift happening at BlackBerry and it’s happening fast. BlackBerry as a “portfolio of companies” is going to become increasingly evident as employees move between BES, BBM, and QNX.
Now, the virtual medium of exchange is making a real-world appearance in the ByWard Market with the help of an Ottawa startup, marking the beginning of what could be a burgeoning Bitcoin market in the nation’s capital.
Last week, the city’s first Bitcoin ATM, or “BTM,” was unveiled at the Clocktower Brew Pub. The machine is manufactured by Ottawa-based Bit Access – a startup working out of Invest Ottawa’s offices on Aberdeen Street – and allows users to use traditional currency to buy the digital dollars.
YOU.i is a company that specializes in User Interface design and User Experience. The company has recently announced a cross-platform, connected car concept called The HIVE, that has some interesting implications for companies like QNX. YOU.i even calls BlackBerry out specifically, saying “companies like BlackBerry owned QNX missed a big opportunity at CES.” It’s an interesting point and BlackBerry could very well be going in this direction. BBM and BES 10 are both cross-platform, and QNX going cross-platform with infotainment is surely part of the plan.
The HIVE is a cross-platform connected car concept. The platform uses a cloud-based knowledge bank to learn from the driver and passengers, and allows the platform to change, showing various data points and enhancing the experience for drivers and passengers.
The cross-platform nature of this product is what YOU.i believes is at the core of what makes it great. According to YOU.i:
“We don’t believe an Apple or Google-led initiative is viable as neither company is incented to interoperate with the other – in fact their aim is to destroy one another. But, the devices that passengers bring into the car are varied, so an OS agnostic experience is key to a great user experience.
This is where we think companies like BlackBerry owned QNX missed a big opportunity at CES. They’re in a unique position to build a cross-platform connected car experience that ties the ecosystem together. Instead, they showed off car engine noises (which can be had for $40 on Amazon) and were notably left out of the party.”
The “did u?” app is a very simple app that has one goal in mind: to help you finish your To Do list. While To Do lists can get long and cumbersome, the “did u?” app seeks to simplify the experience. With “did u?”, you simply add a List, fill it with items, and set a deadline. The app will then ask if you’ve completed those items, giving you an added push to get things done.
Ottawa’s technology companies are driving some of the most important headlines at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) this year. Both large companies and small startups from Ottawa are disrupting industries and challenging incumbents from around the world. Here is a look at some of those companies that are putting Ottawa on the map at the world’s largest consumer technology conference.
With BlackBerry’s new CEO John Chen talking a lot about Enterprise and BlackBerry’s competitive advantage in this space, one can’t help but wonder if BES 10 is helping or hurting their position in the enterprise. In a sense, BlackBerry is sort of enabling enterprise to adopt iOS and Android with BES 10′s BYOD features. On the other hand, the market is going to shift regardless, and you can either sink or swim. It’s an interesting discussion and it seems BlackBerry has taken the stance that BES 10′s BYOD is a must have, because BYOD is the natural evolution of mobility in the enterprise.
John Chen talking about the return to QWERTY.
According to Forrester Research, Apple won about 8% of global business and government spending on computers and tablets in 2012. That’s a decent dent but I’m skeptical of the number. Take for example some of the examples used in how enterprise has adopted iOS.
Examples from the Wall Street Journal article:
“PPL Corp., approved the iPhone for employees in 2010. It then introduced iPads, and built apps such as one to help its helicopter patrollers survey 5,500 miles of high-voltage power lines. Using an iPad’s global-positioning system, patrollers can pinpoint the location of a problem and select from a menu of common issues, such as a damaged pole or an overgrown tree.”
“Warehouse managers use the tablet to scan bar codes and track the utility’s tools and materials.”
These aren’t really examples of introducing iOS into enterprise because the criteria of “being in enterprise” should be that you hold highly sensitive data. The above examples are not in any way sensitive data.
Recently, I wrote about a program to introduce iPads into the Ottawa Hospital. Again, those iPads didn’t seem to carry any critical data. The iPads had mostly charts that were likely wiped off the device after being used while the data is stored on a server.
On the other hand, firms like Cisco have been adopting iOS using BYOD, which is the only true use of iOS and Android in the enterprise, as it involves devices using email on the corporate network. Email is probably the most sensitive data a mobile device can have, since it involves communications about company secrets as well as attachments that could have company intellectual property. Cisco, through BYOD, has nearly three-fourths of the 70,000-plus mobile devices, on iOS. SAP is also a big user of Apple products, deploying about 27,000 iPhones and 25,000 iPads to its employees globally.
Would these organizations be going iOS and Android if they didn’t have solutions like BES 10? Probably. It would eventually happen due to budget constraints and somebody else would push them solutions for BYOD if BlackBerry wasn’t doing it. Companies like MobileIron are enabling large organizations to adopt any device they wish.
For the most part, it seems the transition to BYOD with iOS and Android in the enterprise is slow. These are unsecure platforms and large organizations aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of corporate sensitive information on devices that are exploitable. At the same time, it’s going to happen regardless. BlackBerry can’t control enterprise forever. The question is: does BES 10 speed up BYOD and therefore loosen the grips on enterprise? Or is BES 10 part of a bigger strategy that gives BlackBerry longevity in a vertical where it knows it can’t have a monopoly forever.
BlackBerry World vendor JediCompany is selling a few apps that have an interesting juxtaposition. The apps “Al Quran”, “Hot Israelian (sic) Girls” and “Indonesian sexy girls”, don’t seem to really make sense coming from the same vendor. I wanted to dig a little deeper and find out more about this company, but it’s really tough to find out anything about JediCompany on the Internet. Instead, I offer a theory about the company.
Here’s my theory: JediCompany is from Indonesia, a Muslim country that forbids pornography and since they’re Muslim, have a fascination with Jewish Israeli girls and scantily clad girls in general.
Why would you buy an app that has pictures you could find on Google Images? It seems there’s actually a market for this. If you live in Indonesia, the law says that “it is forbidden to spread pornographic content”. So one would be really cautious to start Googling “hot Israeli girls”, since Internet search traffic might be monitored by the authorities. But downloading an app is probably a workaround, since it puts the onus on BlackBerry the company rather than the individual. Which also makes you wonder why BlackBerry would allow this app to be distributed in Indonesia.
The app isn’t available in Saudi Arabia though. Too bad because I bet “Hot Israelian girls” would be a hit there.
One of the biggest trends right now in consumer tech and mobile devices is wearables. Whether it’s The Quantified Self or a means of better interacting with your devices, wearables is one of the hottest items in consumer tech right now. But where does BlackBerry fit in? iOS and Android both have very crucial roles in wearables, as most of these devices are integrated into both platforms. BlackBerry seems to be going full enterprise, but one can’t help but notice there is a lot of opportunity for BlackBerry in wearables, but with nothing really going on.
When BlackBerry acquired QNX, it opened the doors to an operating system that is versatile and could potentially open a lot of doors to new verticals for BlackBerry. The company took advantage of this opportunity by getting into the automotive sector and tablets. With QNX, one would hope to see BlackBerry be able to quickly get into the wearable tech sector, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at least as of yet.
When you look at the biggest players in wearable tech, BlackBerry is nowhere to be seen. The reason wearables aren’t getting into BlackBerry is probably the same reason a lot of startups aren’t launching their apps on BlackBerry. While the development barrier has been reduced with BlackBerry 10, the fact that the user numbers aren’t there makes it difficult to justify the cost of launching with BlackBerry.
Here are some of the top products in wearable tech, and you’ll notice there’s not much going on with BlackBerry.
Zepp will improve your swing whether it be baseball, golf or tennis. The Zepp tracking tag goes on your club, bat or racket and comes with an Android or iOS app.
The Nike FuelBand tracks your movements and allows you to get involved in the Quantified Self. It’s a great fitness tracking tool and currently only available for iOS (although there is a laptop/desktop component).
The Jawbone Up is another fitness tracking device and app combo that is available for iOS and Android. It has garnered quite a bit of attention lately with its redesigned app.
Thalmic Labs’ Myo is an armband that has a lot of potential for gesture technology. The company has a developer kit out but the product hasn’t shipped yet. Since it’s a Waterloo company, hopefully there will be some BlackBerry love and we’ll see some interesting integration.
The Pebble is actually one of the only devices we can see that has any form of BlackBerry support, and it’s through a 3rd party developer and an app called Talk2Watch. Download Talk2Watch at this link for your BlackBerry 10 device.
So how does BlackBerry reverse this trend? If a wearable technology has an API that any developer can plug in to, it would be smart to start organizing hackathons and giving prize money to developers that can create great BlackBerry apps for these devices. The manufacturers of these devices usually have a lot of investment money to throw at growing a developer ecosystem, and there’s probably a lot to mutually gain. The more obvious answer though is to just grow the subscriber base and take an “if you build it they will come” mentality.
On the other hand, maybe BlackBerry doesn’t care about wearable or consumer tech in general. It’s very possible that the new corporate strategy is enterprise-only.
David G. Myers is the John Dirk Werkman Professor of Psychology at Hope College and author of psychology textbooks and of The Pursuit of Happiness among other books. In a discussion on group polarization, he describes the simple theory that opinion segregation plus conversation equals polarization. It’s interesting to think of this theory in terms of tech blogs, as sites like BlackBerryCool are exactly that: opinion segregation. This theory explains why sites such as this are great for brands, but actually terrible places for meaningful discussion as it polarizes opinion.
The background to this theory is based on social psychologists examining whether or not group interaction would increase risk or caution. The results of various studies concluded unanimously that group interaction tends to amplify people’s initial inclinations.
“This group polarization phenomenon was repeatedly confirmed. In one study, relatively prejudiced and unprejudiced students were grouped separately and asked to respond – before and after discussion – to racial dilemmas, such as a conflict over property rights versus open housing. Discussion with like-minded peers increased the attitude gap between the high- and low-prejudiced groups.”
Sound familiar? When you create a website around one specific topic or brand, you’re creating an insular community that drinks the Kool-Aid together and insulates itself against outside opinions. This has been particularly fervent in the BlackBerry community as talk about the company going out of business has led to a community feeling like it has to fight back and outsiders feeling emboldened by their opinions in light of it becoming increasingly mainstream.
The Internet will always be a diverse place filled with sites that range from the totally bias, to unbias and somewhere in between. The point being that sites that focus on a single product will be a great place for brands, as it will become a hotbed for turning out “fanboys”, but in terms of open, well-balanced dialogue, these sites are never going to become somewhere worth visiting. It’s simply not human nature.
If you find yourself signing PDFs and documents, SignEasy Premium is a must-have app for your BlackBerry 10 smartphone. SignEasy has a free version, and the paid version costs $20. When compared to the cost of most apps, $20 may seem like a lot but it’s actually very cheap when you consider your time. The amount of time that SignEasy saves the average person means this app is bringing you hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars in saved time.
Consider how to sign a PDF without SignEasy:
1. Receive document
2. Find printer (this could take hours if you’re out of the office)
3. Print document
4. Sign document
5. Find scanner (maybe your printer doesn’t scan. Now you have to find a scanner and again, it could take hours)
6. Scan document and send to client or your own email which you then have to forward
This whole process could take you an entire day. It’s incredibly frustrating. Now, with SignEasy, consider the following:
1. Receive document
2. Sign and send back to client with SignEasy app
If you sign documents at your work, the above reason is why SignEasy is the best app purchase you will ever make. The only major downside to this app is that it’s an Android port and this sometimes causes bugs. The upside is that your changes are saved and it’s easy to revert to the same document and continue your work.
The BlackBerry Z30 and Q10 have a Super AMOLED screen in common and this presents some interesting wallpaper options. Black pixels don’t actually use battery power so if you change your wallpaper to pure black, you’ll have some battery life savings. Another great aspect of AMOLED black pixels is the contrast. According to Wikipedia: “Because the black pixels actually turn off, AMOLED also has contrast ratios that are significantly better than LCD.”
Click this link to a pure black image and save it to your device. Then simply open the image and tap SET AS > WALLPAPER. You’ll enjoy some better battery life.
BlackBerry is running a fun promotion right now where you win an amazing $4,500 weekend that you’d help plan as well as giving you weekly chances to win tickets, gift cards and more. The trip could take you to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, or Toronto and all you have to do is share your BBM Pin. Details below.
This is just a random thought, but has your LinkedIn stream started to look increasingly like Facebook? It seems that as the social network becomes more mainstream, more people are posting pictures, personal status updates and sometimes straight up spam. Take for example the above Eye Test that has been circulating LinkedIn. It has about 1,200 Likes and 15,000 comments. Do people actually think this has some meaning with regards to your career? As though seeing the word “TEAM” means you’re good at working in teams or something. It will be interesting to see if LinkedIn starts to crack down on this stuff or it’s just inevitable when a social network gets to a certain size. God help us if Quiz apps and Celeb Trivia ever comes to LinkedIn.
The BlackBerry Beta Zone app for BlackBerry 10 has been updated and for the first time, we’re seeing third party developers leverage Beta Zone to test apps. The most recent addition to Beta Zone is MockIt! which can be downloaded and tested for free. The developer of the app, OSBB Code Labs founder Jeremy Duke, is a big contributor to the BlackBerry Dev community through OpenSourceBB.com as well as a prolific developer on BlackBerry World.
The premise of MockIt! is to give users Memes, Picture Frames (coming soon) and Mockups all in one app. It’s a very straightforward app and you immediately understand how to use it.
Creating a meme is simple with the MockIt! app and the sharing process is perfect for BBM Channels and friends. It would be great if the app had some integration with Reddit via the Reddit in Motion app, as Reddit is the obvious place to share your favourite memes.
For any developer, the Mockups feature is wonderful. Not only can you use the Mockup tool for marketing purposes, like sharing your app on social media, but you can also use this feature for blogging, just like in this post.
UX Note: when you’re creating a mockup, the app forces you to choose a background before you can MockIt!. This is odd because often you just want to use a white background. It makes sense to allow the user to MockIt! without selecting the background and simply use white as the default.
The app features Memes, Device Mocks and Pic Frames. These are all really fun features but one of them seems to stand out like a sore thumb. This is where the app seems to be two totally separate apps that have been slammed together but don’t seem to really go together. Memes and Pic Frames are fun consumer features, while Device Mocks is really something only developers would be interested in. So why combine them?
Some of the best apps out there are the best simply because of their simplicity. Instagram was a few simple filters and a feed. Camera Plus was even simpler with just filters. Twitter is just 140 characters in a feed. All of these apps are great because they know exactly who they’re catering to. So while the app’s design is great, the implementation of features is off.
What To-Do is a simple, native, To Do list that allows you to set a list of To Dos, then say whether or not you have completed those tasks. The app is a solid choice for anyone looking for a simple solution for tracking their basic tasks. This app is in some ways complementary to the first party BlackBerry Remember app which allows you to track notes across folders and sync them with Evernote. Check out the app if you’re looking for a simple way to track your tasks.
We have all lost important data at some point or another. With Wondershare’s Dr. Fone Data Recovery software for Android, you can recovery deleted messages, contacts, photos and more from the SD Card on your Android device. Now, when you have lost important family pictures because they were accidentally deleted, use this software to recover those files from the SD Card, and save them to a backup source so you never have the problem again. Also, with constant advancements being made in making the Android OS more compatible with BlackBerry 10, it’s highly possible this software will make its way to BlackBerry.
The thingCharger is a crowdfunding campaign that has been funded over 100x its original asking price. The device works by being plugged into the wall socket and it’s made to look exactly like the original plug, except this one has USB ports and a charging dock on top. It’s a pretty great idea but it also has a couple flaws.
First, the device seems a little bulky. When you plug a boxy device into the wall, it becomes something you now have to deal with when moving furniture or walking past it. Also, outlets tend to be in places where you wouldn’t necessarily want to rest your device, such as near the floor. The other downside is not being able to interact with the device while it’s plugged in. That’s typically why cables are preferred.
If your outlets are in a nice spot near your couch or bed, and you would like to charge your devices right where they’re plugged in, the thingCHARGER could be for you.
Looking for a fun, free game to play on iOS? Check out Big Action Mega Fight!, a new title by Montreal-based Double Stallion and game dev incubator Execution Labs. BAMF! reminds us of the good old days and strikes that nostalgic heart string.
This game screams throw-back with its retro art style, classic side-scrolling brawler gameplay and campy dialogue. It has been described as Streets of Rage meets Scott Pilgrim: the game. Those with a keen eye will notice little nods throughout the game such as a crashed Delorean in background or a level complete screen that reads “ A winner is you.” Granted, on their own these references wouldn’t hold water, but accompanied with rock solid gameplay, butter-smooth controls, and eye-pleasing graphics, BAMF! stands out among the ever-growing catalogue of iOS game options.
What’s good? Great gameplay, controls, graphics, and soundtrack. Playful humor and references backed up by the game’s surprising depth.
What sucks? There’s only one character and the pacing picks up fast, making later levels pretty tough until you get the chance to level up.
Buy it? It’s free. So ya, download it immediately at this iTunes link.
If you become a big fan of the game, you can even grab some merchandise for it from Swagling, an Ottawa-based merchandising company for gamers.