One of the less exciting (but still important) announcements at Google I/O 2014 was that Google will be adopting part of Samsung KNOX as a security platform in Android itself. KNOX, which is currently only on Samsung devices, is a business-oriented security solution that keeps work and personal data separate and secure on a single device. Sounds pretty good, right? Not to BlackBerry CEO John Chen, but you know what is good enough? You'll never guess – a BlackBerry. Obviously.


Chen offers empty platitudes to lay the groundwork for his attack on Google and Samsung, saying how nice it is that Android is finally getting more secure. It's the right direction, Chen says, "but far from enough." The almost patronizing tone of his recent statements seems completely at odds with the true state of the industry right now. Reading these posts, you'd think BlackBerry was still a leading player in smartphones rather than a company struggling to survive. It brings to mind something about throwing stones and glass houses.

The argument Chen is making for BlackBerry is essentially that the entire BlackBerry platform is secure end-to-end. Well, unless you're in India, but I digress. Samsung KNOX, he says, is a fortress built "upon an insecure foundation." Burn. He also points out there are tens of millions of secure Blackberrys and only a few million phones with KNOX. While that may be true, there are going to be many more very soon. How much longer can sales in Indonesia and Africa prop the company up as Apple and Google continue to dominate?

I want BlackBerry to exist because competition is a good thing, but this kind of banter is not encouraging. Blackberry's time would be better spent improving its platform than complaining about Google muscling in on its turf. The fact that Blackberry even bothered to take a swing at the KNOX announcement makes the leadership look scared. Blackberry got touchscreens wrong, it got apps wrong, and now all it has left is security. That's a nice feature to have, but it's far from enough.

[Blackberry Blog 1, 2]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • ProductFRED

    I don't think he realizes that he's smack-talking his own company with those last two sentences.

    • Tom

      I completely agree, have started using Good for Enterprise on my android device and it makes a mockery of those in the office still using blackberries. Its a shame blackberry never joined AOSP. They would still be relevant!

    • Telanis

      I'm a little confused as to how it's a super pain to swipe your thumb. It's different and has a learning curve, but think about Swype on Android -- same thing, and super freaking popular. Not to mention efficient.

      Can't disagree that you need more to sell devices, though.

    • Leroy

      GOOD is rubbish. Clunky, battery chewing piece if shit. Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Not only the fact, the main reason why BlackBerry isn't moving BB10 devices at all, is their gesture-based OS. It never worked for anyone, including webOS. That's why BB7 devices STILL outsell BB10 to this day.

  • Phil Oakley

    Oh BlackBerry.

    You might be good at security and physical keyboards, but it's great outweighed by the stuff you're not as good at.

    • Arthur

      Blackberry is dying a slow and painful death. With nothing exciting or meaningful for them on the horizon, they are focusing on the last bits they have left, security and proprietary services which will also be going away once larger organizations migrate away from those as well.

      • Hayden Lueck

        I've actually completely forgotten about BlackBerry.
        We're seeing tons of improvement in iOS, tons of improvement in Android, unfortunate turnouts in Windows Phone land, and then...
        I just... Forgot about BlackBerry.

      • Jephri

        More like precipitous plunge into death and obscurity. I can't ever recall a company going from industry leader to laughing stock as quickly.

        • cuex

          Don't forget about Nokia, the same shit, trash talk and end up in grave

    • Ordo

      If only Blackberry and Google could work together to make a Secure Android environment, that's marriage made in heaven. QNX kernel is very stable after all.

      • liam

        KNOX already uses a microkernel running in trusted space, so qnx doesn't really offer much.

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  • MikeOxlong

    Chen reminds me of wingnuts like Ron Paul and Jesse Ventura. And maybe Alex Jones too. Lol.

  • http://texrat.net/ texrat

    John Chen is going down flaming ;)

  • Toboe

    Isn't Blackberry Canadian? "Five Eyes"?

    • MikeOxlong

      Five eyes, yes. Canadian, no.

  • Ahmad Nadeem

    He does have a point, but he's forgetting something.Blackberry started with the corporate world in mind.And it tried it's luck with consumers after that.

    Android on the other hand started as something for the consumers and now has made it's FIRST step towards the needs of the corporate world.

    PS- That "unless in India" thing really surprised me. But that was expected as the country is running downhill ATM

    • intra

      India going downhill? You wish...
      Why are you taking a dig at India here ?

      • Ahmad Nadeem

        Well, because I'm an Indian and I know what actually goes down here

        • Ahanad

          No you don't. You're just pessimistic.

    • Craig M

      It's because 50% of the population doesn't have a toilet in their home, isn't it.

      • MikeOxlong


      • Ahmad Nadeem

        Partly, because more people have mobile phones than toilets in their homes

  • Blue Sun

    QQ more John Chen.

  • lol

    she's hurt

  • Jadephyre

    Someone should check this nut into an Asylum for the Mentally Disturbed, because that is clearly what he is. I was wondering how Blackberry/RIM was doing a few days ago, but now I know that I don't have to look anymore, this example of lunacy tells me everything I need to know.

  • Emp

    Hope that Google will buy op Blackberry and sell off the scraps like they did with Motorola - that'll teach 'em :)

    • Telanis

      They fucked up Motorola. Turned them from an almost-competitor for Samsung into nothing ... completely lost on that deal.

      • John Smith

        Lenovo disagrees. but Blackberry has nothing of value to buy. just a bunch of dumb canucks. let it die and wither away.

        • Telanis

          Google bought for $12.5 billion: http://www.phonesdevelopers.com/1708236/

          Lenovo's buying for $2.9 billion: http://news.lenovo.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1768

          Tell me again how Google didn't fuck up Motorola.

          • John Smith

            Google kept a bunch of patents and pieces you dumb canuck. and Google may have overpaid but they didn't f it up you dumb canuck. Moto was F-d up before they bought it you dumb canuck.

          • Telanis

            Yeah, the scraps left are totally worth $9.1 billion. Google isn't infallible, and buying a company that's already fucked and then not fixing it certainly *is* a fuck-up in itself.

  • vn33

    He's the CEO of BlackBerry ... He's expected to say such thing!

  • Segroukin

    Wow! Who still uses a "blackberry?"

    • ssr66902

      I do. Fact is I've tried all of them. And I've found something I like with all of them. I've owned the iPhone 3GS, Samsung Epic 4G, HTC Inspire 4G, Lumia 900, iPhone 5, LG G2, Lumia 929, and finally the Blackberry Z10 and Q10. Apple offered great stability, an OS well supported with quality apps, and longevity pretty much unrivaled at the expense of being unable to customize my phone to any degree. Android offered me the ultimate in customizability and a great number of apps, but because there were so many players in the game the constant race to introduce new products to stay ahead of the competition meant that I would be lucky to see 1 major OS update or even some security updates despite Google's desire that Android phones receive updates for at least 2 years. Microsoft's products have the same problem that Blackberry's do... nowhere near the number of apps available to iOS and Android. Despite this, they both can match the stability of iOS and perhaps because they are "less popular" than the big two have yet to become targets for malware making them more secure. Fact is all of these smartphones can do the basics... allow me to make phone calls, sends texts, take pictures, surf the net and guide me home if I get lost. And while the option of a plethora of apps is nice to have, and the money I have spent on apps for all of these platforms would be a tidy sum, the fact is hardly any of them populate the phones themselves. At the end of the day the basics are all I really need and the Blackberry does that for me quite nicely indeed.

      • MikeOxlong

        I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.

        • ssr66902

          Haha. Perhaps the difference is at 50 years of age, I'm past the fanboy stage and I can speak from personal experience... I've tried all the platforms. I think that qualifies me to articulate the pluses and minuses far more authoritatively than the person who raves about the one and only platform they have ever tried. I will admit however that the inner geek in me is alive and well :)

          • MikeOxlong

            Not a fanboy, and not far behind in the years either. However, speaking from lengthy experience in the field, I can safely say bb was done even before the age of iPhone/Android. I still remember the day I terminated my own relationship with them back in 2005. It was a glorious time, with my treo and ipaqs and their beautiful touchscreens and activesync exchange connections. Ahh, how I loathed the bb desktop director and BIS crapware. Those turds took years from me that I'll never get back.

  • CodeMonkey

    This from the company who had a single server failure take out their services globally?

  • John Chen CEO Blackberry

    I stand by my words I have to otherwise they won't pay me but secretly I use a Nexus 5 it's totes cool man.

  • h4rr4r

    Says the guy who gave the encryption keys for BBM to many a dictator.

  • Julio M

    Thanks blackberry CEO, I was waiting for your comment. Its really great user friendly and smooth.

    • senor

      you caught me off guard XD

  • Dutchy
  • Tony Byatt

    U Mad Bro...

  • MarkG54321

    "I want BlackBerry to exist because competition is a good thing"

    Sorry, but that's the lamest excuse going, as what you are saying, is "as long as someone else is buying it, I want BlackBerry to exist because competition is a good thing"

    Sadly, Microsoft managed to sell the diabolically bad Xbox360 under the same mantra, buy this, because competition is is a good thing... Poor products need to die, good products need to survive, that's how natural selection works in the animal kingdom, it's how it should work in business too.

    • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

      I agree... But how much competition is there in business security, and who's the best at it?...

    • XerBlade

      It's not the well-made who survive in natural selection, it's the ones who can put out a greater diversity of offspring during times when the environment shifts to the harsh end. That's how Darwin defined it in a nutshell.

      And guess what, business tends to work the same way.

      • Telanis

        Business doesn't work that way at all unless you're selling commodities. Apple, for example, made their mark by speciaizing. One Mac. One iPod (to start). One iMac. Two whole Macbooks, smaller screen for portability vs larger screen and better video for intensive work. One ultraportable. One iPhone, until recently the 5S and 5C.

        Think Google has a lot of products? Think again. They sell ads, they sell you -- search, mail, everything else is just a platform for that. Just multiple billboards.

        Are the two most profitable tech companies in the world really doing it wrong?

        • XerBlade

          You just described exactly what I was talking about and for some reason thought you were disagreeing with me.

  • BeardedcornBread

    Security this, Security that, blahblahblah. When I take a shit indoors, is the smell secured? F*** NO!

  • billykent1972

    talk the talk, walk the walk? who wrote that for him John Wayne?

  • danatuw

    The irony of course is that everything that Samsung does is a direct response to Apple. They've just released their second commercial that directly mocks the iPhone/iOS users. I recognize that on Android Police you're targeting a specific group of fans but really, if you say BB is "sour grapes" for saying this about Knox then certainly Samsung must be extremely envious of Apple, since they are willing to spend hundreds of millions to publicly mock them.

    • XerBlade

      The difference is Samsung actually is in a position to talk.

      • Telanis

        About security? No they aren't. Chen didn't talk about userbase, apps, or whatever else.

        • XerBlade

          I'm now convinced you don't take the time to actually think before speaking. Or at least to consider what's actually going on before you start spouting random crap just to be contrary.

          By the way, note for a moment that, under any sort of common sense circumstances, a response to another comment is normally intended to be a response to that other comment. Sounds so ridiculously obvious that I feel stupid for having to say it, I know, but apparently it had to be said.

        • Jack

          You are right Telanis, It’s really great user friendly and smooth!

  • Nick

    Blackberry is still around? Weird.

  • CowboyMafia

    What's a BlackBerry?

    • dude

      Here you go.

      • dude

        Hmm. the image I posted didn't show up maybe.

  • Dean Politis

    I hope Google takes note. Once, Blackberry was king. Now, they are mostly forgotten. If you try to rest on your laurels in technology, soon you are left behind.

    • XerBlade

      *Watches Google I/O*
      What was it Google needed to take note on again? Something about resting on your laurels in technology? Ah, whatever, I wasn't really paying attention. Look at all the shiny new technology thingies!

      • Shawn

        I agree with Dean. He doesn't necessarily mean now but in the future. It's easy to get comfortable and stop innovating and creating new products/ideas.

        • Dean Politis

          Thanks Shawn, you got my point. Today, Google is top dog. I really love what they have done. I just hope they keep their innovative edge.

        • Leo

          There's a slight difference however: Google's habit at throwing money around, seeing what sticks of all that science they plastered the walls with. Easy to innovate, when you give your employees freedom to toy with even the craziest ideas.

          • XerBlade

            Their "Shoot for the Moon" philosophy doesn't hurt either.

            Google isn't going to start getting lazy for the foreseeable future unless they fundamentally change the very core of the way they operate. Find a chance to talk to an actual Google developer sometime and you should understand what I mean pretty fast.

          • Leo

            Ironically, the "shoot the moon" philosophy is wha got me through med school: if you strive for an impossible goal, you'll realize that, in the ende, you vastly outdid yourself anyway.

          • XerBlade

            I have similar experience myself. As such, I basically never make discrete, easily reached goals for myself.

  • Ian Santopietro

    Because no young person has ever done anything better then someone older than they are, obviously.

  • Simon Belmont

    I bet those BlackBerry phones ARE secure. Securely locked up in a drawer where their owners tossed them after switching to Android or WP or iOS.

    This was a fun read, AP. Thanks for the laughs.

  • ChrisRStewart

    Samsung KNOX, he says, is a fortress built "upon an insecure foundation." Burn. He also points out there are tens of millions of secure Blackberrys and only a few million phones with KNOX. http://num.to/427-837-276-945

  • Mayoo

    U mad?

  • Stephen Sharp

    "Oh no they are improving the only advantage we have left....attack the platform! It's now or never..!"

  • Daniel Traynor

    They invented this, they can't say shit.

    • Telanis

      What does that have to do with security?

  • ElfirBFG

    I live on BB's home turf and even here there's maybe 5% of the population is using a new BB. It's such a joke now. So many people have lost their jobs due to BB's complacency, and it looks like even more will in the future, because clearly BB hasn't learned.

  • John Smith

    BBRY has 0% market share in US. silly dumb delusional canucks.

    • Telanis
      • John Smith

        that's from March you dumb canuck.

        • Telanis

          So supply a July number that says 0%, genius.

          • John Smith

            what part of canuckland are you from? the french canuckland? they are the dumbest of the dumb.

          • Telanis

            The part where people can count and read better than you, apparently.

      • MikeOxlong

        Anyone who references anything from bgr deserves to be bitchslapped. Your ignorance is quite amuding though.

  • Telanis

    >Blackberry got touchscreens wrong, it got apps wrong

    They have new devices with touchscreens to match anything. They support nearly all Android apps, and classically did *not* get them wrong -- compare them to the Palm shit-apps of the time.

    I love my Nexus 4, but I don't trust Android to be secure until they can prove it. Right now it's trivial for a child to get into an Android device and you simply can't say the same for a BlackBerry. Market share doesn't change that. The sour grapes appear to be on your end -- how *dare* someone criticize Android, right?

    • John Smith

      you're delusional. are you a delusional dumb canuck? BB consumer devices are no more secure than Android or iPhone.

      • Telanis

        Prove it. Or prove business customers think so. BB is losing market share to the companies that don't care about security, not the ones that do. But hey, I'm sure ad hominems are getting you far in life.

        • John Smith

          you dumb canuck. go look at the Fortune 500 companies. it's all iPhone/Android/BYOD you dumb stupid delusional dumb fng canuck. stick to poutine, lumber, and hockey. simple things that the simple canuck mind can handle. stay away from tech. canucks are not bright enough to compete.

          • ElfirBFG

            Why the name calling? I've worked for BB and still live in the same region as their HQ, but I still support Android. We have a Google branch here, and they're going to be moving into a larger building. Hopefully they'll pick up some of the 'dumb canucks[sic]' that RIM lost. Within a 100km radius of RIM, we have two of the Top 25 Comp. Sci. universities in the world, but yes, Canadians are derp. Both of those universities are among the Top 50 engineering universities as well.

          • Leo

            Private activity, Android bashing... looks like we have found a rare BB fan, or just another troll

          • John Smith

            canuck universities are not top 25 in the world. canuck universities are third tier schools. Unive of waterloo is a third tier school. The best and brightest from around the world come to the USA - to Silicon Valley - to colleges like Stanford. Univ of waterloo and bbry is mostly filled with dumb canucks and that's why bbry failed. The best and brightest come to Silicon Valley. The people who aren't smart enough to get to Silicon Valley end up in places like waterloo.

            Stick to poutine, lumber, and hockey you dumb canuck.

          • ElfirBFG

            Troll. However, look at the rankings and you will see UW and UofT on the lists.

          • John Smith

            The best and brightest come to silicon valley you dumb canuck.

          • ElfirBFG

            Go on...

          • Gator352

            Wow. I'm an American...living in America... to me, your name calling shows exactly what silicon valley has bred....mindless sheep.

          • MikeOxlong

            FYI, the majority of UofW and Laurier's kids aren't Canadian. I believe at last count it was something in the order of 85% foreign, correct me if I'm wrong. That and, anyone working for bb in a tech position (which were few considering how the whole org operated in the first place) that were any good, have long since departed for greener pasture. Not exactly a lot of talent remains to be hunted, I'm afraid.

        • CoreRooted

          I can prove that easily. I work for the 4th largest government entity in the US. They replaced our entire BlackBerry platform with Android/iPhones (department choice on which platform they wanted to go with).

          We have ~15,000 employees and had well over 2,000 employees with various Blackberry devices. Now, everyone has either an iPhone or a Samsung device (KNOX enabled).

          Therefore, you are wrong. Blackberry lost HUGE market share in the government sector in the US and continues to do so.

          • Telanis

            There are more than 4 US govt agencies with over 100,000 employees, nevermind 15k, but nice try. Not to mention that your anonymous internet comment isn't "proof".

          • CoreRooted

            Typo (AZ, not US). My bad. *shrug*

            A Google search will quickly show how many government agencies (including my own) have switched from Blackberry to other platforms. The state agencies of Arizona (and most counties within) have all moved away from Blackberry as has a majority of Texas and New York. Many other states are following suit.

            But please, by all means, believe what you want. The fact of the matter is still that government agencies are ditching Blackberry faster and faster and even the White House is testing Android to replace Blackberry.

          • Telanis

            I would absolutely love it if Android got the top-level govt certifications, so I'm glad they're seriously testing it. Again, my point is that BB is proven and Android isn't. You don't put your security in the hands of something unproven.

          • CoreRooted

            It's already been proven (and certified):


            About half way down, look at the certifications section; Common Criteria, FIPS 140-2 and DISA MOS SRG have all certified that KNOX meets their requirements. I know that as part of our attorney's office switching from Blackberry, any platform, at a minimum, had to comply with Common Criteria.

          • Gator352

            So your government agency plays with phones, downloads porn, targets conservative groups, gets huge bonus', 3 months off a year with pay, all with my tax dollars for doing basically nothing? Ok, you're credible....

      • The C Man


        If I give you my pin for a Blackberry would you care to hack it to prove how easy it is.

    • CoreRooted

      Blackberry has almost ALWAYS been targeted to enterprise and
      government (there was that brief foray with the Pearl, the Storm and such, but
      we'll overlook that). Their devices have ALWAYS been forced to have
      encryption/safety measures. Android CAN be just as secure (full-device,
      128bit encryption and required strong password support (yes, BB supports
      up to AES 256bit encryption and Android will also when L releases). All in all, Android is just as secure as BlackBerry. The difference being that Android does not force encryption on it's users. It's up to the consumer to protect themselves as opposed to BlackBerry that basically forces that protection on you.

      The ONLY thing that BB had/has above Android in terms of security was a
      centralized administration platform. Now that Android will have
      KNOX, even that is on a level playing field now.

      • Telanis

        Still waiting for any proof that KNOX matches BB. You don't bet your security on something unproven.

        • CoreRooted

          KNOX uses the same exact encryption strength and algorithm as Blackberry does (AES 256bit, which, by the way is NOT the default for Blackberry. Blackberry uses the standard DES 128bit unless set otherwise). Blackberry also does not encrypt the SD Card by default whereas KNOX does.

          • Leo

            Don't bother with him, he's John Chen in disguise probably

    • MikeOxlong

      You're butthurt, and on the wrong forum. Go back to crackberry and drivel there like a good lad, mmmmkay?

  • John Smith

    Charlie Chan is pumping and dumping as fast as he can. i can't say i blame him. Chan is trying to get his $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

  • John Smith

    canucks don't have the intelligence or mental toughness to compete in technology. i think it's from the 200+ years of being coddled and dominated by the french and Brits. they are genetically dumb. canucks should stick to simple things - like poutine, lumber, and hockey. dumb mfkers.

  • David Margolin

    He should be worried about his job security. Heads roll often over at RIM

  • droopyar

    Blackberry is secure??? NO.

  • shadlom

    He should worry about BB instead of Android and Samsung; that's not how he's gonna turn the company around. People who want bb level security already have bb devices, it is not going to make people change platforms.

  • matt

    Just switch to android and BOOM problem fucking solved for blackberry they make great phones they just need to know that they suck at software

  • DJRiful

    Not surprise and obvious about these words coming out from Blackberry CEO... duh + I don't really care about these SMS/Message security for a normal typical user like myself. Yeah, you want to hear about me talking about movies and games?

    Company in need with security might not even use Blackberry / Google / Apple phone whatsoever. They might even have their own frequency radio for it. Military / Police etc.

  • jcStrabo

    At least my Nexus, even on Android L doesn't crash the whole time like the POS Blackberry Z10 my company provides me with. That's security - if it doesn't run (as the battery life is a joke) or has no mobile or network connection it's pretty secure indeed.

    • ghj

      BlackBerry created battery pulls for a reason! You have to remember to battery pull once a week!

  • abobobilly

    My reaction to his statements:


  • Archadae

    so now well have to purge aosp roms of knox too?

    • Leo

      KNOX is based off SELinux. Google simply added SELinux and some custom solutions from Samsung. That's it. It's a rather robust security system, but expect it to be easily switchable in vanilla builds

  • Fer

    Blackberry is pretty much dead, but their OS is more secure than Android, anything is more secure than that green trash bin, even torn condoms

    • Leo

      Ouch, butthurt iOS user?
      There there, don't be afraid of big bad Android...

  • Charlie

    "Blackberry got touchscreens wrong, it got apps wrong, and now all it has left is security. That's a nice feature to have, but it's far from enough."


  • Mexnoob

    Is still blackberry alive? 😱😱😱😱

  • mark boyle

    If 100% of blackberry users got hacked, that would equal to about 1% of android users

    • MeCampbell30


  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    If I was BlackBerry CEO, the very first thing on my scare-to-death list is: why the heck even Windows Phone's market share is growing?

  • JazzEspresso

    he is total idiot!!!