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BlackBerry Priv Review: Good, But Probably Only For Keyboard Junkies

When I was in high school, BlackBerry was still an up-and-comer in the US cell phone market. The sleepy suburb I grew up in really had no widespread knowledge of them until after I had left for college. And when you start college in 2006, a year before the first iPhone (released at the end of my freshman year), it’s probably not surprising to learn that shiny-new-MacBook toting shiny-new-adults at a big state school turned up their noses at something as staid and “establishment” as a BlackBerry. Everyone who was into “cell-phone-as-status-symbol” knew it was the iPhone that was changing everything.

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BlackBerry Bought AndroidSecured.com and .net Domains, Is This More Evidence Of An Android Device On The Way?

On July 7th, the domains AndroidSecured.com and AndroidSecured.net were registered to BlackBerry Limited, the firm formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM) that presides over the one-time dominant smartphone platform. Below is a screenshot of one of the registration records with the area of interest highlighted.

AndroidSecured_com_WHOIS__DNS____Domain_Info_-_DomainTools

It's no secret that BlackBerry has seen better days. One of their more-publicized efforts to revitalize interest in the OS has been the addition of compatibility with Android apps and, more recently, loading the Amazon Appstore on the newest OS versions. The general direction of BlackBerry has been fairly unclear for a while now, as they have worked on supporting existing devices and have steadfastly released new ones on a regular basis in spite of meager sales.

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PSA: This "Blackberry Messenger BBM" Published By Developer RIM Has 100k+ Installs But Is As Fake As It Gets

This morning we were alerted to a possible Blackberry Messenger sighting in the Play Store, but upon closer inspection, it was immediately obvious that this app is beyond fake. The problem is it already has 100,000+ installs, it's been sitting in the Play Store since Friday, and Google hasn't done anything to remove the listing yet.

Update 6/23/13 4:25pm PT: The fake app has been taken down.

Distractions

I can see three big problems that are currently distracting unsuspecting users and making them ignore any other possible warning signs:

  1. The developer's name is RIM, which looks pretty damn official.
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Samsung The King Of Android With 45.4% Of All Global Shipments In Q1 2012

IDC's report for the first quarter of 2012 indicates that Google's Android continues to grow its market share to 59%, while Apple's iOS lags in second at 23%. Unsurprisingly Samsung has given the biggest boost to Android, accounting for a whopping 45.4% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide.

In total 152.3 million smartphones were shipped in the first quarter of 2012, of which 89.9 million were Android-based smartphones (59%), 35.1 million were iOS devices (23%), 10.4 million were Symbian-based phones (6.8)%, followed by BlackBerry, Linux, and Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile devices.

24-05-12 8-58-32 PM

Compared to the same quarter last year, Android's market share has increased dramatically by 145%, followed by iOS's modest increase of 88.7%.

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Editorial: Does The Ability To Sideload Apps Create A Piracy Problem For Android? RIM Seems To Think So

Oh, RIM. You're hemorrhaging customers, executives, and share value. It's painfully obvious you're on track for a disaster of Palm-proportions. And still, your upper-level management fling zingers at the competition that would make anyone but the die-hardest of BlackBerry fans skip the facepalm and go straight to a facedesk. It's almost like watching a Shakespearean tragedy unfold.

If you've not been keeping up with the cutting edge of all things RIM, allow me to give you a quick run-down. RIM's Alec Saunders (VP of Developer Relations) announced recently that future BlackBerry PlayBook tablet updates would no longer allow the sideloading of apps (sideloading is the ability to install applications from outside of the official BlackBerry App World).

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Blackberry's Playbook OS 2.0 Will Support Android Apps After February 6th, RIM Provides Helpful Tips On Assuring Acceptance To App World

RIM, in the official BlackBerry developer's blog, announced today that Blackberry Playbook's OS update to version 2.0 will bring compatibility with Android applications. RIM's post has several helpful tips for developers looking to bring their creations to the Playbook, offering some recommendations for ensuring your approval into BlackBerry App World:

  • Before submitting your Android application to BlackBerry App World, please make sure to remove all mention of the word “Android” from your application. Both in the application description and the application itself.
  • Please remove all links to Android Market from within your application.
  • When submitting your Android application to BlackBerry App World, please make sure to select a minimum BlackBerry PlayBook OS of 2.0.
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RIM's New CEO Says Android Devices Are "All The Same," We Beg To Differ - With Giant Comparison Pictures

Let's be frank: RIM's BlackBerry products are unilaterally, shall we say, unexciting. And RIM's new theme song should probably be this. And by "unexciting," I mean ugly, hopelessly dated, and so boring that a story about them spontaneously bursting into flames might actually give the company some much-needed edginess in their marketing campaigns. Maybe that's a bridge too far.

Anyway, when I read this morning that RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins, speaking to CrackBerry, said Android devices are "all the same," I couldn't help but go slack-jawed in a combination of muted laughter and near disbelief at the irony.

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Editorial: How Android Can Save The BlackBerry (Hint: It's Not With Some Half-Baked App Player)

Now, we're an Android blog and all, but we aren't exactly deaf to the seemingly never-ending corporate death-curdle that is Research in Motion. As we speak, the tech world is watching (halfway out of actual interest, half for sheer entertainment value) as the once seemingly immovable enterprise titan rolls, like a god on high fallen from Olympus, to the bottom of a mountain called Relevancy.

The story of that tumble can be told, foot by foot, from the day of the iPhone launch. Then, from the rise of Android (particularly, the Motorola DROID). And from that point forward, by the so-long-it's-getting-kind-of-funny list of poor (even foolish) decisions made by RIM's management.

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[Update: Rumor Denied] Is Samsung Thinking About Buying Research In Motion?

Update: This was just an unsubstantiated rumor according to a Samsung spokesman: "We haven't considered acquiring the firm and are not interested in (buying RIM)" - Reuters.

It's no secret that RIM (Research in Motion) has seen better days; in fact, its stock dropped a whopping 75 percent last year alone. Considering the downward spiral, the company's CEOs are looking for a way out, be it a sale or licensing its Blackberry software.

The latest word on the street is that RIM has a potential buyer: Samsung. According to BGR, RIM is "going hard after Samsung," but Sammy isn't biting just yet because the price is too [damn] high.

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[Sale Fail] RIM Throws In The Towel And Starts PlayBook Fire Sale, Fails To Make Them Cheap Enough

When the tech world first heard of the BlackBerry tablet, it was greeted with a fair amount of optimism. It was thought that the very daring (for RIM) device could be just what the company needed to get out of its unabashed slump in popularity, particularly in the United States. In addition, rumblings that the device would be able to run Android Market apps (and actually can now) had Android and RIM fans alike excited for the possibilities of cross-platform development.

playbook-android-market

Image Credit: Liliputing

Unfortunately, consumers never really went after the PlayBook in droves, and sales went from less-than-great to absolutely terrible by Q3 of 2011, at just 150,000 units sold for that 3 month period.

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