Tag Archive: BlackBerry Unlocking


Here’s why many people want their BlackBerrys back after switching to iOS and Android

Following the release of the original iPhone in 2007 and the subsequent launch of Android, many people with work-issued phones spent years asking for their employers to switch away from BlackBerry smartphones to more modern devices. Finally, as Apple and Google increased their focus on security and BlackBerry hit dire straights a few years ago, workers began getting what that wanted and bring your own device (BYOD) policies became more common.

More recently, however, an interesting trend is being observed: Workers want their BlackBerry’s back.

CIO’s Tom Kaneshige reports on an interesting phenomenon that we’ve heard rumblings of in the past. At companies where employees were permitted to ditch their work-issued BlackBerry phones and bring their own iPhones and Android handsets, they’re now begging their IT departments to move back to BlackBerry.

Why? It turns out there are a few reasons.

For one thing, there are privacy concerns. When workers use their own iOS and Android devices, IT departments gain access to all of their private data in addition to any corporate apps that might be on the devices. It’s never a good thing when you have to hand over a smartphone packed full of naked selfies so that IT can fix an issue with email not syncing properly.

Beyond that, IT professionals Kaneshige spoke with say they are having some serious problems with mobile device management (MDM) software, and the related on-device apps often cause issues like battery drain and device bogging.

Source: BGR

‘Critical’ security warning for BlackBerry Z10

A vulnerability in the BlackBerry Protect software built into Z10 smart phones could allow hackers to gain access to the passwords of some devices, according to a security advisory issued by BlackBerry

By taking advantage of “weak permissions” malicious applications will be able to:

  • Gain the device password if a remote password reset command had been issued through the BlackBerry Web site
  • Intercept and prevent the phone from acting on BlackBerry Protect commands, such as remote wipe
BlackBerry said the issue is with the BlackBerry Protect software and not the Z10’s operating system.

“The most severe potential impact of this vulnerability requires a BlackBerry Z10 smart phone user to install a specially crafted malicious app, enable BlackBerry Protect and reset the device password through BlackBerry Protect,” the advisory said.

With the device password and physical access to the phone, an attacker can:

• Access the functionality of the smartphone (including the BlackBerry Hub, apps, data, and the phone) by unlocking the smartphone.
• Unlock the work perimeter on a BlackBerry Z10 smartphone that has BlackBerry Balance technology enabled if the work perimeter password is the same as the device password.
• Access the smartphone over a USB tether with either BlackBerry Link or the computer’s file viewer, allowing access to the smartphone’s personal files, contacts, PIM data, and so on. The attacker could also access work perimeter content on BlackBerry Balance smartphones if the work perimeter is unlocked and access over a USB tether is allowed by a policy that the IT administrator sets.
• Enable development mode after accessing the smartphone over a USB tether, allowing remote access as a low privilege development user.
• Change the current device password, allowing the attacker to deny access to the legitimate user of the smartphone.
• Access any other local and enterprise services for which the legitimate user has used the same password as the smartphone’s password.

An attacker can also gain Wi-Fi access to the phone if the owner enables Wi-Fi storage access on the Z10 and sets a storage access password that is the same as the device password.

Five reasons people will want a BlackBerry 10 Phone

The BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, handed out to developers in May, provided little information about what the finished product would look like. But a better picture has since emerged.

Will BlackBerry 10 phones, which are expected to arrive early next year, be worth the wait? For months, that question had no good answer.

While Apple’s wildly successful ads calmly wrap themselves around a single have-to-have feature (see SIRI) we haven’t yet had the benefit of a full rundown on BlackBerry 10 specs. So we have been left with what we are normally left with in the space before any anticipated consumer device arrives: speculation, rumour, and the odd grainy photo. It’s right around this time in the launch cycle that an iPhone is “accidentally” found in a Palo Alto tavern and pictures show up on various gadget sites, sending fanboys into a predictable lather.

So far, there has been no Canadian equivalent. To date, not one has misplaced a BlackBerry 10 device at a Tim Hortons in Moose Jaw, or a canteen in a Kitchener rink. But a picture has begun to emerge. New RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has been equal parts helpful and feckless, revealing key details of BlackBerry 10 to select media, then reverting to more vague, big picture proclamations that have sometimes provoked ridicule, such as when he said that with BB10 “We’re here to win, we’re not here to fight for third or fourth place,” after the company had fallen to less than 5% of total smartphone sales in Q2.

If RIM is to regain some, if not all, of its lost market share, BlackBerry 10 devices will need to be great, not just good. The good news for RIM supporters is that early indications suggest devices loaded with the new operating system will give RIM every chance. We break down five reasons people will want a Blackberry 10 device.

1. Its contact manager will be great

Early last year, RIM acquired Seattle-based Gist, a company that focused on integrating social media elements into contact management. The startup was founded in 2008 by T.A. McCann, who formerly worked in Microsoft’s Exchange Server Group. Gist actually received its initial funding from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital.

Now McCann’s team is taking on a key role at RIM.

“BlackBerry has always had this heritage of productivity. We are just going to make it better yet again, when we launch BB10,” McCann told Reuters recently. He says that in addition to the BlackBerry contacts app, Gist has been tasked with the responsibility of everything social at RIM including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), the Facebook and Twitter apps, instant messaging as well as much of the identity platform, BlackBerry ID.

A Gist user review hints at the possibilities:

“The main idea behind Gist is pretty similar to other social media aggregators like MyBlogLog, FriendFeed, Seesmic and Google Buzz” says Gist user Dustin Luther. “However, there’s one HUGE improvement they’ve made. Rather than forcing you to view updates based on a timeline (i.e. most recent updates first), they allow you to view updates in a “people” mode where you can view all the updates from that person (whether they are on Facebook, Twitter, their blog, foursquare, etc.) based on the importance that you’ve selected. (Facebook has tried to do this with their “top news” feature, but it’s crude at best and doesn’t do a great job finding updates that are important to me)”.

2. It will have a cool camera

When new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins offered a sneak peak at some of the features of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, the things that got the biggest oohs and aahs from the crowd at BlackBerry World were the new camera features. A tidy demo that followed showed the new camera will allow the user to “go back in time” using a circular timeline slider to pick the perfect moment. While the phone looks to be a marked improvement over what is on the market today, it is unlikely that it will present a distinct business advantage, as the technology behind it is licensed from a Swedish company called Scalado that was acquired by Nokia in June.

3. It will have better battery life

The new BB10 devices will feature an OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screen that, unlike its LED counterparts, doesn’t require a backlight. While some budget devices, such as the Toshiba T-02D and the Samsung Exhilarate, have employed OLED, RIM has the opportunity to bring it to the mainstream. Other details reveal that RIM is extremely battery focused with BB10. The new BBM, for instance, will feature a darker screen that will save battery life by as much as 25%. And for real road warriors, Thorsten Heins told the Wall Street Journal recently that BlackBerry 10 phones will include a removable battery, so heavy users can swap a fresh one in, rather than traipse around an airport for a power source.

4. It will be fast

RIM acquired QNX, which became BlackBerry 10 after a legal spat, in April 2010. The Ottawa-based company was founded in 1980 and acquired by Harman International in 2004. QNX developed an operating system called the QNX Neutrino, which is more familiar to those familiar with OS’s used in mission critical environments, such as high speed trains in Europe and Japan, nuclear power plants, even the Canadarm. Neutrino employs a micro-kernal structure in which each application runs in its own memory space on this operating system, allowing the device to multi-task like nothing that is currently on the market.

5. Lack of apps won’t be an issue

One could argue that many apps built for the iPhone were necessary because the device’s browser did not support Adobe Flash. But that’s a story for another day, especially now that that fence has been mended in the post Steve Jobs world. A persistent critique of BlackBerrys has been BlackBerry App World, which is dwarfed by Apple App Store. But Alec Saunders RIM’s VP of developer relations, says the image that BlackBerry is bleeding app developers is simply false. BlackBerry App World, he points out has grown its vendor base by 157% in the past year, and just passed the three billion download mark. The QNX Neutrino operating system, which provides support for Adobe Flash and Air, Java, HTML 5.0 and C++. makes it inherently developer friendly, insists Saunders.

“I have been receiving a lot of feedback from developers personally and I can tell you that I am hearing again and again that developers are amazed by how easy it is to work with the BlackBerry 10 tools, ” he said recently, adding: “They appreciate the open nature of our platform, which allows developers to bring their work and their skills and find a toolset that will work for them.”

Among BlackBerry App World’s more than 90,000 apps, you’ll now find all the regular battery monitoring and texting ones, plus brands such as Pandora, Angry Birds, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Source: Cantech Letter

BlackBerry 7 sales sputter after strong start

After some initial excitement for the new line of BlackBerry 7 smartphones and a strong launch–both unusual for RIM for the past year–sales are starting to sputter. That’s according to Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley, who said his checks indicate a slowing trend for BlackBerrys.

It’s likely sales have been blunted by the release of the iPhone 4S, as well as the lower price of the legacy iPhone 4 and 3GS models as well. The coming release of the Galaxy Nexus and phones running on the recently unveiled Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system is expected to provide additional pressure, while Nokia may take some shine off RIM’s growth overseas, Walkley said.

“We anticipate increasing competition across all tiers of RIM’s products in 2012,” he said in a research note sent to clients today.

RIM had hoped for its upgraded BlackBerry 7 operating system to inject some life back into the company’s prospects and get it back on track as it migrates to a slicker next-generation platform. With that platform, BBX, expected to be delayed until the middle of next year, it’s more important than ever for its current BlackBerry 7 phones to have a strong showing.

A RIM representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

But aside from the flagship Bold 9900 smartphone, which has generally received favorable reviews, its other BlackBerry smartphones haven’t sold so well. RIM was suffering from weaker sales to consumers at Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and Sprint Nextel, as sales were dominated by the iPhone and Android devices, Walkley said. Even the Bold has lost its momentum following the launch of the iPhone 4S and subsequent price cuts to the older models, he added.

Overseas, Walkley said he was more bullish on Nokia’s prospects as it prepares to roll out its first Windows Phone devices in a few European markets. He expects Nokia to make more of a run in emerging markets where RIM has seen recent strength, which could cut into RIM’s growth. He added that RIM’s lower-tier BlackBerry devices that had been popular are slowing considerably in the face of new Nokia phones and sub-$200 Android smartphones showing up in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Nokia, meanwhile, is seeing more interest in its Asha series of phones in markets such as India and Indonesia, he added.

The troubled PlayBook

Walkley was also bearish on the prospects of the PlayBook, saying he only expects “soft sales” of the device. The PlayBook has been heavily discounted in recent weeks, with Black Friday specials pulling the price down to $200, but sales have still been anemic. The missing core features of the device–e-mail access, messenger services, and calendar–won’t arrive until an update next year. Walkley dropped his fiscal 2012 estimate for unit sales to 900,000 from 1.5 million units. In total, RIM has only sold 700,000 units to its retail partners through the August quarter, an extremely disappointing number.

The competition is only going to get worse with the $199 Kindle Fire out and Ice Cream Sandwich-powered tablets hitting the market in the coming months.

All of this bodes poorly for RIM, which has a rough year. Even its traditional stronghold of enterprise customers is vulnerable. A recent study by iPass found more corporate users on an iPhone than a BlackBerry. IPass was quick to note that the change in market share may be more due to the extreme growth of iOS, as opposed to RIM losing customers.

But it can’t be good if iPhone is beating RIM at its own game.

Source: CNET