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back to article BlackBerry not afraid to throw its mobe biz under a bus, says CEO Chen

BlackBerry has said that it will finally consider selling off its smartphone-making business if it continues to be unprofitable. "If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business," chief exec John Chen told Reuters in an interview*. The Canadian phone biz reported poor sales again in its fourth quarter …

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Chen: Give Us What We Want

We want a Quadcore 4gb RAM latest GPU mobile handset, give us that and we will be happy.

Seriously, Blackberry are where Apple was in the beginning of the 2000's: By far the best OS, OS X back then, BB10 today, in an underdog market position. I mean, I have 2 Android's, iPhone 4, iPad air, and my BB10 z30 at home, I can compare.

Poorest to best on email:

Android - I would not even call that email support, 25 messages ? WTF ??? and the `whatsItsName` app (too busy to check name) you can download on the app store cannot even do starttls, well, it says it does, but it just fails.

iOS - pretty decent, although you have to switch keyboard to switch languages and there is lame/annoying predictive spelling

BB10 - hub, hub, hub, swipe type (it predicts the word, you swipe it up), multi-lingual spell check with one keyboard layout (if you so choose), predictive typing with AI, easy to ignore (no tapping the word on screen like in iOS), remembers most used wordings and I could go on forever.

Oh, and the BB10 browser has flash ...

And the beast is secure, secure boot anyone ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

"And the beast is secure, secure boot anyone ?"

erm - Secure Boot is on Windows Phone 8 - zero known vulnerabilities. Unlike BB10 - 31 holes and counting: http://secunia.com/advisories/product/45971/

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DJO
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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

Regrettably technical superiority does not engender market success, historically there are innumerable times where a well marketed but technically inferior product has triumphed over the superior but poorly marketed product, VHS over Betamax is an obvious example, almost everything recently from Apple are some more.

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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

Multi lingual support on android too.

Swype on android too

predictive typing on android too.

email support ??? are you silly. i can run gmail Imap with god know how many years content and exchange on the phone with no problems what so ever.

Then add on to this all the advantages of android over BB.

I think you may find the issue is possibly the user. Not saying BB isnt a better choice for YOU but to tell us BB is better than android is laughable !!

Im not going to comment on Iphone due to negative Bias

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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

I have an office Q10, the OS is amazingly slick, handset is very well put together, fast, nice and easy to use. I suspect there's 2 things hindering BB:

- on the consumer front it's apps, apps and more apps. Yes the latest BBs are pricey but punters are willing to pay for Samsungs and Apples so why not BB? Lack of apps is the major factor I think

- on the business front, I suspect more businesses are looking to BYOD, and possibly have existing stocks of old BBs. Possibly cost issues as well, no probs issuing expensive phones to execs, but if you're giving them to the rank and file starts becoming steep on cost. Plus more competition form MS.

I think on point 1 they're doomed to be last after iOS, Android and Windows. On point 2 they can gain some ground by banging the security drum and having a more 'entry-level' (cheaper) model

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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

On the consumer front I suspect price is a bigger problem than lack of apps. Lack of apps was an issue at launch, but then so was BB10 itself. I find the app selection at present to be better than it ever was with BB7. And that didn't prevent BB7 devices from being successful.

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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

I'm not sure if Hans 1 is trolling or is technologically illiterate.

Going to assume there is supposed to be a comma between quad core and 4GB of RAM. Not sure why it was capitalized though. Anyways, that much RAM is useless unless you have a 64 processor. Even then, since 64 bit leads to some performance degradation, you'd be better off with 6GB.

25 emails on Android? Maybe 25 different accounts. What kind of spam business are you running if you have more than 25 email addresses? I've been a gmail user since beta and all my emails are available on my phone.

Whatever keyboard is available on BB is available on Android. Android is the world leader in onscreen keyboards. Swype was invented by Samsung and is the reigning champ for fastest text entry method on a mobile phone.

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Re: Apps apps apps

BB10 now rund Android apps natively, so that can't be the problem.

Maybe the problem is that nobody knows BB10 runs Android apps natively.

:/

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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

He could've done the obvious.

Give BB10 a "legacy compatibility layer" to run BB7 apps. That's the one thing keeping the BB10 from taking off- people just can't get the apps they want off Blackberry World easily (for example, Opera refuses to support BB10 natively or put the Android version of Opera Mini (which does run well on BB10 if sideloaded) on Blackberry World, but continues supporting Opera Mini for BB7 which cannot be downloaded or run on BB10 devices because of lack of BB7 support in the OS. Adding BB7 support to the OS would do it good, especially if companies have invested in BB7 versions of their enterprise in-house program and find it a hassle to port to BB10.

After all that's said, the BB7 runtime is a modified J2ME runtime. If they can go all-out to implement a runtime for Android, why can't they do the same for BB7?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

"Swype was invented by Samsung and is the reigning champ for fastest text entry method on a mobile phone."

No - that would be the Windows Phone keyboard:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Windows-Phone-8-1-Keyboard-Is-the-Fastest-in-the-World-Takes-Guinness-Record-436093.shtml

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Re: Apps apps apps

Sort of... developers need to bother to publish them (ignoring people sideloading the .apk). Which means buying some BB handsets to test your converted app on.

You also need to remove and potentially replace any Google service based features (Google Maps, push notifications, game/Play centre, etc.).

We've got a fairly popular app on Google Play (around 400,000+ installs), that has an Android Runtime version in BB World that has had 4,000 downloads.

It's a free app with adverts. We're not going to recoup the cost of getting handsets to test it on, never mind the time to test it or the time it took to create a custom build with Google Maps, etc. disabled.

I certainly wouldn't recommend any small to medium sized company to bother (maybe if you're BBC iPlayer, Facebook, etc. where 1/100 of the downloads is worth it).

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Re: Chen: Give Us What We Want

Are you suggesting that the way for BlackBerry to compete with iOS and Android is to let them run BB7 apps? Seriously?

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Reality

They have admitted they are doomed.

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Re: Reality

I wish I could disagree with you. The latest phones are great.

Sadly, if he just keeps chopping the unprofitable bits, he'll end up with a small, irrelevant company. It might be profitable, but there are plenty of small companies that turn a profit.

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I agree, probably the best mobile OS out there right now - it runs android apps (almost) as if they were native to boot. Multi-tasking is very good, the hub is brilliant, messaging is the best i've used on almost any platform, bluetooth isn't the crippled 'only connect to audio devices and other phones by the same manufacturer via some voodoo proprietary protocol' variety...why do all the best OSes shuffle off to die? webOS never got the traction it deserved, Meego got binned (although it lives on as Sailfish...not quite as nice imho) and now BB10 could be jumping off the cliff.

I don't want to use iOS (locked down as hell, inflexible as hell, eveyone has a fucking iPhone, I have an iPad and it does my head in) and I don't want Android (messy UI between apps, is a data collection tool for creepy Google). WinPhone is alright but still almost as inflexible as iOS. I feel like I am cursed, perhaps I should buy an iphone and watch apple's stock slide.

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With Android you don't have to sync anything to google if you don't link a google account to it. As for the App's being inconsistent, well that is a blessing in my opinion. As a developer of an app you should feel free to design it around the functionality it requires, not some set of strict rules that may not make sense for your app. There isn't really anything stopping a developer making the UI completely different across all manufacturers anyway, Facebook use their own style consistently for them across all modern devices.

As for the other OS's you mention, I agree with you with the caveat than you could jailbreak iOS and do what you like, which is what I used to do before I switched to Android because I decided it was crazy to be paying for a product I then have to waste time circumventing to do what I want.

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Don't you need a google account to use the play store?

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"Don't you need a google account to use the play store?"
Do you need to use the Play store?

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It's always touted as the main strength of Android. Not being play store compatible was a big swipe at the Nokia Android handsets.

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Anonymous Coward

"Not being play store compatible was a big swipe at the Nokia Android handsets."

Really? Why are they selling in the millions then?

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Are they? They've only just been launched, as far as I know...

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Doesn't help that I walked into EE today and the person working in the shop told me that Blackberry had gone bust last year and hadn't released any handsets since then. A minute or two later with brimming with fake enthusiasm tried to tell me that Android was great when I said I don’t like Google’s data retention policies (I didn’t get started on the apps that ask for far too many permissions to do their job).

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Anonymous Coward

@James 51

If you can be arsed, report them to Trading Standards. Phone shops tell lies all the time and get away with it.

I bought a Samsung tablet from PC World this week (I know but I wanted to check it out in store and it worked out cheaper than buying online.)

Did I want £3 a month "protection"? No, because it's included in our business insurance.

Box arrives from behind the wall. Am I sure I don't want the £3 a month?

No, because my business insurance hasn't changed since 5 minutes ago.

Checkout - and there is a second line with the £3 a month insurance. Me: Please remove that. It gets removed. Am I really sure I don't want it? Did you actually hear what I said about my insurance?

Floorwalker hands over receipt and package and scoots off having failed to get bonus.

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In technology

God is on the side of the big battalions, even if their equipment is inferior. This is Chen's problem. Samsung's marketing budget alone is a multiple of BB's turnover. Apple could afford to buy BB out of the petty cash drawer and still have enough there for a corporate jet or five.

It isn't limited to BB: HTC is still losing money despite well-reviewed handsets.

Fortunately perhaps, Android is improving to the extent that by the time my BB is no longer supported, Android should easily be good enough - and I won't need a physical keyboard because I don't need to type so much on a phone. The Snowden revelations and the aftermath mean that security is at last being taken seriously by Google and Apple, so BB's USP is slowly going away.

It's still a pity, because the car industry shows that a multiplayer marketplace can result in rapid technology progress even in a mature industry, whereas since Apple is by and large dependent on the same technology as Samsung, disruptive technology is unlikely.

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Re: In technology

There's always Jolla.

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Re: In technology

"It isn't limited to BB: HTC is still losing money despite well-reviewed handsets."

Amusing since HTC is telling people to ignore reviews of their products.

But reviewers don't buy products. If a product is well reviewed and sells poorly, it means the review writer is incompetent as an analyst.

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BB10 is nice.

It will be even better when the remaining important features finally make it over from BB7.

(Cyrillic phonetic keyboard layout for example, no good being able to switch to Russian, if you have no idea where the letters are.)

I really like the system, but it really annoys me, the things that it can't do that even BB OS 4 could.

(Like timed power on/off, and delete original message, in replies.)

It is a really good media player, and web browsing is pretty good. The Q5 was certainly worth the £185 I paid for it unlocked new from Amazon, and I'm very glad I couldn't bring myself to buy an Android.

It really would make sense if BB could replace all the high end BB7 phones with dual boot BB10/BB7 devices.

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WTF?

And now he is back-peddling...

"BlackBerry scrambles to counter Reuters story; says it won't sell handset business"

NEW YORK — Somewhere along the lines, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen's words got minced. At least, so he claims.

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Chen allegedly said: "If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

It's hard to take that out of context, but that's what Chen said in a blog post following the report's publication, saying: "I have no intention of selling off or abandoning this business any time soon.‎"

http://www.zdnet.com/blackberry-scrambles-to-counter-reuters-story-says-it-wont-sell-handset-business-7000028288/

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Re: And now he is back-peddling...

I don't really see what the problem is with what he said. If we can't make money doing it, we'll stop doing it but that doesn't mean we're ready to throw the towel in yet.

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Re: And now he is back-peddling...

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

Note the personal pronoun. If he fails to make money then he will be kicked out of the company.

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Re: And now he is back-peddling...

>"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

What he meant to say if BB runs out of money and can't borrow more it obviously won't be in any business.

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Anonymous Coward

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business."

They should have stuck to making tyres and wellies

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that was nokia I think.

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I would like to see BB expand their hardware business into non smartphone areas, such as small business and home wireless routers. It's tough to find a well priced wireless router that you trust the company behind it to keep up to date with features and security updates, and not have a completely clunky interface. I'd trust blackberry to do that right.

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I really like my Playbook, but it doesn't support Audible.com audio books (Big Finish Audio is Fantastic, but don't carry everything audio (http://www.bigfinish.com)) - so cashed in some loyalty points and got an iPad Mini - which does support Audible.com audio books.

When Blackberry came out with their new phone, I was going to purchase one - until I found that the new O/S does not support Audible.com audio books - so I didn't buy one.

For me, audible compatibility is the killer app - Blackberry doesn't have it - so I'm not buying it.

I really wish Audible and Blackberry could be friends and support each others customers. Then I wouldn't need an "i" product to hear my "a" products.

Sucks to be me ;-(

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There is an audible app for android and bb10 can run android apps. I am assuming that it would work.

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Anonymous Coward

Just wait, BB will die pretty soon

What's all the fuss about? BB will die pretty soon.

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