back to article BlackBerry's tactical capitulation to Google buys time – and possibly a future

BlackBerry loyalists may despair – but for the first time in a very long time, BlackBerry has been showered with praise for a new device. While Reddit is no bellwether of mainstream opinion, the Android-based Priv (which rhymes with "spiv," not "reprieve") officially announced on Friday has received far more enthusiasm than …

  1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    App Availability

    I don't want any app to have unfettered access to my location, address book, phone, emails, documents, photographs, and every other bloody thing on my phone. As a result there are many more Blackberry apps available to me than there are Android apps.

    1. Somone Unimportant

      Re: App Availability

      I agree. My BlackBerry has bugger all applications on it besides the core BB10 apps, and I know what data they access.

      And the extra apps I have downloaded - mainly games to help pass the time if I need them - and paid for are BB10 native.

      However I'm a realist enough to know that I'm probably in the minority of mobile phone users, that small minority who are happy for phone, email and web use, without wanting apps galore.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: App Availability

      Me neither.

      However it's clear from the market figures that that is not a selling point.

      Loads of people moan about Android permissions all the time, but it's rarely enough to make them buy a BlackBerry...

      The crazy thing is that if, hypothetically, someone did a properly good app for Android that gave you the same level of control as you get in BB10 it would be a knock out best seller. Ad blockers are very popular, it would be similar in essence to those. There seems to be a lot of mediocre / crap ones on the Google store... There is clearly a level of demand for it out there.

      Personally I loathe Android's Freemium funding model. It's a distasteful race to the bottom that gives zero choice for those who are happy to pay a little bit of cash for stuff that works but doesn't snoop.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: App Availability

        As I understand these things, Cyanogen is the piece you need to get tight(er) control of permissions. Not something I worry about here. On the tablet, rape away for what that's worth. On a phone, that's another kettle of fish. I'm interested in the BB, as interested in any at all. Priv, price please.

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

          Re: App Availability

          I also don't want apps which have access to everything. However, after what Blackberry has done with Amazon Underground (access to everything and no way to remove it) I am rather disappointed in the company. Perhaps straight Android with added security will be better than BB10 with Amazon backdoor.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: App Availability

            Amazon Underground and Amazon App Store are two different apps, for the moment.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: App Availability

              Amazon app store still forces unchangeable permissions on you(*), where in Blackberry World you can uncheck any individual permissions you're not happy with.

              (* Same with Snap, the Google Play interface for BB10)

          2. flokie

            Re: App Availability

            Very disappointed with the Amazon thing too. I don't mind having the App Store to get Android apps, and it's not too bad for permissions. But what's the point of the Amazon Store app? Why does it need all these permissions and why can't I remove it?

            If you've opened it by mistake and given it permissions, it's still possible to reset it to its default state and delete data by using the ccleaner app (yes, from the Amazon app store..).

      2. Brian Morrison

        Re: App Availability

        Android 6 will be changing and improving the permission model, you will be able to reject specific permissions on an app when they are first accessed after installation instead of the current model of agreeing to all or none during the install. Google have listened to the complaints although it's taken a while to do something about it.

        The Priv does not yet state what version on Android it uses, is it 5.x or will it be 6? That might make a difference to how good the BB security added on actually is.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: App Availability

          Blackphone, CM, and other custom ROMs use a modified App Ops from 4.3. That permissions model can be set to allow, deny, or pop up a question when an app wants to use a permission. Hopefully Blackberry has used this one.

          Android 6 has a special permissions model that won't be used for legacy apps. You need Android 6 and the apps must be compiled against Android 6's API. Any malware writer out there who wants to get round this just needs to compile against Android 5.1's API.

        2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          Re: Android 6

          Good info in the context of this article - thanks, Brian. However, given that Samsung haven't issued a single patch or update for my Note in the 18 months I've owned it, I shan't be holding my breath.

          It might be safe to assume that Blackberry take a better approach to upgrades, but I wouldn't bet on it. Once they included "if you want the latest features and those security holes patched then you need to buy new hardware" in their financial forecast I suspect they'll be as bad as the rest.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: App Availability

        This whole issue irks me a great deal, because I bought a Blackberry because I specifically wanted something different to the mainstream iOS and Android offerings ... and now I find that 'market forces' are distorting the platform I prefer back in the direction of the mainstream offerings.

        *sigh*.

        I'm honestly not at all concerned about this apparent lack of apps, because I've found all those I need in Blackberry World, including some really good top end games.

  2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    A future...

    I doubt it, sadly.

  3. Grade%

    Look no further

    Than at the bottom of this page for the epitaph of BB10.

    An apple, an android, even a Windows logo indicate the apps available.

    "I was pulled this way and that for longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man."

    Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

    I don't know what the above quote has to do with this -- it looked cool and "edgy" so wtf.

    R.I.P BB10

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Look no further

      It is because it is a BLACKberry

      1. Looper
        Holmes

        Re: Look no further

        i KNEW they should've called them bLuEberries...

  4. Frank N. Stein

    If Blackberry does this right, it could get them back in the game. While Nadella is fumbling around with Windows 10 and stumbling with Windows Mobile, this is an opportunity for Blackberry to win back some market share.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If Blackberry does this right, it could get them back in the game

      I don't think so. All it takes is ONE other vendor to bring out a keyboard phone (if that's not patented) and they're history - by using Android (and certainly by signing up with the Borg directly) they have nuked the one other reason people were using Blackberries: security.

      I have said this before: allowing Android apps into the QNX framework they built is a bit like inviting burglars to a party inside your bank safe - you render walls and safe doors pointless, with only the flimsy locks on the deposit boxes left as defence. No thanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BlackBerry is particularly litigious with its keyboard - and has seen success in the courts before - so I wouldn't be surprised if they'll position their remaining limited resources to protecting their patents. They've made almost every critical error in the book in smartphone design but they've perfected the thumb sized mobile keyboard - they probably have a good 5 years ahead of everyone else in that category.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          BlackBerry is particularly litigious with its keyboard - and has seen success in the courts before - so I wouldn't be surprised if they'll position their remaining limited resources to protecting their patents.

          Interesting. The best keyboard I've had my hands on over decades of smart mobile use was the one on the Sony Ericsson P1i where they managed to offer a full keyboard despite only giving it only 20 actual buttons.

          The trick they used was that each key had two sides, so pressing it left or right gave a different character unless it was in digit mode (for dialling). It also had a reasonable screen that you could write on with a stylus (character recognition built in), and it had a feature that I have bought for every mobile since: a business card scanner. I personally *hated* the BB keyboard with a passion because I don't have the pencil-thin fingers you'd need to operate that reliably (I had to use one for work). No such problems with the P1i.

          Apart from the iPhone I think the P1i was probably one of the most enjoyable phones I've had over the years, and I have had quite a few..

  5. WillbeIT
    Black Helicopters

    I have said it before

    and Ill say it again, the NSA put Google out of business. They didn't appreciate that pesky privacy thing. So they tanked the stock and killed the product that way, much cleaner.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      WTF?

      And when exactly did Google start going out of business ?

      As far as I can see, it is still the major player in Internet Search, and on mobile phones. The financials don't look bad either, especially for a company that "tanked".

    2. Looper
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: I have said it before

      I very much doubt you've said it before. Possibly something similar with the correct company name perhaps...?

      1. WillbeIT

        Re: I have said it before

        Lol yep Typo: I meant NSA put Blackberry out of business:

  6. bazza Silver badge

    BlackBerry are doing what Nokia didn't.

    Nokia vanished. Maybe BlackBerry won't..

  7. Blank-Reg
    Meh

    Well, I can't really blame them for this and it makes sense as it'll help to make their survival more likely. But, I love my Z10 and I'm loath to go to touch Android.

    My vanishing hope is that they strip out some of the spyware and make the OS UI a lot better than it currently is

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My vanishing hope is that they strip out some of the spyware

      That's a rather pointless exercise if you start with Android as a basis :)

  8. theOtherJT

    Oh blackberry...

    You went and did it, didn't you?

    I suppose I see why, but damnit guys, I wanted a phone WITHOUT Android on it. I _hate_ Android.

    /sigh. First WebOS sinks, then Microsoft ruin WinPho, and now this... I'm fed up with feeding my life to the bloody chocolate factory, you were my last hope!

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Priv: last phone?

    Even if RIM / Blackberry has a future, will they produce another phone ever or rebadge an HTC or Chinese phone with keyboard?

    Sadly most people are not interested in security and privacy, even companies that should know better.

  10. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Flame

    "but there's not enough apps."

    I didn't need any apps! Did Chen even use a BB10 device?

    Oh well time to jump ship to a cheap handset.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019