back to article Five things that doomed the big and brilliant BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry wants you to know that the BlackBerry 10 (BB10) isn't dead. But beyond receiving essential maintenance, it simply isn't a priority for BlackBerry, which boasts that it now has over 50 per cent of its staff in software and sales jobs. "We have two confirmed new releases, 10.3.3 and 10.3.4, on the roadmap. These …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speaking of BB in cars wasn't it QNX in the Cherokee jeep ?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      QNX underpins all of the current-generation Ford consoles; it replaced the relevant Windows CE offshoot last year so was sufficiently good to persuade at least one manufacturer to throw their existing stack away.

      I think QNX also already has good reference implementations of Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, so will probably continue to gain licensees even if the market trends towards allowing the mobile companies to define the product.

      1. Levente Szileszky

        QNX is pretty much runs every major car brand, just look it up. For some reason BB tends to not brag about it but it's still true...

  2. James 51 Silver badge

    I'll be hanging onto my Q10 for a while longer then. Excellent keyboard, removeable battery and micro sd. Never found the OS to be buggy but then I started off on 10.2.1. There needs to be a viable third choice that respects the people buying the phones as customers rather than thinking they are the other product they are selling.

  3. HmmmYes Silver badge

    No. Disagree - QNX is the right choice for *all* phones. I wish Android ran on kernel as responsive as QNX.

    BB10 was probably too big and ambitious.

    Rather than running an Ad with Alicia they should have just posted up known phone hacks - Merkel, starlets etc etc and less known hacks - bascailly, anyone going to China.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I wish Android ran on kernel as responsive as QNX.

      Windows Phone is far more responsive than Android, give that a try if not happy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Windows Phone is far more responsive than Android..."

        No it's not, tried it - it isn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "No it's not, tried it - it isn't."

          It sure is - I have experience of using at least half a dozen windows phone handset models and about a dozen Android ones. Without fail Windows Phone is faster to respond and less laggy. Even when comparing low end Windows phone handsets to higher end Android ones.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      "QNX is the right choice for *all* phones."

      There is no single "right choice" for kernel and nor do consumers give a damn either. Microsoft, Google, Apple et al use different kernels and yet all those handsets have produced modern, responsive, multitasking phone operating systems.

      What matters is the application layer. People wants apps and modern functionality like wifi, multitasking, touch etc. That's what they care about and not how it works under covers.

      1. SuccessCase

        "There is no single "right choice" for kernel and nor do consumers give a damn either."

        Indeed. The advantages of QNX are really just down at the thread level, not the higher multi-tasking level, the two are reasonably closely related but not as much as many would suppose (and the two are frequently confused when people discuss Blackberry and QNX). And you will find, due to the requirement to tailor tasks into batches to be able to take advantage of power savings that can be gained when various subsystems are either powered down or put in a low power mode, the thread level advantages of QNX are no longer particularly realisable because to take maximum advantage still end-up packaging work into batches so making your thread context switching behave more like every other OS. iOS, for example, has had several generations of refinement to batched threading (the app level software engineer doesn't need to know about it, it all occurs at a lower level) This is why BB provided the option to switch off full multi-tasking on the Playbook, because leaving it on was such a battery drain.

        Now once you start to get up to the higher level, which as much as engineering purists hate to admit it, is the level that actually makes most difference to the end user experience, the BB are increasingly left for dust. Their multitasking model is akin to putting a bucket of money in the middle of the street and saying "now, now everyone, this is a shared resource, so mind you don't take too much." Contrast that with iOS.

        When support for third party app mutlti-tasking was launched on iOS it was much derided for being too restrictive, and indeed apps took a while to properly take advantage of it, but now engineers have had time to adapt adapted (and some still dislike it because it places constraints on them) it provides the end user with great advantages. There is a sophisticated system for leasing multi-tasking system resources and Apps can't hog the system. BB can theoretically implement similar higher level API's in a slightly more efficient way, (though really because of the batching requirement, it's difficult to see even slight advantages) but they are already behind and clearly struggling to keep up. Net result is the advantages of QNX are advantages of yesteryear, not because it isn't elegent, but because they are all hidden away in a layer that has been made nearly relevant and is now, unfortunately, never destined to be properly served or justified by those higher layers.

        The tech industry is brutal and being theoretically best has never been good enough. Acorn found that out years ago and they did an even better job of actually realising their theoretical advantages.

  4. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    sigh

    Probably all true but I do really like my z10 and BB10.3

    1. Tom 13

      Re: sigh

      Truth be told I hated the BlackBerry back when I was doing support work on them. Fussy, quirky, and with my fat fingers, impossible for me to consistently hit the right button. But they were secure and for our work that was important.

      Now that I work in a shop that uses iPhones, I miss the good old days of supporting Blackberry. They may be great for home users, but Enterprise ready they are not. Unfortunately, someone high up has fallen in love with Facetime, so iPhones will be our standard for years to come. Even though we have some staff who frequently travel to China.

  5. Blank-Reg
    Pint

    I'll shed a tear and raise a pint to BB10. Love my Z10 and intent to keep it until it falls apart or becomes unusable. And then, I'll be looking for replacements. Such a lovely UI and its jarring to go back to iOS and the Android UI is an abomination. Finally, I refuse to go over to fucking Android.

    So much for consumer choice "You can have all these models with same UI and the same data slurping software"...

    1. Graham 25

      "and intent to keep it until it falls apart or becomes unusable. And then, I'll be looking for replacements."

      there's one POS being used as a door stop you can buy from me :)

      Truly awful - its sole redeeming feature was that nobody sane would steal it for their own use.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      "Finally, I refuse to go over to fucking Android."

      Why is that? Android does not dictate the user experience of the entire handset. If Blackberry were so inclined they could port the BB10 experience and the main apps (dialler, calendar, mail etc. ) and run it over Android. The main advantage is you'd become part of the the Android ecosystem and your handset wouldn't have to run a gimped Android emulation layer in order run those apps.

      1. Blank-Reg

        Really don't want to be involved with Google any more than I have to. Also, I simply don't trust Android with my data in any shape or form.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          except

          You are confusing Android with Google. They are technically separate (see Cyanogenmod for example). My spare handset is running Android (OmniROM) without a single Google (or closed source) thing installed including nothing under accounts (long live F-Droid). Granted that means rooting and voiding the warranty which is why its only on my secondary older Gnex handset.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: except

            Technically shmeckically. Google owns Android, Google slurps data. Therefore Android slurps data and there's no stopping it.

            Full disclosure: I own an Android burner phone. I made the mistake of making them my primary email account back in the days when Yahoo was still a force to be reckoned with. At this point, there's not really much Google don't already know about me, so it makes little difference to me.

      2. Dinsdale247
        Unhappy

        I hate using android. The UI experience is inconsistent, and not fit for function. BB10 is consistent, well thought out and designed for communications. Once I got used to the swiping of BB10 I found the buttons of any phone to be relics from pre-touch days.

        BB10 is a far superior operating system both technically and for the function of a communication device. It has security features and business integration features that no other system has. It is BUILT for business communication and Samsung and Apple made sure the carriers never let it see the light of day.

        Also too bad 3 passports had the screens separate from the frame in my pocket. I loved that platform. :(

        1. Waspy

          Can't agree enough... And aside from the early bugs and marketing blunders it's one of those 'how can this product possibly have failed?'.

          Such a great product and people never knew why they should buy it over what is basically a shitty simple app launcher with separately siloed apps, email and files. (I'm pointing at both android and iPhone, neither is as productive as a BB10). People have just settled for what apple have told them a smartphone is.

          And one more thing... As Andrew points out, the gestures could be confusing to a new user but I didn't hear one shiny shiny gadget reviewer complain when ios got a whole load of gestures.

          Oh, and thinking of gadget reviewers, read the verge review of the passport to find out why most tech journos are lazy, ignorant and contributed greatly to the reason why there is now simply a smartphone duopoly. //rant over//

          Ps I also fully admit that BlackBerry seem to have done as much as possible to sabotage themselves

          1. Blank Reg

            Your comment about IOS gestures points out one of BB10's biggest problems, idiot tech journalists that are not qualified to comment on anything technical. So many so called tech journalists really don't know what they are talking about and/or have a blatantly obvious bias. Some are little more than paid fanboys and BB became everyone's favorite whipping boy.

        2. Bleu

          Do you have a link

          to a reliable source that says that Apple and Samsung engaged in some bad behaviour to kill (or vastly reduce) the Blackberry market?

          A cogent theory on the point?

          The decline of RIM seems to have been a combination of lateness and press gushing about Apple.

          Personally, I want a new 25-key phone, running TRON, but since the provider was taken over by other companies two or three years ago, the 'second phone for next-to-nothing contract' has vanished.

          I have no doubt that you are right about the superior points of Blackberry 10, as were the many who praised Palm's last throw.

          Since Blackberry is concentrating on offering its secure comms on other platforms now, their hardware will slowly dwindle to zero.

          They were quite (not wildly) popular in Tokyo years ago, I have not seen anyone carrying one for, say, four or five years.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge

            Re: Do you have a link

            >to a reliable source that says that Apple and Samsung engaged in some bad behaviour to kill (or vastly reduce) the Blackberry market?

            Sammy, dunno, Apple, yeah! Go check the market practices Apple engaged in in Europe, the only country where this was exposed was France, the telcos of other countries have no balls.

            Why is it so hard to find BB10 devices in the market ? There are NONE in shops, the only option I had was a pro kit supplier.

    3. fung0

      Agreed. I have a Z10 that I wouldn't give up for the world. By FAR the nicest UI of any mobile device I've used - slicker and more logical than either Android or iOS. As far as apps, I've never found BB10 to be lacking. It still has better apps in most categories than WinPhone does.

      What killed BlackBerry 10 was not the quality of the OS - it was simple loss of market momentum. RIM waited too long to advance it's platform. They eventually did a great job, but it was too late to catch up.

  6. flokie

    It definitely launched too late, in an unfinished state, and the lack of budget phones hurt them too. I really like my Q10 (which I got free with a 24mth £20 contract inc.a Deezer sub - I still think Orange messed that one up and 'sold' it as if it were a Curve! ) but yes, BB10 was a real pain to work with initially, I really missed the trackpoint as precise text selection was next to impossible.

    After the OS upgrades it is now a great phone. It's still very snappy two years on, the original problems have been smoothed out. I thought of upgrading to the Classic, but I no longer miss the physical buttons, and the hardware specs are otherwise similar to the Q10.

    I really hate to think there may be no further BB10 devices and having to go to either Apple (yikes!) or Androis (yikes!) for my next phone.. Thankfully the Q10 has got life left in it.

  7. Tim Jenkins

    "...Then in October, came the global network outage..."

    "...leaving BlackBerry owners capable of doing little more than make and receive calls for three days..."

    Or, in the case of a group of Network Rail chaps who I shared a hotel bar in mid-Wales with during that week, running up huge expenses on taster menus and vintage whiskies because their meeting protocols said they couldn't work with anything but the latest documents (fairly sensible on a complex track expansion and resignalling project) , and these were all tied up on unreachable BB servers. To their credit, they did spend a while trying to work round the blockage using Yahoo accounts...

  8. Craigness

    Priv buttons genius

    If Blackberry's side-button configuration on the Priv is their only legacy it will be worth it, just so I don't have to accidentally turn my tablet off when I'm fumbling in the dark round the back of the device trying to turn the volume up. Or when I'm walking with my phone in my pocket and have to feel for the off button, then slide down a bit for the volume, but not too far or it will go quiet. Changing the volume when you're trying to turn it off is a lot less of a hassle than turning it off when you're trying to change the volume.

    And the keyboard is good too. Reminds me of my Zaurus. So does their recent success (or lack of it).

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Yet no matter how much people say they care about privacy and security, (or insist that they do on the internets), in practice, they just don't put their money where their mouths are."

    Some people still take security seriously. When my daughter started a new job a few months ago she was issued with a company laptop and phone. The laptop was all set up with a VPN (she lives & works about 200 miles from the office and spends much of her time on site) which is used not only to access the office computer networks but is also used for conference calls. I've no doubt its drive is encrypted. And the phone is a BB of some variety. But then she handles a good deal of data which will be subject to a whole series of different regulatory regimes.

    Whatever the mass-market might want there's a serious business need for devices made where security is taken seriously. There's even a possibility that the mass market could flip and make security a must-have; NSA & GCHQ are doing a good marketing job in this respect.

    1. Tom 13

      @octor Syntax

      Make sure your daughter knows she is working for a smart company. For all the truth in your post, the truth in the quote overwhelms it.

      I work in an environment where those considerations OUGHT to dictate we are still on BB. Instead, somebody at the top of the food chain loved the iPhone interface so much they chose it over the BB. Back when we were on BlackBerry, we weren't affected by the worldwide outage. Our data was being moved on private servers, not the ones run by BB. Yes, when they chose BB originally security was that important too them, or at least ownership of the data was. About three years later a replacement decided the Apple lock-in was undesirable and approved Android devices. For us, a somewhat lower level manager said we're stuck with iOs and he's a big enough boss we can't get the decision overridden.

  10. fruitoftheloon
    Unhappy

    Not just me then...

    Well, it ain't exactly news, but it is sad, and the fall-out could be interesting...

    The Mrs has a Q5 which she loves, I recently replaced my much loved Sammy Note 2 with a Passport, which is a truly fabulous tool for getting stuff done on.

    I do wonder if more folk would have actually acquired a Passport, which wasn't exactly likely as it was hard to BUY ONE in a f'ing shop...

    /sniffs

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: Not just me then...

      I really wanted to like the Passport, but I tried in a range of pockets and nope. I tried using it with one hand. Nope. And so I was done.

      1. fruitoftheloon
        Pint

        @Hollerith Re: Not just me then...

        Hollerith,

        At least you had the oppo & inclination to try it!

        Also wtf is with the saddo who down-voted your post eh?

        Have one on me!

        Cheers,

        Jay.

      2. ROC

        Re: Not just me then...

        You and Dinsdale247 seem to have mismatched the Passport with the wrong carrying location. For a short while I had a similarly sized phone with a 4:3 ratio form factor, the LG Intuition from Verizon, and there was no way that was going to work in any of my pockets because of the warm humidity of North Carolina for much of the year - my tendency to sweat has always been toxic to any electronics in my pockets (never mind keys, coins, and pocket knife/tool to scratch up stuff). Also, it was just too big for my size and style of pants - would have looked like I was carrying a bomb or some such, and sitting would have been dangerous to the phone, and myself ;-} . Thus, I have always preferred my phones in belt holsters, but even that way the Intuition was just a bit too large, and had rather sharply squared corners that made it catch on everything, so not easy to carry around in either mode. I did like the size and form factor for viewing email, web pages, ebooks, and other documents, (very rarely bother with small screen video) but I might as well do it right, and carry a 7-inch tablet around in a small shoulder-strapped case (or pack).

        I found a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to have similar issues due to its size (at least its corners were somewhat rounded), so I have found my particular size limit to be about 5 inches, and that is with a decently fitting belt holster. A Lumia 640 (not the XL) is my current choice as an extended test of living without Android, which is going reasonably well. I had considered a BB for that test in the past year when the Passport came out, but when I realized its similarity to the Intuition in size/form, I gave up that notion (cost and availability also factoring in - the 640 is available a lot of places now for USD 80, which is a lot of "bang for the buck").

  11. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

    BB10 is not dead

    ... yet. We don't know for sure that there will not be new BB10 devices following "Priv". As Andrew said "BlackBerry 10 is deemed essential ... because of its security features.". This market niche is not going away. And some companies do not have to be large in order to make good and successful product; it is how you measure this success that bothers me (e.g. compare Pebble against Apple Watch).

    Yes, RIM was large company with large market share. Yes, Blackberry is much smaller company and its market share, compared to Apple or Google, is tiny. But they also significantly cut their cost, and are looking to expand to Android market. I do not see why this should be interpreted to mean that they will eventually abandon BB10; it is in the realm of possible that the cost of hardware design/development could be shared between both Android and BB10 divisions, allowing BB10 to continue its existence on new devices.

  12. J J Carter Silver badge
    FAIL

    No love for BBRY here

    BBRY lost me when the CEO lied about upgrading the Playbook to BB10.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No love for BBRY here

      What I want to know, is why have they not simply upgraded the PlayBook with a better processor and more memory like every other tablet manufacturer does every year? It would happily run BBOS 10 then.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

        Re: No love for BBRY here

        I wonder about too, and my theory is that got stung with the cost of unsold PlayBooks so badly, they are just not going to try it again. Which is a shame, I like this little tablet, and would love to see it (or its younger brother) with a new version of BB10.

  13. Cuddles Silver badge

    "But beyond receiving essential maintenance, it simply isn't a priority for BlackBerry, which boasts that it now has over 50 per cent of its staff in software and sales jobs."

    BB10 is software, so I fail to see how having lots of software jobs indicates it's not a priority.

  14. Dan 55 Silver badge

    BB10 - not dead, worth a lot

    Blackberry have done all the heavy lifting of making QNX a mobile OS. If they do tank then someone will buy it. Hopefully not Apple or Google or MS.

    They should have and should be making more of their Android compatibility on QNX. They could have cheaper consumer Android phones with some BB services on and more expensive enterprise QNX phones with some Play Services compatibility. Perhaps that's still possible.

    On the other hand, Windows Phone 10 is already buried. Microsoft have demonstrated time and again and are demonstrating now that they don't have any idea what to do with a mobile phone or a mobile OS.

    Meego was killed by executive decision, nothing more. The N9 was received well in the few markets where it launched.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      If the other 50% are management, we have a problem.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: BB10 - not dead, worth a lot

      It's not QNX that makes it a bear it's that the UI layer is in QT 4.8 and the current version of QT is 5.6. Of course the 5.x series wasn't released until late in 2012 and I understand the changes from 4.x are substantial. It may have been easier to switch back then but they were probably too busy trying to stay afloat. I don't think they'll get rid of QNX as it's probably a profitable segment as maintaining the core isn't likely all that difficult.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BB10 - not dead, worth a lot

      Still using my N9. Since NOKIA got consumed by MS the nokia store and app situation god screwed royally. There are ways around the verification issues, but they are a pain to go through. The phone itself is great and I have always liked the swipe interface.

      1. Dutchpiet

        Re: BB10 - not dead, worth a lot

        Still using my N9 a lost opportunity which Jolla tried to follow on with Sailfish and filed to match the simplicity of Meego.

    4. Bleu

      Re: BB10 - not dead, worth a lot

      MS did have a superior product in CE on the HP Journada, really more a Hitachi than a HP product.

      I bought a Psion 5mx just before the Journada appeared.

      Big mistake. Support from Psion here vanished within a year or so, although it did last long enough to have the guaranteed-to-fail screen cable replaced once under warranty, only because it failed so quickly.

      It then failed again, in short order (less than three months, only opening and closing the shell a few times a day). By then, support had vanished.

      Loved the 5mx, but the design problem was unforgivable. As far as I know, they never apologised or even admitted their fuck-up.

      Perhaps the total collapse of EPOC was the work of karma.

      I thought about sending it to the company in Germany that did cable replacements (for one that didn't break if one opened and closed the case a few times). I would guess that service is no longer available.

      Wish I'd waited a few months and bought a Journada instead.

      It would still be a usable toy, unlike my dead Psion.

      So, Microsoft, in collaboration with Hitachi, and under the banner of HP, did get mobile computing for the time very right at least once.

      1. ROC

        Re: BB10 - not dead, worth a lot - HPC's

        Right! The Handheld PC (HPC) form factor - I still have a 680, 690, and 728 (inside a 720 case - much less garish screen back), and keep thinking about selling them on eBay since I just don't use them any more. Along those lines, I would love to see an update to modern technology in that form factor - maybe the rumored Surface phone/phablet with a matching Type cover? I also liked the similarly designed, but larger NEC MobilePro 780 and 900 models. Their keyboards were almost full-sized as compared to the Jornadas, and were wonderful for taking notes in classes and meetings with Pocket Word. I keep hoping that form factor, too, will be resurrected with modern components so as to be much thinner, with higher-res touch screens, and capable of running x86 Windows AND LInux.

        Actually a current 7-8 inch tablet with built-in clamshell keyboard would be awesome, and not much of a stretch using existing components. I have tried such tablets with separate bluetooth keyboards, but dealing with the separate pieces (including some kind of stand) is a lot of hassle. I wish there were such slim, closely matched keyboard cases for the Windows tablets as are rampant for the iPad Mini, but the only offerings I have found seem to be much clunkier one-size-fits-all hulks from Zagg, Belkin, Logitech etc. A trackpoint would make such a design even more of a killer (optical, ala the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 keyboard, which is my immediate add-on for any 10-inch, or bigger, tablet).

  15. The Quiet One

    My Wife will be gutted...

    She has been a BB user since the 9700 Bold. She absolutely loves her Q10 and just cannot understand why modern phones don't have keypads.

    Such is the way of modern tech that when someone at work asked her what phone she had, they thought she was joking when she told them.

    Blackberry missed the smartphone bus and have been chasing it down the road for years. It's a shame this is how they will end up, but they have had enough chances to get this right.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: My Wife will be gutted...

      "just cannot understand why modern phones don't have keypads."

      I'm with her on this. I miss having real keyboards on phones. Touchscreens have their place, but acting like a keyboard is not it.

    2. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: My Wife will be gutted...

      BB user since 7320 (which is still working by the way, battery life 5 days). Stopped with the Bold 9700 as I'm fairly old school. I too like the keyboard, I've mashed the earphone socket on the 9700 and the Bold 9000 chews battery. We need alpha keyboards!

    3. Hollerith 1

      Re: My Wife will be gutted...

      I still have my pre-GPS Bold. It's a bit thick, but has never caused me a moment of trouble, does what I want from a phone (calles, text, emails) and fits in my pocket and can be used one-handed if i have to. I will be as gutted as your good lady wife when (if) it goes.

    4. Bleu

      Re: My Wife will be gutted...

      Why are you threatening your wife with such a fate?

      1. The Quiet One

        Re: My Wife will be gutted...

        I have since bought her a Priv for her non-denominationally specific festive gift giving ceremony. She absolutely loves it!

        So that's two more years of peace for me.

  16. Hans 1 Silver badge

    I did not have any trouble copy-pasting a url into the browser, then again, I usually just tap it ... I have two z30's in my household.

    As for Android compatibility ... I have two Asus tables (ARM, Atom) and with either it is impossible to get the "keyboard" up reliably in clash of clans, the only game I occasionally play on those things.

    On the Z30's, it works like a charm. The z30's cannot save the game progress to the cloud, which means that you rely on the backup of the phone you have on your computer.

    iOS has the problem that when you update iOS, it removes all games and shit (god knows why) and you have to install it all again ... when you do not connect to save your game progress, you lose everything ... quite a few th9's and 10's lost there, in my clan, if the members are to be believed ...

    1. DougS Silver badge

      No it doesn't

      iOS doesn't remove anything if you upgrade, everything remains exactly the same except you have an updated OS. You don't need to spread FUD about alternatives just because Blackberry screwed first the pooch, then its customers.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      IOS does NOT 'remove all games and shit' when it is updated, at least not on any device I've ever used, and I've been an IOS device user for six years now. Seriously, man, saying things like that which can be trivially checked and determined to be grossly inaccurate does very little for your credibility.

  17. Jess

    I think the real issue was BB10 not working with existing infrastructure and the lack of upgradability of previous devices (especially the PB). If they couldn't make the things work with existing BB infrastructure, then they should have made the new devices able to dual boot into both old and new system. (Allowing home use on new and work on old, perhaps).

    I really don't see the point of going to android though, given the app compatibility, unless Google prevented them using play services on BB10, of course.

  18. Annihilator
    Unhappy

    Always short term

    Blackberry was a solution to a problem that was always going to be short-lived. Phones in the late 90's/early 00's had limited computational and network resources and required a middleware layer to do the heavy lifting and pushing of emails. It was as limited as the WAP/WML web equivalent, but combined with an epic UI helped it string out it's demise a bit longer.

    I'll miss it though.

  19. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    I'm looking forward to the Priv

    Still running an Xperia Pro with the hardware keyboard, and its 2011 hardware is struggling with a Kitkat ROM. I'm hoping the keyboard and battery life are ok on the Priv so that I can buy one unlocked and keep it for years. Ideally a removable battery would be awesome, too, but that may be expecting too much.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Polished on Arrival

    "I doubt even the most enthusiastic fanbois will claim that BlackBerry 10 was mature or polished on arrival. "

    No indeed I was not amused. Never mind bloody Android compatibility, basis such as SMTP-over-SSL was what I was expecting, and was very very annoyed indeed to be forced to use SMTP with plain text authentication for a few months until SSL support was added to a later release.

    Oh, and the desktop calendar and contacts sync debacle. WTF Blackberry? Which blue sky thinking idiot was responsible for the decision that syncing will be entirely via 'the cloud'? DICKHEAD. Seriously. He evidently didn't realise that most BB owners didn't have - or want - cloud accounts and synced their desktop email and contacts directly to their phones over USB ... it really wouldn't have been hard to work out, as most BB owners were already owners of previous BB handsets.

    [iCal calendar sync still doesn't work to this day, although fortunately you can send yourself individual iCal items and the calendar does understand them]

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Polished on Arrival

      Bit late this, I know but I've only just seen it. I know there's nothing more annoying than someone saying "it works fine for me" but iCal syncs OK on my BB Classic, 10.3.2.2474. caldav.icloud.com is the server and <account>@icloud.com I struggled for a while with Calendar and Contacts synch because I set the servers as caldav@icloud.com........

      Also - and with apologies for assuming everyone is as stupid as I am - have you got the iCloud calendar(s) turned on in settings?

      Having said that - it's disgusting that the BB website still claims that BB Link will synch on a Mac. I too got the BB hoping to get my stuff off the cloud. BB Link won't synch contacts or calendar and can't see music and movies. PoS - but as many have commented they won't ever fix it and they don't give a toss.

  21. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    The Phone For Adults

    Forget apps, the thing that my Z10 did EXTRAORDINARILY well was let me actually write. The on-screen keyboard and predictive text were many generations beyond the crap Android software.

    With the BB I could actually write fairly long, multi-paragraph letters. Back on Android I think twice before doing a text message.

    Beyond that though, the issues with apps that I actually did need, the horrible way BB mangled my Google contact lists, and the absolute and complete lack of end user support all contributed to my decision to abandon them when the phone finally was dropped and broken.

    Oh, and BB steadfastly refuses to support Linux users, so good luck backing up your data.

  22. Charlie Foxtrot

    BB death greatly exagerated

    I'd bet a pint or two that the single largest purchaser of BB devices is the "G". All US governmental agencies use them.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: BB death greatly exagerated

      >> All Most US governmental agencies use them.

      I can think of two entire departments that do not and use either Samsung handsets with KNOX instead or whatever MS calls their preferred MDM and Security solution for WinPho. The Congresscritters and Justice are still hung up on BB though, as are parts of DHS, and as I recall CIA was as well as recently as two years ago. So there's plenty of BlackBerry usage in the Federal Government still, but its by no means universal any longer.

  23. DrXym Silver badge

    I dug my PlayBook out of the cupboard the other day

    It's remarkable how good the hardware is but the software is already showing signs of bit rot. It's a pity that there is no aftermarket way of flashing Android to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I dug my PlayBook out of the cupboard the other day

      You're lucky.

      When I got mine off the shelf after a while for a mess around, the thing wouldn't power up.

      Clarting about with "stack charging" or whatever it was for a couple of hours didn't bring it back to life.. ended up throwing the thing in the bin. Still, I must've got at least 3 days use out of it for the £100 or so I paid, so I can't complain :-\

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: I dug my PlayBook out of the cupboard the other day

        I guess I'm lucky but the tablet still went back in the cupboard. I use the charger for my phone though because it has a nice long cable. The PB used to be my bedside tablet / alarm clock for a while though I never liked the browser much. The email client was the best thing about it.

        Ironically RIM gave me the Playbook as part of one of their developer programs so it cost me nothing. I used it to port an android app over to their tablet which proved to be quite difficult because apps were packaged up differently and their store / approval process was excruciating.

  24. JohnFen Silver badge

    My personal reason

    Blackberry went on my "don't touch with a ten foot pole" list when they started arranging things to allow governments to more easily monitor their encrypted communications.

    I'm more comfortable working with a company that I know I can't trust from the start rather than a company that betrays a trust later.

    1. Jess

      Re: My personal reason

      That was to comply with local laws. Don't forget they are not American, so don't have to comply with the Patriot Act. (I suspect it would still apply within America. )

      I personally, do not wish to have a foreign government able to tell the manufacturer of my mobile phone to push out software to it.

      Obviously I am aware that any mobile phone can be tracked, by the nature of how it works, but that is under the control of my government.

    2. jwyoungy

      Re: My personal reason

      what in the heck are you speaking about? Governments have been able to hack communications on every other mobile OS for ever. BlackBerry is the only one that can prevent it and has only helped governments spy on citizens under specific circumstances. BlackBerry is many cases doesn't even have access to encryption keys used by its users. If you want any hope of security and it's important to you, BlackBerry is the only choice.

  25. Jim84

    Apps, Apps, Apps + 2 questions.

    The real problem is the lack of a complete app store. Reading this article I thought "Oh, I might give Here Maps a try". But then it wasn't in the Blackberry World app store, or in the Amazon app store. I went to the play store in my chrome browser on my PC, and there it was.

    Yes I've read that there is some way to "side load" apps onto blackberry 10 by downloading apks, but screw that.

    All android phones seem to have the same slightly shitty User Interface. What I'd like for the Blackberry Priv is for the user interface to work exactly like that on the Blackberry passport, hub included.

    So the questions:

    (1) Could you make a blackberry phone running android with a user interface exactly like that of BBOS 10, or is there some way that android restricts/prevents this?

    (2) Why isn't Nokia Here Maps in the Amazon App store??

    1. Jess

      Re: Apps, Apps, Apps + 2 questions.

      To get access to Google play store you need to sideload one app. It is called snap. It involves using a chrome addon and putting the BlackBerry in developer mose. Once done, it works just like the amazon store. I am typing this from firefox on my Q5

  26. Gene Cash Silver badge

    RIM had spent much of the Noughties suing the hell out of everyone

    FTFY

    Seriously... does El Reg not remember when it used to call RIM "Lawsuits In Motion"?

    That's the major reason I never tried a Blackberry.

  27. DougS Silver badge

    What Blackberry ideas were "copied by Google and Apple" as the article claims?

    More to the point, were they truly original ideas, or stuff on the level of 'rounded corners' and 'bigger phones'?

    1. Wilson! Wilson!

      Re: What Blackberry ideas were "copied by Google and Apple" as the article claims?

      If you remember how Android/iOS were in 2013 and compare them to the latest versions of their respective OS's, you can see how much better they are today. From better security, notification centers, to Facetime, to multitasking etc.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: What Blackberry ideas were "copied by Google and Apple" as the article claims?

        How is "better security" copying Blackberry? Or Facetime...when did Blackberry do video calling, and even if so why is that something that Blackberry "invented" when it has been invented many times over the years? As for multitasking, don't make me laugh.

        This is pretty much what I expected, there's nothing that Blackberry did that either copied, and even if Blackberry did them first they certainly didn't invent them. Like I though, "ideas" on the level of 'rounded corners' and 'bigger phones'.

  28. dodo27

    BlackBerry 10 runs android 4.3

    Honestly, BlackBerry 10 is a great operating system, unrivalled when it comes to productivity and the qnx hypervisor allows it to have an android runtime of 4.3.

    Since the 10.3.1 update my berries have been running android apps that don't depend on google play services better than my android devices.

    It's great to see them offering a google play services option with the slider. I seriously hope the user interface has bb10's active frames or something similar.

    The shortcuts, the universal inbox the typing speed and accuracy and the battery life are the reasons I use and provide my staff with BlackBerry 10 devices.

  29. Richard Plinston Silver badge

    > Why is it that in the 1980s and 1990s, you could write a DOS-compatible OS and run DOS apps, without Microsoft's approval? DOS was proprietary system.

    MS-DOS 1 was a clone of CP/M for the 8086/8088*. Some say that its origin: QDOS, was built from a decompiled CP/M BDOS using an 'annotated decompiler' plus Intel 8080 -> 8086 conversion tools. Both SCP and MS were CP/M OEMs with all the source code that DRI would allow. When, allegedly, DRI demonstrated a DRI copyright in PC-DOS 1, IBM settled with, among other things, the right to use any MS/PC-DOS feature in DRI's products.

    > But today, with "free" and "open" Android you must get Google's approval?

    As you say: anyone can do a Google-free Android (without the name) without Google's approval** _OR_ can sign a contract with Google to do a Google based Android with all the Google services. They can't do both.

    > You can't sell both a Google-blessed "compatible" Android in your line-up, and a compatible-but-not-approved-by-Google Android. You must choose.

    Exactly. And in a similar vein: You can be a MS OEM selling Windows PCs, OR you can sell Linux Netbooks, but you can't do both and expect to keep your 'loyalty discounts' on all MS products worth millions.

    * later MS did an actual clone of CP/M for the Z80 with their MSX-DOS. This would run CP/M software.

    ** anyone such as Amazon, Nokia, Cyanogen, and many Chinese makers.

    1. maspiers

      u can be a MS OEM selling Windows PCs, OR you can sell Linux Netbooks?

      Dell does both.

  30. Joerg

    Windows10 Mobile Metro/ModernUI same fate...

    The whole Windows10 Metro/ModernUI childish unusable nonsense crap.. the Surface/SurfacePro nonsense and Windows10 Mobile are going to disappear soon just like BlackBerry/RIM with its BB10 OS.

  31. JLV Silver badge

    Big I ain't sure about. We used to sell industrial PCs with QNX late 80s. 4MB RAM, admittedly 4x that of a DOS box.

    Price? Spot on. That $500 Z10 I got unlocked for $200 in January. Nice phone, bargain. But at $500 hardly enticing for the masses to jump ecosystems.

    Alicia Keys? Spot on too. Wrong message, wrong emphasis. Coulda been worse - Kimmy Kardashian worse.

    Rightly or wrongly, what I prefer with the z10 is precisely it not being Android. It's rock solid, never jitters, works fine wo replacing half the apps, runs long and recharges quickly. Predictive keyboard is amazing. Upgrades let you use the phone all the way to the final 2 minutes of reboot. Phone & batteries first, apps second.

    Those qualities likely won't be there (my perception) on a BBDroid, so not holding my breath.

    You can pick up cheap Lumia 1020 with the 41mp cameras now. Unfortunately they might be stuck on WP 8.1, not sure if 10 is being ported. Oh well that z10 can last a while yet.

  32. jwyoungy

    BB10 user by choice

    I chose to have my company supplied phone be a BlackBerry Passport for a number of reasons.

    I like a solid feeling phone that's durable. Most Android phones feel cheap to me. I take a lot of pictures and videos and have many files including documents and music stored on my device. my employer would only pay for a 16 Gb iPhone so that's out of the question with no expandable memory. The BB10 OS is great and easy to use. The Passport is a tank with tons of memory (32Gb internal and 64 Gb micro SD card) and the battery last all day. the apps I want I have. I for one would hate to see it go and will continue to use it until it does. The security is a nice bonus for me, not essential for my business.

  33. 4ron

    BlackBerry was voted to have the best operating system by the experts who know, not this author!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry: BlackBerry keyboards will still be around...

    If you like the BlackBerry physical keyboard, don't worry: the new Android device, the "Priv", has the BlackBerry keyboard on it.

    If you like BB10 though, there will likely be no new fancy powerful BlackBerry 10 device produced: anything that is produced will be a clone of the Passport made on the cheap for mass deployments to government workers.

    If you want to see BlackBerry 10 OS ported over to the new Slider "Priv" device, you better start making noise NOW, because it's now or never.

  35. John Savard Silver badge

    If You Can't Virtualize Android

    Why not make a smartphone that thinks it's a tablet? Except that it does have a connection to the Internet which is shared from a virtual copy of the BlackBerry 10 operating system running on the phone, which does have access to the cell phone hardware on the unit?

    Of course, unlike virtualizing Android, that won't sandbox away nasties within Android from possibly attacking the BB10 OS, but other tricks, like encrypting the VM, modifying Android to add some extra security, and so on, might exist that could make this an effective approach.

  36. something_or_another
    Alert

    My problem with Droids...........

    I've owned many, all the Note platforms and a few before. Now I can't say I have researched this, and how it will impact the BB platform, but I hope all you Droid lovers know, that come Aug 1, 2016, TLS/1.0 is dead .... and if you want to buy something, and the platform that will take your credit card is actually PCI compliant, Android 4.3 and lower are out of luck (And fuck an iPhone).

    That is truth. Android platforms discontinue support WAY too early. After you buy one, you might get one or two software updates before you're left with a vulnerable POS, and if you think they care about security - IT'S FUCKING GOOGLE. I don't want to hear, "ummm, they're separate" BULLSHIT! They want your data for free, and they don't care if you do care.

    Unless you have the desire to void your warranty and learn to root/replace your OS, Droids don't give a shit about you; especially your privacy, or supporting modern TLS protocols. I will be looking to go back to BB, since my love affair with my 7290 - aka the indestructible.....and if it did have a hardware failure, you could still back everything up before RMA'ing it ... screen never breaking, drop after drop after drop. 1st drop of the Note 3 - spider webbed screen.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BB Classic

    Is really a rather good work phone

    Battery last well

    Browsing and maps OK

    Email and other messaging excellent

    Keyboard the best

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