Research in Motion’s recent hot streak continues with a pair of endorsements from unlikely sources. This morning, Reuters reported the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency—which dumped the BlackBerry for the iPhone a few months back, along with a pair of other spooked enterprise clients—will test run BlackBerry 10 devices early next year. And yesterday, Ironfire Capital’s Eric Jackson, a long-time high-profile RIM pessimist, publicly reversed his position, arguing that RIM’s 80 million global subscribers could keep the company afloat. Add in a soaring share price and rave reviews for the latest leaked BlackBerry 10 photos, and RIM’s future is looking more promising that it has in a long, long time. [Reuters]
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Anyone who has felt the stomach-lurching anguish of dropping an iPhone and shattering the screen can appreciate the value of a well-made protective case. Happily, swift-moving retailers have already released a range of whimsical, stylish and sleek options for the iPhone 5—and, given that Apple’s latest starts at a whopping $700, we imagine demand is high. Here are our favourites, which range from cute to kickass. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
With Apple’s billion-dollar legal victory over Samsung dominating tech news this week, we wondered how the outcome of the patent lawsuit would affect Research in Motion. Turns out we weren’t alone on that front. Here’s the consensus: the ruling potentially benefits RIM, Nokia and other companies that don’t use Google’s Android operating system. Basically, Samsung’s U.S. market share could falter as it faces a court ban on selling eight of its models there; moreover, other Android manufacturers will need to take extra time before releasing new products to ensure they don’t infringe on Apple’s patents (although, to be fair, most of the infringements were Samsung-specific). Finally, the ruling reinforces the value of tech sector patents, of which RIM owns a large portfolio. The main point of uncertainty for the Canadian tech giant is the same one that’s been plaguing RIM for months—namely, whether the company can get BlackBerry 10 out quickly enough to capitalize on this opportunity.
There was a time when you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting someone listening to music on Apple earbuds, but times have changed from the days of the first-generation iPod nearly 11 years ago. Those white earbuds, free with purchase, have a tendency to fall apart rather quickly, so we went looking for good-looking options with high quality sound that lent themselves to four distinctly different ways of listening: lying poolside relaxing to Frank Ocean; strutting down Queen Street West; lounging in an open-concept loft space on a Barcelona chair listening to Massive Attack; and travelling comfortably (the pair we’ve selected is also for those who don’t really care about how their headphones look).
Why buy a camera? It’s just another gadget that only does one thing—a fatal flaw in the age of multi-tasking, especially when our smart phones take pretty good pictures (the new iPhone 4S includes an embedded camera with a screen-shattering eight megapixels). But that doesn’t mean they can’t be better. Enter the Olloclip, a lens attachment that lets iPhone users go full-Karsh. Developed about a year ago by an amateur photographer in California, it features three interchangeable lenses—fish-eye, wide-angle and macro—in a tiny, pocket-friendly design. Clip one on, and the iPhone camera gets a range of shooting options otherwise available only with a professional photo kit. Because the action’s all happening on your phone, these amped-up pics can be Instagram-ed and posted to Pinterest immediately. Let’s see a DSLR do that.
$70. Apple Store, 220 Yonge St., 647-258-0801.
Research in Motion’s embarrassing flash mob outside a Sydney Apple store was a sign of worse things to come for its Australian operations. Last week, RIM’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand left the company after less than three months in the position. Then this week, Qantas Airways announced it would start using iPhones instead of BlackBerrys for its 1,300 company-issued phones — in part because the company expects to save more than $1 million through simplified infrastructure and data agreements, but also because a survey suggested employees would rather have iPhones than BlackBerrys. So, basically, RIM is struggling to hold on to executives, corporate clients and consumers. Not good. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Seattle-based tech company SoloMatrix has created a physical, fold-away keyboard for the iPhone and is more than halfway to its funding goal of $75,000 on Kickstarter. The retractable device, called Spike, fits directly onto the iPhone and provides a tactile typing experience in lieu of the phone’s virtual (and sometimes frustrating) keyboard. While not perfect—The Verge reports that the keyboard adds bulk to the phone when folded away—Spike is another draw to the iPhone for remaining BlackBerry users, many of whom have only stuck with Research in Motion’s smartphone because they like its physical keyboard. As if RIM didn’t already have enough to worry about. [The Verge]
The Toronto Star has just reported that Microsoft has applied for building permits to open its first retail store in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall. While the fact that Microsoft even has stand-alone stores is news to us, it seems they are already pretty well established in the United States, with 20-odd stores set up across the country. News of the store opening comes soon after Microsoft launched its new tablet, the Microsoft Surface, earlier this week, stating that the product would only be sold through official Microsoft channels. A storefront in Toronto means Canadian customers won’t be restricted to purchasing the Surface online, a strategic move for Microsoft as it attempts to draw customers away from other popular tablets, like RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook and Amazon’s Kindle (but really we suspect that it just wants to stick it to Apple’s iPad).
A his-and-hers medicine cabinet loaded for the kind of people who need more than Ivory and Crest to get through life
At the annual BlackBerry World trade show in Orlando yesterday, Research in Motion top dog Thorsten Heins unveiled prototypes of the new BlackBerry 10 devices that should have been out a long time ago be launched to the public later this year. The phones, which will be distributed to developers so they can get busy on creating apps, look like mini-PlayBooks, with a 4.2-inch screen, a fancy predictive keyboard and an improved camera. This is a make-it-or-break-it device for RIM—it’s widely acknowledged BB10 has to succeed if the company is going to survive. So, does it look like RIM has the product that will save it? Here’s a roundup of what the pundits, analysts and developers are saying about the new devices.
Samsung has announced that it plans to open several retail outlets across Canada this year, furthering its plot to win over disgruntled Apple users. These stores, following in Apple and Sony’s footsteps, are meant to keep consumers’ focus on Samsung products (as opposed to, say, Future Shop, where there are many different brands) and strengthen brand loyalty. A lot of details haven’t yet been revealed, including exact locations (though the company is widely expected to open its first Canadian store in Yorkdale Mall), but with the brand’s huge growth in the smart phone and tablet markets (thanks in no small part to a partnership with Google and the use of the Android software platform), they’re sure to be busy. To build up hype a little more before the new stores’ arrival, we suggest hiring a bunch of hipsters to wait in line for the next Galaxy device.