Nostalgic for those mobile phones with a physical keyboard? Brace yourself, because as of Tuesday many models of the once-indispensable BlackBerry devices will no longer work.
The Canadian company has decided to pull the plug on new updates of its operating system, meaning most BlackBerries that became synonymous with the emerging mobile digital culture of recent decades — and were embraced by politicians and business executives — will not operate correctly after January 4.
“As of this date, devices running these legacy services and software through either carrier or Wi-Fi connections will no longer reliably function, including for data, phone calls, SMS, and 9-1-1 (emergency) functionality,” the company said on its website last month.
The “end-of-life” (EOL) move, as Blackberry called it, impacts BlackBerry 7.1 OS and earlier, BlackBerry 10 software, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1, and earlier versions.
The company did say, however, that devices using Google’s Android operating system, including the BlackBerry KEY2 released in 2018 and designed by China’s TCL Group, would not be affected by the changes.
The EOL decision marks the end of an era in mobile telephony, which reached its peak in the late 2000s when BlackBerry met with widespread commercial success, especially among professionals.
The large QWERTY keyboard for easier emailing and the simple, uncluttered design were favored by business leaders, celebrities, politicians and journalists.
Former US President Barack Obama was famously addicted to his BlackBerry and insisted on keeping his phone in the White House after his election in 2008, forcing his security detail to build him a custom model reduced to basic features to keep his data safe.
BlackBerries were ultimately supplanted by smartphones, notably beginning with Apple’s iPhone, which launched in 2009.
Attempts to relaunch BlackBerry fizzled, and its partnership with TCL for the KEY2, the latest model, was not renewed.
Since 2013, the firm based in Waterloo, Ontario, and formerly named Research In Motion has focused on software development and production.
A Public Affairs Analyst, Babatunde Gbadamosi, has urged the authorities handling the rescue activities to put up the pictures of the over 200 abducted Chibok girls on social media (twitter,blackberry, facebook) and everywhere across the nation.
He said that having the picture everywhere would help Nigerians identify the girls if the members of the Boko Haram sect decides to split the girls. “The pictures will help provide information on the abducted girls,” he said.
Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Gbadamosi criticised the alleged rumours that the girls’ abduction was a scam. He stated that the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima went to London searching for “Borehole Engineers” that would help in the search of the girls.
Mr Gbadamosi called on Nigerians to support the security operatives in the rescue mission, pointing out that the operatives are at risk of losing their lives while searching for the girls.
On the reports that some generals are allegedly selling weapons to Boko Haram, he condemned the act and further pointed out that equipment and information about troops were also sold to the insurgents, calling it an “internal sabotage”.
He also stressed the need for the security agents to be adequately provided for with mechanisms needed in fighting the insurgency.
Stressing the need for the insurgency to be tackled with intensified effort, he stressed that “certain kind of people need to be excluded from combat zones, command positions and security sensitive positions” in order for the security agents to tackle the insurgents effectively.
He also criticised those that are not being sincere about the abduction. “Different sides to the story make it look untrue which is why some people believe its a scam,” he said.
Channels Television is the number one news organisation making the best use of social media in Nigeria.
This is according to the Alder Social Media Report for 2014, put together by Alder Consulting, a creative intelligence company in Nigeria.
According to the report, Channels Television came first on three levels of ranking – expert ranking, popular ranking and overall ranking – ahead of other online news media; Punch and Sahara Reporters.
Channels Television was identified as the top news organisation which effectively uses social media to connect and engage users of the new media.
This is no surprise as Channels Television has the highest followership on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus ahead of other television stations in Nigeria.
Recently, Channels Television’s YouTube subscriber base hit 100, 000, making the 8-time Nigerian Television Station of the Year, the fourth station in Africa to reach and surpass the mark.
Channels also has approximately 300,000 downloads for its mobile app across various platforms including the Windows, Android, Apple and Blackberry. The Channels TV YouTube Channel has also been viewed over 14 million times.
In the latest Alder Social Media Report, Channels Television is also rated among the top three Nigerian brands known for providing up-to-date information, as well as relevant information using the social media platform.
Twenty people were injured, with seven sent to hospital, when a promotional stunt in Seoul for LG’s G2 smartphone went wrong, the company has said.
LG has cancelled a series of events promoting the handset as a result of the incident in Seoul on Friday.
People arrived with BB guns and knives on sticks for a race to grab smartphone vouchers hanging from helium balloons. LG has taken responsibility for the situation and said it would cover related medical costs.
“LG Electronics deeply regrets that a number of Korean participants were injured during an outdoor promotional event in Seoul, Korea,” a statement from the firm said.
“We can confirm that seven participants were hospitalised and, although none of the injuries were serious, LG takes full responsibility for the unfortunate situation and has offered to cover all related medical expenses.
“LG is investigating the incident to ensure that such an occurrence can be avoided in the future.”
The company added that other planned events had been called off because of safety concerns. LG released 100 helium balloons, each with a free smartphone voucher, at the so-called G in the Cloud event, which took place in an outdoor park in the South Korean capital city.
The phones, which sell for KRW 950,000 in South Korea ($851; £550), would be given to people in possession of the voucher, the company said.
Customers arrived with BB guns to shoot down the balloons and surged forward when they were released.
One regional TV channel has dubbed the scrum “World War G” – a comparison to the film World War Z in which zombies scramble over each other to climb over a wall.
The handset was released in New York last week, after weeks of build-up on social media. It is expected to be available globally with more than 130 carriers within several weeks.
BlackBerry plans to ask securities regulators in Canada and the United States to probe what it said is a “false and misleading” report that consumer return rates for BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone have been especially high.
The Canadian company, which has pinned its turnaround hopes on its new BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones, went on the offensive on Friday after the report from Boston-based research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton sent its stock tumbling on Thursday.
BlackBerry said return rates for its flagship Z10 devices have been at, or below, its forecasts and in line with industry norms.
“To suggest otherwise is either a gross misreading of the data or a willful manipulation,” Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said in a statement. “Such a conclusion is absolutely without basis and BlackBerry will not leave it unchallenged.”
BlackBerry said Detwiler Fenton had so far refused to share its report or its methods. It said it would present a formal request for an investigation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and to the Ontario Securities Commission, which is Canada’s major securities regulator, over the next few days.
Detwiler has had run-ins with regulators in the past, documents reviewed by Reuters show. But none of the cases involved questions about the accuracy of Detwiler’s research or were linked to BlackBerry.
The OSC said it would review the matter once it receives a formal complaint.
“After the first 14 days, quality performance of the Z10 has been in line with similar devices we’ve launched,” said Debra Lewis, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless.
A spokeswoman for Detwiler did not respond to a phone call and an email from Reuters seeking comment. The director of research also did not respond to a call seeking comment.
“We believe key retail partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” its report said. Detwiler Fenton gave no details on how it had gleaned this information.
While a number of brokerage firms have in recent weeks published reports saying Z10 sales in the U.S. market are slow, none of them have flagged any major concerns about returns.
Since 2007, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the industry body that oversees broker-dealers, has fined Detwiler over $250,000 and has cited it for several compliance violations over the past decade.
In December 2011, FINRA sanctioned Detwiler for failing to properly supervise its employees and for allowing its brokers to make more trades than necessary in clients’ accounts to boost commissions during a period between 2006 and 2009.
In 2007, the firm, which was then called Detwiler Mitchell Fenton & Graves, settled administrative proceedings that the SEC brought against it for failing to supervise Bradford Bleidt, a former employee who had been simultaneously running a $30 million Ponzi scheme.
BlackBerry is attempting to claw back market share lost to rivals such as Apple Inc’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy line of smartphones with its new line of devices, powered by the revamped BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The new Z10 touchscreen smartphone, the first of its new devices, hit store shelves earlier this year. And the Q10, with BlackBerry’s famed physical keyboard, will go on sale in Canada and the United Kingdom before the end of April.
BlackBerry, which has changed its name from Research In Motion, has yet to prove to the market that its new devices can trigger a turnaround. The company expects to report break-even results in the current quarter, but a true picture will not emerge until later this year.
BlackBerry stock has remained highly volatile as analysts are split on whether the turnaround plan will succeed. Research reports often bring major swings in the company’s share price.
Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, which fell 7.7 percent on Thursday, closed up less than a percent on Friday at $13.64 on Nasdaq.
BlackBerry will offer technology to separate and make secure both work and personal data on mobile devices powered by Google Inc’s Android platform and by Apple Inc’s iOS operating system, the company said on Thursday.
The new feature could help BlackBerry sell high-margin services to enterprise clients even if many, or all, of their workers are using smartphones made by BlackBerry’s competitors. That may be crucial for the company as it has lost a vast amount of market share to the iPhone and to Android devices, such as Samsung Electronics Co’s (005930.KS) Galaxy line.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said he expects BlackBerry’s device management software to gain traction this year, and boost revenue next year.
“Supporting devices with the best, most secure, and easiest-to-use mobile solution should enable RIM to transform into what we believe is an attractive model,” he said in a note to clients.
The offering could help BlackBerry shore up its profitable services business. BlackBerry’s shares plunged in December after it said it would change the way it charges for services, cutting fees for customers that do not need advanced security and other enhanced features.
The new Secure Work Space feature will be available before the end of June, and will be managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, the platform that allows BlackBerry’s corporate and government clients to handle devices using different operating systems on their networks.
BlackBerry said the feature fences off corporate email, calendar, contacts, tasks, memos, web browsing and document editing from personal apps and content, which could be less secure.
In a bid to regain market share and return to profit, BlackBerry introduced a new line of smartphones powered by its BlackBerry 10 operating system earlier this year.
The touch screen version, dubbed the Z10, is on sale in more than 20 countries, while a device called the Q10, with a physical keyboard, will be available in April.
The new devices have a feature called Balance, which keeps corporate and personal data separate. It allows information technology departments to manage the corporate content on a device, while ensuring privacy for users, who can store and use personal apps and content on the same phone without corporate oversight.
With Secure Work Space, “we’re extending as many of these (Balance) features as possible to other platforms,” David Smith, BlackBerry’s head of mobile enterprise computing, said in a statement.
BlackBerry’s move comes as Samsung, whose Galaxy devices have gained great popularity, attempts to make itself a more viable option for business customers with security features such as Samsung Knox and SAFE, or Samsung for Enterprise.
BlackBerry said Secure Work Space means clients would not need to configure and manage expensive virtual private network VPN.L infrastructure in order to give workers’ devices access to data and applications that reside behind corporate firewalls.
“Secure Work Space also offers the same end-to-end encryption for data in transit as we have offered on BlackBerry for many years, so there is no need for a VPN,” Peter Devenyi, head of enterprise software, said in an interview.
The new feature could also help stem declines in BlackBerry’s service revenue. That business has long been a cash cow for BlackBerry because of the large clients that pay to use its extensive network and security offerings.
However, the company has been under pressure to reduce its infrastructure access fees, and opted to do so during the transition to BlackBerry 10. Due to the changes, BlackBerry’s service revenue is expected to decline over the course of this year.
Giving its large array of corporate clients the ability to manage BlackBerry devices, along with Android smartphones and iPhones on their networks might encourage both corporate and government clients to continue to pay for and use BlackBerry’s device management services.
BlackBerry plans to report quarterly results on March 28.
Last week, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said sales of the Z10 had surpassed BlackBerry’s expectations in emerging markets such as India, where cheaper entry-level phones are typically popular.
On Wednesday, the company said it had received an order for 1 million BlackBerry 10 smartphones – the largest order it has ever had from a single customer – and its shares jumped.
BlackBerry’s volatile stock closed up 8.2 percent at $15.65 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, while its Toronto-listed shares rose by a similar margin to C$16.04
Yahoo Inc is shutting down seven products, including its mobile app for Blackberry smartphones, as new Chief Executive Marissa Mayer takes a page from Google Inc’s Playbook by eliminating unsuccessful products en masse.
The product shutdowns, which Yahoo announced on its official company blog on Friday, are part of what the company said are regular efforts to evaluate and review its product lineup.
“The most critical question we ask is whether the experience is truly a daily habit that still resonates for all of you today,” wrote Jay Rossiter, Yahoo’s executive vice president of Platforms.
The announcement represents Yahoo’s second group shutdown of products since Mayer, a former Google executive, became CEO of the struggling Web portal in July. So-called “spring cleaning” announcements, in which multiple products are shut down, have become a regular feature at Google in recent years.
Mayer signaled the company would prune its line-up of mobile apps at an investor conference last month, noting that Yahoo would reduce the 60 to 75 disparate mobile apps it currently has to a more manageable 12 to 15 apps.
Yahoo said its app for Blackberry smartphones would no longer be available for download, or supported by Yahoo, as of April 1.
Yahoo also said that on April 1 it will stop supporting Yahoo Avatars – the cartoon-like digital characters that consumers create to depict them on Web services such as Yahoo instant messenger and Facebook. Consumers who want to continue using their avatar on Yahoo’s online services must download the avatar and then re-upload the information to their personalized Yahoo profile.
The other Yahoo products set to be terminated include Yahoo App Search, Yahoo Sports IQ, Yahoo Clues, the Yahoo Message Boards website and the Yahoo Updates API.
Trial has finally commenced in the murder case of a Nasarawa State University postgraduate student, Cynthia Osokogu who was allegedly lured to Lagos by men she became friends with on a social media platform, Facebook.
The late Cynthia died after she was allegedly poisoned, raped and strangulated to death by two of the men, Okwumo Nwabufo and Ezike Olisaeloka.
Presiding Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja refused all moves by the defence team to stall the trial and promptly took the testimony of the first prosecution witness after the arraignment of the 4 suspects in the case.
The four defendants all pleaded ‘not guilty’ to a six count charge brought against them.
The first prosecution witness, Mrs ifeanyiwa Njewu, a Biochemist graduate of the Federal University of Technology Minna, testified that as at the time of the incident, the 22nd of July, 2012, she worked as the receptionist of the Cosmilla Suites & Hotel at Lakeview, Phase 1 Estate, Amuwo Odofin LGA around Festac where the late Cynthia was killed.
In her testimony, she identified the 2nd and 4th defendant as being present at the hotel on the day of the incident.
Meanwhile, the court has granted bail to the 3rd and 4th defendants in the case. While the 1st & 2nd who allegedly committed the offence are still remanded at the Kirikiri Prison in Apapa area of Lagos.
Trial however continues on the 22nd of Feb.
The four accused persons are facing a six count charge. In the charge, the state alleged that two of the suspects, Okwumo and Ezike on or about 22 July, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Amuwo-Odofin, Festac Town, conspired to murder Cynthia Osokogu.
The state alleged that the suspects murdered Cynthia by administering Rohypnol Flunitrazepan tablet into her drink, chaining her hands and legs and strangled her to death.
The duo were also alleged to have stolen three blackberry phones valued at N150,000, Jewelleries, an international passport and a drivers licence belonging to Cynthia after they strangled her to death.
Orji Osita, the third suspect was charged for negligently selling the Rohypnol Flunitrazepan tablets to Ezike, the second defendant without a doctor’s prescription and without showing due care.
Ezike Nonso, the 4th defendant was the man who allegedly bought Cynthia’s stolen blackberry bold 5 and he was charged for being in possession of a stolen phone.
The late Cynthia is the only daughter of a Retired Major Frank Osokogu.
She was a post-graduate student and the owner of a popular fashion store in Nassarawa state, Nigeria.
A new line of BlackBerry 10 devices will provide Research In Motion with a framework for growth over the next decade, offering long-term value for unhappy shareholders, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said on Wednesday.
In an interview with Reuters, Heins said RIM had identified $800 million of the $1 billion of savings it promised for the financial year ending in early March, and was confident of finding the rest as it gets ready to launch the new phones.
RIM is betting that the new smartphones will help it claw back the market share it has lost to the likes of Apple Inc’s iPhone and devices powered by Google’s Android operating system.
Both consumers and corporate customers have abandoned the BlackBerry in droves, even though the devices offer security features that rivals have been unable to match.
“There’s this high-level security that you cannot walk away from, and then there’s ‘good enough’ security,” Heins said in an interview at RIM’s Waterloo, Ontario, campus, a sprawl of low-rise buildings.
But analysts remain skeptical, especially after the botched 2011 launch of RIM’s PlayBook tablet computer, which the company had hoped would compete with Apple’s wildly popular iPad. The PlayBook had top-of-the-line hardware, but its software was far from complete at the launch and needed multiple updates.
RIM delayed the roll-out of the BlackBerry 10 phones to the first quarter of 2013 so as not to repeat the errors that surrounded the PlayBook launch.
Heins said the delay was the correct decision – the way to ensure the BB10 phones are a high-quality product rather than a rushed one that would not meet customer expectations.
“I think it’s all lining up. Sometimes you get the feeling that the universe is in disarray, and with BlackBerry 10 coming, I see the stars lining up,” Heins said.
Sleek demo models
Sleek demo models of the new phones look much like the high-end smartphones in the market today, and company executives proudly showed off a touch-screen version and a version with the miniature QWERTY keyboard popular with many BlackBerry users.
Users flick a thumb or finger to maneuver from one program to another and can sneak a look at an incoming email while browsing the Internet or using other applications, a multi-tasking ability that RIM says rival devices lack.
Personal and business profiles can be kept separately, something RIM calls BlackBerry Balance. Corporations can erase only their share of the data on a device if they need to do so for security reasons, leaving personal photos, contacts and emails untouched.
The app library available at launch will not match the vast number available on other devices. Heins said RIM had chosen to focus on providing those apps needed in different regional markets. It expects some 100,000 apps to be ready at launch.
The developer community has been broadly enthusiastic about the devices. But financial analysts have mixed views on their likely reception in an ultra-competitive market.
Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette warned last week that BlackBerry 10 is likely to be dead on arrival – with an operating system that gets “a lukewarm response at best,” due to the unfamiliar user interface and a shortage of apps.
Heins insisted morale was high at the company, despite 5,000 job cuts and a rapidly sliding market share ahead of the launch of the new phones. RIM’s share price is down more than 90 percent from a 2008 peak of about $148. It has fallen even after Heins, a former Siemens AG executive, took over in January. The shares on Wednesday closed at $8.49 on Nasdaq.
“The message to our shareholders is that we understand this is and has been a difficult time for them and for us,” the tall, bespectacled CEO said. “But with the development of the BlackBerry 10 platform we are truly convinced that we will create long-term value for RIM’s shareholders and investors.”
RIM has already given the demo phones to developers and to carriers, and its new BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10, which runs the devices on corporate networks, is in beta testing with 20 key customers — both government agencies and corporates.
Next month, the company will give more than 50 top enterprise customers technical previews of both BES 10 and the devices.
Heins said the feedback he is getting from the customer base “is very encouraging.”
With the erosion of RIM’s base particularly strong in North America, there has been speculation the company could choose to launch the new phones in a region where the phones remain popular. Heins said that would not be the case.
“We cannot launch every carrier and every country on the same day, but what we have defined is a set of waves in the various regions,” he said. “It is going to be a global launch. There isn’t one preferred region. We are managing and planning it as we speak.”
The Ministry of Works on Sunday debunked speculations in the social media that the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos, was about collapsing due to structural defect.
There were speculations on social media that what the Third Mainland Bridge requires is more than repairs on some joints. Below is an excerpt of a blackberry messenger broadcast: “The recent maintenance/repair work going-on on Third Mainland Bridge was ordered by the Federal Government as a result of a report produced by a company experienced in underwater surveys. The content of the report was to the effect that the underwater metal casing housing the concrete on and the concrete pile on which the bridge stands have rotted away totally. This accounts for the vibration experienced between Adeniji Adele and Adekunle FAjuyi portions of the bridge. The implication of all of this is that Third Mainland Bridge, between Adeniji Adele and Adekunle Fajuyi, is on the verge of collapsing and requires comprehensive work to be carried out on the foundation…” However, Dominic Avishigh, Director of Highways Design (Bridges) in the Ministry of Work urged Nigerians to disregard this unfounded rumour. It said that a joint inspection of the bridge was first carried out by a combined team of engineers, following insinuations that the bridge was oscillating in 2006. “At the end of the inspection, it was resolved that an internationally reputed bridge consultant be invited to carry out further inspection of the bridge. “An international bridge consultant was thereafter invited to carry out series of inspections and investigations along with the contractors and the bridge design consultants. “The studies revealed that there was no threat of collapse on the Third Mainland Bridge,” the statement said. Mr Avishigh said that it was the same fears that led to the commissioning of underwater studies of the sub-structure of the bridge recently. It said that the preliminary report of the yet-to-be concluded studies showed that the metal casing housing the concrete was rotting away. According to the statement, the rot is due to the activities of certain sea creatures attracted to that section of the Lagos Lagoon due to the discharge of organic effluent into it. “Following the report, the Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, wrote to the Lagos State Government to stop the discharge of organic effluents into the lagoon in the area,” it said. It also said that another independent consultant on bridges was re-invited to review the underwater report and the consultant said that the fears were unfounded. It added that there was no immediate danger posed by the bridge. It reiterated that President Goodluck Jonathan had also in 2011 ordered the ministry to undertake the underwater inspection of all bridges nationwide, to forestall any catastrophe. It added that it was the ministry’s investigations that necessitated the ongoing rehabilitation of the Expansion Joints on the Third Mainland Bridge. It, therefore, urged users of the bridge to disregard the disturbing information meant to frighten Nigerians and cause disaffection among the people.
Research In Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry, has commenced a series of training for Nigerian app developers with the aim of helping them build capacity for BlackBerry’s new platforms.
The BlackBerry 10 Mini Jam developer forum will commence today (Tuesday) at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) facility in Lagos. The week-long programme will also feature sessions on BlackBerry developer training.
Announcing the training in a statement on Monday, RIM noted that the BlackBerry 10 Mini Jam would provide Nigerian developers, the opportunity to learn more about the unique capabilities of BlackBerry 10.
RIM’s Regional Director for East, West and Central Africa, Mr. Waldi Wepener, stated that the full-day schedule would provide insight into the BlackBerry 10 experience, architecture and tools that could help Nigerian developers to be among the first from around the world with capacity to create apps for the new platform.
Wepener said, “the BlackBerry platform provides significant opportunities for the developer community in Nigeria. There is high demand among developers to learn more about the tools for creating local services and apps on the BlackBerry platform, as well as a strong desire to reach the millions of BlackBerry customers around the world.”
He said the programme would be held at the CcHub lab as part of an agreement with RIM to support the BlackBerry developer community in the country.
“By partnering locally with the CcHub, we aim to share resources and knowledge to create even more opportunity for Nigerian developers and to help create more jobs.”
CcHub is Nigeria’s first IT think-tank lab and it provides a place for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, technology companies, investors, developers and enthusiasts in and around Lagos to create new solutions that can help enhance the everyday life and work in Nigeria.
The statement further reveals that beyond the BlackBerry 10 Mini Jam, RIM and CcHub will also host a series of BlackBerry Developer Days throughout 2012.
BlackBerry Developer Days will provide information about developing for the BlackBerry Java platform, as well as BlackBerry 10.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has started to hand out layoff notices after it said on Friday it would cut an unspecified number of jobs, a local newspaper said on Tuesday. A spokesman for the Canadian company could not be reached immediately to confirm the report in the Waterloo Region Record, which serves the Ontario city where RIM is headquartered.
The report gave no specific numbers on the layoff notices, but noted that RIM employs about 17,500 workers globally, including 9,000 in the Waterloo region.
Shares of RIM, which once dominated the business segment of the smartphone market, have dropped about 27 percent since it revealed dismal quarterly results and lowered its full-year outlook on Friday.
The stock is down more than 50 percent this year after a series of missteps as it tries to keep pace with Apple Inc and other innovators in the smartphone and tablet computer markets.