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Blackberry Cellphones Operating Systems

BlackBerry 10 Review: Good, But Too Late? 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the uphill-battles-are-always-more-fun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars has an extensive review of the newly-released BlackBerry 10 operating system. Since it's such a late entry into the market, the tech community has been eyeballing the new operating system with trepidation — would all that time go to waste with a poor offering, or would BlackBerry 10 be a reasonable alternative to iOS and Android? Well, it seems BlackBerry (the company formerly known as RIM) actually put the time to good use. The review finds most of the UI innovations to actually be.. innovative. "BlackBerry took a lot of time to see what the competition is doing, and then it worked to refine its operating system. It essentially had an excellent cheat sheet, filled with everything that has worked wonderfully and all the things that have bombed. That said, BlackBerry still has to mold its product for its two huge core audiences: the business-oriented multi-tasker and the developing smartphone markets. To that end, it has included all of the essential features and apps to appeal to both of those parties. The corporate user has his or her share of content to watch on the train ride to work, games and apps to help keep busy when not entrenched in a meeting, and the perfect Hub for messaging (not to mention the literal split between work and personal environments)." However, the review also notes that the system is not really designed to make people drop their Android or iOS devices, so uptake is going to be slow at best. The question for the platform's success (and the company's) is no longer 'Is it any good? but 'Is it too late?'" There's also a review of the z10 smartphone itself.
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BlackBerry 10 Review: Good, But Too Late?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @07:40PM (#42815149)

    QNX is far better than Linux.

  • BES? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @07:56PM (#42815321) Journal

    Does it still need a BES server to interact with the corporate environment? Is it still a mess of expensive licensing and support? The first person who walks into my office to show me their shiny new BB10 and wants to get his company e-mail on it is going to be sorely disappointed when he finds out that he just blew $300 and a two year contract on a phone that won't work with our network because there isn't a chance in Hell that I'm spinning up another BES. Not now, not ever again. It was Good Riddance when I finally kicked that crap to the curb.

  • by Qwavel (733416) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @07:56PM (#42815325)

    Yes, and if were a 'devices' company they would have to charge more, perhaps work with carriers etc., but the part about skinning Android - and putting their effort into that skin, and into getting to market fast - could have been the same.

    Amazon has their own appstore, their own push notification service, their own browser, their own payment service, etc. For most of the stuff that matters they made it their own.

    Would it have made sense for them to spend an extra year on the stuff their customers will never see?

    And in the end, this much touted QNX, which cost RIM so much, doesn't actually sound so great. For example, the battery life is apparently terrible. If I'm not careful to keep my Playbook charged then it is toast (this has happened to several friends). I'm not saying QNX is bad, but it wasn't worth the delay.

  • by Qwavel (733416) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @08:08PM (#42815425)

    The biggest security issues with Android are
    #1. manufacturers who don't provide updates (there was a good article from the ACLU in the last few days).
    #2. it is simply not a priority for most of its users and the manufacturers, so not much emphasis is put into it.
    #3. the open appstore - in my opinion much less of an issue then #1, and #2.

    RIM could easily resolve all of these issues. #3 is the hardest because it means creating their own appstore, but that's what we are talking about anyway.

    Getting QNX ready took 2 years. How long would it take RIM to create a distribution of Android that addressed these issues.

    One reason I'm bummed about the route RIM took is because I would have loved to have seen what RIM could do with Android. Now, instead, we are questioning whether they even have a future.

    Finally, you are talking about QNX as some kind'of salvation. I"m hearing a lot of that these days, but when I read the reviews of BB10 I see nothing to suggest that QNX itself will save RIM. The good stuff is the Hub and Blackberry Balance - both of these have nothing to do with QNX. Yeah, it's nice and slick and responsive, but iOS and Android (as of 4.1) are now too.

    The only thing I see in the reviews that is really about the core OS is the complaints that the battery life is horrible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @08:14PM (#42815491)

    The "things that made blackberry what they are" are frankly obsolete.
    The BES->Blackberry network->Carrier->Device scheme which was the foundation of what RIM built their empire on is now functionally, completely obsolete.

    It worked wonderfully when cell phones were dumb with tiny cpus, low res BW screens, little-to-no memory and very little bandwith. Their network and carrier relationships were a backbone and glue that made everything work well.

    Now everyone has a smartphone with more processing power, memory, bandwith, and storage than your average desktop computer from when BB was at it's height.. And the BB network, frankly, just gets in the way. Now your phone can fetch it's own mail without issue. The BB network is an extra point of failure.

    Reworking android in to a bushiness class piece of software/devices with all of the extra "security" or whatever secret sauce that makes BB devices so special would have been a much better move. They'd have a platform that people would actually want to use, and a wedge to keep their existing client base. (And attract new ones)

  • by jjetson (2041488) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @08:24PM (#42815605)
    Yup the largest supplier of secure mobile devices to governments and corporations should throw it all away because you say it's obsolete now. BlackBerry is positioning themselves for the future....not for the now. If it was so easy to rework Android the way you suggest company's would be doing it. They're just figuring out the lag problems in the software finally so they can stop throwing hardware at software problems. Yet you think a little "secret sauce" in Android will create a business class piece of software. Give the OP a call and borrow whatever it was he/she hit themselves with.
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @09:09PM (#42816023)

    There is this company called Amazon - I guess you haven't heard of them...

    "If it was so easy to rework Android the way you suggest company's would be doing it."

    Built their own app store, notification system, browser, payment services, user interface, all on top of Android. You should check it out.

    " BlackBerry is positioning themselves for the future....not for the now. "

    Yeah, unfortunately, companies that don't worry about the 'now' end up not having much of a future. While you are learning about Amazon, you might want to check BB's stock price...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @10:22PM (#42816525)

    By default, large enterprise-level organizations end up not setting up their own encryption key on BBMs, because if they did, their messages couldn't be read outside of their organization. Unfortunately, their BES system is not smart enough to specially encrypt only some messages, and not encrypt others.

    Actually, BBM messages are not sent via the BES, BBM is independent and works without a BES.

    Further, did you ever read RIM's documentation about BBM? BBM is encrypted with 3des, and 3des is easily brute-forceable with $1M of computer power (well within the budget of governments & companies).

    By comparison, BES email is encrypted by default wit AES. Good luck brute-forcing that.

    And it's no wonder that several European countries believe that RIM (now Blackberry) is just a front for the US/UK/Canadian/Australian Echelon program.

    Riiight. That's why Austria & Turkey have certified the blackberry platforrm: http://ca.blackberry.com/business/topics/security/certifications.html [blackberry.com]

    Turkey & Austria aren't part of Echelon.

    Look, if you want to criticize the blackberry, at least choose things that are true.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @11:44PM (#42816991) Homepage Journal

    Actually, your sarcastic statement may be more true than you suspect.

    Merely skinning another phone company's Android wouldn't do much for Blackberry, or any other phone company. But, if all the stupid shit that has been added on by the phone companies were dropped, and Android were recompiled and built FOR SECURITY - then it just might have been a better Blackberry OS.

    You will note, please, that I'm not stating that as a certainty. I'm merely pointing out that Android has been mismanaged by almost everyone, for their own profit. Linux is always a good starting point for a good operating system. But, any idiot with root can destroy the best of operating systems.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:15AM (#42818791)
    The levels of fanboyism over QNX is becoming ridiculous. QNX is a fine kernel but in the context of a phone or tablet, it really is an irrelevance if Blackberry was using QNX, Linux, NT or Mach as the kernel. I expect they all offer analogous functionality and all would be capable of delivering the BB10 experience. And that's what matters, not the kernel underneath. If the user experience sucks then the device sucks. If the user experience is good then the the device is good.

    I recall the exact same BS coming from Linux zealots a 10 years ago - buy a Zaurus it runs Linux!!! Yes it did and the device was still an expensive, battery sucking, heap of shit compared to a Palm or even a Windows Mobile devices of the same vintage. Palm devices especially were popular not for the prowess of the kernel but because they actually did what they were built for.

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