blackberry · blackberry os · rim

BlackBerry 10 OS Not Coming To PlayBook

I was hoping to get my hands on a 16 or 32GB second hand BlackBerry PlayBook to install the new BlackBerry 10 software on to become more familiar with the engine of RIM’s turn around vehicle.

After Friday’s quarterly earning’s report filed by Research In Motion, otherwise known as RIM, doing business as “BlackBerry,” it would seem that the door for an officially supported PlayBook running BlackBerry 10 software is completely out of the question.

In the June 28 filing, RIM reported that no more than 100,000 PlayBook devices were sold in preceding 90-day period.  I’m not going to quote how many iPads Apple sold in that same time period because it would be a cruel joke to say anything more than “a lot.”

But 100,000 is still something, right?  We should be able to use BlackBerry 10 without having to sign a 2-year cellular contract or shelling out $600+ for an off contract Z10, right?

However, during the quarterly earnings conference call, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins reported that he has pulled the plug on developing a version of BlackBerry 10 for the PlayBook sighting poor software performance on the fruity tablet.

If I was in his shoes, I’d probably make the same call.  RIM is fighting for it’s life right now, and a platform that is only moving 400,000 – 500,000 devices annually is not where RIM needs to spend it’s limited software engineering resources right now.

I may still pick up a PlayBook on eBay, but my enthusiasm for one has dropped considerably.

android · apple · blackberry · blackberry q10 · blackberry z10 · google · iphone · rim

BlackBerry Still Struggling to Revitalize Itself

This past week was not particularly a good one for mobile device maker BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion.

This past Friday, BlackBerry, announced details about their first quarter earnings, and Wall Street was caught off guard, in their opinion, about how few new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices were sold.  For the quarter wrapping up, BlackBerry sold about 2.7 million new BlackBerry 10 devices.  BlackBerry 10 is the company’s mobile operating system, similar to Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS.  Adding insult to injury, BlackBerry sold 4.1 million of their older, BlackBerry 7-powered devices for a combined total of 6.8 million units shipped.  Once the news was released, BlackBerry’s stock price started trending downward, some would say “crashing”, down 26-28%, ending up at $10.46.  Worse, according to BlackBerry, their subscriber base has shrunk by 4 million users ending up at 72 million users globally.

To help mount their turn around, BlackBerry will continue to rollout their existing Z10 and Q10 around the world while bringing new BlackBerry 10 devices like the “budget” Q5 to “emerging” markets this summer and through-out the calendar year.

Research In Motion was caught completely off guard, as was just about every other smartphone maker, in 2007 when Apple released the game changing iPhone.  Everyone, except maybe Google, has been chasing the fruit phone maker since.

What surprises me, however, is that history seems to repeat itself.  I always hated it when my parents or teachers told me this, but I have come to accept and believe it.  You see, there was another smartphone maker that found itself in a similar position a few years ago: Palm.

There are a number of similarities between BlackBerry and Palm.  Palm, like BlackBerry, was down on their luck after the iPhone was released. Palm was limping along on sales of their previous generation Palm OS and Windows Mobile smartphones just like BlackBerry is doing now.  BlackBerry, like Palm, is desperately trying to reinvent itself with the Z10 and BlackBerry 10 just like Palm attempted to do with the Pre and webOS.  We know, that after a long, drawn out battle, Palm after being acquired by HP, finally came to an end.  Will BlackBerry and the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system suffer a similar fate?  Will they continue to be a niche corporate market player or will they finally fade off like Palm?

We don’t know the answer to that question.  Make no mistake, what BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins is attempting to do to turn around his company is extremely difficult.  This past spring I had a chance to play with the new Z10 handheld and BlackBerry 10.  The phone had a quality design and feel to it.  The new software, was still very much foreign to me after having used older versions of the BlackBerry software.  While the gestures did leave me bewildered during the few minutes I had with the phone, people that I know who have purchased the Z10 have gotten used to it.

Oh, and there is one other similarity that BlackBerry shares with Palm, a small, yet dedicated core user base. Will it be enough to carry BlackBerry through the stormy weather until BlackBerry can grown their subscriber base and software marketshare?  We will have to just wait and see.

microsoft · rumors · windows phone

Microsoft Wants Windows Phone to Get "Moody"

This sounds perfect!  It would go wonderfully with my moody eleven year old daughter.  (Except it’s not an iPhone.)

From BGR.com…

“Now we know why Windows Phones come in so many different colors. Techworld Australia reports that Microsoft Research Asia has been working on technology that gives your smartphone the ability to detect your mood and post it on your social networks in real-time.”

[Via BGR.com…]

apple · mac os x · mac os x server · virtualization

Virtualizing Mac OS X

With the beta version of Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks out – or for the curious – you can virtualize Mac OS X and start playing or running a second virtual Mac.

There are some restrictions as you might expect.  The following is directly from the vmWare website:

You can create a Mac OS X Server virtual machine, with these restrictions:
For more information, see Creating a Mac OS X Server Virtual Machine in VMware Fusion in the VMware Fusion Help.

I have both Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion on my Mac.  I’ll have to try this out sometime and install Mac OS X Server 10.8 in a VM.

You can read more on the VMware website.

gaming · microsoft · xbox

Gamers Force Microsoft To Reverse Course on Xbox One Policies

Microsoft just learned the hard way that they shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them.  The mega popular Xbox is due for an upgrade later this year and with it, Microsoft saw the new upgrade cycle as a way to lock down the new gaming console; a move that turned out to be very unpopular with the people they want to sell the new system too.

The Xbox One, the follow on produce to the current generation console known as the Xbox 360, was to have a “call home” feature that would check in with Microsoft’s servers daily.  While a version of this feature has been in recent versions of their Windows desktop and server operating systems, this was the first time the “feature” was to be included in the Xbox operating system.  Similarly, Microsoft was hoping to tamp down game piracy, and customers ability to lend, share, trade, and re-sell their games, by seriously limiting or removing the ability to use a previously registered game, depending on who’s version of the truth you subscribe to.

But that’s to the gumption of gamers around the world, Microsoft has decided to reverse the controversial components of the Xbox One system software.

On their website, the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“The Redmond, Wash., software company said it would no longer require its Xbox to connect to the Internet each day, nor would it restrict how its video game discs are traded, resold or rented.

“We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds,” Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft’s entertainment division that houses the Xbox, said in a statement.”

Nice job, Internet!

[Via WSJ.com…]

case · iphone · review

West Marine Dry Paks Review

Summer is finally here and with that, thoughts have turned to keeping my iPhone safe from water, sand, and other beach related dangers.  I started looking around for water proof cases and I settled on the West Marine Dry Pak for Small Cell Phone.

At first I was a bit skeptical about the Dry Pak.  West Marine, if you don’t know, is a water sportsmen’s (or woman’s) paradise. They have lots of interesting stuff…that I’ll probably never need, seeing as how I’m a computer geek.  That said, don’t let the product name and the lack of “iPhone” scare you off.
Fortunately for me, there is a West Marine in a strip mall not too far from my house and I decided to stop in rather than order online so I could take a look at the Dry Pak in person.  I’m glad I did.
West Marine sells two Dry Paks.  A “small” and “large” cell phone pack.  If you have an iPhone 4S or earlier or iPod touch 4th generation or earlier, the small cell phone kit is for you.  If you have an iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th generation, or any one of the ridiculously gigantic Android “phones” then you’ll want the larger pak.  (Most handheld GPS units will also fit in one or the other Dry Paks if you plan on going out on a boat.)
Included in the kit is the waterproof Dry Pak, a rope lanyard, and a small careabeaner that connects the lanyard to the pak.  The small pak measures 4″ x 6″ and is model number 7699754.
Impressions
The Dry Pak is pretty sturdily made.  I have no reservations at taking my iPhone or iPod touch to the beach, out on a boat, or around the pool when properly sealed inside the bag.  Like many other waterproof packs, the West Marine Dry Pak will float if it happens to get dropped into water.  This bag is waterproof and will protect your iFruit device.  If your pak does fall into water, you will want to fish it out as soon as you can as water could get in after prolonged contact with water.
The clips on the pak firmly lock into place and I’m not worried out them popping open while I’m out with my iPhone.  Another cool feature of the Dry Pak is that you can use the touch screen and use the phone feature while it is in the bag!  Pretty handy in my opinion.
In addition to your iPhone or other similarly sized gadget, you can also put small items inside like a driver’s license or ATM card, but if you are going to do that, I’d strongly suggest keeping the Dry Pak with you at all times unless it is secured inside a locker of some kind.  (Sticking the Pak with your phone, driver’s license, and an ATM card into your shoe on the beach is *not* secure.  Just sayin’.)
Pricing
The West Marine Dry Pak for Small Cell Phone is competitively priced at $14.99.  If you order it online, factor in a few dollars extra for shipping.  Even with local sales tax, my Dry Pak was less than $16.00 which is much lower than the $29.99 or more that I saw online for similarly styled products that included “iPhone” in the product name.
You can order the Dry Pak that meets your needs from the West Marine online store.
Closing Comments
If you are looking for an inexpensive solution for keeping your iPhone, iPod, or other handheld gadget safe from water, sand, sharks*, and other summer time hazards, you’ll want to put the West Marine Dry Pak for Small Cell Phone on your short list.  
*Ok, the Dry Pak probably won’t save your iPhone from a real shark attack, it will hold it’s own against an inflatable pool shark.
att · ios · iphone · troubleshooting · Uncategorized

Simple Fix for iPhone 5 Coverage Issues

My Dad has an iPhone 5, while I’m “stuck” with a 4S until the next iPhone is released.  The iPhone 5 is a really nice upgrade if you want more rows of information on the screen.

But over the last two weeks, my Dad has been complaining to anyone who would listen about coverage issues.  Often he would have two bars or less of cellular signal.  He even went as so far to place several calls with AT&T support and even a trip to the Apple Store Genius Bar.

Turns out that there may not have been any problems with his phone.  The real cause may really be poor LTE coverage.  The fix for my Dad’s coverage problem was to turn off the LTE radio by setting the Enable LTE option to “Off”.