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TCL put another nail in coffin of BlackBerry smartphones. That makes me sad. – Android Authority

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Opinion post by

Eric Zeman

BlackBerry smartphones were the first smartphones carried by many people around the world. BlackBerrys preceded the iPhone and Android in important ways and helped set the stage for many of the features we rely on today. That’s why it hurts just a little that the smartphone brand is, for all intents and purposes, dead (again).

TCL licensed the BlackBerry brand after the Canadian company stopped making its own phones. In other words, TCL kept BlackBerry alive. Today, TCL said it allowed its license to lapse and will no longer design and build BlackBerry phones. Optiemus in India also licenses the brand, but has so far failed to produce all the devices it announced.

For its part, BlackBerry has remained quiet. So, where does it go now?

Storied history

Blackberry KEY2 Red Edition keyboardBlackberry KEY2 Red Edition keyboard

The first smartphone-related story I ever wrote, for Field Force Automation magazine in the fall of 2001, was about BlackBerry. Set in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, several companies located in the downtown NYC area lauded BlackBerry for its DataTAC platform, which remained up and functional while regular cell service in the area failed. Back then, BlackBerry phones were gloried pagers. This was a vital success story for the company.

BlackBerry eventually upgraded to fully-connected internet devices, with browsers, email, and more. Believe it or not, support for phone calls, which would make them genuine smartphones, was added later.

Early models, such as the 7100, 7290, and 8700, were staples with the jet-setting business crowd.

The company made its own hardware, and, more importantly, provided the background services that gave the phones their value. BlackBerry Mobile Services provided business users with access to not only their contacts, calendar, and email, but connected enterprise apps and much more.

Early models, such as the 7100, 7290, and 8700, were staples with the jet-setting business crowd. They were huge, clunky devices with monochrome screens, thumbwheels, and terrible keyboards. (But they had keyboards!)

Once consumer-friendly handsets such as the Pearl, Curve, and Bold reached stores, BlackBerry became a hit with regular people. BlackBerry smartphones were the best way to stay connected without a laptop. BBM, the company’s stout messaging service, cemented its reputation as a communications master.

An early peak

Enrique Dans

After little more than a dozen years in business, December 2012 saw BlackBerry reach its highest number of users, which was about 80 million. It had grown rapidly, mostly thanks to its email dominance, but fell even faster due to the market turbulence created by the iPhone and, later, Android.

In June 2007, when the first iPhone went on sale, BlackBerry had some 8 million customers. The fact that it would grow tenfold over the next five years is a testament to its strength as a platform, despite the competition. Of course, this is when companies issued BlackBerry smartphones — and not iPhones — to employees. Once Apple adopted the right set of licenses for corporate-grade email and security, that all changed.

BlackBerry’s slow decline began after Palm and WebOS called it quits, though Windows Phone will still a competitor. From March 2013 through May 2017 the number of BlackBerry users retracted from 80 million to 11 million.

The company gave up on making smartphones and instead allowed TCL and Optiemus to build them. BlackBerry continued with its software, which included a suite of communication services for the Android platform, which is what modern ‘Berries run.

Functional, not fun, phones from TCL

Blackberry Key2 LE rear cameras and flash super up-closeBlackberry Key2 LE rear cameras and flash super up-close

TCL kept the BlackBerry brand kicking, but not necessarily thriving. The hardware coming from the company looked and felt perfunctory. There were the warmed-over, slate-style DTEK50 and DTEK60, as well as the keyboard-equipped KEYone, Key2, and Key2 LE.

The phones got the job done, and yet didn’t reignite any fires. Sales for these devices were never fully revealed and yet can’t be anything but sluggish.

Perhaps this is for the best. Perhaps BlackBerry needs to be done. Even so, it was a key player in helping create the products we now rely on for literally everything. It’s sad to see companies and brands fail.


What say you? Sad to see BlackBerry go? Hoping for another rebirth? Be sure to let us know.

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Android 11 change causes apps to force quit when installing APKs – MobileSyrup

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Android 11 will bring a lot of changes when it arrives, but one significant security change could shake up the way people install apps from third-party sources.

According to details from a Google Issue Tracker thread, Android 11 will force-close apps after users grant permission to install unknown apps. For those unfamiliar with the term, Android has offered the ability to install apps through ‘APK’ files for some time. That means anyone can download an APK from outside the Play Store and install it on their phone.

As a security measure, to install an APK through a third-party app, users need to permit it to install ‘unknown apps.’ For example, if you download an APK with your web browser, it won’t let you install it without permission for your web browser to handle unknown apps.

On Android 10 and older, this process was quite simple. Users downloaded an app, a pop-up would say they need to grant permission. Tapping the ‘Settings’ button in the pop-up would send users to the app’s settings so they could enable the permission. Then, tapping or swiping to go back would generate a second pop-up asking to install the APK.

Android 11 completely disrupts that process. Instead of letting users head back to the app to finish the installation, it will force close that app once users grant it the permission. Then, you have to head back to the app and start the process over from the beginning.

Android 11’s new Scoped Storage system causes the issue

After some back-and-forth between testers and Googlers in the Issue Tracker thread, the search giant finally provided some more detail about what was causing the problem. Essentially, the issue stems from Android 11’s new ‘Scoped Storage’ file management system. Below is the full explanation from Google:

“The way the filesystem and storage mounts are setup in Android R has changed significantly. When an app starts without this permission, it gets a view of the filesystem that doesn’t allow writing to certain directories (eg Android/obb). Once the app has been granted this permission, that view is no longer accurate, and needs to be updated to a view that allows the app to write to certain directories. With the way the filesystem has been setup in R, changing that view on the fly is not possible. As mentioned in comment #16, we’re evaluating internally. I’m just providing additional details why this doesn’t work the way it did on Q.”

Scoped Storage, for the unfamiliar, changes how Android apps can access storage. At a base level, it provides each app an isolated section of storage and limited access to the Android filesystem, instead of granting full access like Android currently does.

On the privacy front, this is a critical change that could prevent apps from snooping around your files. However, Scoped Storage also comes with some issues, such as reduced read and write speeds. And, of course, this makes the process of installing APKs more complicated.

Hopefully Google can develop a solution that means Android doesn’t have to force-quit apps. However, it’s also likely that this problem isn’t high on Google’s priority list. Since users only need to grant permission once per app, they’ll only experience one force-close. The flip side of that, however, is that some people like to keep that permission disabled except for when they need it, which could mean having to force quit an app every time they want to adjust that permission, which also isn’t ideal.

Source: Google Issue Tracker Via: Android Police

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Ps5 Release Date Canada

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If you are a fun of PS gaming, the best and sophisticated design and experience is yet to come. The Sony PS5 is set to be the most powerful gaming console that is set to be released in Canada. As the release date of PS5 draws closer, Sony has started to unveil various specifications and features in bits.

The PS5 release date Canada is set to be on Holiday 2020. This new gaming console is designed to drastically revolutionize the PS gaming by increasing efficiency, graphics and reducing the load times so as to improve user’s experience.

The PS5 is set to run on 8-core processors and it will include impressive ray tracing capabilities. In order to learn more about PS5 and PS5 release Canada, we have compiled this post to help you understand about PS5 specifications, release date, games and much more.

PS5 Release Date Canada

Sony which is the Company behind this great sophisticated gaming console has announced that PS5 will be launched during the Holiday 2020 season. According to inside sources, there are reports which indicates that PS5 release date will be on 20th November.

PS5 Controller

Each PS5 will be fitted with a single DualSense controller which is set to also launch on the same date as the gaming console. The DualSense controller will help gamers to participate in multiplayer games. The DualSense controller is peripheral in shape and it’s a bit different from the DualShock lineup controller which is used on PS4.

Other unique features of DualSense controller include; two-tone black and white color design pattern, unique create button layout, built-in microphones, adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, vertical grips as well as light bar which will now surround the touchpad section.

All these new improved features will give gamers a whole new play station gaming experience which they have never experienced before.

PS5 Specifications

In a nutshell, the PS5 that is set for release in Canada during the holiday 2020 season will have the following specifications;

  • CPU:8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz
  • Storage:Custom 825GB SSD
  • Expandable storage:NVMe SSD slot
  • Optical drive:4K Blu-ray drive
  • GPU:28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz, RDNA 2 architecture
  • RAM:16GB GDDR6

In addition, the PS5 SSD and 3D audio features are some of other improvements that can’t go unnoticed. The PS5 SSD is set to drastically reduce the load time to up to 5.5 GB/s which will be about 10 times faster compared to the current version of PS4. The 3D audio is also set to be dynamic so as to facilitate easier interaction between the player and the music level. The HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) has the capability to map a gamer’s hearing in relation to sound frequency, volume and direction.

PS5 Price

Up to this date, the PS5 price has not yet been made public. However, one can be guided by the previous release price of PS4 which was $400 when it was launched. For now it’s a wait and see situation but Sony might give a hint soon on the price range as we approach the actual PS5 release date Canada.

Published By Harry Miller

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2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe: Nosing Into a New Era – The Truth About Cars

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BMW has dropped the curtain on its next-generation 4 Series coupe, the first member of what will become a broad family of revamped right-sized offerings.

To not mention the redesigned 4 Series’ new schnoz would be akin to staying mum on a two-ton elephant scattering canapés at a garden party, so let’s get started with that.

Spy photos, as well as a heavily foreshadowing concept coupe, told us we’d be in for a surprise when the new 4 Series debuted. Well, consider us rattled. Not since Jennifer Grey went under the knife has there been this much ink spilled about a new beak. It’s big, and it’s tall — so tall, in fact, that the lower air opening is forced to partial wrap itself around it, making for a partial grille-within-a-grille. On either side are aggressive (and large) side vents.

If BMW’s plan was to make sure the new 4 Series gets noticed, its designers certainly did their job. And it may very well be the right thing to do, given the need for any passenger car still on the market to attract the attention of buyers.

bmw

Overall, the 4 Series coupe grows in every direction. Compared to the outgoing model, the new car grows 5.2 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and boasts a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase. Front and rear tracks grow 1.4 and 1.2 inches, respectively. The roofline now reaches four-tenths of an inch closer to heaven. Beneath it all, a new CLAR platform lends the model additional stiffness.

Despite the larger footprint, the 4 Series coupe slips through the air with more ease, what with a coefficient of drag lowered from .29 to .25.

Out back, L-shaped LED taillights share fascia room with slits designed to mimic (mock?) the breathable front gills. This styling flourish was more impressive before it showed up on the Toyota Camry. Of course, choosing the M Sport Package will increase the presence of mesh both front and rear.

bmw

Regardless of whether you opt for the four-cylinder 430i or six-cylinder M440i xDrive, you’re in line for more power. The base turbocharged 2.0-liter four now makes 255 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque, up from 248/258. The 3.0-liter turbo inline-six now sports a 48-volt mild hybrid system and an output of 382 hp and 369 lb-ft — up from 320/330.

Offered with standard rear-drive or optional xDrive all-wheel drive in 430i form, the 4 Series coupe will be joined by a convertible and gran coupe (sedan) before long, while the upcoming i4 will ditch internal combustion altogether. All 4 Series coupe models carry an updated eight-speed automatic, with M440i xDrive variants donning an M Sport rear differential for even torque distribution to the rear wheels during quick takeoffs.

As seen on the recently revealed 5 Series, the six-cylinder’s mild hybrid system will shut the engine off at 9 mph when braking to a stop. Under hard acceleration, the starter-generator can add 11 hp to the fray. Fuel economy for either engine is TBD.

bmw

Inside the cabin, drivers will be greeted by an analog gauge cluster, assuming they haven’t sprung for the 12.3-inch digital display. Found as standard fare in all 4 Series models are a healthy list driver-assist features; among them, lane departure warning with steering correction, pedestrian warning with braking function, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, rear collision preparation, and automatic high beams.

The rear seat is still a two-person affair, now with a threesome of pass-throughs for hauling large objects in the trunk.

Hitting global markets in October, the 2021 4 Series carries a U.S. base price of $45,600 (before destination) for the 430i Coupe, $47,600 for the 430i xDrive Coupe, and $58,500 for the M440i xDrive Coupe.

[Images: BMW AG]

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