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Texas startup will make a BlackBerry-branded 5G phone for North America, Europe

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David Paddon, The Canadian Press


Published Wednesday, August 19, 2020 4:32PM EDT


Last Updated Wednesday, August 19, 2020 4:33PM EDT

TORONTO – BlackBerry Ltd. is teaming up with startup OnwardMobility for a new 5G version of the smartphone with the physical keyboard and enhanced security that once made the Waterloo, Ont. company’s devices ubiquitous.

The plans were announced jointly Wednesday by BlackBerry along with the Austin, Texas-based OnwardMobility and by FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Taipei-based Foxconn that has been Apple Inc.’s primary iPhone maker for many years. The devices will be available next year, the companies said.

“BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data,” OnwardMobility CEO Peter Franklin said in a statement. “This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices to market.”

The new partnership comes as the United States imposes increasingly tough restrictions on China-based technology companies, including Huawei Technologies, creating a tense situation between the world’s two biggest economies.

Franklin said in an interview prior to the announcement that he thinks there is support for heightened cybersecurity from both major U.S. political parties, as well as business and a growing number of consumers.

“I think it’s a universal issue, especially in today’s threat landscape – increased threats, a lot of people working from home. Security matters more and more and that’s clear as we look across countries and the global landscape.”

The companies have not said where FIH will make the BlackBerrys or provided details of the phone’s features, except that it will use a version of the Android operating system that BlackBerry adopted to replace its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

“All I can share is that our vision is to be as North American made as possible,” Franklin said.

The most recent models of the BlackBerry – including the Key2 and KeyOne, which are sold in Canada – were manufactured by TCL Communication, a subsidiary of TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong.

BlackBerry announced in February that it would end a 2016 licensing and technology support agreement with TCL as of Aug. 31.

“BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand,” BlackBerry chief executive John Chen said in the joint statement.

“We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer.”

Franklin said OnwardMobility approached BlackBerry late last year with the prospect of teaming up with FIH.

A biography provided by OnwardMobility says that Franklin has more than 15 years experience “reconstructing” technology companies, including work with Microsoft and Zynga.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2020

Source:- CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

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Sony apologizes for PlayStation 5 pre-order disaster – Polygon

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Pre-orders for Sony’s next-gen console, the PlayStation 5, opened shortly after the company announced its release date and price details. To put it nicely, it was a mess. Retailers went rogue and opened pre-orders early — a day ahead of the Sept. 17 date announced by Sony. Sites crashed and people panicked wondering whether they’d get their hands on a next-gen console or not.

As it turns out, Sony has recognized the error of its ways. “Let’s be honest: PS5 preorders could have been been a lot smoother,” Sony tweeted from the PlayStation Twitter account on Saturday. “We truly apologize for that. Over the next few days, we will release more PS5 consoles for preorder — retailers will share more details. And more PS5s will be available through the end of the year.”

Specific details on future pre-order windows are still unclear.

To add more chaos to the pre-order mess, Amazon reported on Friday that people who did secure pre-orders might still see delays in getting their consoles. The company emailed pre-order customers and warned them they “may not receive this item on the day it is released due to high demand.” It continued: “We’ll make every effort to get the item to you as soon as possible once released.”

Sony’s next-gen competitor, Microsoft, is opening pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on Sept. 22. The company appears to be more confident in its pre-order processing, providing exact timing for the pre-order launch. Pre-orders open Tuesday at 11 a.m. EDT.

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Microsoft to Buy Bethesda for $7.5 Billion to Boost Xbox – Bloomberg

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Microsoft Corp. said Monday it plans to acquire ZeniMax Media Inc., owner of the storied video-game publisher Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash, marking its biggest video game purchase ever.

Bethesda is the publisher of games like The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout and also has at least two titles slated for debut next year. ZeniMax, based in Rockville, Maryland, also owns several other studios across the globe, giving Microsoft’s Xbox business a much-needed infusion of titles and game developers. It’s one of the biggest privately-held game companies with 2,300 employees worldwide, Microsoft said.

Microsoft is launching a new generation of Xbox consoles in November at the same time as Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 5. The games lined up for the new Xbox have so far disappointed some players, especially after Microsoft delayed its biggest title, Halo Infinite, until next year. The software maker has been adding new game creators and content, including acquiring six studios in 2018 and one last year. It spent $2.5 billion to purchase the maker of Minecraft in 2014.

Microsoft is leaning on its game subscription service, Game Pass, to draw in users and boost revenue and needs compelling content to attract customers to that product. Microsoft said Game Pass now has 15 million subscribers, up from the 10 million it announced in April.

“Bethesda’s games have always had a special place on Xbox and in the hearts of millions of gamers around the world,” said Xbox chief Phil Spencer in a blog post. “Our teams have a close and storied history working together.”

Recently however, Bethesda has been working more tightly with Sony. Bethesda had previously agreed to debut two of its upcoming games, Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, on Sony’s new PlayStation rather than Xbox. Both games were announced as “timed console exclusives,” meaning that they would be restricted to the PlayStation 5 for a fixed period of time before coming to Xbox. It remains to be seen how this acquisition will affect that deal.

Microsoft expects the deal to close in the second half of its fiscal year 2021, which ends June 30, and to have “minimal” impact on its adjusted operating income for the current and next fiscal years. The shares were down 1.4% to $197.66 at 9:35 a.m. in New York.

Sony’s launch lineup for the PlayStation 5 is stronger than Microsoft’s and that machine is expected to outsell the new Xbox devices, the Series X and Series S, according to George Jijiashvili, an analyst at researcher Omdia.

Bethesda was a pioneer in the market for personal computer games and an early developer of new types of games. The company was founded by Christopher Weaver in 1986 and initially developed football and hockey simulation games, before releasing role-playing title The Elder Scrolls in 1994.

ZeniMax was founded in 1999 by Weaver and Robert Altman, the company’s chief executive officer, to serve as a parent company for Bethesda. Over the next decade, it acquired the Fallout franchise and Id Software, the maker of Doom and Quake. Bethesda’s structure and leadership will remain in place, Microsoft said.

(Updates with Microsoft comment in fifth paragraph.)

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    Realme debuts the Narzo 20A, Narzo 20, and Narzo 20 Pro to rival the Redmi Note 9 lineup – Notebookcheck.net

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    Ricci Rox, 2020-09-21 (Update: 2020-09-21)

    I’m a freelance copywriter who lives and dies for tech. Android, ​especially. The smartphone market is one going through an impressive growth spurt, so I crawl the Internet with keen interest in a technological ecosystem that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

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