Connect with us

Tech

The BlackBerry is coming back – CNN

Published

 on


It’s not a “true” BlackBerry phone, per se, because BlackBerry (BB) has been out of the phone business since 2016. But the company has continued to license its brand to phone manufacturers over the years, and it answered the call from a new licensee this year — OnwardMobility, an Austin, Texas, company.
We don’t know much about the OnwardMobility version of the BlackBerry phone, other than it will run Android, it’ll have 5G connectivity, and the company claims it will debut sometime in the first half of 2021. Also, Foxconn (HNHPF) subsidiary FIH will manufacture the new BlackBerry.
BlackBerry phones were notorious for two things: A physical keyboard and top-of-the-line security. Although modern smartphones — Apple’s iOS in particular — have become remarkably more secure over the past decade, OnwardMobility is betting the barrage of remote employees working on their mobile phones has given IT departments across the country a collective heart attack.
A phone synonymous with security could be in high-demand (although iPhones and many shades of Android devices are ubiquitous in corporate environments nowadays). A physical keyboard couldn’t hurt — typing long emails on a BlackBerry is just plain easier than typing on glass.
“Enterprise professionals are eager for secure 5G devices that enable productivity, without sacrificing the user experience,” said Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility, in a statement. “BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data.”
No one expects the new BlackBerry phone to go gangbusters. It has long since been relegated to niche status after the iPhone and then Android ate its lunch.
But BlackBerry used to be the king of smartphones. At its peak in 2012, it had more than 80 million active users, and they were a status symbol — giving off a kind of “I’m busy and I’m letting you know it” vibe.
The company got its start in 1996 as Research In Motion, and it called its devices two-way pagers. Its first gadget, the “Inter@ctive Pager,” allowed customers to respond to pages with a physical keyboard — a kind of text messaging/email hybrid. Three years later, RIM introduced the BlackBerry name with the BlackBerry 850.
Eventually, BlackBerry phones gained support for true email, apps, web browsing and BBM — an encrypted text messaging platform that predated WhatsApp and survived long after BlackBerry was surpassed by its rivals.
But Apple’s (AAPL) touchscreen revolution with the iPhone in 2007 made BlackBerry’s offerings appear lacking. It tried touch screens, but the first versions weren’t very good. BlackBerry tried slide-out keyboard models, but those never took off. And it developed a few phones with no physical keyboard — but those were missing BlackBerry’s key differentiator.
BlackBerry eventually gave up on its own software, embracing Android and layering its security software on top. But it found success in enterprise security software and automotive software and ditched phone-making altogether a few years ago.
For the nostalgic folks out there — and people who just love typing on a physical keyboard — they’ve been able to get BlackBerry phones over the past few years made by TCL. Its license it expiring, though, and OnwardMobility is carrying the torch.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Google to make third-party app store use easier with Android 12 – GamesIndustry.biz

Published

 on


Google has stated that beginning next year with Android 12, it will make it easier to use third-party app stores on Android — but it’s also doubling down on its existing requirement that it get a 30% cut of Play Store sales.

As reported by Android Central, Google confirmed a Bloomberg report from last week saying that by September 2021, all apps selling digital goods through the Play Store will be required to go through Google’s payment system.

Though this does not impact the vast majority of developers who are already using this system, a handful of companies including Netflix, Spotify, and Tinder have bypassed it by permitting direct payments in their apps.

Epic Games attempted a similar thing with Fortnite back in August on both iOS and Google Play, and was removed from both storefronts.

Additionally, Google has issued a statement promising that it is planning to make third-party app stores on its platform easier to use for customers in the future.

“We will be making changes in Android 12 (next year’s Android release) to make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place,” the statement reads. “We are designing all this now and look forward to sharing more in the future!”

These moves appear to be directly in response to the ongoing conflict between Epic and the mobile platforms, which has escalated into a legal battle between Epic and Apple, but which Google has requested to stay out of in favor of handling its own case separately due to differences between its business model and Apple’s.

Google currently already allows third-party app stores on its platform, and Fortnite itself is accessible via Epic’s website in the browser on Android, while Apple does not permit third-party stores at all.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Google to enforce 30% cut on in-app purchases next year – CNBC

Published

 on


Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai gestures during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 22, 2020.
(Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Google said on Monday that it will enforce rules that require app developers distributing Android software on the Google Play Store to use its in-app payment system.

The move means developers have until Sept. 30, 2021 to use Google’s billing system, which takes a 30% fee from payments, instead of independent payment systems. The announcement brings Google Play’s policies in line with Apple’s App Store policies, which have come under fire from developers and regulators over several issues, including its own 30% cut.

Apple has argued against scrutiny of its App Store by pointing out that other app stores, like Google Play, also take a 30% fee from in-app purchases.

Google’s existing policy said developers have to use Google’s billing system on in-app purchases made within the Google Play Store, but it had not been enforced, Google said on Monday in a blog post

Google didn’t name apps that had been skirting the rule. It said 97% of developers selling digital goods already comply with its policies. Netflix and Spotify prompt users inside their Android apps to use a credit card to pay them directly. 

“We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” Google said in the announcement, signed by Sameer Samat, a VP of product management. 

Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, updated its Android software in August to allow gamers to directly pay Epic for in-app purchases of digital goods like colorful outfits, which circumvented Google Play billing.

Google responded by removing Fortnite from the Play Store. “While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies,” Google said at the time. Epic Games sued Google.

Apple also removed Fortnite from its App Store and is embroiled in its own legal battle with Epic Games. 

Google’s Play Store doesn’t attract as much attention as Apple’s App Store

Google has received significantly less attention than Apple over its 30% cut, even though its policies are similar to Apple’s.

One core complaint from Apple developers is that Apple takes 30% from digital purchases made within the app, which can hamper services like Spotify, which have significant costs associated with their services like rights to music. 

Android allows users to install apps without using the Play Store, including apps that distribute other apps, such as Samsung’s Galaxy App Store, the company pointed out in its Monday blog post. But, the Google Play Store is the way most users download applications on an Android phone.

Google hasn’t taken as much heat on its cut of in-app purchases, however.

Developers including Epic Games, Spotify, and Tinder parent company Match have created a nonprofit group to challenge Apple’s App Store practices, for example.

And, when Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in front of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust this summer, he answered specific questions about which apps Apple allows on its platform and how it uses its power to hamper smaller developers.

When Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified at the same hearing, he faced questions about Google’s role in advertising, search, and data collection, instead of how much Google charges app-makers to use the Google Play store. 

Google said next year’s Android release will “make it even easier for people to use other app stores” without compromising user security. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Tech

Roku launches Streambar to bring a smarter soundbar to Canada – MobileSyrup

Published

 on


Roku is looking to bring more value to soundbars with a new product called the Streambar. It’s a two-in-one 4K streaming device that’s aimed at improving the experience of lower-end TVs.

The company says that over the years, TV speakers have gotten thinner and that as a result, the speakers within them have become worse. In an effort to help solve this problem affordably, the company is releasing a $189 smart soundbar.

Packed inside this remarkably small soundbar are four 1.9-inch drivers that support basic Dolby Audio, but nothing fancy like Atmos. Still, for just under $200, that’s expected. To help compensate for this limitation, Roku says it’s using software to help increase the sound of the speaker while adding clarity to voices in shows and depth to music playback.

Beyond that, Roku says the Streambar also features a night mode for quiet listening and that it can automatically lower the volume of loud commercials.

Something that might make this a lot more interesting to people is that the Streambar supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 standard, HomeKit, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth. This means that regardless of how you want to connect to the Streambar, you’ll have several popular streaming options. That said, AirPlay and Homekit are coming as updates later this year.

On the video side of things, the soundbar can stream 4K HDR10 content. While this isn’t the top of the line version of HDR, I think it makes sense considering the TV models that this device targets.

It’s clear more expensive TVs that support Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are not the intended market for this $189 soundbar. It makes more sense to add this speaker to cheaper 4K sets from brands like Insignia, Hisense and RCA. Since these ultra-cheap TVs often don’t come with smart features or good speakers, the Roku Streambar is the perfect upgrade.

The Streambar can connect to a TV with an optical audio cable as well as with HDMI, but you can’t use it as a streaming device if you use the audio-only cable. Other notable features include a USB port that can play media from a USB stick and mounting holes so it can be wall-mounted.

This isn’t the first smart soundbar to make it to Canada. Last year, JBL brought the Link Bar to Canada, which is very similar to Roku’s Streambar and acts as a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker that runs Android TV instead of RokuOS. However, this device was aimed at the mid-range soundbar market.

This tiny soundbar looks super appealing and should come out near the end of October, according to Roku. MobileSyrup will be going hands-on with the Streambar later this fall as well.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending