With the slew of headlines coming out of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week, there’s a lot to get a handle on.
But fear not – for your dose of BlackBerry Ltd.-related news, IT Business.ca has rounded up a list of what’s going on with the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker.
1. BlackBerry has unveiled the Q20, its latest flagship phone – and this iteration will come with a trackpad.
Like the BlackBerry Q10 before it, the Q20 will come with a hard QWERTY keyboard. But it’ll also come with a treat for BlackBerry users who miss the design and layout of its older phones – it’s bringing back the Menu, Back, Send, and End buttons. By incorporating these features with the Q20, BlackBerry is targeting its latest phone towards commercial users who’ll be relying on it for productivity.
BlackBerry also launched the Z3, a low-end smartphone with a price tag of sub-$200 U.S. The device will be released in Indonesia first.
Read IT Business.ca editor Brian Jackson’s piece here.
2. BlackBerry’s shares are finally up, after the company’s stock spent months on the decline.
While the embattled smartphone maker has seen its fair share of bad news in the last couple of years, it looks as though it’s making a bit of a comeback.
BlackBerry’s stock was up almost nine per cent this morning, according to a story published in the Globe and Mail today, in part due to its strategy to appeal to emerging markets like Indonesia, and also because it is working on enticing its former customers to return to the brand with new products like the Q20.
BlackBerry also has a new leader in John Chen, who was in Barcelona today to unveil BlackBerry’s newest releases. Chen replaced former CEO Thorsten Heins as interim CEO in November 2013, after Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited failed to purchase the struggling company.
3. A slate of multinational corporations is signing on with BlackBerry – and the Ford Motor Company is one of them.
As another sign that BlackBerry’s fortunes may be reversing, a report from Detroit News has come out saying Ford could be leaving Microsoft’s voice-activated vehicle system in favour of switching over to QNX by BlackBerry, the Toronto Star reported today. QNX already works with top automakers, so it wouldn’t be a long shot for it to ink a contract with Ford.
BlackBerry also announced the names of a number of its customers, like Daimler AG, a German auto manufacturer which provides BlackBerry 10 smartphones to its employees with greater security requirements.
It also sells BlackBerry 10 phones to Airbus Group, which provides services for aeronautics, space, and defense, as well as airlines, banks, and engineering companies – perhaps more proof the company is back on the up and up.
4. BlackBerry just rolled out the eBBM Suite, a new group of products and services that will transform BBM, its messaging service, into a solution for enterprise.
The first product in eBBM will be BBM Protected, a solution touted as “the most secure and reliable real-time mobile messaging in the industry” for co-workers to use to message each other.
BBM Protected will work with BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS smartphones, without requiring any upgrades to the operating system. It’ll be sold to enterprise customers for a monthly fee per user, with a release date slated for this summer.
5. To round out its list of new releases, BlackBerry showed off its plans for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12), a solution pulling BES10 and BES5 into one platform.
The goal here is to provide a mobility management solution that will be both secure, but also flexible enough for workplaces allowing the bring-your-own-device trend. By migrating to BES12, organizations can develop enterprise-level apps that can be quickly deployed to employees’ mobile devices.
The solution will be backwards compatible, working with older BlackBerry OS devices, but it will also allow for new products and services that may surface in the future. There will also be support for other platforms, with BlackBerry adding on support for Windows 8. It already supports iOS and Android.
The platform should be available by the end of this year, but early adopters can start using it this summer.