Attention Readers: Amazon Kindle App Available Now on BlackBerry Passport’s Amazon Appstore

It’s a match made in heaven—BlackBerry Passport, designed with voracious readers in mind, now has Amazon’s official Kindle app, courtesy of the Amazon Appstore rolled out with BlackBerry OS 10.3. So, what does this all mean?

Kindle App for BlackBerry Passport 1

Sit Down and I’ll Read You a Story

Since the early days of the e-reader, Amazon’s Kindle devices have been liberating readers of library fines, dog-eared pages, misplaced tomes and heavy bags of physical books.

With the expansion of the Kindle service beyond Amazon’s own devices, the multi-platform app allowed even more readers to buy into the ever-growing digital library, which now includes millions of titles, all available now on the BlackBerry Passport.

The free app pairs with your Amazon.com account and allows you to read your purchased Kindle books on the go. Once you buy a title, it’s yours forever. You can re-download it as many times as you want if you need to delete a title from your device.

Kindle store 1     Kindle store 2

Here are the details for the Kindle app:

  • Read millions of Kindle books and over 100 different newspapers and magazines with Amazon’s free application – no Kindle required. Book availability may vary by country.
  • Already have a Kindle? Whispersync technology automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across various devices.
  • Buy a book from the Kindle Store and get it auto-delivered wirelessly
  • Adjust text size, read in portrait or landscape mode, and lock screen orientation
  • Try before you buydownload and read the beginning of books for free. To continue reading, simply buy and download the whole book with 1-Click, right from your phone. Sample length will vary by book.

Putting BlackBerry Passport’s Big Screen to Good Use

So, how do your Kindle books look on BlackBerry Passport? In a word: awesome.

You’re getting a full page of text in fantastic resolution, with crisp, readable text you can resize or even change to a preferred font, and you can change the color scheme to sepia, for example. The black screen/white text combo is great for late-night escapes.

Kindle book sample 1

And for those with a love of newspaper-type columns, you can set the page to a two-column format.

It all comes down to reading your books when you want, how you want. You can start on your computer, move to a Kindle Fire tablet and finish on your BlackBerry Passport, and with a number of free books in addition to paid titles, there’s no excuse to wait.

Kindle Icon for Android

Sound good? The Amazon Kindle App is available for free now on the Amazon Appstore.


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Social Commerce Comes to BBM with Song of the Week, Plus Amazon and Qoo10 “Deals” Channels

BBM Blog

BBM Channels are really taking off, and we’re starting to see retailers use them for more than just connecting with customers. Song of the Week is a new iTunes channel available in Canada, Indonesia, the UK, and the US where you can discover, listen to, and buy music. And two retailers, Amazon and Qoo10, have launched “deals” channels that each offer steep discounts on selected merchandise.

These channels have officially brought “social commerce” to BBM. Social commerce is simply giving people the ability to purchase products through social media, along with the ability to share information and reviews about products they’ve bought. It’s adding a sales channel to what has already become a powerful word-of-mouth media channel.

The time for social commerce has arrived. People are spending increasing amounts of time on social media, particularly on mobile. A recent report from Business Insider determined the average is about 37 minutes per person per day in the US — higher than any other Internet activity, including email. Globally, another study showed that people in the most-engaged countries spend 7-11 hours per month on social networking.

Consumer reviews have moved online, onto Amazon, Yelp, Dianping, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Google+ Local, Rotten Tomatoes, and others. Recent studies have shown that 88% of consumers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Commerce traffic is also moving to mobile, with 51% of visits to retail websites coming from mobile devices, making mobile the new majority source of online shopping.

It’s a trend that is going to continue, as there are many people in developing and emerging markets coming online via mobile now who haven’t had access before via desktop-plus-fixed-line service.

These are all the reasons that social commerce is the next logical step for BBM and retailers alike.

Song of the Week

Every Tuesday, we post a new song in our Song of the Week channels. The channels are available to people on BlackBerry, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone operating systems in Canada (C0043D0A0), Indonesia (C004B244B), the UK (C0042E650), and the US (C003BE124). Everyone can click through to see the song, album, and artist at the iTunes store. Those on iOS will also be able to purchase through the iTunes store on their device.

Amazon Deals

Through Amazon’s country-specific Deals channels for Canada (C00210535), the US (C0028F4B5), and UK (C0016F386), consumers can click all the way through to complete a purchase.

If you like what’s on offer, you simply tap the “Buy Now” link, which takes you to the mobile version of your local Amazon site. You land on a page with the daily deal, plus related merchandise. From the BBM Channel, you can also “like” or repost on your own channel.

Qoo10 Channels Increase Subscribers 26X

Qoo10 is one of the fastest-growing online marketplaces in the world, poised to challenge Amazon and eBay to be #1 in Asia. The company is taking a similar approach with its channels for Indonesia (C001CFCB0) and Malaysia (C00280617). Each one offers special deals on deeply discounted products every few hours instead of just once a day.

Recently, Qoo10 worked closely with our BBM advertising team to promote its channel to Indonesian BBM users through ad placements that included sponsored posts, sponsored invites, and featured tiles. After a 10-week campaign, Qoo10 saw a 26X increase in its subscriber base.

Expect to see more of this activity in BBM Channels in the coming months. We’re approaching social commerce in the same way we’ve set up the BBM Shop, which works through users’ accounts on BlackBerry World, iTunes, Google Play, or Windows Phone Store. We’re not looking to set up a separate account, but rather to let you use the ones you already have and trust.

In Good Company

We’re in good company, as there are a lot of one-click commerce announcements across all of the social media platforms. In July, Facebook added a “Buy” button to the ads and page posts of a select few small business sites. Twitter announced a similar pilot program in September, which adds a “Buy” button to tweets.

Trend-setting retailers are hopping on the bandwagon as well. Nordstrom, Target, and Charlotte Russe have partnered with Curalate to launch the Like2Buy platform, which will add shopping capability to their Instagram feeds. Nordstrom has also invited fashion-industry movers and shakers to photograph its fall accessories for a user-generated catalog. Saks Fifth Avenue has a new “user-generated content hub” on its website called #SaksStyle. Powered by another Curalate product, Fanreel, SaksStyle aggregates the pictures people post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram (along with the hashtag #SaksStyle), and links each image to product pages on the Saks website.

The Big Picture

With shopping-enabled Channels, together with our recent official rollout of BBM Money, TransferTo payment features and Stickers, we’re laying the foundation of a much larger monetization strategy. We’re building up BBM to become a secure, underlying foundation that ties mobile and social commerce together, connecting people to their world through mobile devices.


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BlackBerry Shares Up After Reports of Possible Lenovo Buyout

Rumours of a Lenovo bid for BlackBerry have swirled many times over the last two years.
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Four Key Ways that BlackBerry Protects Your Privacy

Originally posted on Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog:

Online privacy is one of the hottest topics today. Ever since a certain government contractor leaked classified information, there has been non-stop debate in the press and social media on the importance of consumer privacy and the role of technology in protecting our personal information.

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For over 15 years, BlackBerry has been synonymous with mobile privacy and security. We’ve already examined what makes BlackBerry so secure, so let’s look at what BlackBerry does to protect us as individuals.

Private by Default

Let’s be honest: Most of us would rather not have to think about privacy and security. We use technology to be productive and entertained, and worries around online safety only get in the way.

BlackBerry supports privacy by default. BES messages, BBM, and BlackBerry Blend are encrypted by default. Connections to mail servers that support encryption (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com) are encrypted by default. Connections to websites…

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BBM to Soon Get Timed Messages and Retraction Features

BlackBerry has already rolled out the new features to the beta versions of its BBM apps for Android and BB10, and says the full release is coming "very soon".
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New BBM Beta: Ultra-Private, Yours to Control

Privacy and control. At BBM, we recognize that these two ideas are more important today than ever before for users of IM apps. People are looking for simple ways to help guard against their messages getting in to the wrong hands and being seen by anyone other than the intended recipient. There are lots of scenarios out there, from someone picking up the sender’s phone and snooping around, to the recipient showing a message or picture to others around them, or maybe those times when a message is sent to someone by mistake. No matter how you look at it, no one likes being out of control.

Here at BBM, we believe that when people can chat and share with privacy and control, they are able to communicate with more discretion and freedom. That’s why today, we’re excited to give you a preview of two incredible new premium features coming to BBM in our next release.  With these new features, what you share is yours to control  – even once it’s left your phone.

Timed Messages

BBM timed

By setting a timer you can control how long messages and pictures you share with contacts can be viewed within BBM. Setting the timer is super easy: Before you send your message or picture, you just tap on the timer icon next to the text bar and choose a length of time you want the recipient to be able to view that message. The message is hidden until the recipient touches and holds on the chat. Then, once the timer has expired (or if the recipient takes their finger off the screen), the message is no longer visible. What I love about the timer is that I can move seamlessly between timed messages and normal messages in a single chat depending on what I’m sending. Oh, and don’t get any smart ideas about screen shots…if a screen shot is detected, the sender is notified.

Message Retraction

We’ve all been there, that time when you sent a message to the wrong person. Wouldn’t it be great if you could recall that message before they see it? Or maybe you’ve sent a piece of sensitive info to a contact – like your credit card number so they can buy some concert tix for you – and you don’t want that information to remain in the BBM chat it… Well, now you can retract your message to remove it from your BBM chat. Just touch and hold on the message you want to retract and choose ‘retract message’ from the menu. This one works with messages, not pictures, and is only available in one-to-one chats.

If you want to see these new premium features in action check out this video demo.  We’re testing these now in a limited beta for users on Android and BlackBerry 10. Timer and Retract will be available in the 2.5 release of BBM for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry 10 coming very, very soon.


Note:  While these features are designed to remove the message or picture the recipient’s BBM chat view, they do not prevent recipients from capturing an image of the content by taking a screenshot or using an image capture device.  Retracting a message after it has been read by the recipient will remove the message from the BBM chat view, but will not affect copies of the message that the recipient may have made prior to the message being retracted.


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Multinational Insurance Company Switches to BES10 from MDM Competitor – Here’s Why

Originally posted on Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog:

IBB

Organizations from all business strata and geographies continue to migrate their mobility management operations to BlackBerry.

A multinational insurance provider recently made the move to BlackBerry Enterprise Services 10 (BES10) to reduce operational overhead and to distance itself from a well-publicized security failure involving a rival solution.

The company was already thinking of consolidating its multi-vendor mobility management environment when one of its single-purpose management platforms became the target of a security breach involving hundreds of iOS-based devices. Anxious to replace the compromised system, the company accelerated its search for a consolidated solution.

“That’s when BlackBerry picked up the ball,” says Glen Farrelly, enterprise sales leader with BlackBerry. “The company, a longtime BlackBerry customer, had already rolled out BES10 to portions of its user base requiring end-to-end security and strict regulatory conformance. Leveraging BES10’s multi-platform capabilities, the customer transitioned roughly 1,000 employees using iOS devices to the BlackBerry EMM solution…

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What Does the Man on the Street Think of the BlackBerry Passport?

As people around the world get their hands on the BlackBerry Passport, they’re discovering all that their ticket to productivity offers, and people are taking note. It’s too good not to talk about – and as technology analyst Bob Egan of the Sepharim Group is discovering, the feedback from a little “show-and-tell” with the vox populi is strong.

A few days ago, Egan penned a piece for Forbes Magazine on the street-level reactions to the BlackBerry Passport. “BlackBerry’s new Passport is eye-catching,” he writes. “Women call it ‘sexy.’ Men say it’s ‘cool.’ And once they use it, iPhone owners apologetically concede that they ‘only have an iPhone.’”

mos

Calling the BlackBerry Passport “an elegant, modern conversation starter,” Egan conducted what he describes as “an informal experiment” in which he spoke with about 50 people and “shared it with random people so I could hear their opinions, too.”

Let’s take a look at the chart he produced for Forbes, documenting their reactions:

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According to the feedback he received, Egan found over 90% of people he spoke with found the BlackBerry Passport “cool,” with over 80% of the women he interacted with describing the BlackBerry Passport as “sexy.” Close to 100% of men and women felt the BlackBerry Passport’s 1,440 x 1,440, 4.5-inch screen made documents, web pages, and more “easy to read.”

This flies in the face of some reviewers who have been spoiling for a spectacle, but people like what they like, and they like the BlackBerry Passport.

Egan writes,

“Whether I was standing in a TSA line at an airport, or minding my own business during a flight, people near me asked about the Passport. During a recent trip between Boston and Atlanta, Alexander, a Delta flight attendant, actually leaned over the passenger sitting next to me and asked, ‘Hey, is that the new BlackBerry? How do you like it?’ Mind you, I was actually typing the first draft of this post on my Passport when he interrupted. I handed him the device and told him to try it out for a while. Then there was Sandra, a well-known graphic illustrator and personal friend, whom I just happened to run into. ‘What the heck is that?’ was quickly followed by, ‘This device is damn sexy! Is it really a BlackBerry? Can you get me one?’”

Similar stories are popping up around the web, including at the BlackBerry-enthusiast site Crackberry.com, where Amsterdam-based user “H4zN” posted about this amusing scenario which he says occurred in the middle of writing about his BlackBerry Passport:

“As I’m doing thing this write-up, there are 3 business men talking about their mobile phones . . . . They’re talking about apps, battery life, e-mail, etc. One of them turns around (I think he already saw my Passport laying on the table) and says ‘I wonder what phone this gentleman has.’

“I picked up my Passport and showed it to them. One of then literally said “WOW, WHAT’S THAT?!” and I told them it’s a BlackBerry. He asked right away what model and I said it’s the Passport, after which I asked him if he has a passport with him. He pulled it out of his pocket and I held it against the phone and he went crazy . . . I showed them the Device Monitor . . . . The Android guys were blown away since they were talking about battery life initially . . . . They eventually asked me how much it costs and were surprised that it was cheaper than the iPhone and Android flagships.”

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Fellow Crackberry poster “crackbridge” of the city of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, received similar attention at a movie theater:

“Was waiting in line for 10 minutes at the movie theatre, and had no less than 8-10 people either ask me directly about it or I overheard them mention it. ‘I think that guy has that new BlackBerry, looks actually pretty cool.’ A few people wanted to hold it and see the keyboard . . .  [I] had few more on the way out of theatre ask me about it as I was messaging some buddies. [It] always receives looks and comments whenever it’s in my hands.”

It’s not just businessmen and movie theater crowds scoping the BlackBerry Passport, either. Philosophy Professor Todd Moody (read our Q-and-A with him HERE) of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, wrote in the same forums about the reaction he got from one of the school’s IT workers when he came to check out Moody’s school laptop.

Moody, who goes by “ubizmo” on Crackberry, describes the exchange:

ubizmo

We know there are many, many more stories developing out in the wild where people are beginning to use and show off their devices, and we want to hear yours. Tell us in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with this final anecdote from Egan:

“Based on my own research, people want the Passport because it’s different from the Apple norm we’ve been seeing since the first iPhone was introduced seven years ago. It has ‘cool’ and ‘I’m important’ written all over it. If BlackBerry can succeed in ‘bringing sexy back,’ the Passport – and perhaps BlackBerry – has a real shot at becoming the new status symbol for a population desperately looking for something new.”

Here’s to that.


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BlackBerry Classic Leaked in Series of Images; Specifications Tipped

As seen in the leaked images, the Classic sports a lock button and two volume buttons on the right-side bezel, while featuring ports for SIM card and microSD card on the left side.
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Q and A: BlackBerry Passport Illustrates the Philosophy of Productivity for this University Professor

For the last 31 years, Todd Moody has taught philosophy to a few generations of students seeking to expand their minds. Now at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Moody has watched information and communications technologies move over the years from the basement to the pocket.

 

moody pic

A longtime tech enthusiast, he says he was one of the first faculty members to jump on email, and now, he utilizes his BlackBerry Passport to plow through what he says is “a lot of reading and writing” in his profession.

Young: What made you choose to upgrade to the BlackBerry Passport?

Moody: I’ve used BlackBerry smartphones since 2007, when I bought a Curve 8320. Since then, my expectations for a smartphone have only risen, and now I have a BlackBerry Passport. Before that, I was using a Q10, and a Z10 before that. And I’ve ventured onto other platforms as well, especially Android; but I’ve kept returning to BlackBerry.

 

Young: Being a teacher in a university setting, you’re probably accustomed to seeing students with their noses pressed up to a variety of devices, right?

Moody: I’m up in front of a room of undergraduates, and every one of them has a smartphone. They’re on them constantly, not only for social purposes but also for communicating with me. Like the professionals they aspire to become, they expect on-demand communication and updates.

Saint Joseph's University ForbesSaint Joseph’s University. Photo Credit: Forbes

Young: Have you had any students ask you about your BlackBerry Passport?

Moody: The first time I took the Passport out of my shirt pocket, they noticed. A couple knew what it was; the rest wanted to know. They were definitely interested. Over 90% of them are currently iPhone users. I showed them the Hub and how to peek into it. Nobody asked if it’d fit into a pocket, since they just saw me take it out of a pocket.

Young: So where does it come in to play?

Moody: Well, at my university, we use the Blackboard software as our primary interface between students, faculty, and administration. Blackboard is a complex suite of applications accessible through a web app.

IMG_20141014_170555To use it effectively, a powerful browser is necessary, and a large screen is a definite plus. For example, using the Blackboard web interface, I input and update student grades, send emails to individual students or groups, post course announcements, comment on course discussion boards, post links to web content for courses, and even submit midterm and final course grades to the registrar for processing.

 

Young: Sounds like that would be challenging – if even possible – from a run-of-the-mill mobile.

Moody: Most of the time, I’d do these things from a laptop or desktop machine, but there are times when that’s not an option. If I’m away from campus at a conference, I may need to do something on Blackboard from my phone, and in fact I’ve been able to post announcements and update grades in Blackboard from the browser on my Q10 while waiting in an airport. But doing so is not exactly easy, given the small screen. When I got the Passport, one of the first things I tried was Blackboard in the browser. What a difference! The big square screen lets me see what I’m doing very effectively, and the experience of using Blackboard is much more comparable to the laptop experience.

Young: So you do a lot of reading and writing? Most smartphones are designed primarily for watching videos and playing games.

Moody: I actually began to depend on a Kindle e-reader a few years ago. The Android Kindle app on the Passport provides a nice large screen for reading books, and adding highlights and annotations. I’m constantly composing notes and jotting down half-baked ideas for possible use later in articles or even books of my own. Evernote iconThe Remember app with Evernote sync is essential for this – it allows me to access the notes later from a laptop and do something with them.

Young: Do you find the innovations with the touch-enabled keyboard helpful juggling all of those words?

Moody: Absolutely. I was just going to say that the other part of that is the keyboard. As a long-time BlackBerry user, I’ve built up a large library of Word Substitution (formerly auto-text) entries.

Young: So you’re able to have your own, personalized dictionary/word choices on tap when you’re entering text? That’s useful, probably even more so in your profession.

Moody: Right. In effect, I’ve created a personal shorthand that enables me to create text very quickly and accurately. Technical terms from my discipline and abbreviations for many common English words. It’s really useful with the BB10 word prediction. Anyway, Word Substitution works best for me with a physical keyboard, which is why I was eager to try the Passport, combining a large screen with a physical keyboard for the best of both worlds. The Passport keyboard is a bit different from previous BlackBerry keyboards, so it took a day or two to get used to, but now I’m as good with it as I was with my Q10 and previous BlackBerrys with physical keyboards.

Young: Let’s talk a little more about the screen. You said the large screen is important to you?

Moody: I realize that young people tend to have great eyesight and don’t mind setting their smartphones to a very small font size. But contrary to popular belief, not all smartphone users are young – and none of them stay young! To avoid having to squint, I keep my font size large. On the Passport I can keep the font size large and still have a substantial full screen of content.

Young: How does the long battery life impact you?

Moody: It lets me use the phone without disabling features to save juice. On another phone I had, I used to turn off the swipe to wake option, because it needed a trickle of power to keep the screen sensitive. On the Passport I don’t have to worry about such things.

Young: Have you utilized BlackBerry Assistant yet? Or BlackBerry Blend, where you can use it with a computer?

Moody: Yes to both. So far, I use BlackBerry Assistant mainly to create calendar events. I find it easier than typing in the details. As for Blend, I discovered it’s a solution to a problem I’ve had for years. My office is in an old stone building and the reception is terrible, unless I keep the phone near the window, which isn’t convenient at all, especially since my wife and son use BBM to contact me from their Android phones. With Blend, it’s not a problem to leave the Passport on the sill where the reception is good and still have the use of many features. Except for phone calls!

Young: It looks like the BlackBerry Passport was just what you needed!

Moody: Absolutely. Look – the nature of personal computing is changing. Smartphone screens are larger, because people are expecting to use them for more and more. That means they’re using laptops and desktop machines less, and expecting their mobile devices to take over more of the work.

In my opinion, the BlackBerry Passport is the closest thing to a “pocket laptop” on the market at this time. With continued software updates, I only expect it to get better.

Even old professors can learn new tricks!


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