What Happens When A Couple’s Phone Goes Missing? They Get It Back, Intact, With BlackBerry Protect.

How many times have you misplaced your phone or had it go missing?

The mere thought of having your photos, memos, contacts and other personal information gone forever (or in someone else’s hands) is enough to make the average person sick with anxiety.

For one man and his wife, BlackBerry Protect recently proved invaluable in reuniting them with their missing phone.

Just Like Anyone Else

Andrew and Teresa Schito are a pretty normal family; they married a few years ago and are now raising their young son in their hometown of Waterloo, Ontario in Canada.

The Schito family. Credit: Andrew Schito

The Schito family. Credit:Andrew Schito

If the name of that city rings a bell, it’s because it also happens to be the home of BlackBerry, where Andrew works, while Teresa serves as a Communications Coordinator for the Region of Waterloo itself.

Teresa’s personal smartphone is a BlackBerry Z10. It’s full of baby pictures, just like any other new parent’s would be.

For Teresa, Andrew’s familiarity with BlackBerry’s mobile security features came in handy in a way they probably didn’t quite anticipate.

“My Heart Sank… I knew it was Gone”

It all began as a typical day (they always do) for Teresa – heading to swimming class at the local community center with her baby.

“I arrived at the community center and sent a text to a fellow mom friend that I’d arrived,” Teresa explains. “She met me at my car, and I threw my Z10 in the side pocket of my diaper bag, grabbed it and the baby and headed inside.”

When Teresa reached into her bag to grab her phone for a quick photo, however, it wasn’t there.

“I told my friend, ‘Hey, I can’t find my phone!’ while proceeding to rifle through my diaper bag,” she says. “I thought, maybe I left it in the car, but my friend was adamant she’d seen the phone in my bag when I was walking into the building.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the bag or the car, or anywhere around it.

“As soon as I opened the car door, my heart sank because I didn’t see it. I knew it was gone,” she says.

She left Andrew a voicemail and headed home, dejected.

“The drive home had me thinking about all my pictures, and I started to get very upset,” she recalls. “Months’ worth of pictures and videos of my little guy growing were potentially gone. It was heartbreaking.”

“The Phone is on the Other Side of Town”

When Teresa finally got the news to Andrew, he knew right away what to do.

“When my wife told me her phone was missing, I immediately logged onto the BlackBerry Protect site (protect.BlackBerry.comto lock the device and track it.”

Good move.

Andrew enabled a message on the wayward phone directing any potential finders to call him, along with the relevant contact number.

BlackBerry Protect Dashboard

BlackBerry Protect also let Andrew and Teresa view the location of the device, play a sound, display a message on the device, lock the device, and even wipe it if needed, changing the situation from a hopeless one to an actionable one. (BlackBerry Protect is found on all BlackBerry 10 devices and already enabled by default on the BlackBerry Passport and Classic).

protect story store blurred

It was BlackBerry Protect’s location-tracking feature that let Andrew and Teresa track her phone to a mixed-use building across town.

(This is the point where we remind you to let the authorities handle retrieving a missing device if someone else has it, just to be safe. There’s a chance your phone was just found on the side of the road, but it’s still the best course of action, and the police are trained to handle this sort of situation.)

“We waited a while, and it hadn’t moved in 40 minutes,” says Teresa. “I called the police from the location and explained the situation again. They said they would dispatch an officer and to wait, so I parked on a side street and waited.”

Andrew then arrived and went into the convenience store to speak with the owner. When he came out, the police arrived.

“The officer asked us what we wanted him to do,” relates Teresa. “He seemed skeptical we would get the phone back because of similar lost phone cases. I told him I didn’t care so much about the physical phone. I could always get another BlackBerry, but it was the photos on the phone I wanted.”

A Great Idea Built into BlackBerry Protect

The next bit is somewhat ingenious:

“Andrew asked the officer if it would help if he could make my phone ring while he’s at the apartment, and the officer said that would be much better,” says Teresa.

“I used BlackBerry Protect to play a loud sound on the phone,” Andrew says. “While outside the apartment, we were able to hear the tone and confirmed the phone was in that apartment.”

Thankfully, the phone was given (without incident) to the police, who returned it to Teresa – contacts, memos and photos intact. The person with the phone said they’d found it “in a snowbank.”

“All I can say is: Thank goodness for BlackBerry Protect!” Teresa says with relief. “I know a lot of people who have lost their phone, and they lose all their pictures and everything with it and then end up just buying a new phone. I’m so thankful I didn’t have to do that.”

“We also will back up our pictures on our devices more often now,” Andrew adds.

The triumphant Tweet:

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your BlackBerry (and Data)

If you have a BlackBerry 10 device, you should complete the steps below to turn on BlackBerry Protect – it just might reunite you with your phone! (Remember, it’s enabled by default on the BlackBerry Passport and Classic.)

BlackBerry Protect screen on BlackBerry Passport

  1. On your home screen, swipe down from the top of the screen
  2. Tap Settings followed by BlackBerry Protect
  3. Set the BlackBerry Protect switch to On

For a complete overview, check out the BlackBerry Protect page HERE, and be sure to watch the video below.

Additionally, you can read more about smart security steps you can take, including encrypting both your SD card and the data on your BlackBerry 10 device, in our article, “Don’t Get Hacked: 5 Concrete Steps for Better Mobile Security.”

Have you ever lost or had your phone go missing? Were you able to retrieve it? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Z3 Smartphones Win a 2015 iF DESIGN AWARD

The BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Z3 smartphones were honored with the iF DESIGN AWARD 2015, and are among the winners of the renowned iF label.

iF DESIGN AWARD crop

For over 60 years, the iF DESIGN AWARD has been recognized around the world as a label of design excellence, and the iF logo is an internationally established symbol identifying outstanding achievements in design.

The international high-profile jury assessed almost 5,000 entries from 53 countries in order to determine who would receive this coveted seal of excellence.

We asked Brian Paschke, Senior Industrial Designer, to provide some background on the team’s approach to designing these two award-winning devices.

BlackBerry Passport
”Inspired by the passport, a universal symbol of mobility, the BlackBerry Passport is perfect for traveling light. To continually evolve, the BlackBerry Passport leverages our strength and heritage, yet is new and innovative. The touch-sensitive keypad affords an efficient typing experience, blending the digital and the physical. To enhance the experience, we used the typeface Slate in the same size and color for the physical and onscreen keys. The stainless steel frame, inspired by modern architecture, is exposed to celebrate durability and visual lightness. The display glass is shaped and polished to perfection, fully integrating into the overall form.”

BlackBerry Z3 – Minimal Design, Maximum Content
“Built with precision, the BlackBerry Z3 makes the BlackBerry 10 experience accessible to all in a 5” form factor. With a modern and minimal design, it is the perfect balance of utility and elegance. It shares a similar construction to the BlackBerry Passport, holding all elements together in unity. The result is a product that looks and feels slim, yet is highly durable. Audio ports are precision-drilled by a laser to have a unified look with the rear pattern. The alignment between all details and display create a composition that reflects harmony, clarity, and care.”

Our award-winning smartphones will be featured in one of three subsequent special shows in the iF design exhibition Hamburg. The iF design exhibition is located in the very center of Hamburg’s HafenCity, the go-to place for those with a special interest in design and architecture.

It’s clear that the iF DESIGN AWARD jury aren’t the only ones impressed by these devices. Check out what others think about the BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Z3.


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What Did The 10 Latest Reviews Say About The BlackBerry Classic?

classic keys

The BlackBerry Classic continues to pull in solid reviews since its launch in December. From its near-all-day battery life to productivity enhancers such as the BlackBerry Hub, Blend and Assistant to the triumphant return of the toolbelt, the Classic builds on the strengths that drew people to BlackBerry in the first place.

(Be sure to check out our prior review roundups HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE or skip to the bottom to find links to buy the BlackBerry Classic on ShopBlackBerry.)

“The Best BlackBerry in Years”

PhoneDog’s Cam Bunton calls the Classic “the best BlackBerry in years.” He writes, “It’s giving BlackBerry fans everything they want in an up-to-date and relatively affordable package . . . Overall, the hardware looks and feels high-end . . . [The display is] bright and has great viewing angles . . . For emails, messaging, web browsing and calendar management [the square screen is] fantastic . . . [The] browser speed is very quick . . . Thanks to BlackBerry 10’s intuitive gesture-based system, moving around the phone is as slick and easy as ever . . . The Classic easily got me through a full day on a 100% charge, with some juice left over normally after light to moderate use . . . Overall then, the BlackBerry Classic is everything that BlackBerry users need it to be. It’s a current, up-to-date phone with great build quality and an almost perfect physical keyboard and control system.”

Technology Personalized’s Nimish Dubey writes, “The Classic [is about] the whole ‘real typing’ and productivity experience . . . The first thing that will strike you about the device [is] the classic BlackBerry key layout . . . The finish [won’t] pick up any stains or scratches and well, has a shine that will turn heads. Talking of head turners, the shining BB logo in steel in the center on the back will do so as well . . . The Classic looks as if the ground would have more to fear from contact with it than the device would . . . BlackBerry has returned to its roots.”

“Meant for People who need to get Work Done”

“[The] purpose of the Classic is to bring back the highly sought after QWERTY keyboard in a design that was well-loved by its users, leveraging a modern operating system, which now even has support for Android applications,” writes IndiaToday’s Sahil Mohan Gupta. “In the week we tested the device, it showed impressive battery life . . . The BlackBerry Classic offers sound quality during calls. It maintained strong signals in areas where the iPhone 6 failed . . . [The Classic] is meant for people who need to get work done, especially if the work involves sending a lot of emails or typing a lot on the phone. It’s great at getting work done. Actually, it is one of the best phones in the market for that kind of thing.”

“BlackBerry has gone back to basics with its Classic, an update of the Bold that’s the best physical keyboard yet,writes The Guardian’s (UK) Samuel Gibbs. “If a phone for emailing with a physical keyboard is the dream, this just might be it . . . The BlackBerry feels solidly built [and] designed to last . . . The keyboard is the real star of the show. It is arguably the best physical keyboard available, complete with shift, symbol and alternate keys, which makes entering text, numbers and punctuation easy . . . The BlackBerry Hub collects all messaging notifications into one place and works better than any other ‘unified inbox’ on any other platform. The BlackBerry is still the best machine for sending simple text to other people . . . The Classic achieves what it sets out to do and is a worthy upgrade for users of a Bold or other older BlackBerry.”

Holding Classic

“A Return to Form”

The Economic Times’ (India) Hitesh Raj Bhagat calls the Classic “A return to form,” writing, “[To anyone] desperately holding on to a Bold or Curve, your prayers have been answered! The Classic is, in many ways, a return to form for the company. It draws a lot of inspiration from the Bold 9900 . . . [You] don’t have to use the touchscreen if you don’t want to — you can exclusively use the optical trackpad. The Classic is unmistakably a BlackBerry. But it’s also powered by the latest BB OS 10.3 . . . [The Classic features the] much-loved classic BlackBerry design with 4-row keypad – the best keypad on a mobile deviceAndroid app compatibility, [and a] great price.”

“The BlackBerry Classic, as the name suggests, is the Canadian firm’s return to what it does best: a business-focused smartphone with a physical keyboard,” writes Full-Time Whistle’s David A. Jackman. “It does a very specific job, and it does it very well . . . [F]or some, productivity and communication are still the two things a phone should do flawlessly. This is an unashamed communications device.”

“Provides Everything that Fans of the Company’s Smartphones Want”

“The BlackBerry Classic provides everything that fans of the company’s smartphones want in a larger handset, including the familiar physical keyboard,” writes eWeek’s Wayne Rash. “At first glance, the BlackBerry Classic seems to be just like its much-loved predecessor, the BlackBerry Bold 9900. But, of course, it’s not. Held side-by-side, the Classic is larger in every dimension except thickness. But the larger dimensions improves what BlackBerry already does best, which is to handle text-intensive tasks… It’s easy to get back to the familiar feel of thumb-typing on the sculpted keyboard. I found the physical keys to be much more accurate than any on-screen keyboard.”

“The Classic has been eagerly awaited by BlackBerry enthusiasts and it absolutely hits the mark for that audience, those who care far more about a clicky, physical, full-size keyboard than installing Instagram,” writes TechRadar’s David Nield. “As someone not overly familiar with BlackBerry devices, I found the keyboard and trackpad a refreshing change as far as input goes. The device is solidly built and feels comfortable in the hand . . . The stand-out apps are the BlackBerry Hub and the browser, though there’s plenty to please business users and the security-conscious here too.”

“The Best Enterprise Chops in the Industry”

“The BlackBerry Classic is a quintessential BlackBerry, any way you slice it,” writes the GSMArena team. “With a hardware QWERTY keyboard and navigation buttons, a strictly business appearance and the best enterprise chops in the industry, the newcomer is reminiscent of the Blackberries of old when the mobile world was not all about big touchscreens.”

“The Classic reminds us that BlackBerry is still around and ready to build on its core strengths,” writes the Calgary Herald’s Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla. “With the Classic, it can hold on to its most loyal fans and get them on a more modern smartphone platform . . . If you like physical keyboards, the BlackBerry Classic is a pleasure to use. The QWERTY keyboard is the most responsive and intuitive one BlackBerry’s made . . . The BlackBerry Classic is a whiz at managing e-mails, and even editing documents thanks to the keyboard and touch screen combination. BlackBerry Blend, a companion app that can route messages, BBMs and emails to a connected tablet, PC or Mac, also makes the Classic ideal for businesses.”

Pricing and Availability

BlackBerry is working with carriers and partners to deliver BlackBerry Classic to customers around the world. North American customers can purchase the BlackBerry Classic online today through Amazon.com and www.BlackBerry.com for $449 in the U.S. and $499 in Canada. More availability information here.

*Note that pricing differs per market


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BlackBerry the Device of Choice for Leaders at World Economic Forum in Davos

World Economic Forum 2015: The LogoBlackBerry smartphones carry a certain connotation with them – they say “I mean business and get things done,” and this is apparently very much the case at the World Economic Forum late last week in Davos, Switzerland, according to Business Insider UK’s Jim Edwards.

The preferred modus operandi for power players attending this prestigious annual event was the two-phone combination of iPhone and BlackBerry, observed Edwards.

BlackBerry had “massive market share” in Davos, wrote Edwards, who interviewed one executive from a major U.S. investment bank who, like “a lot of people here are conspicuously carrying two phones: an iPhone and a BlackBerry . . . The guy [told me] the company still preferred its employees to use the BlackBerry because its security is superior to that of iPhone or Android.”

Edwards also noted that “UK Chancellor George Osborne uses a BlackBerry, too — he walked right by me, talking on it.”

If You’re Important, You “Need a Phone with a Real Keyboard” in Davos

While the iPhone seemed the device du jour for much of the crowd, “the BlackBerry is everywhere, too,” he says.

Wrote Edwards: “In an odd way, rocking the iPhone-BlackBerry combo is a way to send a huge signal about your status: Yes, you have the expensive new phone from Apple that everyone wants. But you’re so busy, so important, that you also need a phone with a real keyboard.”

As confirmation of this theory, Edwards spoke with “a member of the board of directors for a Middle Eastern central bank [who] told me the keyboard was what kept him with BlackBerry. He isn’t just responding to emails with ‘OK’ or ‘Tx.’ He’s typing long memos to staff and colleagues.”

Yes, BlackBerry keyboards are the best for that sort of thing, aren’t they?

Edwards continues: “An executive at a major aerospace manufacturer was rocking the big, square BlackBerry Passport that my colleague Mike Bird loves so much. I asked him why: security. His IT department requires BlackBerry for its employees because of the security,” which is what the first exec he’d spoken with had said as well.

Additionally, as Edwards notes, BBM “has, historically, been the preferred messaging service of many corporate IT departments.”

Again, it comes down to security. There’s no getting around that point.

Not a One-Trick Pony

If Edwards were to dig a little deeper, he might find that beyond the “status symbol” of the BlackBerry devices lies a bevy of honest-to-goodness breakthrough productivity features that business professionals actually need.

Yes, there’s the bedrock security that is intrinsic to everything BlackBerry does, but there are also only-on-BlackBerry features such as BlackBerry Blend, allowing BlackBerry devices to seamlessly interact and integrate with a PC or Mac while leaving nothing behind after disconnecting, or the Hub, which allows for the total mastery over of all your emails, social messages, calls and texts.

There’s also BlackBerry Assistant which takes voice commands to a new level with deep integration with native apps, BlackBerry Balance’s unique personal and work spaces, BBM with its text, voice and video call functionality, and the combination of BlackBerry World and the Amazon (Android) Appstore for an awesome mix of productivity and entertainment apps.

All of this is ready for any power player anywhere in the world.

Show Your Status with the BlackBerry Passport and Classic

You can get your factory-unlocked BlackBerry Passport from ShopBlackBerry.com at these links:

Black (currently $599, regular $699)

White (currently $599, regular $699)

Limited Edition Red: $699

…and at Amazon:

Black: (currently $577.99, regular $699)

White: (currently $577.99, regular $699)

Limited Edition Red: $699.99

Or go for the BlackBerry Classic:

Customers with a North American shipping address can purchase the BlackBerry Classic online today through Amazon.com and ShopBlackBerry for $449 in the U.S. and $499 in Canada. It is also being offered by AT&T, Verizon, Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and TELUS. Read this blog for the latest availability by country. (Note that pricing differs per market.)

Either choice will take your productivity game to the next level – something actually worth showing off.


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Four Months In, The BlackBerry Passport Keeps Garnering Great Customer and Media Reviews [Video]

The unique and powerful BlackBerry Passport keeps landing solid reviews and making the news.

Passport_ATT_custom_angle

The media is covering the productivity powerhouse for its design updates, new mobile carriers to buy from, and new color options ranging from black and white versions to limited edition red and an extremely limited mini-run of ultra-bling gold.

Read on, or jump straight to the bottom of this post with links to each of the devices on ShopBlackBerry.

Reviews: “I Couldn’t Help but Fall for the Passport”

While we’ve covered all of the reviews that have come out since September (check our prior roundups HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE), the well isn’t dry yet:

IT Pro’s Khidr Suleman gives it 4-out-of-5 stars, writing, “The BlackBerry Passport [is] big and demands attention, thanks to the unique 4.5 in square screen with its 1440 x 1440 resolution . . . The display is super bright too . . . Together, with the device’s width, this makes it ideal for reading documents, books and browsing the web. You also don’t ever have to switch between landscape and portrait modes . . . One of the standout features is the battery life, thanks to the gigantic 3450mAh battery pack [which] translates to excellent battery life . . . The Passport [provides] all the functionality you’d expect from a high-end device.”

Over at NotebookCheck, German reviewer Florian Wimmer writes, “The Passport is a daring device because an unusual yet very practical screen format is used, and because it features a physical keyboard. The proprietary software that is intuitive to use and actually offers all features needed for routine use has been upgraded strongly via emulated Android apps [which] will please users . . . More positive aspects are the good speakers, the high performance, and the quality casing . . . The screen is also high-quality, the temperatures are kept within limits, and the wireless communication options are diverse. The battery life is just as convincing . . . BlackBerry will certainly win over individualists with its Passport.”

Top Review’s Pé Nai writes, “[The BlackBerry Passport is] a phone with an innovative keyboard and a perfect design to carry out productive tasks . . . Blackberry keyboards don’t need an introduction and the keyboard on Passport goes one step ahead . . . [It’s] packed with a 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 801 CPU coupled with 3GB RAM. This combination makes it one of the smoothest handset out in the market . . . [T]he professional, business-focused user – anyone who creates spreadsheets, presentations, etc. – will love the design.”

Mobile User Experience’s Marek Pawlowski writes, “[T]he Passport’s unique form and function will help users do unique things on the move [and it feels] closer to a data-centric pocket computer than most smartphones . . . Another unique aspect of the Passport is the Blackberry 10 OS [which is] fast and intuitive, combining swipe gestures and keyboard shortcuts on the Passport to provide an impressively productive environment. [The] whole thing seems fluid . . . The Hub is ideal for scrolling through your messages and efficiently responding to everything in one unified environment. If that sounds like the way you like to work, Blackberry 10 is a strong proposition . . . The browser is fast and the big square screen is great for viewing content. The integrated Blackberry calendar, contacts and combined notetaker and to-do list app – Remember – are all well designed. It all adds up to a creative powerhouse of a device, suited to those who value the ability to create – not just consume – within a truly pocketable form factor. For some users it will come close to replacing the familiar phone, tablet and laptop combination employed by those who travel frequently . . . I couldn’t help but fall for the Passport.”

Stellar User Ratings at Amazon, Flipkart and Bell

Some people trust reviews from the professionals. Others put more weight into reviews by customers that shell out their hard-earned cash and invest weeks or months with a device every day..

(Check out our prior customer review roundups for the BlackBerry Passport HERE and HERE.)

With a current average rating of 4.7-out-of-5 stars on Amazon, the BlackBerry Passport is one of the top-scoring smartphones on the mega-retailer’s site. As of now, the vast majority (700+) of reviews are firmly of the 4-or 5-star variety – 94%, in fact.

January Amazon Passport Reviews Snapshot

The Passport also holds an average of 4.7-out-of-5 stars on Indian e-tailer Flipkart with 94% of reviewers awarding it four stars or better…

January Flipkart Reviews Snapshot

…and Bell Mobility users have awarded the Passport a perfect average of 5-out-of-5 stars from the 52 customer reviews:

January Bell Passport Reviews Snapshot

Another Way the BlackBerry Passport Keeps on Going: Battery

There are many reasons the BlackBerry Passport is still a conversation piece pulling in reviews, but one of those reasons is certainly the massive 3,450 mAh battery.

The BlackBerry Passport has the best runtime among ALL rivals* – Just take a look at this data, in hours and minutes, that we will be featuring in a coming infographic:

4G wireless 3G wireless
BlackBerry Passport 28:14 31:02
Samsung Galaxy S5 23:11 23:47
iPhone 6 22:14 19:29
iPhone 6 Plus 26:18 24:05

(*Based on third-party lab testing sponsored by BlackBerry, under 4G and 3G wireless conditions, using a mixed-usage profile. Results will vary by carrier and network conditions.)

The Passport runs 5-7 hours longer than the Samsung Galaxy S5, 6-12 hours longer than the iPhone 6, and 2-7 hours longer than the iPhone 6 Plus. That’s enough power to do just about anything, and having all that the BlackBerry Passport offers and having it all accessible for longer than the most insane work day you can imagine is something that no one else can offer.

Video Tells All

We’ve also gone out and interviewed a number of Passport users for a YouTube video – check it out below.

 

Pricing and Availability

You can get your factory-unlocked BlackBerry Passport from ShopBlackBerry.com at these links:

Black (currently $599, regular $699)

White (currently $599, regular $699)

Limited Edition Red: $699
…and at Amazon:

Black: (currently $577.99, regular $699)

White: (currently $577.99, regular $699)

Limited Edition Red: $699.99

Get your BlackBerry Passport today in the color of your choice and discover what “getting things done” really feels like!


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Not So Fast, Good

Good Technology announced a pilot of a split billing solution which it claims is a world’s first. Their announcement creates the impression that nobody in the industry is doing anything like it. Yet, BlackBerry announced WorkLife by BlackBerry back on November 13, a more complete solution that will be rolling out through carriers this year. Let’s take a closer look at what other important details are missing from Good’s announcement:

FactCheck_Good_SplitBilling_markedup_Jan26_Updated

Click to enlarge image.

Good’s solution seems to only apply to employee data — it doesn’t address voice or SMS. Yet, work phone numbers are an important company asset. When employees using a personal phone for work (BYOD) leave the company, they take their phone number with them—and customers, suppliers and other work contacts will keep calling the employee’s number, not the company’s. With WorkLife by BlackBerry, enterprises can assign a separate work number they own and control, and re-assign it to another employee device any time. Now work phone calls are made to the company, not the person.

Of course, WorkLife by BlackBerry also addresses the split billing issue. But, rather than only addressing data, WorkLife also makes it easy to split the cost of voice minutes, SMS and data used for work vs. used for personal. Companies are automatically billed for work related usage on the work line while employees pay directly for their personal usage. With a simple switch, employees can choose which line they want to use when placing a phone call, sending an SMS or using data like browsing the web or using apps.

For companies issuing corporate devices, WorkLife also allows employees to have both a work and personal line on a corporate phone, ending the need to carry two devices. And WorkLife offers a number of other key advantages, including straightforward billing and the ability to maintain split billing while roaming.

Good’s solution doesn’t address voice or SMS charges. It doesn’t ensure customer contact happens through phone numbers controlled by the company. And, it only partially creates a clear separation between all work and personal activities — unless, of course, your company doesn’t talk to anyone on the phone or SMS. As a solution it’s incomplete.

Don’t just chip away at part of the problem. Find a complete solution that gives employees separate work and personal phone numbers, SMS and data all on one smartphone: www.blackberry.com/worklife.


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BlackBerry Passport Gets Limited Edition Black and Gold Variant

In the meanwhile Sony has launched the Xperia Z3 in a Purple Diamond Edition in Hong Kong.
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BlackBerry CEO Believes Apple and Others Should Be Forced to Make BlackBerry Apps

Chen feels that app developers and content providers are only focused on Android and iOS, leading to a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem.
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Net Neutrality: No on Reclassification, Yes on Adding Content & App Providers

U.S. President Obama and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have put net neutrality back on the front burner with their recently announced support for reclassifying both wireline and wireless broadband as Title II services. Congressional committees are holding hearings this week to consider these and perhaps other proposals. Here is BlackBerry’s perspective on the important issues raised by the various proposals under discussion.

BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to comment on these issues. We are a Canadian company offering service to customers in more than 150 countries. We provide the world’s most secure mobile communications platform. President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Merkel, NATO, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Members of Congress rely on our high security, end-to-end secure communications network to protect their most sensitive communications. We do business with more than 600 wireless carriers globally and are intimately familiar with wireless broadband networks around the world, including in countries with higher and faster broadband penetration than the United States.

Based on our experience, we offer the following observations:

Defining Net Neutrality. There is widespread disagreement in defining the term “net neutrality.” Most discussion has focused on telecommunications carriers and how they operate and manage their physical networks. Neutrality advocates want to prohibit carriers from creating paid, prioritized “fast lanes,” and from slowing down or “throttling” customers using excessive bandwidth. Neutrality advocates argue that such practices will destroy the free and open internet, while the carriers argue such prohibitions will destroy their incentives to invest in infrastructure to carry more traffic.

BlackBerry believes policymakers should focus on more than just the carriers, who play only one role in the overall broadband internet ecosystem. The carriers are like the railways of the last century, building the tracks to carry traffic to all points throughout the country. But the railway cars travelling on those tracks are, in today’s internet world, controlled not by the carriers but by content and applications providers. Therefore, if we are truly to have an open internet, policymakers should demand openness not just at the traffic/transport layer, but also at the content/applications layer of the ecosystem. Banning carriers from discriminating but allowing content and applications providers to continue doing so will solve nothing.

Therefore, any net neutrality legislation must take a holistic view of the entire playing field, addressing both carrier neutrality and content/application neutrality.

Carrier neutrality. Opponents of reclassification fear that someday the FCC will use its Title II authority to regulate wireless rates, notwithstanding the current Administration’s stated intent to forebear from doing so. Proponents of reclassification argue that broadband has become the key telecommunications utility of the 21st Century, and thus must be regulated under Title II to ensure the broadest possible protections for consumers, such as utility-style non-discrimination and universal service mandates.

Given the unique nature of wireless networks, including the highly competitive wireless business in the United States and the bandwidth limitations inherent in spectrum-dependent transport, reclassifying broadband as a Title II service seems excessive to us. In contemplating how to construct a fair set of rules tailored to the special nature of wireless telecommunications, we suggest instead considering a set of rules already in place that fairly reconciles the needs of carriers and consumers. We refer to the FCC regulations set forth at 47 CFR §27.16, which apply to the C-Block broadband spectrum auctioned in 2008. Those rules, advocated at the time by Google and a coalition of public interest groups, mandate two key non-discrimination principles – no blocking and no locking – which have proven to be a solid model for wireless carrier neutrality regulation.

No blocking. The C Block rules prohibit wireless carriers from restricting customers from using devices and accessing applications or any other lawful content of their choice on the C Block network, except as necessary to manage or protect the network for the benefit of all other users.

No locking. The C block rules also prohibit wireless carriers from disabling features on mobile devices they sell to customers, or rigging those devices to prohibit their use on competitors’ networks.

Verizon won the entire C block in the 2008 auction, and has lived under those rules ever since. The rules have withstood the test of time and have functioned well. There is no evidence the rules have failed to achieve their purpose or have failed to protect the principle of an open wireless internet. With that positive experience to guide us, why not extend the C-Block rules to all mobile broadband spectrum and all carriers? Doing so would achieve the President’s non-discrimination and equal access objectives without creating the risk of future price regulation, and would also satisfy several of the key points set forth in the joint proposals advanced by Chairmen Thune and Upton. Customers would benefit from the ability to access any mobile broadband service, any application, or any other lawful content – on any network, using any device.

Application/Content Neutrality. BlackBerry has been in the midst of a turnaround since I took over as Executive Chairman and CEO in November 2013. During the past 15 months the company has stabilized and introduced a variety of new products as we pivot away from our prior reliance on hardware to become a full-service, device-agnostic provider of highly secure and productive software and services. Our balance sheet is strong and our turnaround is proceeding apace.

Key to BlackBerry’s turnaround has been a strategy of application and content neutrality. For example, we opened up our proprietary BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service in 2013, making it available for download on our competitors’ devices. Tens of millions of iPhone and Android customers around the world have since downloaded BBM and are enjoying the service free of charge. Last year we introduced our secure BES12 mobile device management software, once again designed to manage not just BlackBerry phones but also available for enterprises and government agencies whose employees use iPhone and Android devices.

Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.

Therefore, neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system.

This blog is adapted from a letter sent Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, John Thune, the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Fred Upton, and Ranking Committee Members, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone Jr.


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Limited Edition Black & Gold BlackBerry Passport Joins the Family

Everyone likes choices. They give you a chance to show your personality and stand out from the crowd.

That’s probably part of the reason people are loving their BlackBerry Passports (check out our press/review roundups HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) – the unique form factor, packed chock-full of innovations, unlocks personal productivity in a way no plain-vanilla device can.

It says, “I mean business and get things done,” and says it with style.

front right

And part of that style is the variety of color options. The BlackBerry Passport is available in black, white and the Limited Edition Red BlackBerry Passport, and now, the Limited Edition Black & Gold BlackBerry Passport.

(Check out the excitement over the white and red BlackBerry Passports HERE.)

Everyone loves gold, right? You might consider it “gilding the lily” with the productivity powerhouse sporting a large square touch screen with 453 PPI, touch-enabled keyboard, 3450 mAh battery for up to 30 hours of mixed use and top-flight software, including the Hub, BlackBerry Assistant, BlackBerry Blend, Amazon Appstore and much, much more.

Still, gold just looks chic, and the BlackBerry Passport is a thing of beauty – inside and out, whatever the color scheme.

 

Get It from Us and Skip the Expensive Electroplating

Those passionate fans bent on having a black and gold BlackBerry Passport have already gone the distance to trick out their devices. Actor/rapper Drake reportedly customized his smartphone to the tune of £1,999 (that equates to over US$3,000)!

Over on LinkedIn, super-fan Jim Opfer detailed how he went to a plating shop, which had to have the device taken apart (the horror!) so the frame could be custom-plated. He disassembled the device himself, and it took an entire nerve-wracking hour, with about 30 screws to take out. (We don’t recommend this.)

Front laying down

Now that’s what I call determination.

Others are looking to luxury customization company Goldgenie to do the work. It’ll set you back a cool £1,247.50, or US$2,020.

Ah, the things we do to make our tech shiny.

 

Pricing and Availability

Or, you could just buy an official one from us, since we’re offering our Limited Edition Black & Gold BlackBerry Passport. Only 50 will be available worldwide. Each one comes engraved with “Limited Edition” and the production number, as well as a Valextra cover made from soft calf leather with Valextra “costa” lacquered piping.

Back

Get yours today on Shop BlackBerry for $999 in Canada and $899 in the US – considerably less than these other folks are shelling out – no disassembly required.

Act fast – this is a limited-time offer!

What color BlackBerry Passport do you have or want? Tell us in the comments below.


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