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BlackBerry finally gives up on creating its own phones

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The headline above was something we were expecting to write one day, but now that it’s happened, it’s still quite sad. BlackBerry’s original smartphone designs are no more.

In a lengthy PDF detailing BlackBerry’s recent financial highs and lows, the Canadian company chose to stick to what it’s good at, specifically software and security services. But this doesn’t mean that no more handsets are coming out of this development; all BlackBerry phones released from now on will simply be designed and manufactured by third-party hardware partners.

This process actually began over a month ago. The once high-end smartphone brand synonymous with QWERTY keyboards released the DTEK50, which is a $300 full-touchscreen Android handset. It’s something you wouldn’t imagine BlackBerry doing back when it was at the top of the smartphone world over half a decade ago.

blackberry-dtek50

BlackBerry DTEK50

It was a sign of things to come. The terribly named DTEK50 was just an Alcatel Idol 4 with BlackBerry’s branding plastered all over it. Once rumors surfaced of a successor in the DTEK60 being cooked up, which looks to be a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4S, the unfortunate announcement we’re hearing now becomes less of a surprise.

BlackBerry’s woes began when it couldn’t catch up to the momentum built by Google and Apple’s operating systems. Realizing that physical keypads were no longer desired by the majority of consumers, its software developers went hard at work on a more touchscreen-friendly BB10 OS, which first debuted on the Z10 and Q10 in early 2013. Its gesture-based interface introduced several good ideas outside of the usual Android and iOS functionality, but it arrived way too late.

Once that experiment failed, BlackBerry gave in and accepted the open-source Android system on October 2015. The Priv combined the richness of Android’s touchscreen interface with BlackBerry’s signature keyboard sliding out from underneath. Together with the company’s added security features, it seemed like a great deal, until everyone realized it cost $700 at launch.

blackberry-priv

BlackBerry Priv

Overall sales dwindled in the past few years, to the point of having less than one percent of the worldwide smartphone market share. That alone was a signal to retire.

On the bright side, we still have good memories to live with. Remember that awesome Bold 9900? It still stands as one of the best physical keyboard-equipped smartphones of all time. There was also the Curve 9220, which was the Nokia 3310 of BlackBerries. And who could forget the unjustly underrated PlayBo— wait, never mind. Even BlackBerry chose to forget it ever existed.

[irp posts=”7249″ name=”BlackBerry has a new security-focused flagship phone”]

Source: Business Insider

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Android 9 Pie update now available for Xiaomi Mi A1

The perks of Android One

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After the Mi A2, it’s now Mi A1’s turn to get a taste of Google’s latest software. Being under the Android One program, the Mi A1 will finally get a clean version of Android 9 Pie.

The Android Pie update for the Mi A1 may have come a bit late, but it’s still sooner compared to most Android phones out there. The new firmware weighs more than 1GB to download, so be sure to have a solid connection when updating.

It brings all the benefits of Android Pie plus support for FM radio which wasn’t available before. The change log also mentions new navigation options, but the Mi A1 already has capacitive keys.

The update is already confirmed to be available in South Asia and it’ll soon roll out to all markets. The Mi A1 was launched with Android Nougat and it received the Oreo update. Android Pie is the second major update for the phone.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mi A1, you may watch our review below. It’s still available at a discounted price in select stores, making it a great budget-friendly phone.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Busan with the Xiaomi Mi A1

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Apple will not change its design next year, report says

Will keep the notch until 2019

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For the longest time, the smartphone market has been defined by technology’s ten-year old rule. Typified by Apple and Samsung, companies initially launch revolutionary phone designs, followed by incremental upgrades for the next year. For example, the Galaxy S8 and S9 have similar designs; the iPhone X, XR, XS, and XS Max have near-identical looks. Both Samsung and Apple have two-year cycles. It’s a time-honored tradition.

Now, the rule is finally winding down. According to Nomura Securities Analyst Anne Lee, Apple will not follow that trend next year. Instead, the 2019 iPhones will “likely have the same form factors… as the 2H18 iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, with some added AR-related features.”

Last year, Apple introduced the polarizing iPhone X form factor. Among others, the design standard popularized the camera notch. Since then, Android-reliant companies have also adopted the design, resulting in a lot of wacky iterations. If Lee’s report is true, the notch still has one year left in its tank. “We think 2019 could be the last year the iPhone uses the iPhone X design architecture,” she said.

Potentially, the move coincides with the company’s strides to adopt 5G technology, which will make its Apple debut in 2020. With that, Apple will likely debut a new design after a working 5G prototype.

Of course, Apple’s defensive approach also hints at the company’s struggles this past year. Notably, the company has been consistently disappointed by its sales columns this year. Apple has even decided to withhold its sales figures for upcoming quarters. On global distribution charts, Huawei has already overtaken Apple for the number two spot.

With the new report, Apple is noticeably doubling down on riskier strategies for the upcoming year. The company already expects to sell fewer units in 2019. On paper, Apple looks like it’s on a downward spiral.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Review: Not just a laptop replacement

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Huawei pledges $2 billion to secure cybersecurity of hardware

It starts in Britain for now

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Throughout the past few weeks, Sinophobia has reached an all-time high. Various countries have started banning Chinese telecommunications companies from taking over their technology market. Huawei and ZTE have faced tremendous adversity while expanding their 5G operations. Of note, the US, the UK, and Australia have stopped Huawei’s 5G plans before they could start.

It was only a matter of time before Huawei responds. Now, the company has finally promised to solve these crucial cybersecurity issues. In Britain, Huawei has met with government officials regarding their ban. Like the rest of the Western world, Britain criticized Huawei’s technology as potential backdoors for Chinese espionage.

Both parties have agreed to a compromise. To alleviate Britain’s fears, Huawei will pledge US$ 2 billion for cybersecurity. The company will then attempt to solve whatever Britain found in cybersecurity investigations.

While the United Kingdom is more forgiving, other countries are still very wary. After the initial lineup of banning countries, Japan has joined the conversation. The country is working to ban both Huawei and ZTE from 5G development as well. With that, Japan will be the first Asian country to ban both companies. Western fears are now invading the East.

At the other end of the world, Huawei is also facing another crisis. The company’s chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou, was recently arrested for allegedly violating embargo regulations. According to Huawei, their retaliation plans in Britain were made before the arrest. Thus, the arrest is another separate battle that awaits the company after issues of cybersecurity.

Huawei is in a world of pain. Despite offering amazing products, the company can’t find any traction in hardware development. Geopolitical fears have and will continue to bog down the company throughout the rise of 5G networking.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: When beauty meets technology

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