03-22-16 12:39 PM
75 123
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  1. BobAtPitt's Avatar
    Id like to revisit the open letter I wrote to BlackBerry a while ago since a few things have changed since then. Although BlackBerry hasnt exactly disowned BB10, theyve practically thrown it to the curb, and I think thats terribly undeserved. It isnt too late to save the BlackBerry 10 platform (and its worth saving), but the window is rapidly closing. They have the money to make the suggested changes below they just need the will

    I hope Im not proceeding from a false assumption that BlackBerry isnt selling as many Android-based phones as they had hoped. But even if the Priv is pretty successful, there are many reasons to consider a recommitment to BB10, technical and otherwise. This isnt meant to be a complete mobile operating system comparison, merely my overall feeling about the current situation. Im pretty busy right now, so I cant respond in a timely fashion, but please feel free to correct any misstatements Ive made.

    First, the technical. Consider this: BB10 is based on QNX, an operating system used in bullet trains, nuclear power stations and space systems. Combined with BlackBerrys security, this is BY FAR the best mobile operating system ever created by man.

    Although others have criticized BB10s user interface, I find it fast and efficient, especially the app switcher. No other platform can beat BB10s simple gestures. (webOS had it, but, well, sigh) You can operate BB10 without ever having to press buttons (virtual or otherwise), which means you never need to *look* for buttons. You can even optionally turn on the display with a single swipe. Switching apps is instantaneous. One great feature of BB10 is that you can do a partial swipe-up to highlight the status bar (which is otherwise partly obscured by the background image). If you swipe-up and hold your thumb on the screen, BB10 will underlay the status bar on top with a black bar to make it easier to see the date/time and battery status. Also, you can do a swipe-up and partial swipe to the right to catch a glimpse of the BlackBerry Hub in case you just want to see what new notifications are there. If, while still keeping your thumb on the screen, you swipe left and release, the Hub will be hidden again and youll remain where you were. While this sort of operation can be done with other platforms using the pull-down notification bar, its obviously easier to do this from the bottom.

    BB10 is hardcore stable. Ive gone *weeks* without having to reboot it. I cant say that about any other mobile OS Ive used. Usually, I only have to reboot it if Im having a Bluetooth issue, but hey, Bluetooth.

    As for the iPhone, Apple has packed on more and more features, but many have described the current UI as a mess. Much of it is unintuitive. They had to add a new gesture to make it easier to switch apps; clearly, they didnt do it right the first time. Under the hood, iOS is fairly efficient, but most iOS apps were written with Objective C. This language uses message passing rather than method calling and this opens up a number of vulnerabilities. This is one of the reasons Apple created Swift. In the meantime, hackers can exploit Objective C (and have). Over the years, Apple has added restrictions to iOS to harden it against attack, but many feel theyve gone too far (e.g., Swype-style keyboard restrictions, email attachments, etc). Do I need to mention the iTunes requirement? One of the most reviled software programs of all time. (Full disclosure: Im currently using iTunes to play podcasts on Windows 10 until Grover Pros bugs are worked out. It isnt bad for that, at least )

    Google has improved Android significantly over the years, but the vast majority of apps require a virtual machine runtime which imposes delays due to garbage collection, isolation, authentication, etc. And Android apps are written in Java, which has been plagued with security problems for years. I dont need to document the field day hackers have had in the Google Play Store. Conversely, most BlackBerry apps are natively written and are managed directly by the BB10 operating system. Apps running on newer Android phones are still prone to crash unceremoniously, and the dreaded Google Play Services has stopped error is still a common sighting. And one problem Im still hearing from people using newer flagships is that Google still hasnt fixed the slows-down-over-time problem, despite adding a NAND flash RAM system fix. I think this is inherent in Android itself. My BlackBerry Z30 hasnt exhibited this problem, despite being at least 18 months old.

    Regarding the Android-based Priv, BlackBerry had to add security mechanisms to bring it up to muster, but it remains to be seen how successful this was. Its like putting lipstick on a pig. BB10 was written from the ground up to accommodate BlackBerrys legendary security no compromises.

    Windows 10 Mobile relies on Microsofts Universal Windows Platform runtime which is .NET based and is similar to Java. Apps are first converted into bytecode, then compiled to machine language. While compiled bytecode is fairly efficient, it cant beat a true, native compiled app. And the app switching paradigm is *terrible* on Windows Mobile. So, let me get this straight. You have to locate the tiny Back button. Then you have to press and hold it? Wait, I didnt hold it long enough? Oops, lets try that again. Ok, so I got it right this time. Now, since only one full app tile is being shown to me at a time, I have to swipe and swipe until I find the app I want and then I can finally activate it. Yay! How easy! Sarcasm aside, its easier to just hit the Home button (if you can find it) and re-select the tile. That is, if you can find the tile (its often way down the home screen and possibly transparent).

    BB10 also blows Apple and Microsoft out of the water in various other ways. I can put a TrueCrypt volume on my Z30, and mount it directly from my PC and use any file manager or sync tool I want. (Windows Mobile allows you to cut/copy/paste files to/from your PC, but you cant mount a file system. Apple doesnt allow you to cut/copy/paste at all. Its iTunes or go home.) BlackBerry managed to make this work securely. When the phone is connected thus, youre prohibited from accessing system volumes. Everything is secure behind encryption and/or compartmentalization, and you can even manually set up IP ranges or MAC addresses if you want. As far as Android is concerned, it wasnt until Marshmallow was released that Google took app permissions seriously. BB10 has allowed users to restrict individual app permissions from day one (if Im not mistaken). Windows 10 Mobile doesnt appear to let you modify permissions at all (other than to prohibit individual apps from running in the background). (Obviously, Android apps running on BB10 pose a privacy risk, which is why Id like to see Android support go away eventually.)

    With the exception of app availability (which isnt as terrible as some say), BlackBerry offers a great alternative to their competitors, combining great hardware variation, user-friendly operation, great PC integration, great hardcore security (both in-device and when connected to said companion devices via USB or WiFi), respect from corporate leaders and governments all over the world, a commitment to keep your data secure, great corporate account integration and increasing Enterprise capabilities. Since BB10 is QNX-based, it would be easy for BlackBerry to add real-time virtual reality headset, wearable or IoT interaction using the new low-energy WiFi standard coming along. (Ive used Bluetooth enough to not trust it for that.)

    Many of the problems with BlackBerrys competitors solutions can be fixed by them, but BlackBerry can (and must) also make several changes. These changes are necessary if they dont want to be relegated to the same junk-heap as Commodore, Atari, and Palm. (Sorry, but several of my previous suggestions still stand)

    1) Write an iOS-to-BB10 bridge, like Microsoft is doing for Windows 10 Mobile. They should start with Objective C rather than Swift (since the majority of iOS apps are written in the former language), and add Swift support afterwards. I used to work for a company that (prior to my arrival) had written a mainframe program that automatically rewrote COBOL spaghetti code into readable code (removing GOTO's, etc). If this can be done, an iOS-to-BB10 bridge can be done.

    2) Get Microsoft/Xamarin to add BB10 support to the Visual Studio/Xamarin platform. Pay them and/or donate developers to the cause to get this done. (I know theres a Visual Studio plug-in available, but it doesnt look like its been updated for a while) If Microsoft incorporates Xamarins features and functionality into Visual Studio at little to no cost, many developers will jump on board when building new apps. Why wouldnt they? A single codebase to target *every* platform? If Microsoft isnt willing to play ball, BlackBerry could still write a UWP-to-BB10 bridge. All code in Visual Studio is textual (XAML for the front-end, C#, C++, BASIC or Javascript for the code behind everything except for resources like graphics).

    3) Add Continuum functionality to BB10. Of all the mobile operating systems out there, BB10 is the closest to being a real personal computer (at least in terms of security and robustness). BlackBerry Blend already allows for much of this, but Continuum would be a natural extension. Many (all?) BB10 devices already support HDMI, but Continuum adds additional necessary functionality like allowing for an expanded desktop, use of the phone as a touchpad, etc. Obviously, BlackBerry would have to call it something other than Continuum, say Heads Up.

    4) Release a high-quality 5.7" or 6 flagship phone with a horizontal slider keyboard. Sorry, putting Android on a phone that has that tiny cramped portrait keyboard on it doesn't make it any more palatable for me, or likely millions of other people who want a pain-free typing experience. Ive said it before: BlackBerry has enough experience (and patents) to make a horizontal slider actually work. A 5.7 phone with a horizontal slider keyboard would be HEAVENLY! They shouldnt worry about weight, but thickness. A thick but light phone wont work in tight pants, but a thin, heavy one will. The Passport was a good stopgap, but I think the keyboard is still too small. Many people let hardware drive their purchasing decisions, so its critical that BlackBerry have something powerful, easy to use, and striking. This would do it.

    5) Since Android support will likely be required for the near future to cover the app-gap, they shouldnt bother bumping up the Android runtime (for BB10 devices) to Lollipop or Marshmallow. Instead, they should beef up the ability to handle Google Play Store API calls. The iOS bridge and Xamarin goals are far better long-term solutions than maintaining the dead weight of Android, but we need the compatibility in the meantime. Chasing the Play Store API is futile in the long run, but its worth it in the short term. Many apps wont even run if they dont see they have Play Store access. (If I were BlackBerry, I would cut off Android support by the end of 2018. The aforementioned bridges (plus some developer consideration) will take over after that. BlackBerry can offer incentives to make this happen)

    6) They need to get someone to build them a smart wearable. It needs to be classy and it needs to be complete.

    7) All future BB10 devices need a minimum of 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the ability to add another 128GB by way of MicroSD card. They should also have a fingerprint scanner, low-energy Bluetooth and WiFi, NFC and wireless charging.

    8) While the on-screen BB10 keyboard is great at word prediction, it cant quite match a Swype-style keyboard. BlackBerry needs to remedy this. Theres no reason they cant accommodate both methods using the same keyboard.

    9) BlackBerry needs to partner with Visa or MasterCard to come up with an NFC-based payment system. Not sure if Android Pay would be an option, but since BB10 currently has an Android runtime, it might be a natural (short-term) solution.

    10) Lastly, they need to believe in themselves! With a QNX-based mobile OS, BlackBerry security and a great USABLE keyboard on a great phone, BlackBerry would be in a position to steal back the loyalty of those who are frustrated by the iOS golden cage, Android security nightmare and Microsoft always version 1.0 platforms. BLACKBERRY, DONT THROW AWAY YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET!
    03-04-16 11:12 AM
  2. Dunt Dunt Dunt's Avatar
    Well at least you got that off your mind..... but the fat lady is doing he encore right now.
    JeepBB, EchuOkan1 and andy957 like this.
    03-04-16 11:18 AM
  3. app_Developer's Avatar
    So I can talk about #9 since I know a little about that. Android Pay should be viable on BB10, but it would require work from BB and Google. There shouldn't be much need for work from the networks or banks (other than adding BB10 devices to our test plans)

    Building a new payment system specific to BB10 is not going to happen. It takes more than just MC and Visa, it also requires work from banks. Banks around the world are working hard to implement Apple Pay and Android Pay with Samsung Pay also now in the mix. Nobody has time for a 4th!
    03-04-16 12:13 PM
  4. Nikola Stojic's Avatar
    Actually the collaboration with Microsoft is the best for both parties here.
    Bonnie Bonzai likes this.
    03-04-16 12:50 PM
  5. TomatoPaste's Avatar
    You don't seriously expect any of us to read ALL that.




    Posted via CB10
    03-04-16 01:03 PM
  6. rebroker2009's Avatar
    Good luck with that

    Blackberry Passport Running 10.3.2.2813
    03-04-16 01:06 PM
  7. Denise in Los Angeles's Avatar
    You seriously don't think BlackBerry read your other letters or this one?!!
    03-04-16 01:07 PM
  8. Ment's Avatar
    Too many BB10 relies on other peoples X which is the problem in the first place. Good to see your thoughts tho.
    Bob Schnatterly likes this.
    03-04-16 01:08 PM
  9. Bob Schnatterly's Avatar
    One would hope, but they seem hell-bent on becoming a name only corporate IT remembers...

    Posted via CB10
    03-04-16 06:07 PM
  10. Platinum_2's Avatar
    I hope you keep your promise that this will be your last open letter.

    Posted via my BlackBerry Priv
    TomatoPaste and Batibreaker like this.
    03-04-16 06:14 PM
  11. Bob Schnatterly's Avatar
    I hope you keep your promise that this will be your last open letter.

    Posted via my BlackBerry Priv
    It's disappointing that we have a new generation that is 1) too lazy, 2) too impatient, 3) too close-minded or 4) too obstinate to read a considered and somewhat educated opinion about something they supposedly champion. Rather than offer helpful suggestions or criticisms, you devolve to a Bart Simpson level of discourse, but without the humor. You've reached for the bottom, and you've succeeded brilliantly. Congratulations...

    Posted via CB10
    03-05-16 12:32 AM
  12. naijab0y's Avatar
    No offence dude.. Just scanned thru cos it's too xxxxxxx loooooong. From what I gather it's just another rant from a person to stuck in their ways and afraid of change. The exact same kind of person that killed BlackBerry I.e the two founding CEO's.

    You're on your own and I hope your rant goes nowhere.

    Long live BlackBerry. Long live Android.

    Posted via the BlackBerry Priv
    Mr4aces likes this.
    03-05-16 12:44 AM
  13. thurask's Avatar
    TL;DR: get off my lawn
    03-05-16 12:46 AM
  14. johnny_bravo72's Avatar
    It's disappointing that we have a new generation that is 1) too lazy, 2) too impatient, 3) too close-minded or 4) too obstinate to read a considered and somewhat educated opinion about something they supposedly champion. Rather than offer helpful suggestions or criticisms, you devolve to a Bart Simpson level of discourse, but without the humor. You've reached for the bottom, and you've succeeded brilliantly. Congratulations...

    Posted via CB10
    "Ay Caramba!"

    *A3-A20
    JeepBB and Elephant_Canyon like this.
    03-05-16 02:36 AM
  15. khlover520's Avatar
    I don't know why everyone and their mother is so offended by this post lol but I, for one, find this a great post. You made some really strong points that every mobile user should be educated on. People take security for granted these days and no one puts much attention to the fact that their valuable information can be hacked any time on Android or iOS. Great post though!

    Posted via CB10
    03-05-16 04:05 AM
  16. Nick Preston1's Avatar
    If everyone that's buying phones actually read what they buying blackberry would be OK still. Point is people do not read when text appears to be too long irrespective the content and context. It's a good post and not a rant I agree, it's just a bit too long.

    Posted via CB10
    03-05-16 05:53 AM
  17. Bob Schnatterly's Avatar
    In this case, the past is preferable to the future. Android is only more popular because of the apps. If the shoe were on the other foot, people would likely be openly mocking Android for all it's warts. It's called self-interested justification...

    Posted via CB10
    03-05-16 09:46 AM
  18. Bob Schnatterly's Avatar
    By the way, it only takes about 5 - 7 minutes to read that (and it took me a lot longer to craft it). Not saying it's a work of art, but I expected better from BlackBerry fans

    Posted via CB10
    03-05-16 09:48 AM
  19. Ronindan's Avatar
    Not to be rude but BB has a collection of this sort of letters, especially from BBOS fans. After all BB needs actual sales not more online petitions, emails and letters demanding that they keep a smartphone platform alive that is in the smartphone category of "other". BB is pivoting back to its roots - a company that provides enterprise level communication solutions. And I wish them good luck with their future endeavours.
    app_Developer, web99 and Mr4aces like this.
    03-05-16 02:04 PM
  20. Platinum_2's Avatar
    It's disappointing that we have a new generation that is 1) too lazy, 2) too impatient, 3) too close-minded or 4) too obstinate to read a considered and somewhat educated opinion about something they supposedly champion. Rather than offer helpful suggestions or criticisms, you devolve to a Bart Simpson level of discourse, but without the humor. You've reached for the bottom, and you've succeeded brilliantly. Congratulations...

    Posted via CB10
    Dude, get over yourself. Seriously. No company, BlackBerry included, is going to continue to develop and support products for less than 1% of the market with whom you happen to identify yourself. Pack it up and call it a day. BB10 was a good run while it lasted. Time for the company and its customers to move forward.

    Posted via my BlackBerry Priv
    03-05-16 02:26 PM
  21. Platinum_2's Avatar
    Also, I thoroughly enjoyed my Z10. But, my PRIV is superior in pretty much every way.
    03-05-16 02:28 PM
  22. nt300's Avatar
    No offence dude.. Just scanned thru cos it's too xxxxxxx loooooong. From what I gather it's just another rant from a person to stuck in their ways and afraid of change. The exact same kind of person that killed BlackBerry I.e the two founding CEO's.

    You're on your own and I hope your rant goes nowhere.

    Long live BlackBerry. Long live Android.

    Posted via the BlackBerry Priv
    Before you comment, you should actually read what the author has stated. It actually makes a lot of sense and is well written. John Chen would do good if he took the time and read this thread. This can actually save both the company and the superior BB10 OS, by far.

    ONLY BB10 can launch this mobile industry into the future. No other OS is capable of such a thing.
    Bonnie Bonzai likes this.
    03-05-16 06:53 PM
  23. nt300's Avatar
    Also, I thoroughly enjoyed my Z10. But, my PRIV is superior in pretty much every way.
    The Priv is superior in Hardware Specifications. Nothing More. OS based, BB10 blows it out of the water as a matter of FACT.
    Killjoyhere likes this.
    03-05-16 06:54 PM
  24. Platinum_2's Avatar
    The Priv is superior in Hardware Specifications. Nothing More. OS based, BB10 blows it out of the water as a matter of FACT.
    You would know too since you are a PRIV owner, right?

    Posted via my BlackBerry Priv
    03-05-16 07:55 PM
  25. Bob Schnatterly's Avatar
    Dude, get over yourself. Seriously. No company, BlackBerry included, is going to continue to develop and support products for less than 1% of the market with whom you happen to identify yourself. Pack it up and call it a day. BB10 was a good run while it lasted. Time for the company and its customers to move forward.

    Posted via my BlackBerry Priv
    You've missed the whole point. The point isn't to ask BlackBerry to keep things as they are, but to make changes required to further BB10 and it's devices. Changes they should have made to begin with. Rather than face the challenge, they flinched...

    Posted via CB10
    03-06-16 12:09 PM
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