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‘It can’t do this, this or this’ – BlackBerry airs Z10 Super Bowl ad

For a moment I was thinking, wow, this new BlackBerry Z10 handset really is something out of the ordinary, it can make flames leap from my body, it can turn my feet into elephant-sized plodders, it can teleport me in a puff of colorful smoke, it can even turn a truck that’s about to mow me down into a million rubber ducks. None of this was mentioned at the launch event last week, only something about Hub and Peek.

But then came the ad’s tagline to bring me crashing back to Earth, banishing any momentary thoughts of dumping my current handset: “In 30 seconds, it’s quicker to show you what it can’t do.”

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Well, we knew we wouldn’t be getting a besuited Thorsten Heins sitting at a desk rushing through the spec list of the Z10, one of two new handsets the company needs to succeed if it’s to have any hope of returning to its glory days as a leading player in the smartphone market. Instead, the Canadian company went down the what-on-Earth’s-going-on? route, hoping to dazzle the audience with some wacky visuals and get people talking about the Z10. But what did you make of it? Did it feel like the right way to introduce a new product to millions with just 30 seconds to play with? 

BlackBerry’s chief marketing officer, Frank Boulben, told Cnet the mobile firm wanted to do something that “breaks the conventions of the category – if you do a traditional commercial at the Super Bowl, it will fall flat.”

He added that the slot was “a big wake-up call saying BlackBerry is back.”

The trouble is, in the US, BlackBerry won’t really be back until around the middle of March, when the long-awaited Z10 handset is finally expected to hit stores. Any buzz the Super Bowl ad creates will have long gone by then. Then again, we can expect to see a bunch more ads running between now and next month, hopefully telling us a little more about what the Z10 can do.

If you haven’t had a chance to see BlackBerry’s Super Bowl ad yet, check it out below and let us know – hit or miss?

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BlackBerry CEO says phone leaks have to stop, will take serious action if they don’t

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has taken to the Inside BlackBerry blog to speak out against leaks, calling them “at best, distracting, and at their worst downright misleading.” He’s so annoyed about the prospect of secret BlackBerry plans being leaked out, he’s promising to take action against those who do, which includes dragging them off to court.
Leaks have become an everyday part of tech news coverage online, but Chen points out how damaging they can be to companies. “One of the most frustrating things for us at BlackBerry,” he says, “is when a critical and confidential project is reported in the media before we’re ready to discuss it.” It’s not just about ruining the surprise for potential buyers, with Chen adding, “The business implications of a leak are seldom advantageous.” 
Chen isn’t all bark, and in the post describes how he’s already taking legal action against someone who stole and subsequently leaked information about a secret BlackBerry phone. Apparently, the person in question “posed as an employee of a carrier partner to obtain access to secured networks,” to obtain the details.
The nature of the leak which prompted the blog post isn’t discussed, but the most recent unofficial news from the BlackBerry world is about version 10.3 of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which could feature a fresh new design. Prior to this, there was some coverage of a nasty-looking prototype phone, the leak of which probably didn’t please anyone.
While no-one will challenge Chen’s stance on information so obviously criminally obtained, it’s unusual to see a company make such a public fuss about leaks today. By condemning leaks, the post inadvertently gives them credence, hence why most manufacturers completely ignore them. Chen warns that because of the crackdown, we will see fewer leaks regarding future BlackBerry plans, so the company’s dwindling fan base will have even less to talk about. Doesn’t sound like anyone wins here.

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BlackBerry set to launch ads on BBM
blackberry wants use bbm to send money

Note: This piece has an important update at the end.
In a bid to make some money from its popular messaging service, BlackBerry is gearing up to launch ads on BBM.
The revenue-making initiative is currently being tested with Beta Zone members running BBM on Android, with ads appearing in two forms within the app's BBM Channels feature.
According to Mobile Syrup, the trial involves sponsored invites where channel owners can issue an invitation to users to join their channel (these will show up in the invites tab of BBM), and clearly labeled sponsored posts which'll appear in the updates tab. In an effort to give users some control over the ads, BlackBerry has designed it so that if they decline an invite, or block a sponsored post, they won't hear from that channel again. 
Interestingly, it appears BlackBerry will introduce sponsored content only for non-BlackBerry devices running the app, at least initially. In other words, if you're using BBM on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, ads are likely to begin showing up in the near future.
Part of the testing procedure is likely to involve nailing the ads' frequency and relevancy so they don't prove too intrusive or annoying for users when they're eventually rolled out on a wider scale.
WhatsApp ads?
Soon after Facebook acquired BBM rival WhatsApp last month for $19 billion, Mark Zuckerberg said that as far as he's concerned, he doesn't think ads are the right way to go about monetizing messaging, while WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum has always said that ads would be kept off the app, though this was, of course, before Facebook turned up.
Indeed, a Forbes report Tuesday suggested this no-ads policy may be discarded, with "insiders" telling the publication that WhatsApp "could start charging airlines or companies like Uber for the right to send messages to WhatsApp users with their permission." Ads on an opt-in basis? Wonder how many users will go for that one.
Either way, BlackBerry's clearly keen on pushing ahead with bringing ads to its messaging service. When John Chen took over at BlackBerry last November, he listed cross-platform messaging as one of the four key areas that the Canadian mobile company had to exploit in order to get the mobile maker back on track.
UPDATE: BBM's head of product and brand marketing, Jeff Gadway, took to the Inside BlackBerry blog Tuesday to offer some details on its ad strategy. He said the company was taking "a very measured and deliberate approach to connecting BBM Channels users with content they might be interested in from BBM Channel owners, which will include brands and businesses," at the same time reassuring BBM users that any promoted content on its messaging service "will be direct, relevant, friendly and will in no way impact the chat and sharing experience."
He added that no promoted content would ever find its way into BBM chats, describing this part of its messaging service as "untouchable."
To learn more about BlackBerry's plans for ads on BBM, check out Gadway's post here.

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BlackBerry, Foxconn partner to make Z3 smartphone, available first in Indonesia
blackberry foxconn partner make z3 smartphone

BlackBerry made the trip to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2014, and it brought with it the announcement of a new smartphone. BlackBerry is teaming up with controversial Taiwan-based manufacturing company Foxconn to bring its new Z3 smartphone to life.
The latest addition to the BlackBerry lineup, the Z3 will feature a 5-inch display and will run BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. The Z3 will be familiar to those who have experienced BlackBerry smartphones, with BlackBerry Hub, the BBM messaging system, and BB10 browser all on board. BlackBerry confirmed the phone will also include a Time Shift camera and Story Maker, an editing suite with effects and editing tools for putting together photos and videos. The Z3 will also include a built-in FM Radio, allowing users to listen to local radio stations without a network connection. 
BlackBerry CEO John Chen stated the Z3 is the "first smartphone to emerge from [a] strategic partnership with Foxconn." The Z3 will be available in Indonesia in April of 2014 and was designed with "with Indonesian customers in mind." The price, thanks to the partnership with Foxconn, is expected to keep the smartphone under $200 off-contract.

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