Author Archive: JT Ripton

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By June 29, 2014 Read More →

Reviving Blackberry: What Their Plan is To Mount a Comeback

9193372352_c10a310d30_zIn 1999, the first BlackBerry to hit the market was an email pager. At the time, it was a huge step in technology and connectivity. However, the company has faced recent woes as other smartphone companies chip away at their market share with newer and more advanced phones. Yet, behind the vision and leadership of a new CEO, the company has plans to mount a comeback and regain some of that market.

 

Once A Dominant Force in the Market

Before 2007, BlackBerry was one of the biggest phones on the market and the go-to phone for business people. It was one of the first phones on the market that could handle more than just calls and email. However, the company didn’t expect the threat that the iPhone would have on their market. While BlackBerry believed that people cared about security and efficiency on their phones, Apple focused more on ease of use and performance. In the end, sales for the company tanked, and they faced an uphill battle to regain the top spot they once held.

 

A New CEO with A New Vision

In 2013, BlackBerry tried to regain some its smartphone market by releasing the all-touch Z10. However, consumer reception was weak, and the company ended up having to cut its workforce by 40 percent and take charge of nearly $960 million in unsold phones. In the end, CEO Thornsten Heinz stepped down, and the company brought in John Chen, former CEO of Sybase to turn things around. Chen made it clear that his vision for turning around the struggling company was to focus on their core strength of providing strong and secure phones to businesses in the health care, government and financial industries.

 

Providing Services to the Enterprise Market

Chen also believes that the business market, which is often called the enterprise market, is where the company’s core customer base lies. He felt that by listening to what this market does and doesn’t like about their phones, he would be able to serve them better. As a result, Chen learnt that there were many features that BlackBerry had abandoned that customers actually enjoyed and wanted them to bring back. In the end, Chen also felt it was necessary to assure the over 60 million mobile phone subscribers that they weren’t going to get lost in the rush. However, he did point out that to bring the financial side of the company back up, they would be focusing on the enterprise market first.

 

Focusing on Business Services

Part of what the phone company is eyeing in the enterprise market is the latest trend of BYOD, or bring your own device. Here, companies are allowing their employees to bring their personal mobile devices to the workplace, and use those devices to conduct business and access confidential company information. While there are security concerns with BYOD, companies also see it as a way to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. With the latest BlackBerry phones, utilizing BlackBerry BYOD can make companies for efficient and cost-effective with minimal effort. They can offer the security BlackBerry is known for, while still providing a device employees are comfortable using.

 

The Newest BlackBerry Releases

The Z3 is the latest device that BlackBerry will launch. This phone will release in Indonesia first, before expanding to other markets in southeast Asia, and it’s expected to compete with other low-cost smartphones in that market. Additionally, Chen announced that at some point in the foreseeable future, the company would also be releasing a faster phone with 4G connectivity to the rest of the world. This phone, called the Q20, will have a keyboard and control keys with a track pad in response to consumer demands.

Like so many other companies, BlackBerry has faced its share of highs and lows. The company was criticised for not completely acknowledging how much of a threat the latest generation of smartphones would be to their market share. However, under the leadership of their new CEO, and with the release of new phones, they believe they’re ready to compete in the market once more.

 

Posted in: Editorial, Phones
By October 8, 2013 Read More →

9 iOS 7 Features You Probably Aren’t Aware Of

iOS 7 featuresFew system updates have attracted as much attention as Apple’s latest iOS 7 update for its mobile devices. With flourescent colors and a flat design, the update’s drummed up some controversy with Apple enthusiasts.

But whether you love the new look or not — beyond the cosmetic changes, it’s packed with some useful hidden features. Here are nine iOS 7 features you probably haven’t figured out on your own.

Use Siri As Your Secretary

Siri now has the keys to your call log and email. Here are just a few questions you can ask the now more helpful Siri:

  • Do I have any voicemails?” – Siri tells you which numbers have left you a voicemail
  • Did anyone call me?” – Siri pulls up your missed and most recent calls
  • Do I have any emails?” – Siri shows any unread email in your inbox
  • Read me my most recent email” – Siri will read the most recent unread email in your inbox

Teach Siri How to Pronounce Your Friends’ Names

Siri may be quick, but she’s not a very skilled linguist. Another neat Siri feature allows you to tell her how to pronounce your contacts’ names. Just say “that’s not how you pronounce” and she’ll give you a chance to teach her the correct pronunciation.

Change Font to Bold

As part of the update, there’s now a thinner font used throughout the system. While it looks good, some find it difficult to read. You’re able to change the fond to bold by going to Settings > General > Accessibility and then selecting Bold Text.

See Time Stamps on Any Text Message

One of the strangest features of text messages on iPhones is the lack of consistency with time stamps. Sometimes you’d see what time a message was sent, but other times you wouldn’t. This was addressed in iOS 7, and now you can view time stamps on any message by touching the message bubble and swiping to the left.

Block Texts and Calls from Any Number

Cut off contact with an annoying ex, telemarketer, or even a family member by blocking their number. Open the person’s contact info, then scroll to the bottom and select “Block this Caller.” Anyone you block won’t be able to message, call, or Facetime you. However, you can still call or text someone you’ve blocked.

Put Unlimited Apps in Your Folders

If you keep your apps neatly organized in folders, you’ll be happy to know you’re no longer restricted on how many apps you can place in a single folder. Now, there’s no limit on how many apps can go in the same folder.

Add Filters to Your Photos

You can add Instagram-like filters to your photos directly in the Camera app. With only 8 filters and not much variation, this feature is somewhat limited but convenient. Just open a photo, select Edit, and tap the Filters icon in bottom middle of the screen.

Swipe Downward to Access Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search was formerly found by left-swiping from the home screen. It’s now accessed by downward swiping from the middle of the screen. The downside is you can no longer search the Web — you’ll need to open Safari for that.

View Apple Maps in Night Mode

This user-friendly feature keeps you from going blind when using your Apple Maps navigation in the dark, like when you’re driving at night. There’s no way to turn this feature on or off — your phone will automatically adjust the screen brightness based on the time. In addition to Night Mode, Apple’s added some other nifty features to Apple Maps, with more on the way.

Disable or Enable Automatic App Updates

Before iOS 7, you had to open the App Store and  select which apps to update. Now you can set all apps to automatically update by going to Settings > iTunes and App Store, then turn on Updates in the Automatic Downloads section. Since app updates drain data, you’ll only want to enable this feature if you have an unlimited data plan or if you can easily use a WiFi connection, like from your FiOS Internet service.

Now that you’ve gotten used to the bold new look and major features of the iOS 7 update, try out the above features to dig deeper into what your iPhone and iPad can now do.

Have you found any hidden features in the iOS 7 that we didn’t cover here? Share your tips in the comments below.