by John Moe // Posted: 08/17/10 12:37 PM
Reviews of Blackberry’s new Torch smart phone have not been positive. The consensus seems to be that it’s a nice enough phone but not innovative, doesn’t really move the technology forward. Such is the level of expectations in the fastest moving sector of personal technology. Alas. Sales of the Torch have been lackluster as well and now the price chopping has commenced. Amazon is offering the Torch for $99, half off what it was before, with a 2-year contract. Blackberry’s parent company RIM still sells a ton of phones but it’s become more the phone you get at work rather than the phone you buy for yourself. Android and iPhone have much better branding as the type of personal device you want to have in your pocket and next to your bed at night. Could be that Blackberry’s identity as a “work phone” hurts it. So does the Torch being nothing special.
Posted: 08/09/10 06:00 AM
Stories about Middle East conflict are nothing new. But they generally don’t involve the Blackberry. That’s what’s going on now, however, as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries are trying to limit or even block what a Blackberry can do. The Canadian company that makes Blackberry, Research in Motion or RIM is said to be in negotiations to keep their products online.
At issue is Blackberry’s encryption, which makes messages sent from it very hard to spy on. These countries want to be able to do that.
We explore the issue and what it might mean for people who use Blackberries in the United States. If you have a Blackberry are your messages any more secure than your friend who uses an Android or an iPhone or just uses a regular old cell phone to send messages?
We talk to Jonathan Zittrain about it. He’s the co-director and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, where he also teaches law and economics. We also talk to privacy and security researcher Chris Soghoian says think again about who can see our messages whether we go to Dubai or not.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/03/10 11:35 AM
In a smart phone world where iPhone and Android are Lennon and McCartney, Blackberry is George Harrison, hanging in the background, the quiet one. (Obviously Palm is Ringo). But it’s been a big week for Blackberry and parent company RIM. First was the impending ban in the UAE, discussed yesterday.
Today, they unveiled the new touch screen Blackberry Torch that they hope will compete with John and Paul. They hope it’s the Blackberry Here Comes The Sun.
Blackberry is also in a curious position given new data released yesterday by Nielsen. Turns out more people are still carrying around Blackberries than either iPhones or Androids but about half of those customers want to move to John or Paul and leave George behind next chance they get.
The same report indicates that more new customers are getting Androids than iPhones.
Kin is Stuart Sutcliffe.
by John Moe // Posted: 08/02/10 11:14 AM
As the New York Times reports, the issue here is with the highly complex encryption used by Blackberry maker Research In Motion. The encryption makes messages sent by Blackberry much more secure but also harder for governments to spy on. So the issue here: TOO MUCH privacy. The New York Times says Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the countries watching this situation closely, possibly joining in a Blackberry blackout.
09/26/10 11:15 AM
There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.
On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.
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