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BlackBerry to sell off 3M square feet of space in Canada

BlackBerry's quest for cash has been bolstered by a real estate sale.

The embattled smartphone maker announced on Friday that it has agreed to sell over 3 million square feet of space, as well as vacant land, across its home country of Canada. BlackBerry will lease back some of the space, but didn't say exactly how much. The company also declined to say how much cash it'll net in the sale.

The real estate sale is just the latest move by CEO John Chen to help BlackBerry raise cash and decrease its expenses. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company … Read more

Beware this big iOS flaw -- and it's not alone

VANCOUVER -- A change that Apple imposed to make iOS 7 more secure instead has dramatically weakened the security of devices running that mobile operating system, a security researcher has charged.

At the CanSecWest conference here last week, Azimuth Security researcher Tarjei Mandt said that Apple made a major mistake when it changed its random-number generator to make its kernel encryption tougher in iOS 7. The kernel is the most basic level of an operating system and controls things like security, file management, and resource allocation.

"In terms of security, it's much worse than iOS 6," Mandt … Read more

Why Apple, Google, and the auto industry need BlackBerry QNX

Apple's CarPlay has to ride on top of BlackBerry's QNX platform for in-auto entertainment systems. Ford was reportedly pondering a swap from Microsoft to QNX for its Sync platform. And it's highly likely that the front end of Google's Android in-vehicle efforts are also going to have a QNX play.

So when BlackBerry CEO John Chen calls QNX one of the crown jewels of the company, he's not kidding. Here's what Chen said in December on BlackBerry's last earnings call:

QNX is probably one of the crown jewels. Every time I come here, … Read more

iPhone users are 'wall huggers,' says BlackBerry CEO

I'm extremely partial to hugging.

However, I find it strange when people choose to hug trees rather than people. Not only is it odd to think the tree will be grateful but then there are the splinters in the face as well.

I haven't ever, though, seen anyone try to hug a wall.

Perhaps I just go to the wrong parties, but it would seem somewhat impossible to stretch your arms wide enough to encompass a wall's breadth.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen doesn't agree with me. Indeed, he believes that everyone who uses an iPhone constantly … Read more

Ex-Apple CEO Sculley said to have Indian smartphone plans

Former Apple CEO John Sculley reportedly is planning to launch a smartphone brand in India, according to a report by tech-news site BGR that didn't cite sources.

Smartphone usage is exploding in India, with major players like Apple and Samsung pushing their phones through distribution networks and Indian companies like Micromax luxuriating in annual growth in smartphone sales between 200 and 500 percent. Last year, Strategy Analytics said India had surpassed Japan to become the third biggest smartphone market in the world.

Sculley, known for firing Steve Jobs from Apple in 1985, is said to be one of the … Read more

BlackBerry promises no ads on BBM chat

BlackBerry is attempting to draw a line in the sand when it comes sponsored ads reaching BBM users.

In a blog posted Tuesday, BBM product and brand marketing head Jeff Gadway acknowledged that BBM Channel creators will be able to send sponsored posts and invites to their subscribers, but such content won't seep into the actual chats. The sponsored content itself will be "direct, relevant, friendly," Gadway promised.

BBM Channel users will potentially see three different types of sponsored content from channel owners, according to Gadway.

Featured placements will be promotions designed by channel owners looking to … Read more

BlackBerry chief gives turnaround 50-50 chance

Will BlackBerry recover from its financial struggles and once again turn a profit? BlackBerry Chief John Chen is at least honest -- and sees the company's future as a coin toss.

In an interview with the Financial Times conducted during last month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and published Tuesday, BlackBerry's CEO said that recovery and restructuring strategies have a "50-50 chance" of success.

Where there is a chance, there's hope, right? Despite the company's financial woes, Chen remains optimistic, saying during the interview:

"I think when you look at turnaround history … Read more

94% of BlackBerry users traded in for a different device -- report

T-Mobile's $200 trade-in deal reportedly snagged a lot of BlackBerry owners. But 94 percent of them opted to switch to a rival device, according to the folks at TmoNews.

Announced on February 19 and ending today, the T-Mobile promotion promised $200 to any BlackBerry owner who traded in their device for a new phone. As part of the deal, customers could opt for any phone -- another BlackBerry or a different device, such as an iPhone or Android phone.

To sweeten the deal in BlackBerry's favor, T-Mobile slashed $50 off the price of a new BlackBerry Q10 or … Read more

Boeing to sell self-destructing smartphones

CNET Update is covering up:

In this episode of Update:

- Mess with Boeing's "Black" smartphone and it will erase all data. But you won't be able to buy this spy-worthy phone in stores.

- Time to cover those webcams. The Guardian reports government agencies tapped into 1.8 million Yahoo users' webcams to secretly snap photos.

- Say goodbye to some online gameplay features in Nintendo's Wii, DS and DSi.

- Get real-time coaching feedback from a new fitness tracker called the Moov. The company is raising money to launch it this summer.

CNET … Read more

Boeing's 'Black' smartphone will deactivate if tampered with

Boeing has made a smartphone that appears to have come straight out of a James Bond movie. Codenamed "Black," this spy-like phone will erase all data and deactivate if tampered with or pried open.

The aerospace and defense company filed documents for the phone with the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday. These documents were first sighted by tech site Myce, and Boeing confirmed with CNET that it has indeed released the device, which runs on Google's Android.

While many of the details about the smartphone are confidential, a letter included in the filing gives a bit of … Read more