Archives for


Five reasons why we need BlackBerry on the Android team

The rumor is not new. In some shape or form, we’ve been expecting BlackBerry to reach to the dark Google side for salvation for several years now. It seems to be the Canadians’ only shot at a hardware business revival of sorts, and by extension, the company’s survival as a whole.

BlackBerry Android

Granted, John Chen could always try to stop the ship from sinking by throwing the archaic QWERTY keyboard phones overboard and saving merely the semi-profitable software department. But that would obviously imply cutting thousands of jobs and settling for subsistence instead of aspiring to greatness.

Not an option yet, at least not until they experiment a little with an outside OS, probably to mutually beneficial effects. Come on, Android geeks, admit it. There may be something of value for us all in a BB recruitment on Big G’s team. Multiple advantages, actually, which we’d like to detail as follows:

Physical keyboards

Remnants of a time long past, these non-detachable “accessories” have to make a comeback in the Android landscape. They just have to. Businessmen, perennially on-the-run students or simply folks who live through typing need a user experience and interaction on-screen keyboards won’t ever be able to provide.

BlackBerry Classic

Sorry, SwiftKey and Swype, no matter how versatile and productive you get, you’re not the “real” deal. Meanwhile, the BlackBerry Classic is, and the awkwardly designed Passport comes pretty close. Now shut your eyes, imagine for a moment BB joins forces with Samsung and they devise a high-end QWERTY/touch hybrid powered by a lightly forked Android iteration.

Something to borrow the robustness and professionalism of BlackBerries, and at least part of the Galaxy S-series glitz. Sounds too good to be true? Unfortunately, we’re dreaming here and grasping at straws, really, when likely the best QWERTY Android around is the two year-old Jelly Bean-running LG Enact.


Waterloo’s CEO may have wanted to exhibit tact when invoking the reason his outfit can’t dive into shark-infested Android waters yet, but he sure struck a nerve among malware-concerned mobile enthusiasts.

Android security holes

Let’s not beat it around the bush, stock Android has a security problem. And so far, Samsung, LG, Sony or HTC’s proprietary skins haven’t managed to deal with it in a universally satisfactory manner. Could BlackBerry perhaps reduce the typical risks associated with Google-powered devices?

Definitely, but of course, they need to modify code, customize features and even remove certain Google services, replacing them with their own. Do we want that? Not all of us, yet some would love, love, love the alternative.


Speaking of alternatives, wouldn’t it also be nice to find a balance between Eastern and Western tech forces? Clearly, gadget reliability doesn’t depend on geography, but stubborn, patriotic, slightly prejudiced North Americans will always show reservations to Chinese brands, favoring local companies… if they get the choice.

Android BlackBerry

If they don’t, they’ll go the Apple route and we obviously don’t want that. Call us haters, but Cupertino needs to lose a few market share points to once and for all align prices with real iPhone value. So, we’d like to see BB regain its lost touch, especially since they know how it feels at the peak of the totem pole and we trust they won’t allow themselves to tumble a second time.

Software diversification

Unpopular opinion – Android skins aren’t inherently bad or counterproductive. Samsung is this close to making TouchWiz not only prettier than its vanilla kin, but also smoother, faster and easier to master for novice users. Don’t shoot the messenger!

TouchWiz vs Stock Android

Now, HTC’s Sense UI is all that’s wrong with third-party “optimization”, and Amazon’s Fire OS is a fiasco of closed-mindedness, rival envy and ego. Narrowly behind Samsung, we’d probably list LG as the designer of a convenient, minimally intrusive interface that’s greatly evolved over the years.

If BlackBerry decides to follow the path of Android adoption and alteration, you have to figure they’ll tweak a number of things, particularly in the privacy department, but as long as they offer full access to Google Play, we’re game.

BlackBerry Passport

There’s also the question of updates, handled by the Canadians themselves when it comes to BlackBerry OS (duh), but likely contingent on multiple factors if our dream scenario pans out. Ideally, Google would understand the perks of collaborating with a security specialist of this magnitude, and who knows, maybe they’ll unite forces to make stock Android the best it can be.

A touch of safety renovation never killed an open OS, did it?

Great brands live forever

Consider this – if Nokia were to return next year (which is more than likely, by the by) with a super-sturdy handheld sporting a phenomenal camera and cutting-edge internals all in all, would you be interested? Intrigued, at least?

Of course you would, regardless of their lengthy struggles, Microsoft dumping and the eternity passed from their last hit. It’s the same with BlackBerry, whose esteemed name will stick to people’s brains until long after the Prague debuts, no matter if it strikes gold or flops as hard as the Z10.

BlackBerry building logo

This isn’t an ephemeral champ we’re talking about, with its 15 minutes of fame over and done. It’s an enterprise destined for enduring success going through a lousy phase. It’d be a shame for this to be the end, and it’d be too bad if Google and Samsung didn’t realize the comeback potential.

Go on, give them a hand for the sake of the entire industry, future developments, breakthroughs and progress. They’ll be always in your debt, even when if back on top.

What to expect when you’re expecting: 2015 Google Nexus upgrade (s)

It’s all (relatively) quiet on the Nexus release front, and with a measly few days left until the Google I/O 2015 opener, that can only mean one thing. Whatever Big G has planned for the stock Android-running hardware program, we won’t be able to check out any N5, N6 or N9 sequels in the flesh just yet.


Of course, it makes perfect sense, if you think about it. It’s simply way too early for “pure Google” phablet or tablet reboots, not to mention the technology isn’t really there for radical, palpable improvements. Snapdragon 810 processing power? 4 GB RAM instead of 3? Too little, too… soon.

Meanwhile, the increasingly more plausible 2015 edition of the 2013 Nexus 5 could debut any day now, yet the utter lack of visual exposés or concrete, believable, detailed specification disclosures suggests this ain’t happening very soon either.

Granted, Android’s M build is almost certainly imminent, but like last year, we expect an unfinished beta, aka developer version, to go official months ahead of the commercial source code dispatch. Once again therefore, it makes sense if Nexus upgrades keep us waiting until late summer/early fall.

Nexus 6 Nexus 9

No matter, we’ll still dream of the new Nexus trio with our eyes open, and contemplate all sorts of utopian scenarios where they revolutionize the mobile tech universe. Here’s what we currently anticipate they’ll bring to the table, based mostly on educated guesswork:

Google Nexus 6 2015, aka Nexus 6 second-gen, aka Nexus 6-2

First of all, don’t ever call this the Nexus 7. That would be beyond confusing, plus it’d create a shadow the Huawei-made handheld couldn’t possibly escape. Yes, we believe Huawei will manufacture it under El Goog’s careful supervision.

Nexus 6

It’s high time a rising Chinese star got a chance to truly shine on a global scale, and Huawei certainly has the production muscle needed to qualify for a Nexus “license.” They also have this iPhone-homaging sense of style we feel the Android ecosystem might be able to polish and help thrive.

Likely circling 6 inches of screen real estate, especially if a long overdue N5 follow-up is nigh as well, the second-gen phablet should “settle” for an original-matching Quad HD pixel count producing outstanding 490 or so ppi.

Under the hood, there’s a (slim) chance Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 will be ready in time. But the S810 remains the front-runner. Unless it’s truly as flawed as some sources suggest, and the 808 enters the picture. Or here’s a crazy idea: what if a Huawei-designed octa-core 64-bit Kirin CPU gets the unexpected vote of confidence?


3 gigs of supporting RAM are our safest bet right now, with a 4 count possible but not probable. 20 megapixel OIS rear camera? 8 MP selfie-friendly front shooter? Fingerprint recognition capabilities? 3,500 mAh+ battery juice?

Allow yourselves to dream, since rumor is Android M will feature native finger authentication, and Huawei is more than focused on top-notch front cams and pacemakers. It all depends on the targeted price tag, which may hinder the cutting-edge nature of the jumbo-sized phone, given the $600 and up OG N6 reportedly posted underwhelming mainstream sales.

LG Nexus 5 2015 preview

While we still have our doubts in regards to Huawei’s entry into the fold, LG’s recruitment for a compact, possibly low-cost new N5 feels guaranteed. The Koreans deserve the comeback, and if they don’t return, we can’t see the Nexus 5-2 happening.

Nexus 5

It’s worth pointing out the forerunner has almost completely disappeared from US stores, commanding a $333 tariff on a lagging Amazon listing with no US 4G or valid warranty. Ergo, the sequel really could drop any time after I/O. June, July, August at the latest to help Android keep Apple’s next iPhones at bay.

A fingerprint scanner is one of the few speculated features at the moment, alongside a slim-bezeled G4-like chassis. 1,080p resolution? Probably, if Google intends to charge $400 tops outright. Snapdragon 808, 3 GB RAM, G4’s winning 16 and 8 MP photography units?

Nexus 5 2015 concept

Maybe, though like it or not, camera compromises could be mandatory for the same noble, affordability-seeking purpose. Don’t be too shocked if you only end up with 13 and 5 megapixels respectively. Perhaps even 2 gigs of random-access memory.

Fingers crossed for battery capacity well exceeding the first Nexus 5’s modest 2,300 mAh, improved wireless charging functions and louder, sharper speakers. USB type-C connectivity? Let’s not push it.

Second-gen Nexus 9 speculation

They say HTC plans to bring an entry-level H7 7-inch slate to light this summer, but “they” don’t say a thing about a premium N9 follow-up, which like the 2015 N6, we beg of you not to call Nexus 10. That brings back a rush of memories, not all very pleasant.

Nexus 9

Now, we don’t think last year’s Nexus 9 sold like hotcakes, but if the H7 is real, it couldn’t have flopped that hard. Ergo, HTC should try again.

This time, with more metal on the outside and maybe a “mainstream” Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. The Nvidia Tegra X1 is obviously a decent possibility too, coupled with 3 GB RAM and, hopefully, backed by a larger 8,000 mAh or so cell.

At the same time, we wouldn’t rule out Google signing a different manufacturer and going a less impressive design and hardware path looking for N7’s glory past. Asus stands by, plus LG, with the latter’s surprisingly robust and solid G Pads sounding like the perfect basis for a new Nexus… 8?

Nexus 7 2013

Finally, it’s not out of the question Big G will abandon Nexus tablets sooner or later, in acknowledgment of the product category’s approaching and inevitable extinction. Before that happens, head over to Amazon and purchase a beautiful N9 starting at $380, or an oldie but goldie Nexus 7 2013 in exchange for $165.

If you’re struck by extreme nostalgia, the 2012 N7 is itself still available, at $149.99 brand-new or $110 certified refurbished.

Here’s a thought – what if, instead of ditching them, Google decides to refresh both the antiquated Nexus 7 and much newer, much hotter 9?