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It’s Time to Bury the BlackBerry

Staff Writer / 19-02-2020 / News

From being a must-have for most South Africans, to almost disappearing from the market, where exactly has it all gone wrong for BlackBerry , which was once one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers?

A Rise to Undisputed Dominance

Founded 21 years ago, a BlackBerry was once the ultimate smartphone in the global market. Their phones had features that left competitors in the dust at the time. They broke new ground with the release of the BlackBerry 850, the first phone that could access email on the go. BlackBerry then introduced a reduced-key keyboard using ‘SureType’ technology, which worked really well with BlackBerry Messenger, commonly known as BBM, their instant messaging service. This also helped them gain popularity amongst a younger generation of customers.

The Crumbling of a Goliath

At the pinnacle of their popularity, a new smartphone burst onto the scene, which soon proved to be BlackBerry’s downfall. In 2007, the first iPhone was revealed by Steve Jobs, revolutionizing the smartphone industry. With a virtual keyboard, glass screen and a built-in iPod, it left competitors scratching their heads. Apple continued to grow in the smartphone industry, focusing on the billions of customers they could now reach, whereas BlackBerry continued to focus on their much smaller customer base instead of seeing the bigger picture. This was never a sustainable strategy because in such a saturated market, you either adapt or die. Subsequently, BlackBerry lost ground to their competitors, leaving them with only 23 million global users by 2018, which is a drop in the smartphone industry ocean.

BlackBerry’s Bleak Future

BlackBerry has indeed been dying a very slow death, so much so that TCL Communication , the owner of BlackBerry, has decided to halt production of all Blackberry branded smartphones as of 31 August 2020.

First Nokia, now BlackBerry. Will we have another giant fall from grace in the near future?

TECH NEWS

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Bits and Bytes – July 2021 Edition

Size Matters on TikTok TikTok will soon be expanding the length of its videos to three times its existing limit. The video-sharing social network has upped the one-minute video limit and will now allow all users to create and publish videos up to three minutes long, to provide more flexibility for content creators. The S21 Ultra 5G Is Galaxies Ahead The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, recently won the best smartphone award the at Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona. The smartphone launched in January this year and came out on top despite facing some tough competition – including the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, the OnePlus 9 Pro and sister device, the Galaxy S20 FE 5G. Real-Time Translation in Zoom’s Future? Zoom wants to speak your language. The video conferencing app plans on joining forces with Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions (Kites), the creators of a real-time translation and transcription software. The acquisition would change the face of video conferencing, opening the door to more communication possibilities between speakers of different languages. LG Changing Track LG is shifting its focus from mobile phones to high-powered trains. The South Korean company has created a 55-inch transparent OLED panel with a 40 percent transparency rate which has been designed to replace standard train windows in the near future. These panels are able to serve as both a medium of content display and an additional safety measure thanks to its specialised tempered glass which absorbs vibrations better than typical materials. Smile, You’re on Canon Camera Canon China has taken an unusual route to ensure the happiness of its staff. Employees can now only enter the offices on one condition – they have to smile. The AI system was created by the company and forces staff to show off their pearly whites in order to be admitted into the building. The initiative is aimed at creating happier, more productive Canon employees.

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Bits and Bytes – June 2021 Edition

Lego Inspired Smartphone has Entered the Chat Building your own, customisable phone may no longer be just a fantasy. Xiaomi has requested a patent for the Lego Smartphone, a three-piece device each housing a different smartphone aspect – camera plus PCB, battery and speaker / USB function. While not a new concept, the Chinese electronics company could be the first to execute the idea to its full potential and give smartphone users the capability to modify parts of their device as and when they choose. Huawei – The Right Time for A New Smartwatch? The tech giant plans on releasing a smartwatch range without Android in June. Since Google cut ties with the company, the Huawei Watch 3 and the Huawei Watch 3 Pro will be the first to run on the company’s own operating system – the HarmonyOS. Only time will tell if the new system will meet consumer expectations. A WhatsApp Mixed Bag WhatsApp recently announced it would no longer hinder users who did not accept its updated privacy policy which came into play on 15 May. In the lead up to the change, WhatsApp faced worldwide backlash – including from South Africa’s Information Regulator which suggested it would pursue legal action of over the inconsistent terms and conditions of the policy and wrote to the mobile messaging app requesting a revision. The heat is still on the Facebook-owned app in various countries but earlier this month, WhatsApp released some happier news. Soon users will be able to operate on four devices using a single account. This is just one among a host of other upgrades promised by Facebook head himself, Mark Zuckerberg. Other promised upgrades include the “view once” feature, allowing users to share images and videos with their contacts that will disappear after only one viewing. A Good Dose of Horror Boosting tourism and immune systems go hand-in-hand in Transylvania – the birthplace of the vampire. Bran Castle, the inspiration behind author Bram Stoker’s book Dracula, opened its doors to tourists in search of a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Tourists were given the shots for free and later gained free entry into the museum's “Medieval Torture Instruments” exhibit where they were encouraged to check out “jabs of a different kind”.

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The Hisense Infinity H50 Lite – Loaded Performance

The Hisense Infinity H50 range hit South African shores in April and has been making waves ever since. The latest edition is the Infinity H50 Lite. This device is the smallest in the series – the H50 and H50 Zoom being its predecessors – but it remains big on providing superior performance and style. Under the Hood The Infinity H50 Lite holds its own against other Android devices in its price range. The smartphone is powered by an Octa-core engine with a MediaTek chipset, a Helio P70 CPU, 4GB RAM and 128GB of built-in storage capacity – all factors that increase the phone’s smooth operational aspects. The device comes loaded with Android 10 straight out the box. Screen and Body With a 6.55” HD+ O-Infinity display, this smartphone is proudly 84% screen – a major plus for anyone who wants a phone that doubles as a video streaming and gaming device. The H50 Lite fits comfortably in hand and the design is not at all hampered by the largely plastic body and frame. The glass front adds a sleek touch and the iridescent colour options, including a deep green and blue which enhance the high-end feel of the smartphone. The speaker is located at the base of the phone and comes equipped with a nifty noise cancellation feature. Camera Quad camera capabilities are the norm right now and the H50 Lite is no exception. The phone boasts a 2 MP macro lens, a 2 MP depth camera, 5 MP wide-angle camera and 48 MP HD main camera that come together beautifully to create clear and colour-intense images. The bokeh effect is also active here, ensuring faces and people really stand out in a pic. The 16 MP front-facing camera’s beauty mode ensures the perfect selfie every time by reading and adjusting to the environment. Battery The Lite is powered by a 5100 mAh battery so expect longer usage times. Fast charging is possible thanks to the MediaTek Pump Express 2.0, which drastically reduces charging times. Verdict If you’re in the market for a device that doesn’t compromise on style or performance – even on a budget, the Hisense Infinity H50 Lite could be the one for you!

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