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Tech News Round-up - part 1 - RIM editionBy Hanleigh Daniels 25 March 2011 | Categories: news
BlackBerry Protect launches in Open Beta
It’s been a busy week for Blackberry holding company Research In Motion (RIM), kicking off with the launch of BlackBerry Protect in Open Beta in Europe, Middle East and Africa. BlackBerry Protect is a free application that allows users to wirelessly backup, restore and locate their BlackBerry smartphones, if these devices are lost or stolen. It sports features such as remote device wipe, remote device lock, ‘Lost and Found’ screen, the ability to locate device on a map, as well as remote activation of the BlackBerry smartphone loud ringer. Amongst the list of 30 African countries that can now access BlackBerry Protect are South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Swaziland. Users can find out more about the app on RIM’s site and can download it from BlackBerry App World Test Center.
RIM’s Q4 & fiscal 2011 year end results released
The Canadian smartphone maker announced its Q4 and fiscal 2011 year end results this week. It completed the fourth quarter of its 2011 financial year with record smartphone shipments, with around 14.9 million BlackBerry smartphones shipped during Q4 and a total of 52.3 million devices in fiscal 2011. Devices like the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and Bold 9780 saw the company’s device shipments increase by 43%, with revenue growing by 33%. BlackBerry was also named the number one selling smartphone brand for 2010 in a number of markets the likes of the US, Canada, and the UK.
PlayBook release info + Android apps compatibility
RIM revealed that its iPad competitor, the BlackBerry PlayBook, would go on sale in the US and Canada on 19 April. The BlackBerry PlayBook will be available in three models, featuring 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage with an recommended retail price of $499 (approx. R3430), $599 (around R4118) and $699 (about R4805) respectively. No local release info is available yet.
In related news, RIM confirmed the much rumoured ability of the PlayBook to run Android apps, by announcing the launch of two optional “app players”, providing an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java apps and Android v2.3 apps.
These new app players will enable users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook. App developers creating applications for either the BlackBerry- or Android platform will be able to quickly and easily port their apps to run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS, due to a high degree of API compatibility.
Developers will simply repackage, code sign and submit their BlackBerry Java and Android apps to BlackBerry App World. Once these are approved, the apps will be distributed via BlackBerry App World. Users will be able to download both the app players and the BlackBerry Java and Android apps from BlackBerry App World later this year.
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