What Was Blackberry Thinking?

This is just awkward. I wonder who came up with the idea to have a (pretend) band sing about their new OS. Even worse, who at Blackberry thought this was a good idea. Are they trying to look lame and uncool?

PlayBook Exhibits Low Demand and Loss For RIM

The RIM BlackBerry PlayBook has so far been a dud. Even with steep discounts, RIM is still left with inventory, forcing the company to take a $485 million charge. From AllThingsD:

RIM sold just 150,000 PlayBooks “into the channel” this quarter, down from about 500,000 in the first quarter and 250,000 in the second.


Because of the tablet’s lousy performance, the company will take a $485 million charge and will not meet the $5.3 to $5.6 billion in revenue it had forecast when it last reported earnings.


Despite the PlayBook’s lousy performance at market and its deleterious effect on the company’s bottom line, RIM’s leadership says it has no plans to ditch the device.

The phrase “into the channel” is key. These numbers do not represent the total units sold to consumers, but rather sold into retail inventory.

The fact that their management wants to continue with this device is amazing. Consumers have shown that they are only willing to part with $199 for a new PlayBook. Considering that is the same price as the Kindle Fire—which had demand from the day it was released—I have to wonder what the PlayBook can offer that Amazon can’t, even at a loss.

Nokia and RIM Deny Carrier IQ is Loaded on Their Devices

According to Business Insider, Nokia has stated that their devices do not come loaded with Carrier IQ. From the article:

Nokia says it does not authorize Carrier IQ on its devices. Nokia calls reports of Carrier IQ being found on its phones “inaccurate.” Nokia also says that Carrier IQ doesn’t support Nokia phones, so it’s impossible to be installed later.

RIM has also stated that none of its BlackBerry devices come with Carrier IQ. From the article:

RIM is aware of a recent claim by a security researcher that an application called “CarrierIQ” is installed on mobile devices from multiple vendors without the knowledge or consent of the device users. RIM does not pre-install the CarrierIQ app on BlackBerry smartphones or authorize its carrier partners to install the CarrierIQ app before sales or distribution. RIM also did not develop or commission the development of the CarrierIQ application, and has no involvement in the testing, promotion, or distribution of the app. RIM will continue to investigate reports and speculation related to CarrierIQ.

This contradicts Trevor Eckhart’s original assertion that BlackBerry devices—in addition to Android devices—have Carrier IQ installed.

Hidden Mobile Phone and Tablet Tracking Built In

Android app developer Trevor Eckhart discovered that hidden in his Android phone was tracking software by Carrier IQ, which he feels exhibits the traits of a rootkit. So what does it track? How about key presses, geographic locations, and messages received by its users.

On Monday, Trevor posted the following video to YouTube, exposing what the Carrier IQ software monitored on his stock HTC EVO handset:

Amazingly enough, the users are never informed of this app, nor are they given the ability to toggle whether the monitoring service should run. Instead they are forced to trust Carrier IQ, and Carrier IQ’s customers, for the privacy of any data collected.

Performing damage control, Carrier IQ has posted a Media Alert, clarifying how their software is used by customers. I find the following snippet interesting:

While we look at many aspects of a device’s performance, we are counting and summarizing performance, not recording keystrokes or providing tracking tools. The metrics and tools we derive are not designed to deliver such information, nor do we have any intention of developing such tools.

The video clearly shows the monitoring software is capable of recording keystrokes. What’s more concerning is how the software can see variables passed via an encrypted website as if they were never encrypted.

If you think that avoiding Android powered devices will exempt you from this privacy invasion, think again. In addition to Android, Carrier IQ also has software available and installed on BlackBerry, Apple iOS and Nokia devices.

Update: It has been determined that iOS devices also contain Carrier IQ.

[Via The Register]

DingleBerry Tool Roots BlackBerry PlayBook

Developers Chris Wade, neuralic and xpvqs have successfully rooted the BlackBerry PlayBook, coining the yet-to-be-released tool DingleBerry. Not only will this tool allow you to gain root access to your PlayBook, you will also be able to enable viewing Hulu in your browser.

Below is a video demo of a rooted PlayBook:

You can find more information at CrackBerry as well as a video demo of Hulu running on the rooted PlayBook.

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