Even after Chen’s quest to make the platform attractive, the demand for BlackBerry app developers is significantly lower compared to iOS and Android
BlackBerry may have represented a confident outlook recently, but interest in the company’s mobile platform is at all-time low. Despite the turnaround claims made by CEO John Chen, demand for BlackBerry app developers has dropped to a new low with 97% fewer jobs posted against iOS developers, according to a report from ITPortal.com, which cites a recent study.
Lower demand for app developers
According to a new study from Elance-oDesk, an online marketplace where businesses can hire freelancers, developer jobs for BlackBerry apps are fewer when compared to other big platforms. On revenue grounds also, BlackBerry jobs contribute much less compared to iOS and Android, reflecting the scarcity of funds.
The Waterloo Ontario-based company has less than 1% of the mobile market. This market share is even less than that of Windows Phone, which has acquired around 3% of the market share, giving some scope to app developers.
Another surprising statistic that emerged from the study is that there is 66% more interest in developers for iOS apps compared to Android. Apple iPad and iPhone users are downloading an average of 6.2 apps per month compared to 4.1 for Android. From a revenue point of view also, iOS has the maximum share, but Android is in the vicinity.
Shifting focus for BlackBerry
BlackBerry’s revenue and hardware sales have been on a decline, and hardware sales accounted for 46% of the company’s overall revenue as of November 2014. The Canadian firm posted revenue of $793 million for the quarter ended Nov. 29 compared to $916 million in the last quarter and $966 million a quarter before that.
In 2014, BlackBerry’s market share dropped to around 0.5%. Samsung led the market with a share of 23.7% compared to 11.7% for Apple, according to IDC. To overcome declining hardware sales, CEO John Chen has shifted the company’s focus from devices toward software and services.
Now BlackBerry is following a new goal, which, according to BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard, is “innovate around the reality” of users preferring non-BlackBerry platforms.
“The company clearly in transition from being a former smartphone leader to now transforming a business to sell a select few or a select handful of smartphones to enterprise government customers,” Morningstar analyst Brian Colello said in a recent research note.
Twitter is worried that its users might miss important tweets. Therefore, to help its users keep track of important tweets, the firm has come up with a new feature that will help users recapitulate missed tweets. As of now, the feature is just available for iOS users, but it will soon be rolled out to Android as well.
Benefits of the new feature from Twitter
The new feature ‘While you were away’ was announced in November last year. The feature, initially rolled out by the company earlier this year, is based on an algorithm that makes use of engagement and other user habits to display the top tweets in the iOS app’s feed.
Given users are not logged into the app all the time, there is a high probability of missing many of the tweets that were made while they were offline. The top tweets made since the app was opened last will be displayed in the feed rather than showing a chronological list of the tweets made most recently. Twitter announced that the goal behind the feature is that since important tweets get lost in the flood of numerous posts, the new feature will help dig up the important ones.
Is it similar to Facebook?
Facebook has a similar feature that makes use of an algorithm for picking up posts to be shown in the news feed, but the selected posts are curated based on the preferences of users. Kevin Weil, the Vice President of Twitter, does not agree with the comparison being made, and points out the differences between the two. Weil told the New York Times that the chronology is ignored by Facebook, whereas Twitter’s focus is more on real-time experiences.
Twitter said in an announcement that frequent users of the app will see minimal effect from the change as frequent users have little to catch up on. “If you check in on Twitter now and then for a quick snapshot of what’s happening, you’ll see this recap more often; if you spend a lot of time on Twitter already, you’ll see it less,” the company’s blog post noted. The feature cannot be turned off, but it can be dismissed by the user according to an article in the New York Times.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants legislators to expand the ambit of net neutrality and make it mandatory for app developers to develop their apps for BlackBerry in addition to iOS and Android. It is a known fact that BlackBerry and Windows Phone have relatively far fewer apps when compared to Android and iOS phones.
BlackBerry CEO calls it discrimination
According to Chen, this is “discriminatory,” and he wants net neutrality to include “application neutrality.” Put in simple words, the CEO wants lawmakers to require that if a company makes an app for iOS and Android, then it will have to create a version for BlackBerry as well.
An official blog published a letter from Chen that was sent to various members of Congress in which the CEO noted that all wireless broadband customers should be capable of using any lawful applications and content they select. Also Chen wants applications / content providers to stop discrimination based on the customer’s mobile operating system.
Chen said in the blog post, “Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet.”
Chen takes a nab at Apple, Netflix
Chen, who took the helm of BlackBerry in 2013, said the Canadian firm made its Messenger app available for iPhone users even though Apple has not yet responded by opening its own messaging services to other platforms. The BlackBerry CEO also targeted Netflix in his letter, saying that, even though the streaming company has supported net neutrality, it has discriminated against BlackBerry by not opening its streaming movie service to it.
According to Chen, developers are making iOS- and Android-centric apps, and in this way, they are creating a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem in which iPhone and Android users get their hands on far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. Net neutrality advocates have raised their voice against such discriminatory practices by different carriers at different levels, says Chen.
If some law of this sort is passed, then BlackBerry will be the major beneficiary, but the companies that will be bound to make apps for the less popular platforms will surely not be happy. Net neutrality is a very important issue with a focus on free speech, but getting it into reality seems to be impossible anytime soon.
iBillionaire is kicking off 2015 with the launch of two new products – the iBillionaire High Dividend Index and iBillionaire 2.0 for mobile. It’s also adding new billionaires into the mix.
NEW YORK, NY – January 21, 2015 – iBillionaire is hitting the ground running in 2015. The New York-based fintech company is releasing a new and improved version of its mobile app and launching an index that tracks billionaire-owned high dividend stocks.
Both products form part of iBillionaire’s larger mission to help people invest better by giving them access to the investment data and strategies of the world’s most successful, self-made billionaires.
The High Dividend Index
The iBillionaire High Dividend Index is designed to track high dividend stocks across a select group of billionaire investors. Equally weighted and comprised of 50 equities, it signals which dividend investments billionaires are selecting in an environment of low interest rates and market volatility where generating income is key.
Listed under the tickers IBD and IBDTR (total return index) and calculated by the NYSE, the iBillionaire High Dividend Index is the second index released by iBillionaire, following up the iBillionaire Index launched in November 2013. Upon backtesting, the iBillionaire High Dividend Index would have returned 140% over the five-year period stretching from 2010 to 2014 (including dividend reinvestment).
“We launched the iBillionaire Index in 2013 to help investors identify the top 30 large-cap stocks held by a select pool of leading billionaires. With the iBillionaire High Dividend Index, we’ve put together an equally relevant basket of equities, focusing on something of interest to investors big and small: dividends,” explains iBillionaire COO Jack Nguyen. “Members of the iBillionaire community have been asking for a high-dividend strategy for quite some time, and we’re happy to provide it.”
Available for iOS and Android, iBillionaire 2.0 combines search and discovery to help investors confirm ideas, get inspiration, make decisions and catch up on the latest news. It distills hard-to-reach billionaire investment data in an easy-to-use, curated mobile platform.
The revamped iBillionaire app maintains all of the features users know and love – billionaire portfolios, stock info, news and recent trade alerts – all with a brand new design. It ties in new elements, including featured stocks, watchlists and sharable cards.
“Last October, we were reminded of just how volatile the stock market can be. In such scenarios, even the most passive investors need to become more active – the hard part is knowing what action to take. But that’s where iBillionaire comes in,” reflects Raul Moreno, co-founder and CEO of iBillionaire. “The app helps investors to ‘check’ their ideas and trades with the most successful billionaires on Wall Street and find guidance in a straightforward, simple package.”
iBillionaire is also enlarging the pool of billionaire investors it features. New additions include Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital Group and Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management.
Billionaire-Inspired Better Investing
In April 2013, iBillionaire set out on a mission to help people everywhere invest better by learning from those who play the market best: self-made billionaire investors. This latest app and index form part of that commitment, as does the inclusion of more billionaires from which users can draw ideas and information.
Learn more about iBillionaire at www.iBillionaire.me, and stay on top of billionaire investment trends and news with iBillionaire for iOS and Android.
iBillionaire provides access to the investment data and strategies of the world’s most successful, self-made billionaires. Its mission is to help individuals become better investors by learning from Wall Street’s best.
Founded by Raul Moreno and Alejandro Estrada, iBillionaire launched in April 2013 as a mobile application tracking the investment strategies of the world’s top billionaires. Less than a year later, iBillionaire unveiled its inaugural iBillionaire Index, which is comprised of the top 30 U.S. equities held by a select pool of leading billionaires. The index was followed up by the release of the Direxion iBillionaire Index ETF (IBLN). The ETF currently has more than $35 million in assets under management, and the iBillionaire mobile community is already over 200,000 investors strong.
For more information, visit www.iBillionaire.me, take a look at our Press Kit, and check out the iBillionaire blog. You can also find iBillionaire on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and download the iBillionaire app for iOS and Android.
Zynga received an upgrade from Neutral to an Outperform rating by Zacks in a research note to investors on Tuesday. The research firm has assigned a price target of $2.90 per share.
Will new games help Zynga?
Zynga has been struggling to win new players and retain existing ones. To get back the growth momentum, the game maker has been making constant efforts and recently released a new title called Word on Tour, which is an upgrade of its earlier word game.
The new title is inspired by different games which are already released on different platforms. For instance, the style of word building has been derived from the game Boggle, and the style of phrase solving is inspired from the game show Wheel of Fortune. Candy Crush Saga contributes the style of level progression in the game. The game Words on Tour has common features that Zynga includes in every other game. With the help of these features, a player can compare the progress with their friends and also share extra lives with them. The game is fun to play, as it is a mix of familiar game play as well as interesting travel themes.
Those fond of puzzle-based games can download this game free. It stands in competition with mobile games such as Scrabble. The game is free to download from the App store on iOS devices and Google Play on Android devices. Zynga’s new title is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad running iOS 7.0 or later but is not yet available for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
Analysts’ takes on Zynga
Many analysts have released reports on Zynga. Analysts at Jefferies Group said they raised their rating from Hold to a Buy and increased their price target on the stock from $2.48 to $4.50 in a research note to investors on Nov. 11. In a separate report, analysts at Benchmark Co. said they dropped their price target on the game maker to $2.45 in a research note to investors on Nov. 10. Credit Suisse maintained its Underperform rating on the stock with a price target of $3.44 in a research note to investors on Nov. 7. Zynga presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $3.72 per share.
Apple scored another patent on Tuesday, and this patent could transform the way we utilize technology. The new patent is for visual control technology, which may mean future iPhones and MacBooks may soon track eye movements to control UI elements.
A closer look at Apple’s latest patent
This is a gaze-based control system which incorporates methods to counteract visual effects that occur when a person stares at a fixed space for a length of time. This can trick someone’s eyes into thinking some user interface elements completely vanished. The patent also goes into further details on how the device would use built-in camera equipment to track user eye movement and how those movements relate to onscreen elements. In one example, a cursor would follow the user’s gaze and, in certain instances, translates this to on-screen activities.
The primary purpose of this patent is to flesh out tech aimed directly at countering the problematic Troller Effect, which results in certain user interface elements fading or disappearing when the user stares at a fixed point for too long.
How this technology could improve Apple products
There are some major advantages to adding accessibility improvements to iOS and Mac devices. User interfaces controlled by eye movements would simplify the overall experience and not require users to use their hands or fingers. Such technology could serve as a supplementary control when users have their hands occupied by other on-screen functions or even accessories.
Apple may even use this technology with Apple TV. Last year, the Cupertino-based tech giant bought up PrimeSense, the same company that helped create Microsoft’s original Kinect. There is some speculation Apple could transform Apple TV into a camera-controlled device for the living room. This is a rather interesting move from Apple, especially considering how the company keeps a focus on touch-based controls.
Apple and others may be in the early stages of grabbing significant chunks of healthcare IT spending, but the opportunities in that segment are immense. BlackBerry is trying to get back into the game by focusing on enterprise customers, even putting out industry-specific apps.
One area in which the company is trying to grab a large chunk of the market is healthcare, but Apple is a formidable opponent with the potential to squash BlackBerry’s efforts before they really get started. So will Apple triumph over BlackBerry again, or does BlackBerry really have a shot at owning the connected healthcare market?
Apple aims to disrupt the healthcare market
In a report dated Jan. 12, 2015, UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Peter Christiansen said the healthcare industry is “ripe” for technological disruption. Apple unveiled its HealthKit API last year. The UBS team thinks health apps offer differentiation in the areas of brand and devices in the next several years.
Of course Apple and other companies looking to put out apps or devices for the healthcare industry will have to get past the Food and Drug Administration to get them into widespread use in the industry.
A doctor speculates about wearable tech
In an article in The New York Times, Dr. Eric Topol offered some suggestions of how Apple and other technology companies can disrupt the healthcare industry. He said it could one day be commonplace for people to wear watches or even necklaces that continually monitor their heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs.
He also sees the possibility of headbands that could track brain waves and said apps offering do-it-yourself diagnoses are currently under development. Some of the health problems these apps may be able to detect include ear infections, eye problems, lung problems and others.
The cardiologist even sees the potential for these apps and smartphones being able to run lab tests on blood, urine and other bodily fluids. Then patients could follow up with their healthcare providers through video consultations.
Apple continues to strengthen iOS ecosystem
The UBS analysts say as Apple’s HealthKit becomes the basis for more and more gadgets and apps, the primary benefit to the company is to its ecosystem. They point out that there are plenty of monetization opportunities in the healthcare space, such as through the Apple Watch, but they still think Apple most benefits from the differentiation of its devices.
The analysts call this the “Apple sphere,” while CEO Tim Cook refers to iOS as their “mega-ecosystem.” UBS maintained its Buy rating and $125 per share price target on Apple.
BlackBerry touts security
With all Apple is doing in its quest to change the healthcare industry, BlackBerry is doing plenty as well. From specialized apps to its partnership with NantHealth, the company is really striving to carve out a niche for itself here. It’s anyone’s guess right now whether BlackBerry will be successful in keeping the lion’s share of this niche away from Apple. It’s actually starting to look like the struggling company has a chance.
One thing BlackBerry certainly has going for it in the fight against Apple is security. The iCloud hacking incident certainly didn’t help Apple at all, and BlackBerry CEO John Chen said something like that would never happen to their system. Unfortunately the comments he made represent a huge risk to BlackBerry because if a similar hack does happen, Apple will undoubtedly be quick to poke fun, and Chen will be forced to eat his words. Obviously in an area like healthcare, security is everything.
BlackBerry’s approach is different than Apple’s
Another reason BlackBerry may have a chance against Apple is because it is taking a different approach. Apple is targeting consumers with gadgets, which fits with the company’s business model. BlackBerry’s business model, however, focuses on enterprise customers. The company’s goal is to have doctors pulling up X-rays and other information on their BlackBerry phones. The company also wants to get its operating system into hospitals and make it the new standard. All in all, this approach is solid.
Apple was said to be in talks with hospitals about using its HealthKit as well, but the fact is that the gadgets and apps built on the API seem to be primarily consumer-focused, at least for now. Last year a doctor raised concerns about Apple’s approach, emphasizing that a doctor’s expertise is still needed. Consumers who rely too much on the data from their gadgets may be putting their health at risk if they don’t consult a doctor.
So while Apple may have consumers in its corner, BlackBerry has a good shot at getting healthcare workers in its corner. If BlackBerry is successful, the healthcare niche could turn out to be just the mother-lode the company needs to survive.
Apple has issued the fourth beta version of iOS 8.2 to developers almost a month after seeding the third beta and around two months after releasing the first iOS 8.2 beta, says a report from 9to5 Mac. Updates that the new version carries include Xcode 6.2 beta 4 with WatchKit.
iOS 8.2 update expected along with Apple Watch
Developers can access the beta build 12D5461b immediately in the form of an over-the-air update and can also download it from the iOS Developer Center. Developers will be able to design an app, glances and notifications with iOS 8.2 with the help of the WatchKit SDK.
The first iOS 8.2 beta with WatchKit SDK and developer documentation gave various details about the upcoming Apple Watch, such as its dependence on the iPhone and a range of content that could be created by developers for the device. Apple is expected to release the iOS 8.2 update around the same date of the Apple Watch debut, and the fourth beta confirms this speculation.
Apart from iOS 8.2, Apple is also testing a minor iOS 8.1.3 update which could be released sometime later this week.
Dysfunctional icon for Apple Watch
In the iPhone’s Bluetooth settings menu, a new icon reads “Apple Watch,” suggesting that users can tap the icon to connect their Apple Watch with their iPhone. The Apple Watch iPhone app will be used by Apple Watch wearers to manage the settings on the device from their iPhones.
As of now, the icon showing in the Bluetooth menu in iOS 8.2 does not perform any function because the app is not available in the App Store. Also Apple will be working to make the app simple and easy to use and offer on-boarding experience, which will apparently include setup and configuration tutorials within the Watch app itself.
Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the watch during an event in September. At that time, Cook hinted that the device would go on sale early this year but gave no specific date. During the event, the CEO also talked about various features of the wearable. The Apple Watch is expected to come with an entry price of $349, and probably it will make its debut in March, which would give Apple plenty of time to launch related features throughout the year rather than clubbing the dates of all the device launches.
Apple may launch its much-awaited Apple Watch in March, but a Chinese company, Hyperdon, is already selling a fake version of the yet-to-be-launched Apple device at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015.
Almost similar to Apple Watch
The screen of the watch only displays when it is turned on, and many of its icons and features are exact copies of Apple’s designs. “The pairing process took a few tries, but once connected to my iPhone 6, I was able to make phone calls and play music through the watch. It even vibrates when I get a call,” noted the report.
Mashable purchased the watch for $27. It includes features such as a pedometer, stopwatch, alarm, and an “Anti Lost” feature, which may come in handy by alerting the user when the watch is out of Bluetooth range.
Further, this replica of the Apple Watch can fetch notifications from WeChat and other apps after downloading a “sketchy-looking APK” that is only compatible with jailbroken iPhones. Users can juice up the battery with a USB cable, and according to Shenzhen-based Hyperdon, the battery lasts up to “180 hours.” The Chinese manufacturer also claimed it has sold the watch in the U.S. and China but gave no details on the location of its store.
It’s not surprising anymore
This is not the first time a fake Apple product has been spotted. There are several instances of authorities breaking up counterfeit iPhone rings and closing fake Apple stores. Apart from Mashable, a report from the Financial Times also reported the selling of the fake Apple smartwatch at many Chinese booths at CES.
The recent copying incident at CES shows the audacity and accuracy with which China’s counterfeiters can impersonate “pioneering products.” According to the FT, some of the counterfeit shops were just steps away from well-known brands such as Oculus VR and Broadcom, and the fake devices “were identical down to the distinctive ‘digital crown’ controller on the side of the device and four sensors on the underside.”
The fake Apple Watch runs on Google’s Android Wear operating system, but it has been tweaked to look like Apple’s iOS, says the report from FT. One of the manufacturers the FT representative talked with even sells the products on Alibaba.com.
BlackBerry is now planning to port BBM to Google’s wearables-focused Android operating system, Android Wear. Jeff Gadway, an executive at Blackberry, told the press that BBM will launch on Android Wear in “early 2015.”
An obvious move from BlackBerry
With almost every chat service making itself available on Android Wear, it’s an obvious and much-needed move from BlackBerry. Users will be able to view and accept invites through the wearable and use the gadget’s speech to text option.
The Canadian smartphone maker started offering the BBM app on the iOS and Android mobile platforms in October 2013. In the beginning, some technical glitches did come, but the company managed to win around 90 million monthly active users as of last September. The total number of registered users is around 140 million. To monetize its cross-platform service, the Canadian firm added stickers and a sticker store last year and increased BBM features to include an encrypted messaging offering aimed at enterprises.
At CES, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said bringing BBM onto Android Wear is a strategy to enhance the attractiveness of the platform with the primary focus on increasing ad yields.
Chen confident on BlackBerry turnaround
Separately, in an interview with David Pogue of Yahoo, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said their network’s security model and encryption would have defended against the attack on iCloud that caused the theft of personal photos from celebrities. Chen claimed the error-proof security architecture of BlackBerry phones and the BlackBerry data network does not require users to be concerned about privacy and security. Chen did mention that President Obama uses a BlackBerry.
Chen also talked about their QNX software, which is fitted into 50 million cars, saying that initially the QNX automotive software was integrated into the infotainment system, but eventually it is moving toward the mechanics of cars, such as collision avoidance and braking systems.
On the BlackBerry Passport and Classic, Chen said the devices will help in maintaining their current crop of customers along with earning new ones. “It’s about a productive phone. … I want to make sure it’s very secure and very private, [and has a] long battery,” Chen told
Further, the BlackBerry CEO said his turnaround plan is working, and in one year, the company has transformed from losing more than $1 billion a quarter to earning $46 million.