Author: Douglas Soltys

All good things…


Jim Balsillie and Douglas SoltysMike Lazaridis and Douglas Soltys

Which of these three people is not a RIM Co-CEO?

2009 is set to be an historic year worldwide, but it seems as though my beloved Canada is failing to play a role. The Sens still suck, the Raptors still suck, and no one wants another federal election. With President Obama’s visit to our nation’s capital drawing ever nearer, I’ve decided to put my own stamp of change on the New Year. To that effect, as of this Friday I will no longer be Editor-in-Chief of BlackBerry Cool.

During my time at the ‘Cool, much has changed in the BlackBerry space. I can remember back in the early days writing an editorial (one of my first, in fact) in favor of the then much-rumored Apple/RIM device we had dubbed the ‘iBerry’ — we all know how that worked out. BlackBerry Cool has changed quite a bit in that time as well: we’re prettier, faster, and with writers like Kyle McInnes, Nan Palmero, and Jonathan Brandon, filled with new blood and fresh opinions. In the end, I guess that’s why leaving BlackBerry Cool, a site that I’ve grown with and has grown with me, doesn’t seem as heartbreaking as it should. With the new BBCool team and the myriad BlackBerry sites on the web now (remember when it was just BlackBerry Forums, and BBCool?), I know I leave things in good hands.

As for my part? I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many industry luminaries (see above photos), broken some pretty major news, launched a cool mobile application, hosted breakthrough industry events, and played with so many pre-release BlackBerrys that you should be jealous. I leave BlackBerry Cool with no regrets and many fond memories.

I will be thanking many people for their help in this journey during the next few weeks, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to you, the reader. Thank you for your constant support, encouragement, and proving the impetus to forgo sleep for just one more post. If you’re ever looking to chat BlackBerry, you know where to find me.

Douglas Soltys
BlackBerry Cool

Poynt for BlackBerry Storm hands on


We’ve talked about Poynt, a free local search service, quite a bit on BlackBerry Cool: as a BlackBerry Developer Challenge winner, in podcast form with developer Multiplied’s Peter Werry during BBDC and in recent releases on the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220.

Multiplied has now brought Poynt to the BlackBerry Storm and was kind enough to give us a copy early for a hands-on. After the jump you’ll find Poynt for BlackBerry Storm’s feature list, a bunch of screen captures, and impressions from our time with this nifty application. Or you could just download Poynt at the link below, considering this is one of the best applications out for the Storm right now.

Download Poynt for BlackBerry Storm

Poynt for BlackBerry Storm impression, features, screenshots

Telus BlackBerry 8350i Launch Event Gallery and Quick Impressions


Last week I had the pleasure of heading to Woodbridge, Ontario for Telus’ BlackBerry 8350i launch event at AIM Autosport. AIM is a customer on Telus’ Mike iDEN network, and they were kind enough to talk about how they use the push-to-talk Mike network and why they’re so juiced to be getting the BlackBerry 8350i. I was also able to sit in their wicked sweet race car, which was sadly without an engine, and thus unavailable for a test drive (next time!). You can see all the photos after the jump, and there’s video on the way.

As for impressions, it’s hard to get a sense for the value of the 8350i, because we haven’t done extensive testing of the Mike network to see how cool PTT really is. Telus is going to send us a bunch of 8350′s for everyone in the office, however, so we’ll be able to say more shortly (I expect a lot of PTT silliness will ensue). As for my impressions of the 8350i as a device, I think it’s a winner over the standard 8330. While the BlackBerry 8350i is a bit longer and thicker than its Curve counterpart, it has a much sturdier build quality. It honestly takes me back to the days of the BlackBery 8700: you could throw the 8350i through drywall and it would come out the other side unscathed (it’s a long story). Wi-Fi is also a major bonus, and something I miss on my BlackBerry Storm.

For an extended look at the 8350i, check out BBCool contributer Mike’s Sprint BlackBerry Curve 8350i impressions and unboxing photos.

Continue reading ‘Telus BlackBerry 8350i Launch Event Gallery and Quick Impressions’

Balsillie receives award amid allegations of financial impropriety


RIM CEO Jim BalsillieThe Globe and Mail was on hand last Thursday for an award luncheon in honor of RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who was named ‘Outstanding Business Leader of the Year’ by Wilfrid Laurier University. The event gained additional poignancy because it came on the same day news broke that Canadian regulators were seeking C$100 million from Co-CEO’s Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis for their role in a stock option accounting controversy dating back to 1996. While the luncheon crowd was clearly biased in their defense of Mr. Balsillie at the event (Joan Fisk, CEO of the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, referred to Balsillie as “our boy”), significant questions as to the political timing of the charges.

Last week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he will push ahead with the creation of a national securities regulator, after the release of the final report on the subject, conducted by a panel appointed by Mr. Flaherty and led by former Conservative cabinet minister Tom Hockin.

“I’m absolutely opposed to what the OSC has proposed here. I think it is grandstanding of the highest magnitude and opportunistic given the Hockin report has just come out and all of a sudden the OSC wants to be seen as a regulatory tiger that has teeth. It’s no coincidence whatsoever,” Mr. Foerster said.

“All they’ve done is found individuals with the greatest pockets,” he added. “If I were Balsillie or Lazaridis, I would fight this all the way given the OSC’s track record with respect to litigation.”

Some have argued however, that regardless of timing, the Canadian government is sending a clear and important message to the business community. Wrong is wrong, right?

Continue reading ‘Balsillie receives award amid allegations of financial impropriety’

Obama to keep his BlackBerry, gets ‘super-encryption’


Want Obama wants, Obama gets. Scoring the first major victory of his nascent term, the White House announced today that President Barack Obama will indeed keep his BlackBerry (eat it, Sectera Edge). President Obama will use the BlackBerry to keep in touch with “senior staff and a small group of personal friends.” As we’ve mentioned previously, Obama’s decision will have significant effects on the transparency of his communications.

Gibbs said the presumption from the White House counsel’s office is that e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, the law that requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. But he also said that some exemptions in the law allow for “strictly personal communications.” He did not say how that classification would be determined but made clear that the device could be used for both business and personal communication.

How did Obama get the deal done? By turning the NSA loose on his BlackBerry:

On Monday, a government agency said that the Obama administration — but that is probably the National Security Agency — added to a standard BlackBerry a super-encryption package…. and Obama WILL be able to use it … still for routine and personal messages.

Wait a minute… NSA… ‘super-encryption package’… Is this why RIM wanted to buy Certicom?

Thanks to @marybethlowell and @frasercole for the tip!

|via Atlantic and SacBee|

How much will Certicom failure hurt RIM?


RIM logo While we have closely covered the back and forth between RIM and Canadian security specialist Certicom, we’ve never really taken the time to discuss why exactly RIM put forth the hostile bid after months of courting. Thankfully, James Rogers of has done the work for us in a recent article:

Certicom develops a technology called Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), which is used to secure data on a range of devices, including smartphones. The National Security Agency uses the same technique, and Certicom licenses its technology to a range of companies, including IBM, General Dynamics, Motorola and RIM.

Certicom is also openly canvassing other suitors, which could increase the pressure on RIM. Last month, for example, Certicom granted a number of un-named parties access to its ‘data room’ in an attempt to drive up its valuation. “The information provided in the data room is intended to facilitate offers reflecting the fair value of Certicom from interested parties,” it said, in a statement.

So in effect, by failing to takeover Certicom, RIM has lost out in three different ways: saving money by eliminating the ECC licensing fees, making money from licensing the technology to competitors, and extending its competitive advantage on security. The question becomes how much this failure has hurt RIM in the long run. Post a comment and let us know what you think.

|via TheStreet|