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TCL put another nail in coffin of BlackBerry smartphones. That makes me sad.

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BlackBerry smartphones were the first smartphones carried by many people around the world. BlackBerrys preceded the iPhone and Android in important ways and helped set the stage for many of the features we rely on today. That’s why it hurts just a little that the smartphone brand is, for all intents and purposes, dead (again).

TCL licensed the BlackBerry brand after the Canadian company stopped making its own phones. In other words, TCL kept BlackBerry alive. Today, TCL said it allowed its license to lapse and will no longer design and build BlackBerry phones. Optiemus in India also licenses the brand, but has so far failed to produce all the devices it announced.

For its part, BlackBerry has remained quiet. So, where does it go now?

Storied history

Blackberry KEY2 Red Edition keyboard

The first smartphone-related story I ever wrote, for Field Force Automation magazine in the fall of 2001, was about BlackBerry. Set in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, several companies located in the downtown NYC area lauded BlackBerry for its DataTAC platform, which remained up and functional while regular cell service in the area failed. Back then, BlackBerry phones were gloried pagers. This was a vital success story for the company.

BlackBerry eventually upgraded to fully-connected internet devices, with browsers, email, and more. Believe it or not, support for phone calls, which would make them genuine smartphones, was added later.

Early models, such as the 7100, 7290, and 8700, were staples with the jet-setting business crowd.

The company made its own hardware, and, more importantly, provided the background services that gave the phones their value. BlackBerry Mobile Services provided business users with access to not only their contacts, calendar, and email, but connected enterprise apps and much more.

Early models, such as the 7100, 7290, and 8700, were staples with the jet-setting business crowd. They were huge, clunky devices with monochrome screens, thumbwheels, and terrible keyboards. (But they had keyboards!)

Once consumer-friendly handsets such as the Pearl, Curve, and Bold reached stores, BlackBerry became a hit with regular people. BlackBerry smartphones were the best way to stay connected without a laptop. BBM, the company’s stout messaging service, cemented its reputation as a communications master.

An early peak

After little more than a dozen years in business, December 2012 saw BlackBerry reach its highest number of users, which was about 80 million. It had grown rapidly, mostly thanks to its email dominance, but fell even faster due to the market turbulence created by the iPhone and, later, Android.

In June 2007, when the first iPhone went on sale, BlackBerry had some 8 million customers. The fact that it would grow tenfold over the next five years is a testament to its strength as a platform, despite the competition. Of course, this is when companies issued BlackBerry smartphones — and not iPhones — to employees. Once Apple adopted the right set of licenses for corporate-grade email and security, that all changed.

BlackBerry’s slow decline began after Palm and WebOS called it quits, though Windows Phone will still a competitor. From March 2013 through May 2017 the number of BlackBerry users retracted from 80 million to 11 million.

The company gave up on making smartphones and instead allowed TCL and Optiemus to build them. BlackBerry continued with its software, which included a suite of communication services for the Android platform, which is what modern ‘Berries run.

Functional, not fun, phones from TCL

Blackberry Key2 LE rear cameras and flash super up-close

TCL kept the BlackBerry brand kicking, but not necessarily thriving. The hardware coming from the company looked and felt perfunctory. There were the warmed-over, slate-style DTEK50 and DTEK60, as well as the keyboard-equipped KEYoneKey2, and Key2 LE.

The phones got the job done, and yet didn’t reignite any fires. Sales for these devices were never fully revealed and yet can’t be anything but sluggish.

Perhaps this is for the best. Perhaps BlackBerry needs to be done. Even so, it was a key player in helping create the products we now rely on for literally everything. It’s sad to see companies and brands fail.

Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/blackberry-smartphones-are-dead-1079741/

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Tech News

PS5 DUALSENSE CONTROLLER LEAK SHOWS BETTER BATTERY LIFE

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Sony unveiled its next-gen PS5 console nearly after 7 years of PlayStation 4 debut in 2013, with improved overall design, performance and revamped DualSense controller. Shortly after getting teased, the DualSense controller is back in the news. And if the leaks are true, the new controller will have substantially improved battery life compared to the predecessor.

The latest leak comes from a Reddit user named viper_on_fire. As reported by Gamerrant first, he has reportedly caught hold of the DualSense controller and claimed that it would give a battery life 3 to 4 hours more than the DualShock 4.

However, the post was deleted quickly but it has been reshared by another user named blursedpersona on PS5 subreddit along with the deleted video. The post as said by viper_on_fire says that the touchpad is more clicky, L2 and R2 buttons are more tactile with resistance than before.

PS5 DUALSENSE CONTROLLER: WHAT HAS IMPROVED?

Further, he added that the L1 and R1 felt more like triggers whereas the D-Pad and main buttons were similar to the ones on the predecessor. While the user didn’t try the haptic feedback and microphone, he did say that the new DualSense controller won’t support PSVR due to the absence of a light bar.

Apart from this, the user said controller felt less bulky, comfortable to hold which is already evident from teasers and has a dimmer light strip in the middle compared to DualShock 4. All these information are difficult to reject as a false rumour because the official teaser shows a larger body, with no rear strip lighting, slightly larger touchpad.

IMPROVED BATTERY LIFE: A SIGN OF RELIEF

That said, if the claims are true, PS5 users will get a big surge of 3-4hours more battery life on the new controller. The predecessor, however, lasted less than 8 hours. Moreover, many users pointed to a brighter light strip on front and rear could be the reason for it.

Sony unveiled the DualSense controller in an official video back in June with revamped white&black scheme, adaptive shoulder buttons with haptic feedback, built-in mic and a create button. But not much was available about the features and with new leaks, users can rest assured of improved gaming experience when the console launches later this year.

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Tech News

WHY WAS SUBWAY SURFERS CREATED? TWITTER’S CLAIMS ABOUT CREATOR’S SON EXPLAINED

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Subway Surfers is one of the most popular games available right now on mobile phone and there’s a bunch of tricks you can deploy to enhance your experience. However, aside from just enjoying the game, lots of people are now asking why Subway Surfers was created, and this is because of a viral tweet which suggested that it was developed because the creator’s son had died.

Although it’s just a mobile game, Subway Surfers remains massively popular to the point where it has even influenced huge IPs onto the mobile market such as Crash Bandicoot On The Run. Lots of people continue to play the mobile game regardless of where they are, so it’s no surprise that it still has a huge following online.

However, what will surprise people is the claims on Twitter that the game was made and created to honour the creator’s son who allegedly died.

Subway Surfers Official Trailer

WHY WAS SUBWAY SURFERS CREATED?

There’s a rumour on Twitter which says that Subway Surfers was created because of the creator’s son passing away.

This rumour suggests that Subway Surfers was created to honour the passing away of the creator’s son, and you can find the viral tweet just below, which has nearly 250,000 likes.

Aside from just claiming why the game was made, the above viral tweet also suggests that the son had died because of a skating accident on a train track.

This supposedly explains why the gameplay is comprised of players dashing around trains and hover-boarding along train tracks.

Subway Surfers Gameplay PC - First play

SUBWAY SURFERS: IS THE ‘CREATOR’S SON DIED’ A REAL STORY?

Lots of people are asking if the Subway Surfers story about the creator’s son is real or not.

People are spreading the rumour about the creator’s son all over Twitter, but the CEO of SYBO Games has previously provided an official reason for why Subway Surfers was made.

Source: https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2020/07/30/why-was-subway-surfers-created-creators-son-died/

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Security

Some fast-charging USB products can now expose your phones to hackers

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It is quite ironical that a tool that’s suppose to save charging time now exposes users to hackers’ threat. A Tencent report revealed recently that a group of researchers discovered some safety defects in fast-charging products, a phenomenon called ‘BadPower’.

This implies that hackers can now hijack some products that support fast charging and access the powered device in order to cause physical damage due to excessively high voltage — either to cause a complete explosion, or destruction of an important hardware which renders the device useless.

This is possible because the malware introduced by the hackers into the product overrides its capacity to restrict more charges beyond the level of voltage permitted.

It will interest you to know that most new devices like phones, PC, tablets, notebooks all have the fast-charging technology. But then, BadPower has nothing to do with invading your privacy.Advertisement

According to the report, there’s usually a signal between the power-generating source and the power-receiving port and the firmware inside a normal-functioning fast-charging product. This is meant to ensure that only the required charge is absorbed.

But when corrupted, the firmware’s communication is altered, hence, nothing to regulate the voltage.

A trigger is needed from the phone/device

The report stated that a BadPower attack can happen in two ways: using a corrupted device to infiltrate a charger’s firmware first before connecting it to the targeted device(s), or exploiting the vulnerability of a charger through a malware installed on the powered device.

What is clear in either case is that a device has to be responsible to trigger the BadPower feature in the charger.

Touseef Gul, a Pakistani Penetration Tester, explains that this fault could have only resulted from a misconfiguration of these chargers, because it is impossible for a hacker to interact remotely with a flaw in a charger.

And this was also confirmed by the researchers involved in the report.

Unfortunately, a lot of misconfigured chargers with this defect are reportedly out in the market. Out of 34 tested chargers, 18 has such fault; and this includes 8 brands.

Likewise, it was discovered that the chip in some chargers activates this fault by default after the production process is complete.

“Xuanwu Lab investigated 34 fast-charging chip manufacturers and found that at least 18 chip manufacturers produce chips that can update firmware after finished products,” the report stated.

How to protect your devices

The report described how users can protect themselves by updating the device’s firmware which will also prevent other software vulnerabilities.

Also, it explicitly stated that users should not easily give their chargers, power banks, etc. to others.

At the same time, it recommended not to use Type-C to other USB interface cables which allows the fast charging device to supply power to powered devices that do not support fast charging.

While device manufacturers continue to devise means to help prolong phone usage time, there’s no telling that vulnerabilities like this will continue to put users at risk.

If this is anything like the introduction of longlasting lithium-sulfur batteries —  which are reportedly at the risk of explosion — it is expected that manufacturers will get the BadPower concern under control before more users are put at risk of device explosion.

Source: https://techpoint.africa/2020/07/22/fast-charging-chargers-hacker/

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