The ailing and former big-boy smartphone maker Blackberry was relying on its new touchscreen Z10 and QWERTY Q10 devices (released at the start of the year), to change its fortunes; the company’s share in the US smartphone market plummeted from a heady 22% in September 2010 when they had 21 million users to just 5.9% and 7.6 million users in January.
And things aren’t looking great. Sales of the new handsets in the UK haven’t been stunning; after an initial spurt they have tapered off and the British Government have just rejected the new operating system; perhaps the company’s biggest blow. The rebuff comes because it is, quite simply, not secure enough.
Previous versions of the Blackberry OS were accepted by the government and the NHS – two of the company’s largest customers with tens of thousands of users – but the Balance Software on the new devices, which separates work and personal accounts, preventing any copying of data between them, has failed the security measurements demanded by the UK’s Communications – Electronics Security Group (CESG).
Missing out on government business could cost Blackberry millions in lost revenues.
A spokesperson for the firm said in a statement: "We have a long-established relationship with CESG and we remain the only mobile solution approved for use at 'Restricted' when configured in accordance with CESG guidelines. This level of approval only comes following a process which is rigorous and absolutely necessary given the highly confidential nature of the communications being transmitted.
"The current restructuring of this approval process, due to the Government Protective Marking Scheme review and the new CESG Commercial Product Assurance scheme has an impact on the timeline for BlackBerry 10 to receive a similar level of approval. The US government's FIPS 140-2 certification of BlackBerry 10 and the selection of BlackBerry 10 by the German Procurement Office and Federal Office for Information Security underline how our new platform continues to set the standard for government communications.
"We are continuing to work closely with CESG on the approval of BlackBerry 10 and we're confident that BlackBerry 10 will only strengthen our position as the mobile solution of choice for the UK government."
How very official.
Rumours suggesting a Chinese takeover of the Canadian company have also been doing the rounds. But this has ruffled more than a few feathers due to the operating system’s security importance. Basically people don’t trust the Chinese government, what with all these nasty hacking rumours. Very suspicious.
But Canada's industry minister has declined to say whether he would block any attempted takeover of BlackBerry by the Chinese smartphone maker Lenovo, saying: "I hope BlackBerry will continue to be a Canadian champion in the world, that it grows organically we don't know what might happen. The market is very aggressive. When you talk about the telecoms sector this is a very, very aggressive sector."
Hm, very slippery indeed.
This all sounds very negative, I know, but the phone is a decent handset and let’s face it our security demands are hardly that of the country’s, are they? Check out our review if you are interested in getting one or learning more about the handset.
Please remember to recycle any of your old handsets or gadgets with us here at OnRecycle; we will find you a better price than any of our competitors – guaranteed – and it’s good for the environment, too.
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