Feeds

Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon

The Desktop PIM buddy: A 1990s idea finally done right?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Former smartphone giant BlackBerry has another trick up its sleeve for its comeback, alongside the oddest looking phone in recent years. The Passport is expected to be unveiled next month, along with an intriguing bit of software, the as-yet-unannounced BlackBerry Blend.

Part of the forthcoming 10.3 BB10 release, Blend “casts” messaging and Protocol-Independent Multicast (PIM) onto a local screen, such as a PC Mac or a tablet, using the BlackBerry device as a secure communications gateway. It’s a cross between Palm Desktop and Nokia’s Lifeblog software, but looks very well thought out, and is designed to appeal to consumers as well as BlackBerry’s core enterprise customers. Blend also appears to be a replacement for media transfer, which is not a strong point of the current BlackBerry Link suite.

Here’s a peek at the latest, spotted in a video bundled with a recent leak of a 10.3 OS beta release.

The glimpses we’ve seen so far don’t fully explain the mechanics. Will BlackBerry Blend pull all of its information from the mobile device (over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) over a secure point-to-point connection? Or will it pull it from the 'net, using the rather higher bandwidth typically available to a PC or Mac? There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches – and once we see the software, we’ll see the reasoning.

Nokia Suite, er... Communications Centre, from 2009

What’s odd and interesting is that this was doable in the 1990s, long before smartphones and Bluetooth, over infrared software using third-party applications for Psion and Palm handhelds. But nobody has thought to do it since. Nokia’s Suite allowed you to read and send SMS messages, but Nokia never developed the Suite into a rich PIM and messaging hub.

Perhaps this was out of a fear of offending its partners, or Nokia reasoned that corporate users were wedded to Outlook, and a Palm Desktop would simply get in the way. (I’ve heard both accounts; both Symbian and Nokia considered it at various times).

Today, PCs and Macs don’t come with an integrated PIM, and Outlook is overkill for most users, and painfully sub-optimal for handling IMAP messages. Perhaps Blend is in with a shout – if it works well.

BlackBerry has (quite rightly) clamped down on leaks and has yet to mention Blend in any public statement. We shouldn’t have to wait long to see it in action. ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.