Canadian firm’s fleet-tracking service ‘Radar’ has made it a market darling again

 

A visit to trucking firm Titanium Transportation helps explain why BlackBerry’s stock is once again a darling in Canadian markets, having soared 70% in two months.

Nestled in an industrial area some 50 kilometres north of Toronto, the trucker is an early adopter of a new BlackBerry fleet-tracking service known as Radar, which uses $400 boxes to collect and transmit information on movement, temperature and physical contents of Titanium’s 1,300 truck trailers.

Efficiency gains tied to Radar should allow Titanium to get maximum utilization of its fleet, positioning it to cut the number of trailers by 5% and also reduce labour costs, company executive Marilyn Daniel told Reuters.

“Time is everything in our world,” she said. “Being able to tell a driver where exactly a trailer is as opposed to having a driver search through a yard for sometimes hours has been a definite improvement.”

Radar is emblematic of BlackBerry chief executive John Chen’s strategy for turning around the Canadian icon, by steering the company away from consumer electronics and back to its roots of selling products to businesses.

Industrial customers

Beyond Radar, BlackBerry is also betting on other types of software for industrial customers. It is leveraging its QNX subsidiary’s software foothold deep inside car infotainment consoles to expand into self-driving technology, while promoting its cybersecurity software and services to thwart increased threats from hacking.

BlackBerry’s stock rallied after it showed signs of progress in quarterly earnings results at the end of March, followed by news in April of a nearly $1 billion cash windfall from arbitration with Qualcomm expected to fund future investments in growth. That comes in the face of an expected revenue decline to below $1 billion this year for the first time since 2004. At its smartphone peak, BlackBerry had annual sales of $20 billion.

Among the recent BlackBerry bulls are institutional investors such as Nokota Management, which took a new position with almost 4.8 million shares in the first quarter, and Oppenheimer Funds, which added 3.3 million more shares to its existing 4 million share stake, according to U.S. securities filings.

Iridian Asset Management and Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management, two of BlackBerry’s biggest shareholders, each raised their stakes by around a quarter as of the end of March. Nokota did not respond to requests for comment, while the others all declined to discuss their stakes in BlackBerry.

The strategy is not without risks. BlackBerry faces challenges entering the telematics market, where analysts say rivals include Omnitracs, Teletrac Navman, Tomtom NV , Trimble Inc and U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon last year paid some $2.4 billion to buy GPS vehicle tracking firm Fleetmatics Group Plc.

Radar “is not a unique and earth-shattering product,” said Nicholas Farhi, a partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants who advises companies on optimising logistics operations.

That’s why some investors advise caution, saying it is too soon to figure out how to properly value the new BlackBerry offerings.

“It’s not the type of situation you can justify from a valuation standpoint,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management, which manages more than $1.5 billion and exited the stock a decade ago, when BlackBerry phones were still dominant. “It is all about hope and promise.”

 

Samsung Makes Google Play Music the Default Music App and Service on Its Devices

 

Samsung and Google have jointly announced a new partnership that will make Google Play Music the default music player and streaming service on Samsung mobiles and tablets. The announcements coincides with the global retail launch of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones.

The deal also benefits Samsung users as they’ll be able to upload 100,000 of their own songs to Google Play Music for free, double the limit for owners of non-Samsung devices. Additionally, new Samsung phones and tablets will come with a free three-month trial of Google Play Music. Post the trial period, those who plan to subscribe for it will get over 40 million songs on-demand and access to YouTube Red (where available), just like other subscribers of the service.

Google in November launched a revamped Play Music service that is powered by Google’s machine learning and contextual tools. Machine learning allows the service to understand the music the user likes based on location, time, weather, and activity, to name a few.

Google’s Play Music service competes against the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora Premium, and others. The tie up with Samsung, one of the leading smartphone manufactures in the world, will help Google expand its reach and give it the right amount of boost it needs to take on other streaming giants.Samsung Makes Google Play Music the Default Music App and Service on Its Devices

Having Google Play Music as a default music player means Samsung will not have to worry about dedicating resources towards developing its own music player, though it’s still available to download from Google Play Store. Samsung has tried in the past to get into the music streaming game with Milk Music, but its attempt at competing against Spotify and Apple failed, and the company in August decided to kill off the service.

Interestingly, Google’s Play Music service will support Samsung’s own personal assistant software, Bixby. Users will be able to ask Bixby to look up a song and play it similar to how it works with Apple’s Siri. The Bixby support will kick in once the digital assistant comes out later this spring for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will go on sale in India from May 5.

 

Motorola brings big data digital evidence service to UK police forces

 

Motorola is launching a digital evidence management service to UK police forces, backed off into AWS cloud infrastructure

Motorola Solutions is to offer a cloud-based digital evidence management service (DEMS) to UK police forces after a successful roll-out of the technology in the US, combining new software capabilities with body-mounted mobile video recording devices, hosted in Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) new UK region.

Splashtop Debuts SOS With Mobile Android Support Service

Technical support software company Splashtop on Wednesday announced Splashtop On-Demand Support (SOS) with Mobile, a solution for remotely controlling Android devices and viewing the contents of their screens. The San Jose, California-based firm claims that its platform is the first one of its kind in the industry as it allows administrators, developers, and anyone else who might have to troubleshoot remote devices to quickly take control of distant Android smartphones and tablets and inspect them in real time. The company’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Lee believes that SOS with Mobile solves an industry-wide problem of supporting a wide variety of different devices and configurations which usually requires complicated setups that mandate a lot of time and other resources. SOS with Mobile is said to alleviate those problems by acting as a turnkey solution for administrators that’s not only simpler to set up but also easier to use, consequently saving time and money that IT professionals may otherwise waste on troubleshooting remote devices.Image result for Splashtop Debuts SOS With Mobile Android Support Service

Splashtop’s latest service supports a broad range of Android handsets and tablets, including Samsung Electronics-made Galaxy devices, the Silicon Valley company said, adding that SOS with Mobile can not only be used for troubleshooting but also for demonstrating corporate-issued mobile apps to users. The service itself is also available for Apple’s iOS devices and is the only one of its kind that supports real-time screen sharing on iPhones, iPods, and iPads. While it’s compatible with two of the most popular mobile operating systems on the planet that are radically different from one another, SOS with Mobile ships as a comprehensive solution that should avoid needless support fragmentation and allow administrators to focus on helping their users instead of setting up complicated support systems.

The newly introduced service is available for an annual subscription that amounts to $199 on a yearly basis per a single technician license during what Splashtop refers to as its “introductory special,” though the regular price of SOS with Mobile will be $299 yearly per each license. The service is being sold as an add-on for many popular mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) systems, the San Jose-based company said. The firm is also offering a fully-featured free trial of SOS with Mobile that users can sign up for by following the source link beneath this writing.

 

LG launches a mobile payment service in Korea

 

LG announced plans for its own mobile payment service way back in November 2015, and today it finally went official with the launch.

The LG Pay service is initially limited to the G6, LG’s flagship smartphone, via a software update, but it is only available in Korea. There is launch support for cards from Shinhan Bank, KB, BC and Lotte, and LG plans to cover all of Korea’s card companies by September.

The primary focus of the service — like rival offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google — is offline point-of-sale. LG Pay requires a user’s fingerprint to process every transaction. It uses magnetic signals to enable a mobile device to communicate with a regular credit card terminal in order to make the payment. That’s the same technique used with Samsung Pay.

 

Users can store up to 10 cards within the service — including store loyalty cards and specific retail cards — but payment itself is made by a ‘virtual’ card number to improve privacy and keep user data safer. Beyond providing payment at point-of-sale, LG revealed that it is working to support online payments and other banking services.

An LG representative told us that there’s current no update on when, or indeed whether, LG Pay will become available outside of Korea. That’s the company’s primary focus for sales, and the country where it has the most significant marketshare, which makes it an obvious starting point. But with LG Pay badly lagging competitors such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay — which got a significant head start — and overtaken on the sales front by a range of companies, it may not make sense to ever take LG Pay overseas. We shall see.

LG launches a mobile payment service in Korea

 

LG announced plans for its own mobile payment service way back in November 2015, and today it finally went official with the launch.

The LG Pay service is initially limited to the G6, LG’s flagship smartphone, via a software update, but it is only available in Korea. There is launch support for cards from Shinhan Bank, KB, BC and Lotte, and LG plans to cover all of Korea’s card companies by September.

The primary focus of the service — like rival offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google — is offline point-of-sale. LG Pay requires a user’s fingerprint to process every transaction. It uses magnetic signals to enable a mobile device to communicate with a regular credit card terminal in order to make the payment. That’s the same technique used with Samsung Pay.

 

Users can store up to 10 cards within the service — including store loyalty cards and specific retail cards — but payment itself is made by a ‘virtual’ card number to improve privacy and keep user data safer. Beyond providing payment at point-of-sale, LG revealed that it is working to support online payments and other banking services.

An LG representative told us that there’s current no update on when, or indeed whether, LG Pay will become available outside of Korea. That’s the company’s primary focus for sales, and the country where it has the most significant marketshare, which makes it an obvious starting point. But with LG Pay badly lagging competitors such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay — which got a significant head start — and overtaken on the sales front by a range of companies, it may not make sense to ever take LG Pay overseas. We shall see.