Bye bye BBM

Today we’re announcing that we will be closing BBM consumer service on 31 May 2019.

Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services.

We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date.

The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on… More here.

There was a time back there when BBM absolutely dominated the business world, and a lot of the consumer communications world, but alas the time has come to say goodbye and that feels strange because it was SO popular.

I say ‘alas’ in spite of the fact that there were considerable downsides with such a technology coming along at a time when organisations were not ready to use it responsibly. This resulted in stress building up in said organisations and more importantly the people on the end of the constant pings hitting them throughout the day and night. In that regard it holds some painful memories for me.

Subscriptions are winning

New digital services are turning the UK into a country of subscribers rather than entertainment buyers as music follows video and games to become a majority ‘rental’ market for the first time, according to figures revealed in the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) Yearbook, published today (March 5).

Revenues for paid-for music subscription services rose 38% in 2018 to £829m with the result that subscription now accounts for 62% of total recorded music revenues. Ownership formats like CDs, vinyl LPs and downloads now only account for 38% of revenues… More here.

This doesn’t surprise me because potentially they offer better value than buying media individually.

A bad move for podcasts

It sounds like the latest programming blitz from Netflix. But this lineup — more than 40 exclusive shows, all without ads — has nothing to do with video. The offerings come from a podcast start-up called Luminary that has emerged from stealth mode to unveil nearly $100 million in funding and a subscription-based business model that it hopes will push the medium into a new phase of growth... More here.

For us listeners podcasts are fantastic and for me personally they offer a wealth of content to enjoy on my daily commute. I see nothing good coming from the above.

The keyboard will not die

Our QWERTY keyboard features five staggered rows in a full 64-key sliding landscape layout, under an angled screen. This provides an optimal typing and viewing experience while on the go. Our unique and innovative key design gives our keyboard a responsive, tactile feel for greater comfort and precision while typing.

The slider tilts the screen to a 155 degree angle for optimal viewing of documents and media on the go… More here.

Looks nice and I suspect the ‘Pro’ name fits, but I really can’t see the need for a keyboarded phone in 2019.

The Huawei Mate X: Galaxy Fold killer already?

This looks better than the Galaxy Fold, it really does, and we are only a few days into the whole foldable phone thing.

I suspect that Android will not lend itself to optimised apps suddenly working perfectly on the folded out screen, but I guess it’s possible. I see iOS doing this in a more seamless way at some point in the future. Also, €2,299 for 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage! Phew.

My daughter said something obvious as soon as she saw the video. How would you put a case on it? A very good point for a phone that costs more than €2,000.

Nike app for self-tying shoe comes undone

Nike’s new self-lacing trainer, the Adapt BB, has fallen at the first hurdle after the Android app that controls the shoe malfunctioned.

Billed as the “future of footwear”, the $350 (£268) a pair Adapt BB launched on Sunday.

However, an update to the Google Android app that allows wearers to loosen or tighten the trainer failed to work… More here.

You have to feel sympathy for those who paid $350 for these trainers and who now have to either press a button or, god forbid, tie the laces up manually. How can anyone be expected to do such a thing?!?

Or, like me, you can just snigger at the whole situation…

Telecom companies sold data intended to be used by 911 operators

Around 250 bounty hunters and related businesses had access to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint customer location data, according to documents obtained by Motherboard. The documents also show that telecom companies sold data intended to be used by 911 operators and first responders to data aggregators, who sold it to bounty hunters. The data was in some cases so accurate that a user could be tracked to specific spots inside a building… More here.

Thanks to Bob for the above. It gets scarier and scarier.

Do not track, screen captures etc

Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed “session replay” technology into their apps. These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn’t work or if there was an error. Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded — effectively screenshotted — and sent back to the app developers… More at TC.

Sometimes it feels as though there is no way for one person to protect themselves anymore.

As spotted by DuckDuckGo, the release notes for the newest version of Safari say the company has “removed support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable.” In other words, the DNT signal was being used as a way to track people. Irony alert… More here.

Not sure it ever worked for me from the start.

So if you’ve recently lost an iPhone, be very careful about phishing attempts. Especially watch out for emails or texts claiming to be from Apple notifying you your device has been found and asking for your login credentials to prove it’s yours. It would be best to be wary of any messages that seem to be from Apple… More here.

Starting to consider pen and paper, and a Nokia 101 as the way forward.