BlackBerry is still trying to play catch up with the smart phone some nine years after Apple iPhone started the revolution. Last year it launched Priv, its first high-end smart phone powered by Android, but it was matched with a high-end price of $700, which priced it above arguably the most admired smartphone of them all, the Samsung Galaxy Edge and the iPhone 6s.
Even BlackBerry CEO John Chen admitted that introducing such a high ticket phone was not the best thing the struggling manufacturer could have done. Sales of the Priv were understandably muted and disappointing. So it’s not often these days that the name BlackBerry and ‘what’s hot’ go together in the same sentence. But now BlackBerry has launched its first touchscreen-only Android handset, in a bold bid to diversify its range of devices, and for now at least, it is causing something of a stir in the mobile phone market.
The new phone is called the BlackBerry DTEK50. It’s a smartphone – you can have any color as long as it’s black – which the company claims to offer improved security over rival Android devices, and, at $299 will cost significantly less than its previous handset, Priv.
It is the Canadian firm’s second Android handset after switching focus away from its struggling BB10 platform – for which many of the most popular apps such as Whatsapp have simply given up providing versions. One analyst has described the new phone as the “right move” but that the company still faced an “uphill battle” with devices. And unlike the Priv, the DTEK 50 does away with BlackBerry’s signature physical keyboard and opts for a full screen.
The company said it would go beyond selling the phone through carriers and offer the DTEK 50 through security resellers and other distributors as it angles for more business customers. While the Canadian carriers will sell the phone, in the US the DTEK 50 will be sold through Best Buy, B&H and Amazon.
The DTEK’s main claim to fame is as the most secure Android smartphone you can buy. It features a 5.2-inch scratch resistant display, runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and there’s a convenience key which you can map to your favorite app and much more. BlackBerry has hardened the OS on the DTEK50, and added a secure boot process to ensure that it is the most secure it can be.
The DTEK50 can make suggestions to improve your phone’s security as well as give you much more information about what each app is doing, and what social media your apps are accessing. The phone also has unique internal hardware, with its chips protected by cryptographic keys to prevent tampering and thwart any would be hackers. An important advantage if you are one of the many who has switched to mobile phone banking apps. It was recently reported that mobile phone banking apps now outstrip traditional visits to banks and online banking via PC combined. So for that reason, a truly secure mobile phone such as the DTEK50 could be well worth investigating.
The phone has 16GB of storage and 3GB of RAM with a MicroSD that can take up to 250GB of extra capacity. The phone has a 13 megapixel rear facing camera and an 8 megapixel front facing camera for selfies with geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, and panorama.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 phone is expected to be released August 8th, and only time will tell if BlackBerry has a winner on its hands for the first time in too long. New physical keyboard phones are also said to be in the pipeline.
We think of cellphones as being very much a 21st century invention. And there is no doubt they have become indispensable to our everyday lives, all around the world. Modern cellphones or smartphones as they have become known, are used as a means of instant communication, whether by phone, text, email, instant message, or Skype. For video gaming, for music, for photography, even for finding our way to the nearest take out at 2am in the morning.
As more apps are developed, they become more crucial to our everyday lives. But did you know that wireless technology has actually been around since the early 1900s? No? Then you need to arm yourself with our brief history of the cellphone.
Wireless Technology in the Early 1900’s
It all started with one Nathan B. Stubblefield in the year 1908. He was a self-described “practical farmer, fruit grower and electrician” and also an inventor who was granted a patent by the US government to develop a wireless telephone technology system. Fast forward to 1921, and the first use of a radio telephony service became available on first-class passenger trains on the Berlin-Hamburg route in Germany.
Stubblefield (1908) with his later, induction, wireless telephone
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, in the United States, the first radio receiver was created by the Galvin Manufacturing Company, and soon became known as the Walkie Talkie. The model was referred to as the Motorola SC-300. The Walkie Talkie was quickly adopted by police departments as it delivered a means of constant communication, even while the police were out patrolling the beat.
Mobile Phone Technology after World War 2
The first official “cellphones” although not as we know them today, were first used by the Swedish Police in 1946. They worked by means of connecting a hand-held phone to the central telephone network. These early cellphones were separate to two-way radio phones that were commonly used in cars and taxis as a means of portable communication. There was just one problem with these phones, they could only make 6 calls before the car’s battery was drained!
Modern cell phone technology closer to what we recognize today, started when the appropriately named D.H. Ring from Bell Labs created hexagonal cells for mobile phones in 1947. Later, another engineer from Bell Labs came up with the idea of cell towers that would transmit and receive signals in three directions instead of two. However, rather like aviation design, electronics and other technologies take decades to mature. For instance, the electronics that were used in the first real cell phones were first developed in the 1960’s. In 1950, radio phones were used by the US military for communication and civil services.
1947 Paper That First Described a Cell-Phone Network
Cellphone Development in The ’60s
The electronic parts and components that are used in today’s generation of cellphones were developed during the 1960’s. Yes, cellphone technology was already available in the 60s, however its use was only restricted because the cell areas were only base stations which covered a limited land area. During these times, calls could be made, but if the cellphone user traveled beyond the boundaries of the cell area, the signal got blocked or went dead. Of course that can still happen today but cellphones can cover a far wider area.
Cellphones in the 70’s and 80’s
In 1970, Amos Edward Joel, who also was another engineer at Bell Labs, developed the call handoff system. This technology facilitated phone calls from one area to another that would not be dropped. By 1971, AT&T, requested a public cellular phone service from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but that request was only processed a decade later. The advent of analog cellphone service began in 1982, and this continued until 1990.
In 1983, Motorola unveiled the first truly portable cellular phone to the world. It was called the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, also known as the Brick. This was they type of phone Michael Douglas used in the movie Wall Street. The FCC approved it in the United States. Motorola developed the technology for cellular phones for decades and this particular phone took 15 years to come on the market at a cost of over 100 million dollars.
Michael Douglas (as Gordon Gekko in the movie “Wall Street”) holding a Motorola DynaTAC
Cellphones become smartphones – 2007 to present
Just prior to the new millennium in 1999, the first-ever fully-fledged Internet phone service was introduced by Japanese company NTT Docomo. The following year, mobile phone advertising first appeared in Finland, when a free SMS text service was launched, and was sponsored by advertisers. Cellular phones from the early 1990s are considered second generation (2G) and they were able to work on mobile phone systems such as GSM, IS-136 (TDMA), and IS-95 (CDMA). Digital mobile phone networks were in use in the United States in 1990 and in Europe by 1991.
In 2001, the pre-commercial 3G trial network was also launched by NTT Docomo, and soon after, Sony and Ericsson agreed to create a joint company, which was called Sony-Ericsson, for the development and manufacture of high-end cellphones.
Just as 3G became accepted worldwide, and phones were designed around the capabilities of the speed and services it could provide, along came 4G in 2011.
When we look back on the introduction of the Apple iPhone, one of the earliest smartphones in 2007, everyone hailed it as a complete revolution, enabling music, photography and instant messaging, yet all this was managed on 3G, and in comparison to today’s high speed 4G broadband access, today the first Apple iPhone would seem incredibly clunky, underpowered and slow.
With the introduction of 4G mobile broadband (short for 4th generation) in Korea as early as 2008, smartphones of today act as efficiently and effectively as laptop computers, while still remaining wireless. This allows mobile phone users to access the full internet just as they would on a computer without any decrease in speed or the dropping of any data. If you think back to early websites adapted for mobile, they were slow, prone to stalling and generally frustrating to deal with. In the last couple of years, apps have been developed for popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Amazon that actually work better and look better than their desktop based counterparts. For now, the 5G network is the fastest mobile broadband network available.
The technology behind the 4G network is either WiMax or Long Term Evolution (LTE). WiMax uses a broadband network over a wireless connection. LTE, on the other hand, transfers data using IP connections. Essentially 4G creates an IP address for every mobile device.
And what about the future of broadband transmission and advances in smartphone technology? There are great plans underway but we will leave that for another posting…
If you insist on Samsung quality but you don’t want to pay Samsung’s high-end phone prices, the entry level Galaxy Core Prime could be just the phone you’re looking for. It’s an all-plastic phone that manages to look and perform dependably above its weight. Its slim line good looks are inspired by some of Samsung’s bigger, more powerful phones, so while it is a budget model, it doesn’t perform like a budget phone.
The build quality is good, with smooth curves and a brushed metallic bezel and the battery is removable so you can add up to 128GB of storage via the microSD card slot that sits on top of the single micro SIM slot.
The phone runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor – a SnapDragon 410, with Adreno 306 graphics, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage (5.3GB is usable). In general use the phone performs at a good rate but for some heavier apps there can be slight delays when launched. At 4.5” inches, the WVGA screen is also smaller than some of the currently popular 5.5” phablet style phones, but it certainly makes up for lack of size with ease of portability as it could comfortably fit into a shirt pocket, so it’s perfect to carry around for summer months wearing just shirtsleeves.
The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime has 4G LTE data speeds so you can stream high-quality videos, video chat and share photos with friends. It runs on the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system with the TouchWiz interface to make navigating simple.
As far as picture power is concerned, the phone has a front facing 2MP camera for easy selfies and a higher quality 5MP camera on the back with Auto Focus and a rear LED flash.
Battery power is boosted when it’s in Ultra Power Saving Mode; the battery continues to power the phone even when it’s critically low. It works by turning most of your screens to black and white and shuts off nonessential apps, so your smartphone still works when you need it.
T-Mobile USA was selling the Galaxy Core Prime for cash for $139.99 or just $5.84 per month with no money down.
Unlock your Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (SM-G360T) with UnlockBase
You may want the phone, but not necessarily the service provider, but with UnlockBase, that’s not a problem. UnlockBase is the leading online remote unlock site, with the largest database of phones and service providers around the globe. You can unlock your Galaxy Core Prime quickly, easily and cost efficiently using the Mobile Device Unlock App, the Android official unlock for T-Mobile USA: https://www.unlockbase.com/phone-unlocking-service/tmobile-device-unlock-app-official-unlock/
Device Unlock is an Android app that allows you to request and apply a mobile device unlock directly from the device. This allows you to automatically apply Mobile Device Unlock to the device without using a manual code. Please note that when your phone is locked with “Mobile Device Unlock” it’s totally useless to order an unlock code. Just ensure your phone is clean, and not reported as lost or stolen.