x5: Blackberry Stops Making Phones and Rogers Says Goodbye to Print

October 3, 2016 Eric Mercer

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x5 is our news update that covers the 5 things that happen in tech each week and why they matter.


Blackberry to stop making its own smartphones

CEO, John Chen, announced that the company would be outsourcing the manufacturing of its devices to reduce capital requirements on the business. Blackberry will now focus its efforts on software services.

Why This Matters

Blackberry has been behind in the device market for years, quickly surpassed by consumer adoption of iOS and Android devices. Its main advantage, especially with enterprise clients, has always been top-of-the-line security. With the brand’s decision to outsource its hardware production to a third party, security-focused customers may begin to look elsewhere for their company smartphone provider. This will create a gap in the market when it comes to the device needs of large companies, somewhere Apple has been trying to play for a long time. However, with the recent rebrand of the Google apps for work suite, and with the pending announcement of its newest mobile device, we may see even Google swoop in and take over the business device market.9193372352_c10a310d30_b


Rogers is eliminating several print magazines

The announcement about Rogers to stop printing Flare, Canadian Business, MoneySense, and Sportsnet took the Internet by storm last week. All four of these publications will be moved to online only. They have also decided to reduce Maclean’s to a monthly publication, rather than weekly, as well as reduce Chatelaine and Today’s Parent to six publications per year.

Why This Matters

One of the largest media companies in this country has just conceded that print media is no longer profitable. Advertisers are moving to digital and fewer consumers are purchasing print subscriptions to magazines. While this may be the mark of us moving on from traditional print magazines, it will have a ripple effect in the Canadian economy (think printing houses, printer producers, paper, etc).

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Amazon, Facebook, IBM, Alphabet, and Microsoft all come together to create the Partnership on AI

The five tech giants came together to form the Partnership on AI. The purpose of this new alliance is to: “Established to study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society.”

Why This Matters

Given that these companies have access to massive amounts of consumer data, they will likely be the ones forging the future of AI. They’ve set up this partnership mainly as a form of self-governance, to ensure the development of AI will be conducted ethically and without bias. This is a big step, mainly because there was no government body involved in creating the partnership.chatbots-human-robot-handshake


Uber plans to offer short-haul flights within cities

Uber is looking into VTOL technology to integrate in its next mode of transportation: short-haul flights within cities. VTOL, Vertical Takeoff and Landing, is a technology that combines rotary propellers with fixed wings on an aircraft to allow it to take off and land vertically, much like a helicopter, but flies similarly to a plane.

Why This Matters

Uber is already planning on eliminating the need for car ownership, and want to use autonomous vehicles to get rid of human drivers altogether. As the brand looks to the future, the plan is to create these VTOL vehicles that will fly from rooftop to rooftop, allowing riders to move extremely quickly across a city in groups (similar to the Uberpool model). This could become a reality much faster than we think, which would (again) revolutionize the transportation industry.man-person-people-train


Facebook launches “Messenger Day”, its equivalent to SnapChat Stories

According to TechCrunch, Facebook launched “Messenger Day” today in Poland, which functions almost identically to SnapChat Stories. This is a small test, according to Facebook, and is happening in a region where SnapChat has not yet become popular.

Why This Matters

Facebook has a much broader reach around the world than SnapChat, and a much bigger team. It also owns three of the most used apps in the world (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram). By introducing a stories feature on both Messenger and Instagram, Facebook will be able to reach far more consumers than SnapChat. While they are racing for video sharing leadership here in North America, it looks as though Facebook could definitely win in most other parts of the world. This undoubtedly would generate new revenue streams, such as filters, which could stunt international growth for SnapChat.14062913385_1158b6600a_b

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