Articles by Joseph Holder

How to sync your Outlook contacts and calendars to the BlackBerry PlayBook

Okay, this may be a bit of a shocker, but Research In Motion released the BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 OS today! We here at CrackBerry have spent of most of the day poking and prodding the new OS to learn of its secrets. It seems you have as well. One of the biggest questions we're seeing from you is how do you sync Microsoft Outlook contacts and calendar entries with the PlayBook?

Outlook is a very powerful email and scheduling client used by many companies and individuals. At the moment, it appears that those users who connect to a Microsoft Exchange server have no issues with syncing - though web access to that account might be required. Not everybody uses an Exchange server though.

For the many who use Outlook as an email reader - perhaps with accounts like siteowner@mywebsite.com, the PlayBook won't be able to retrieve your contacts without a little outside help. To do that, I'm going to suggest you sync your Outlook contacts and calendar with a GMail account. How-to's after the break.


Porsche-designed BlackBerry P'9531 revealed

 

While the details are scarce, it looks as though the Porsche Design Group is gearing up to include yet another luxury BlackBerry Smartphone to RIM's product line, the P'9531. Along with the dozen and a half slides leaked today are two that provide some small insight into the luxury phone. As with several other BlackBerry 7 Smartphones, the P'9531 will sport a 1.2 GHz processor, an initial 8 GB of internal storage space, touchscreen, and full QWERTY keyboard.

According to the slides, the P'9531 will offer its owners a custom User Interface, exclusive apps, and a unique PIN (I thought all PIN's were unique...). Unfortunately, we've no information as to what sets the P'9531 apart from the already released P'9981. Right now, we're thinking this new ‘9531 might be the CDMA version of the GSM ‘9981. Until we get some more details, we'll just have to stare with envy at the P'9531 and its "Engineered Luxury."

Source: BGR


HuluBerry not working? CrackBerry.com has a solution!

After rooting your BlackBerry PlayBook, you'll find that DingleBerry 3.x installs a very nice little application to your PlayBook. It's called HuluBerry and allows you to watch Hulu videos from a specially-designed browser on your PlayBook. If you live outside of the US, I'm afraid your Hulu dreams are dashed for the time being. Unless you can find a US proxy that plays nice with Hulu, that is. It should be noted that HuluBerry and DingleBerry 3.1 are not compatible with the latest PlayBook beta OS 2.0.0.7111. You'll need to be running 2.0.0.6149 or earlier for HuluBerry and the root to work properly.

HuluBerry is a most excellent application; but after restarting your PlayBook, you may notice that it no longer plays videos. Interestingly, it's not just the special DingleBerry-installed browser that no longer works, root access disappears as well. You notice it with HuluBerry because breaking the Hulu watching app is the most visible consequence of this. Every time your PlayBook reboots, it looses root access. Thankfully, the DingleBerry team anticipated this.

To get HuluBerry working again, you'll just need to connect your PlayBook to a computer with the PlayBook in Development Mode. A custom script - startup.sh - runs whenever the PlayBook is connected to a computer and Development Mode is on. As soon as the device connects to the computer (I usually wait until I've entered the tablet's password), you can disconnect it. The process regains root access to your PlayBook and returns all that Hulu goodness to the PlayBook's 7" screen.


Dotz colorful cord management and identification - 5 sample packs for you to win

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

On my last day at CES2012, I spied an advertisement while riding the monorail to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Pictured above the heads of my fellow riders was Dotz, so named for the small circular cord identifiers. My thoughts immediately went to the multitude of cables and chargers I have for my various mobile devices.

As presented by the video above, many of the Dotz products are designed to snap on to the cord near its power plug, allowing you to quickly identify what power cord goes to which device. I actually envisioned using them the other way 'round. I have a lot of cables, all with micro USB tips. For me, it would be extremely useful to identify which cable plugs into my PlayBook, which cable plugs into my BlackBerry, which cable plugs into my Bluetooth headset(s), etc.

Dotz really does have a nice, colorful selection of cord identifiers. Each dot - if you will - includes a small disk with a picture printed on it so you can figure out what cord you're looking at. Flip the disc over and you can write your cords' names - "PlayBook", "Torch 9860", and "Moto Oasis" would be a few I would use. Dotz is such an amazingly simple idea, yet with a huge benefit to me and you.

At the show, we managed to snag a few sample packs to share with our readers - don't worry, I was very nice when I asked for them. If you'd like to win one, take a moment to leave a comment to this article. We'll pick five winners from the entrants; contest ends Sunday, January 29, 2012 at midnight PST. Good luck!


DingleBerry updated to v3.1.0

Well, that didn't take long! The good people of the DingleBerry team have just released version 3.1 of the DingleBerry rooting tool. Just a few days ago, DingleBerry 3.0.x was released, bringing one-click root and the HuluBerry app for the PlayBook. Rooting your BlackBerry PlayBook allows the device to do things it wasn't designed to do, like downloading applications from the Android Market.

The latest 3.1 version of DingleBerry brings the ability to load any BlackBerry PlayBook OS onto your device as well as some small bug fixes. DingleBerry 3.0.x loaded only the core OS on to the device, sometimes causing problems with the tablet. D3.1 has the rare ability to load only the core OS or the entire OS which includes things like the browser, the Android operating system, and other BlackBerry applications. Also included is the ability to create a Custom OS. Our readers in the Hybrids forum might want to have a look.

Research In Motion recently released its beta version 2.0.0.7111 for the BlackBerry PlayBook, patching the root access gained by DingleBerry. D3.1 doesn't address that update, and .7111 remains locked. Still, you can be sure the team is hard at work on their next version. Until then, you can always downgrade an earlier PlayBook operating system. You do have to make a decision: are the improvements in .7111 more or less important that HuluBerry and rooting?

Download DingleBerry v3.1.0 for Windows or Linux


Review: Seidio SURFACE case and SURFACE holster for the BlackBerry Torch 9860 / 9850

"Seidio knows its accessories and its customers; time and time again they create great products. The SURFACE case and SURFACE holster continue that grand tradition."

In Short:
"Perfect combination of case & holster"

Should I Buy?
"Protection from those everyday hazards"
BUY NOW


For those of you who don't know, gravity is my enemy. It rears its ugly head nearly every time I pick up my BlackBerry Smartphone or tablet. I frequently drop my phone, ram it into doorways, and put my Smartphone in a pocket along with dangerous objects like keys. I'll admit it; I'm a bit of a klutz. That's why I don't like my phone to go naked; for me, a case is a necessity.

I've been impressed by the accessories that Seidio makes. From the Innocase Active series to the Seidio Charging Vault, Seidio knows what it's doing. My latest find is the Seidio SURFACE case and holster for my BlackBerry Torch 9860. The case itself provides a good amount of protection without being bulky, and the slim design allows it to fits snugly and securely into its companion holster. I love that I can get protection without sacrificing the convenience of a holster.


HuluBerry brings Hulu back to the BlackBerry PlayBook

We've known even before the BlackBerry PlayBook first went on sale that it could support watching Hulu videos. Hulu was started as a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp (Fox) that allows US internet users to watch TV shows online. It's a great way to legally watch TV over the internet. The PlayBook's flash-running browser has no problem playing the videos; it's Hulu itself that blocks content to the tablet. Within 48 hours of the tablet's release, Hulu blocked PlayBook users from viewing that content.

DingleBerry 3.x changes that; Hulu is back on the PlayBook! Included with the latest release of the rooting tool is a new browser called HuluBerry. After following the extremely easy instructions for rooting the tablet, you'll find the HuluBerry application already installed on your device. This custom browser only browses the Hulu website. And Hulu looks great on the PlayBook.

Please note: As of late Wednesday night, it appears that the the 2.0.0.7111 developer's build of the PlayBook OS breaks HuluBerry functionality. To keep watching Hulu videos on your PlayBook, I would recommend staying on version 2.0.0.4869 or 2.0.0.6149 


Rooting your BlackBerry PlayBook is easier than ever with DingleBerry 3.x

If you've ever wondered if it was worth your time and effort to root/jailbreak your BlackBerry PlayBook, wonder no longer. The latest DingleBerry rooting tool, DingleBerry 3.x, makes rooting your PlayBook a simple matter of activating Developer Mode on your PlayBook and following the instructions in the DingleBerry program.

With the release of DingleBerry 3.x, Mac and Linux machines get some love too. It should be noted that these Linux and Mac users will need to have certain libraries already installed on their computers first. Since I'm a PC, you find a helpful tutorial and links to the necessary libraries at the DingleBerry.it website.

We've written about rooting your PlayBook using DingleBerry before. That process involved pushing some files to your PlayBook, backing up data from and then restoring data to your PlayBook, and finally you might have to pray to the gods of Technology that you unplugged your USB cable fast enough to complete the root.

DingleBerry 3.x is light-years ahead of that process. Downgrading, rooting, and confirming whether or not the root was successful are all accomplished within the rooting tool itself; BlackBerry Desktop Software is not required. The process is straightforward and easy to do; still, there are a couple of things that can ruin your day. Keep reading past the break to find our helpful guide on using this amazing tool to gain root access to your BlackBerry PlayBook.


Seidio Charging Vault Review - a backup battery pack for your BlackBerry Smartphone

"The Seidio Charging Vault has proved to me its worth as an external battery. Without this backup power supply, I'd probably still be wandering the Las Vegas strip, looking for a familiar face."

In Short:
"On-the-go USB power supply."

Should I Buy?
"Best mobile charger I've seen."
BUY NOW

At CES2012, we saw a good deal of mobile charging solutions; quite a few companies had portable power packs on display. From among this diverse crowd of options - and believe me, I've tried a number of these charging solutions - the Seidio Charging Vault stands out from the rest. The battery pack features not one but two UBS charging ports. In the Charging Vault Kit, Seidio has kindly included a retractable USB cable with multiple tips: microUSB and a 30-pin connector for iOS devices. Most importantly, the Charging Vault proved its importance by saving my BlackBerry Torch 9860 on day one of my trip to Las Vegas. Without this backup power supply, I'd probably still be wandering the strip, looking for a familiar face.


Found at CES: Matias mini Rizer – We’ve got 20 to give away!

Matias knows its accessories. The Canadian company makes all sorts of accessories for Smartphones and tablets. At CES2012, CrackBerry got a hands-on look at the Matias One Keyboard for BlackBerry & PC as well as their Folding Keyboard for BlackBerry. Both products performed well; and both products included a free miniRizer to support your BlackBerry while using the keyboards.

The miniRizer is a small, easily portable stand for your BlackBerry that allows the Smartphone to be supported at an angle of your choosing, instead of laying flat on a desk or table.  For two reasons, the stand comes in two pieces. One, the two parts allow you to easily switch between a 40 and 50 degree tilt to your Smartphone. Two, the two halves fit snugly together in their cloth carrying case; the whole package is about the size of a credit card. This makes the tiny BlackBerry stand highly portable.

Contest: The miniRizer may not be packed with circuits; chips; and LED's, but it is a very nice little product, a product that I find myself using day after day after day. The good people of Matias have given us 20 of these miniRizers for the CrackBerry Nation. To enter to win one, simply leave a comment to this article. The contest ends this Sunday at midnight PT. Good Luck!


Matias One Keyboard for PC & BlackBerry and Matias Folding Keyboard for BlackBerry bring full-sized keyboards to your Smartphone

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

Imagine this scenario - it shouldn't be too difficult: you're using your desktop or laptop computer, typing away on your full-sized keyboard when some sort of BlackBerry communication comes through. It might be an email, a Tweet, or even a BBM. You pick up your BlackBerry Smartphone and type out a response on that great, but small keyboard. Messaging done, you return to your work on the computer. That's all well and good, but it could be better.

Now imagine the same situation, but add in the Matias One Keyboard for BlackBerry & PC. As I've described it to so many people this week: Type-y; Type-y; Type-y on your computer, press a button, type-y; type-y; type-y on your BlackBerry, all while using the same full-sized keyboard for both. Once the keyboard is paired with the BlackBerry, it really is that easy to use.


Quick Look at WOWee One VUE - HDMI pico projector

 

In a darkened room at the South Hall of CES 2012, an image springs to life. Gracefully, a sea turtle swims across the wall. A cityscape slowly pans by. A volcano erupts. I'm watching the BlackBerry PlayBook's HD Demo video, but I'm not watching it on the PlayBook itself. Attached to the BlackBerry tablet is a pocket-sized pico projector, the WOWee ONE VUE.

Don't let that "pocket-sized" designation fool you. Using a green light laser, the projector is able to create images up to 8 feet across at a resolution of 480p in full color. The device features an infinite focus ability that means no matter how close or far away the projector is from the screen/wall/ceiling, the video always stays in focus. While the VUE doesn't project video in 1080p, the bright, clear image; two hour battery life; and very small size are well worth the tradeoff. Weighing a mere 4.1 oz (117g), the projector is highly portable.

Right out of the box, the device is fully compatible with the BlackBerry PlayBook's microHDMI out port. All the connections you'll need are already included in the packaging; there's no need to go out and buy extra cables. The tiny projector also comes with a 30-pin connector for the iPad and supports MHL-HDMIconnected devices.

The WOWee ONE VUE is a great traveling companion for anyone making presentations with a PlayBook. Previously, you've seen just how well the PlayBook can make any presentation. With the WOWee ONE VUE, those presentations can happen just about anywhere. And when you're done, all your presentation tools fit in a pocket, ready for your next adventure. The WOWee ONE VUE isn't available quite yet, only listed as "coming soon." You can rest assured though, this projector will most probably fly off the shelves at a projected price of around $360. 


An unintended consequence of switching from BlackBerry to iPhone

I am fond of saying there is no perfect Smartphone; there is only the Smartphone that is perfect for you. Whether your beloved device runs AndroidBlackBerryiOSwebOS; or Windows Phone, we're all just part of the larger Mobile Nations family (do you like how I worked that in there?).

Still, when a story like this comes along, I can't help but feel a little sympathy for our iPhone brethren. Last Tuesday, Mahler's Symphony No. 9 came to a halt at the New York Philharmonic after a new iPhone user had trouble silencing his phone's alarm. Sitting in the front row, the patron's iPhone Marimba ring was easily heard by the conductor, Alan Gilbert, who actually stopped the performance until the ring was silenced.

The iPhone's owner, a long-time subscriber to the orchestra, made sure to silence his phone before the concert - as we all should do before movies, concerts, shows, and other such events - but an alarm set on his Smartphone sounded anyway. The day before the concert, the man's company had switched from BlackBerry to iPhone, and the poor gentleman had not yet become familiar with his new device. He didn't know his phone's alarm was set; when it sounded, he had trouble figuring out how to make it stop.

On Thursday, he had a chance to apologize by phone to the conductor who graciously accepted the apology. Like the iPhone, selecting the "All Alerts Off" or "Silent" sound profile on a BlackBerry effectively silences any and all alert sounds on the Smartphone - except for the daily alarm. Silencing that alarm seems to be a bit easier on a BlackBerry than on an iPhone, though, as pressing just about any button on the RIM device will cancel that sound. Methinks the unfortunate iPhone user at the symphony found things a bit more complicated when his iDevice stopped the show.

Source: New York Times via iMore Image: WSJ


CrackBerry CES 2012: Day 5 Roundup - More stories to tell

The bags were packed, hotel keycards dropped off in the lobby, and thousands of miles were flown as the CrackBerry crew - along with majority of our Mobile Nations team - returned home from the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. The past six days have been great, but I think we're all at least a little glad that it's over.

Nearly 2 million square feet and 3,100 exhibitors have a certain way of taking up all of your time. With so much to see and do at the show, not everything we found at CES has hit the blog just yet. Personally, I have something like 5 articles left to write. And it's not like we spent all our time gambling and checking out the Blue Man Group. During CES, Vegas is for work, not play.

So even though the Twitterverse was filled with tales of CrackBerry bloggers heading home, we still had some nice stories to tell on the blog- and there's even more to come. Just give us a little time to recharge

A sit down with some of the Poynt team
HzO shows us how you really waterproof a device
First Look: X-mini KAI Capsule Speaker
The $500 Desktop Clock App for BlackBerry that I was dumb enough to buy...
CES 2012 - Samsung's Smart Window
First Look: Updated Video Chat Client on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0!
Ashley addresses the Crackberry Nation from CES 2012!
Sitting down at CES in the QNX-powered Porsche Concept Car... Crazy Awesome In-Car Infotainment That I Wantz to Have NAO!
WOWee ONE turns any surface into a subwoofer - sounds great and we've got one to give away!


WOWee ONE turns any surface into a subwoofer - sounds great and we've got one to give away!

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

The WOWee line of audio devices is one of those things you have to hear to believe. Even that video up there really doesn't do it justice. The WOWee folks have designed a small box - for lack of a better word - that makes great sounding music.

Holding the WOWee in your hand, you don't experience the full joy that is the WOWee ONE. When it's placed on a flat surface - preferably on a hollow object, but it's not required - the surface is transformed into a sort of sounding board. This drastically amplifies the sound; it's almost like the object is turned into a subwoofer for your music and other audio.

Music sounds great on this thing; absolutely great. Pair it up with the upcoming WOWee ONE VUE, and you've got yourself a mobile presentation kit. And a mobile movie watching kit. The rechargeable battery on the ONE is rated for an incredible 20 hours. There are two more versions of the WOWee, a slim and a Bluetooth enabled device. All three sound amazing, but the WOWee ONE Classic has the best of that low bass sound, down to 20 Hz.

The good people of WOWee set us up with a WOWee ONE Classic (the one with the really good bass) to give away to our CrackBerry Nation, so leave a comment this article to be entered to win. Contest ends this Sunday at midnight Pacific time. Good luck, you're really gonna want this.


CrackBerry CES 2012: Day 4 Roundup

 

It's the end of Day 4 here at CES and the 1.86 million square feet of exhibit space has left the CrackBerry team exhausted. If the tired looks I saw tonight on the faces of our Mobile Nations family - Android CentraliMoreWebOS Nation, and WPCentral - are any barometer, they're pretty worn out as well. Most of us are leaving Vegas tomorrow for some much-needed rest (though, technically we're leaving today because it's around 2:30 am Vegas time as I write this). All in all, our final day at CES2012 was pretty busy.

JayBird stereo Bluetooth for the extreme lifestyle
Closing the BlackBerry App Gap - Talking to Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations for Research In Motion
Ford talks Focus Electric and its integration with BlackBerry
Hands-On with BlackBerry Balance on the BlackBerry PlayBook - Managing corporate and personal life in harmony on one device!
CrackBerry Team uses PlayBook as camera from CES2012 show floor
CES 2012: A quick look at Powerbag!
BlackBerry Girls Gone Bold
A quick review of Cygnett's new BlackBerry Bold 9900/30 cases - 5 cases up for grabs!
What happened in Vegas: BlackBerry at CES 2012 video 

This was the last day at CES for most of the CrackBerry crew, but the coverage doesn't end here! We have plenty more to share so keep it locked on the blogs for more from CES2012!


CrackBerry CES 2012: Day 3 Roundup

 

Speaking for me personally, I had a great day at CES 2012! I started my day talking to the good people of Toddy Gear who hooked up the CrackBerry Nation with some free screen cleaners. Then I got to talk to some great case makers, Seidio, who took us upstairs (in their booth) to their meeting room for some VIP access. Our friends at Netshelter provided some great blogging space, then they invited us to their party at Tao nightclub at the Venitian. There, to my surprise, they called my name to win a brand new, unlocked Galaxy Nexus! What an awesome day! Don't worry, CrackBerry Nation; I'm CrackBerry fo' life. Still, it's a very nice phone.

CrackBerry had a great day, too!

A ride in the BlackBerry Limo at CES!
TYLT: Not your average BlackBerry and other mobile accessories at CES2012
Hands On with the WHITE BlackBerry Curve 9360... HAWT!
First Look at the OnStar RemoteLink app for BlackBerry!
Breaksclusive: Introducing the BlackBerry Glove... the hottest fashion trend in mobile handwear! :)
Toddy Smart Cloth annihilates fingerprints - CrackBerry has 7 to give away!
Hands on with Seidio's case and charging pod for the BlackBerry Bold 9900
Another ride in the BlackBerry Limo

You'll want to stay tuned to CrackBerry for all your BlackBerry @ CES coverage as we'll have plenty of hands-on and interviews coming from the showroom floor plus, we have a few podcasts lined up as well -- ones you won't want to miss.


Hands on with Seidio's case and charging pod for the BlackBerry Bold 9900

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

I'm dangerous around a BlackBerry. I drop them, bang them against doors, and in general, abuse them. That's why I have to keep my ‘Berry in a case. It's just better that way. I also like the BlackBerry charging pods. But if you're at all familiar with cases and charging pods, you know that the two generally don't mix.

One of my favorite BlackBerry case makers is Seidio. I loved their case and holster combo for my Torch 9800, and I'm currently roaming the CES halls with another Seidio case for my Torch 9860.

Stopping by their booth in the North Hall at CES 2012, I found that they have done the seemingly impossible; they've created a case that fits inside a charging pod. Made for the BlackBerry Bold 9900, the case-enclosed BlackBerry slips easily into Seidio's charging pod. Pass throughs in the bottom of the case allow the Bold's charging points to connect the charging pod.

This is a great idea that has been a long time in coming. Finally, charging pod convenience and case protection have come together in one handy combination.


Toddy Smart Cloth annihilates fingerprints – CrackBerry has 7 to give away!

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

Fingerprints and smudges happen. No matter what mobile device you have - be it a BlackBerry smartphone, tablet, or even a computer monitor - they seem to attract fingerprints and other foreign matter like a magnet. Now, BlackBerry OS 7 phones with their touchscreens offer even more opportunity to get smudged and dirtied.

Enter the Smart Cloth by Toddy Gear. These cloths, in a wide variety of colors and styles, features silk microfiber on one side and plush microfiber on the other. Both sides offer superior cleaning no matter the surface, and - for those of you adverse to germs - the Smart Cloth is protected by the AEGIS microbe shield. It's an great way to keep your phone clean with out sprays or wipes.

In the north hall at CES 2012, I got a chance to try these cloths for ourselves. While we were impressed with the way the cloth cleaned my Torch 9860, it was the cloth's effectiveness on cleaning my BlackBerry PlayBook's screen that really impressed me. Over the months, I've pretty much covered my PlayBook in fingerprints. After about 30 seconds with the Smart Cloth, those prints were gone. Even those really bad prints that are almost impregnated into the screen were no match for this cloth.

Todd - yes, that Todd - of Toddy Gear hooked us up with seven Smart Cloths to give out to our readers. Just leave a comment on this post to enter to win. One entry per person, and the contest ends this Sunday at midnight Pacific time. Great products are afoot here at CES 2012, and we'll be hard at work scouring the floor for them.


TYLT: Not your average BlackBerry and other mobile accessories at CES2012

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

Even though CES2012 didn't officially start until Tuesday morning, there were still plenty of events to attend in the days leading up to it. On Monday, we visited the Pepcom Digital Experience where well over 100 exhibitors showed off their wares in a preview of the CES to come.

Through all the exhibitors, the one that stood out most in my mind was TYLT. And really, it wasn't because they had a high-tech mega-booth or some high-energy sales pitch. It was because they had a mission: to design accessories that are updated for today's world, stylish, and highly functional. They've succeeded.

My absolute favorite of all their accessories on display was the TYLT car charger, simply called "Band." Rather than producing a simple spiral-shaped car charger cord, TYLT stretched that into a flat, silicone-encased ribbon. The ribbon folds easily and should make it things a lot easier for those who have charging ports inside the center console.

TYLT has made some amazing products that work and look great. While Band and the other products you see in the video aren't available for sale just yet, you can rest assured that TYLT are doing all they can to get these accessories in a store near you.


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