Articles by Kerri Neill

Maximize your workout with these great BlackBerry accessories

Alright couch potatoes, it's Health & Fitness month across the Mobile Nations sites so that means it’s time to get up and get moving! A lot of us start off the New Year with the best of intentions thinking things like this is the year I get back into shape and start eating healthier. Unfortunately life gets in the way for a lot of us and before we know it, it’s the start of the fall holidays and we’re still trying to work off the pounds from last year’s festivities.

I’m the wife of an Air Force Recruiter which means he travels leaving the responsibilities of the household, our three children, two dogs, my full time day job and my blogging duties all up to me. It’s a lot on one’s plate and finding time just to breathe can be difficult let alone fitting in an entire workout! With these great accessories, my BlackBerry devices help me achieve my goal of wearing a bikini for the first time in my life this summer.


PingMe will no longer support BlackBerry or Windows Phone

In an email I received today from RadiumOne Labs, the developers of PingMe, have decided to cease all BlackBerry and Windows Phone support starting December 31st of this year.

PingMe is a cross-platform messaging application similar to BBM. The app has gotten many mixed reactions due to freezing up, battery drain and the dreaded spinning clock so I’m not really shocked by this news. It did have several nice features including integrated news feed, push notifications, friend finder and the always favorite FREE for Life. Sadly it looks like that life is going to be a short lived one.

The official email from RadiumOne Labs is below.


Cooklet for the BlackBerry PlayBook gets a sizzling new update!

We first showed you Cooklet a while back after its big win in the AppCircus at BlackBerry Jam in Orlando. Since then, Cooklet has been downloaded more than 600,000 times and now I can see why. I’m new to the kitchen and already Cooklet has given me some fantastic, crowd pleasing recipes and solved my “What’s for dinner” woes.

The exclusive BlackBerry PlayBook version has gotten a hot new update with a complete redesign that makes the app a bit more user friendly. Cooklet 6.2.7 is now available in BlackBerry App World for only $1.99. This is a limited time offer so be sure to check out Ryan’s review here and the update notes below, then head on over to App World and grab your copy today!


Free Advance OS and LED gets a major update again!

The highly recommended free app Advance OS and LED is now even more amazing. You already have the option to add custom LED alerts, message popups, custom vibration and change your wallpaper. With the latest update (bringing the app to v.15.4) Advance OS and LED has some pretty major fixes and a couple of cool updates. This latest update is just one more reason to tell all your friends to switch to Advance OS and LED.

Update includes:

  • Ability to create Calls, SMS, Emails and BBM shortcuts in iLaunch favorite contacts
  • Added Battery temperature and Network Statistics to "Battery & Usage Monitor" reports
  • New Battery Icons & Meters in "Battery Notification" feature
  • Added the ability to change the new Homescreen Battery icons to your own custom icons including the Night LED icon.
  • Reply text now added to popups feature to automatically send predefined SMS and BBM replies with 1 click
  • BBM popups now show in message's text for every BBM message (even unlinked BBM contacts)
  • Start iLaunch popup to show favorite shortcut screen instead of main shortcut screen
  • Added "Phone Password Lock" to iLaunch app list
  • Added "AOSLED No App" (for custom actions only) to iLaunch app list
  • Also added "AOSLED Paste Popup Reply Text 1-5" to iLaunch app list
  • For a list of all the fixes in this update click here

Advance OS and LED is a great app and you can't argue with the price tag.If you love customization and have been wanting an app like BeBuzz, try Advance OS and LED now. Pick it up for free in BlackBerry App World and hit the forums for more discussion.

For more information / download Advance OS and LED
Discuss more in the forums


Recipe Box puts your favorite recipes within easy reach

There is nothing more frustrating than searching through a stack of cookbooks trying in vain to find that one recipe needed to make dinner. What may be even worse is walking around the grocery store hoping that you can remember all the ingredients needed for a recipe. Now that I have Recipe Box on my BlackBerry PlayBook, I never have to worry about either of these issues again.

Recipe Box by Blacktop Interactive, LLC is allows you to keep all of your favorite recipes right at your fingertips. Need to add a new recipe you found? No problem. Simply add the ingredients needed to make the dish, prep or cooking directions and any photos you may have. Did the recipe need some adjustments made? The notes section is the perfect spot for any adjustments or corrections to a recipe that you may have found through the trial and error method. Don’t really feel like typing in all your recipes on the PlayBook’s virtual keyboard? Use the desktop editor instead!


Socialite lets you stay social with style and flair

I am an avid fan of apps that serve more than one purpose. Space is a valuable commodity on my BlackBerry PlayBook since I cheaped out and only got a 16gb. When I come across apps that allow me to get rid of two or more other apps on my device, I jump at the chance to try them. Socialite could quite possibly be a dream come true for people like me.


Save money and time with Local Deals

I love the new craze of mobile coupons and store deals being sent straight to my BlackBerry. With Groupon, Yelp and so many other offering these services, it can get a bit frustrating searching for the best deal. Local Deals by IML Snacks makes that option even easier for me (and the rest of you in the US and Canada).

Local Deals searches the daily deal providers (like Groupon) for all the latest and greatest savings in your area giving you the best possible chance of keeping some of that hard earned cash in your pocket. You don’t have to subscribe to all those deal sites either! Local Deals will automatically search for you without needing an account for the providers.

The participating U.S. deal sites are:

Angie's List, AP Daily Deals, blissmo, CouponZoogle, CoupTessa, CrowdSavings, Dealagio, Dealfind, Deal Garden, Dealgrind, DealPulp, Deals4Dreams, ethicalDeal, Eversave, Everybody Buys, Foodsherpa, Gilt City, Goldstar, Green Box Top, GreenDeals, Groupigg, Groupon, Half Off Depot, Homerun, iCoupon Online, iDealGolfer, jdeal, Juice in the City, KGB Deals, Lifebooker, LivingSocial, Mamasource, Mobile Spinach, Neerg, Patch, Philly.com, PhunDeals, RestoBoom, SaveMore, Saveology, Screamin Daily Deals, SeatGeek, SF Station Deals, Signpost, slcdailydeal.com, SpaRahRah, Specialdeals, theCitySelect, Times Leader, Tippr, Urban Adventures, Weforia, Wimgo Deals, WinWin Living, Yelp, Your Best Deals and Zozi

The participating Canadian deal sites are:

Groupon, TeamBuy, Everybody buys, Zozi, SeatGeek and Crowdsavings

With this app and Key Ring Rewards on my Bold 9930, I have everything I need to score me the things I want at a price I'm willing to pay. If you’re constantly on the search for the best deal possible, you will want to give Local Deals a try for yourself!

Local Deals is available in App World for FREE. I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this app for your BlackBerry PlayBook and start saving today!

For more information / download Local Deals


imHome lets parents rest easy when their children are home alone

If you have children who are learning to stay home alone and don’t have their own cell phones, imHome may be a comfort to both you and your child. imHome by Tristan Cater is a great way to use your BlackBerry PlayBook to communicate with your child whenever they’re home alone.

imHome is for the children (between 8 and 13 years old) where they may be home alone for short periods of time. The program is very easy to use with a simple interface that most ages will be able to navigate with very little issues. With a simple press of the button, you will know your child has arrived home safely, if homework has been completed or that all their chores are done. For some age groups, just pressing the icons on the PlayBook within the imHome app is actually easier than using a phone.

Main Features:

  • Simple easy to understand icons
  • Chat with your child via email when you can’t take phone calls
  • Options to change texts and icons on the home screen

Most of you who have been reading the blogs here on CrackBerry know I have children. I also work a part-time job which, when the school year started, caused me a bit of anxiety over leaving the children alone until I could get home. Usually my 16 year old is home with the other two (14 and 5) and will shoot me a BBM letting me know when each of them arrives home safely. Same goes for when the oldest has to stay after school and the 14 year old is in charge. Now with imHome, my 5 year old can practice what she should do when she gets older and communicate with mom when I can’t answer the phone.

imHome is available for the BlackBerry PlayBook in App World for $0.99.

For more information / purchase imHome


Get ready to fire up those little grey cells with Who Got Brains!

My favorite detective in Agatha Christie novels always talks about his "little grey cells" and what he must do to keep them sharp or from "growing the rust". Well Mr. Poirot, Xlabz Technologies may have just the game for you! Who Got Brains is among one of Xlabz many games/apps that are currently available for the BlackBerry PlayBook. Xlabz has already brought us some great games and apps like The Logo GameUber Iris and Sketch W Friends. Who Got Brains, despite the vernacular name, is quite an interesting game.

Who Got Brains is designed to test the 4 key areas of your brain: Analytical, Memory, Math and Visual. While racing against the clock, quickly work your way through several mini-games to keep your "little grey cells" happy!

Main features of the game include:
  • A series of rapid-fire games that test your cognitive abilities. 
  • Challenge and stimulate your brain with a variety of brain teasers in 4 key categories: Analytical, Memory, Math & Visual. 
  • The scores from each category are summed up to give you an overall rating- your Brain Power! 
  • Login with Facebook to see your rank on the local and global Leaderboards. Compare your Brain Power with friends and see where you stand amongst them. 
  • Invite your Facebook friends to play and challenge them to beat your score! Share your best achievements on Facebook & Twitter. 

Low scores? Not a problem, just keep playing. The more you play, the higher your scores get. Are you ready to find out who amongst you and your friends has the biggest brain power? Jump over to the CrackBerry forum for Who Got Brains and see who amongst your CB friends has already tried the game or leave feedback of your own! Who Got Brains is available in BlackBerry App World and you can download your copy for only $1.99.

For more information / purchase Who Got Brains


Make a Scene apps by Innivo bring children's sticker books to life

My youngest has always loved sticker books but after numerous repositioning, those stickers aren’t quite so sticky anymore. With these new apps by Innivo, my child can move around all the “stickers” she wants!

Innivo has created fun virtual sticker books that allow a child to choose from several different themes, animals and more all while making the stickers interactive. Every time a sticker is placed somewhere in the scene, it makes a cute sound effect or motion (animal noise, wings flapping etc).

Main features in each themed app:

  • Over 50 ‘stickers’
  • 5 animated backgrounds
  • 5 animated foregrounds
  • Multi touch enabled
  • Save scene as an image to your device
  • Automatic depth of field
  • Easy-to-use toolbar and menus
  • Descriptive audio
  • Engaging animations
  • Fun sound effects
  • Background sounds to bring the experience to life
  • Ability to move and re-arrange ‘stickers’
  • Ability to remove individual ‘stickers’ or reset all ‘stickers’ and position them once again
  • A learning experience that will keep your child engaged for hours!

Currently Innivo has released the Make a Scene Safari, Outer Space, Under the Sea and Farmyard apps. Coming soon are the Jungle, Fairytales, Polar Adventure and Christmas themed versions (Payten is so excited for the Jungle theme one).

The Make a Scene applications are available for $2.99 each in BlackBerry App World. Yes, that seems like a lot for a couple of children’s app but let me tell you, these are worth it if you have younger children. The graphics are beautifully done, the sound effects are very cute and your child will not want to put it down. I’ve purchased all of these for Payten and she absolutely loves them! They are the perfect app for her to play while we’re driving in the car or while wandering the aisles of the grocery store.

For more information / purchase Make a Scene apps


Cozi offers a Back-to-School Survival Guide with over $100 in savings for new subscribers

The Cozi Family Organizer is every Super Mom's (or Dad's) secret weapon. My household wouldn’t run nearly as smooth without this app on all our devices. Now Cozi is even more amazing with the announcement of their absolutely FREE Back-to-School Survival Guide.

The Back-to-School Survival Guide, which is available now in the Cozi Family Organizer app includes the following:

  • What to Expect at Every Grade – Data from childhood development experts and educators on age-level emotional development milestones, what educational topics each grade level typically covers and standard school supply lists.
  • Chore Guide – Cozi asked hundreds of users how they handle chores and allowances, and compiled their answers to create a guide that will help parents with these tough decisions.
  • Checklists for Kids – Detailed daily checklists help the whole family establish routines to keep them on track during busy weekday mornings and evenings.
  • Lunchbox Gallery – Ten eye-poppingly delicious and creative packed lunch ideas that help parents get their school lunch mojo back.

The Cozi Family Organizer also includes a color-coded family calendar, the ability to create numerous shopping, grocery and to-do lists, text and email reminders, meal planner and a family journal.


Enter the magical world of Azkend with a cool twist on tile matching games

I have no problem admitting my BlackBerry PlayBook is used mostly for movies and games, especially since I found the game Azkend by 10tons Ltd. Azkend is the first release in the series (Azkend 2: The World Beneath is coming soon) and is sure to be a hit with a lot of you out there who enjoy puzzle games!

Unlike some of those other tile matching games out there, Azkend goes above and beyond just a basic tile game. Gameplay is actually quite easy so different age groups will enjoy it (my five year old plays it with very little help from me). All you do is drag your finger on the board to make matches and destroy the tiles.

FEATURES

  • Familiar match-3 gameplay with a classic Azkend twist
  • Captivating story
  • Powerful talismans
  • Beautiful hand drawn sceneries
  • Stunning visual effects

The backstory of the game is that you and your archaeological team found an ancient relic in Asia. As it turns out, the relic was more powerful than you thought and is protected with a curse. Now your mission is to reach the Temple of Time and return the relic to lift the curse. Earn all the powerful talismans and unleash their powers to aid you in your quest. With breathtaking sceneries along your journey, the rich and relaxing atmosphere will draw you in and immerse you in another world.

I seriously can't stop playing this game! Azkend is available on other platforms as well as for Macs and PCs (check out some of their other games here). You will be hooked the very first time you play it. Azkend is available for the BlackBerry PlayBook (running OS 2.0 or higher) in App World for $2.99. While some may think that's high (I was one of them till I played it), the graphics in this particular game make it an easier pillfor me to swallow.

For more information / purchase Azkend


Find the toy in the right place to scare the monsters out of your space

Monster Chase, a new game for the BlackBerry PlayBook by Snowed in Studios, is a fun way that kids can work on their concentration and memory skills as well as improve their cognitive ability. What kid wouldn't find scaring monsters away with toys fun?

The game is simple to play so it works for lots of different age levels (including adults). All you have to do to scare the monster away is find the toy that is shown in the box. The toys are hidden all around the room inside different objects. You can open the boxes and doors simply by tapping on them, but remember where they're at! Every wrong guess adds to the Monster Meter and after three incorrect tries, another monster appears.

Features and Benefits

  • Simple and user-friendly interface that is easy to play right from the start
  • 5 game modes to choose from for hours of fun
  • Local multiplayer mode so you can play with friends and family
  • Colorful artwork designed for kid ages 4-9
  • Available in English, French, and German
  • Ability to turn both the sounds and music off or turn off both
  • Increases concentration and memory
  • Helps to develop cognitive ability
  • Enhances reasoning skills

Monster Chase is toted to be a game for kids but I find myself playing it almost as much as my five year old. I like that I can turn both the sounds and music off for those nights when I can't sleep and need something to do as well as being able to just turn the music off for when Payten wants to play (she says it's too spooky). It does seem to take a while for the game to open but after that, it plays just fine. Some reviews say that the PlayBook screen's responsiveness lags for them but that wasn't the case for me.

Monster Chase is available in BlackBerry App World for only $0.99. There is also a Lite (FREE) version which only has one game mode and no multiplayer.

For more information / download Monster Chase Lite
For more information / purchase Monster Chase


easyDial giveaway - Leave a comment and you could win!

Do you hate holding down the alt key to dial phone numbers with letters in them? Are the buttons too small for your fingers and you find yourself misdialing phone numbers? If you answered yes then keep reading to find out about easyDial by TechFruits.com.

EasyDial is an app that transforms the BlackBerry Bold series (including the Porsche) screens to a dial pad with the letters on each number for phone calls. The app also makes it easier to make phone calls with larger buttons for those who say the dial pad is too small. The keys have the corresponding letters like on regular telephones so no more holding down the 'alt' key and dialing when you have to dial a phone number which includes letters. The numbers typed in will display in the North American-style of dialing (ie. (XXX) XXX-XXXX) but will still make calls if the numbers are from a different region.

Added features in the latest v1.2:

  • larger delete button
  • close app button
  • clear field button.
  • future update will include a feedback noise when pressing buttons per users requests.

The screen dial pad comes in handy. My only suggestions would be to make the icon different from the phone’s original one. I find myself opening the wrong one all the time. Currently this app is only available for the BlackBerry Bold 99xx and Porsche 9981 smartphones. You can purchase easyDial for only $0.99 in BlackBerry App World.

For more information / purchase easyDial

Contest: We have 10 copies of easyDial from TechFruits.com to give away. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. The contest ends this Sunday at midnight PST. Please only leave one comment as multiple entries won’t count. Remember folks, this app only works for the BlackBerry Bold 99xx and Porsche smartphones so please only enter to win if you have one of these devices.


With Web Toolbar, you’ll be searching web pages faster than ever.

Web Toolbar is one of the newest applications by Mobato, whom we’ve seen here on the CrackBerry blogs before. With Web Toolbar you can quickly perform searches of the Internet’s most popular search engines (including IMDB, YouTube and more) from your home screen.

Without Web Toolbar, you have to launch the browser, click/tap in the search bar, type your search and then wait for the results. Now with Web Toolbar, you can reduce time and energy (yeah I know it’s not a whole lot to type and click but hey every little bit helps!) by simply typing your search from your home screen and click the icon for your favorite search engine.

Web Toolbar is fully integrated with the device and offers the following features:

  • Universal Search integration: For the best results, start typing on the device home screen as normal and the Web Toolbar icon will appear, giving you the option to quickly perform a search (this option only available for OS 6.0 and above).
  • Quick and accurate translations
  • Launch a search from the Web Toolbar menu item (accessible in most applications).
  • Assign Web Toolbar to a convenience key to quickly launch a search.

Web Toolbar will remember the last search term, so you don’t have to keep re-entering it for repeated searches. This option can easily be disabled should you want to.

You can download Mobato’s Web Toolbar and give it a try for FREE for 7 days. If you love it, upgrade to the paid version for only $1.99. Head on over to the forum thread here to ask the developer your questions, make suggestions or comment on the app (feel free to leave comments below too). Web Toolbar is available for most BlackBerry smartphones in most countries that are running OS 5.0 and higher.

For more information / download FREE TRIAL of Web Toolbar
For more information / purchase the FULL version Web Toolbar


My Sweet Little Pony offers a cute dress-up game for horse crazy little girls

Growing up with two older brothers meant I spent a lot of time playing with G.I. Joes and watching shows like Robotech (best anime series ever!). My one and only girlie vice when it came to toys were the adorable My Little Ponies.

Fast forward a few years (ok, maybe more than just a few), my own little girl is very much like me. Payten, my 5 year old daughter, can usually be found playing Left 4 Dead and trying to cure the world from the upcoming zombie apocalypse. But as you can see from the pic in this post, she too is susceptible to those sweet little ponies. When a good friend tweeted about an available my little pony app the other day, I knew I had to have. My Sweet Little Pony, by Difference Games LLC, is a cute dress-up game where your child can let her imagination run free and create all sorts of cute little ponies.

With the My Sweet Little Pony game, your horse loving child can create her own magical ponies with all sorts of fun accessories.

The main features of the game are:

  • change the pony's hair color, clothes, eyes & accessories
  • changeable background paintings

Payten was able to figure out how to use the app on my PlayBook pretty quickly however, the arrows to change some of the accessories and such are quite tiny and even I had issues with them. It would also be nice for the children to be able to save some of their creations but again we found a work around for that by just taking screenshots of the ponies she liked best.

Since it is really a simple dress-up app, the price tag of $0.99 isn't outrageous and if you have a horse crazy daughter like mine, it's well worth it.

For more information / purchase My Sweet Little Pony


BeWeather gets another update to v2.6.22

Everyone's favorite weather app BeWeather has gotten a small but highly important update this week. This latest version brings the app up to v2.6.22 and with it a fix for one of the most complained about issues on BlackBerry smartphones - memory leak.

Update includes:

  • Fixed potential memory leak
  • Improved current location detection

While this isn't a major update for most, it has the possibility of being one for anyone who thinks they may have been experiencing a potential memory leak while having BeWeather on their device.

I've been a BeWeather user for so long yet it still remains one of my faves and the most recommended by me to friends. This update is only for the BeWeather app running on your BlackBerry smartphones, not the HD PlayBook version.

If you don't see the update in App World yet, simply keep refreshing your list and it'll show up soon enough.

For more information / purchase BeWeather


Stealth Book allows you to keep SMS, calls and emails private

Do you need to keep certain things private from prying eyes? Then Stealth Book by Oswald Designs may be just the thing you need. Similar to the app BlackBook, Stealth Book filters your incoming calls, SMS and emails from specific contacts and keeps them safely hidden away on your BlackBerry device.

With Stealth Book all calls, text messages and emails are stored in the Stealth Book app instead of in their native apps. There's no icon to launch the app. You create your specific key combination to launch the app (default keys to launch can be changed in Options).

If an e-mail, call or SMS comes in from one of your Stealth Book contacts, the message will never show in your BlackBerry inbox. Instead, the message will be kept within the Stealth Book app itself. Your BlackBerry will vibrate when you receive a new message. There is also an option to have a customizable pop-up message. The app automatically times out and closes after a few seconds of non-use. Stealth Book has a couple more cool features that basically turn your BlackBerry into your Black Book.


Photo Studio updates to v0.9.9.1 with PRO now available on the BlackBerry PlayBook

Photo Studio by KVADGroup is one of my favorite image editing apps and is used by several of us here on the Crack Team. For those of you who haven't heard of Photo Studio you can check out our previous reviews here. This is one of the very best photo editing apps available on BlackBerry devices. Photo Studio has filters, effects, frames, and editing tools galore all jammed into one very easy to use application. With every update they add even more options and fun stuff. The release of v.0.9.9.1 brings the following additions and fixes:
  • Color Splash editor available for all touchscreen devices
  • Color Sketch effect added
  • Picframes new features: swap and multiple photos
  • Picframes (support portrait photos for OS6 and higher)
  • Total performance optimization and bug-fix

The previous release of Photo Studio gave us the very first version for the BlackBerry PlayBook but it only had limited features. With v.0.9.9.1 BlackBerry PlayBook users can now purchase Photo Studio PRO with even more options including all 115+ effects and all Picframes templates. This is a great upgrade from the FREE version and is worth the price tag.

  • Base photo operations: brightness, contrast, RGB color adjustment, hue, saturation;
  • Base transform operations: resize, rotate and crop.
  • 24 unique effects in categories: ‘Simple tone’, ‘Old Style’, ‘Vintage’, ‘Summer mood’ and ‘Art’.
  • Apply several operations to one photo: you can edit a photo and apply all features and effects to one photo at the same time.
  • Save the result in two formats: Small and Normal. Large and Original will be available soon.
  • Color Splash is coming soon!

You can download the free versions of Photo Studio for BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook as well as purchase the Pro version for BlackBerry for $3.99 from BlackBerry App World or simply click the links below.

For more information / download Photo Studio FREE
For mor einformation / purchase Photo Studio PRO


Foursquare updated to v5.0.5 for BlackBerry Smartphones

It's only been a few days since foursquare had it's huge update with a complete overhaul followed by a small update with minor bug fixes. Looks like foursquare has gotten another small update bringing the current version up to 5.0.5. The changes are miniscule so don't get excited (unless you're one of the ones who was needing bug fixes when signing in). Head into App World to grab the latest version and if it's not showing on your device, just try refreshing your applications. The fixes in this version include startup issues and some performance improvements.

More information / download of foursquare


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