Articles by Crackberry Kevin

From the Editor's Desk: I'm missing BlackBerry Live right now...

Since 2007, every year at about this time (give or take a day or week) I have made the trek to Orlando, Florida for BlackBerry Live, formerly known as BlackBerry World, formerly known as the Wireless Enterprise Symposium.

BlackBerry's new leadership team made the decision this year to cancel BlackBerry Live 2014, instead putting that budget into BlackBerry Experience events which are taking place around the globe. I don't disagree with the change in tactic - it totally makes sense to take the show on the road and go to where the people you're trying to reach are at.

That said, I can't help but feel a little sad right now. Seven years straight is a solid track record. This conference was my ritual. It was my annual BlackBerry pilgrimage, not just for me, but for soooooooo many other BlackBerry people. Over the years I've met and made friends with hundreds of amazing individuals at this conference. Every year I look forward to seeing the friendly faces of my BlackBerry-minded cohorts and more importantly, catching up over drinks to see how everybody survived the past year. Sure, I always appreciated the announcements and sessions and parties and food and trips to Universal, but the best part of this conference was always the people. That's what I'm missing most right now.

I did spend a few days earlier this year (after word dropped that BlackBerry Live was cancelled) doing some preliminary investigating into maybe getting a CrackBerry conference of our own up and running to fill in the void, but the undertaking wasn't proving feasible as I gathered all the data. Given the short notice on timing we had to make a yay or nay decision, so for this year it was a nay. I'm hoping BlackBerry brings back a conference of some sort for next year, or at least finds a way to put on a big consumer-focused event one evening. I do think getting the BlackBerry tribe together every so often is needed. Maybe at a minimum we can get a CrackBerry meet-up happening in the near future. Let me sleep on that...

In the meantime, with me not enjoying the sun in Orlando this week at BlackBerry Live 2014, I'm instead going to reminisce about the seven years of this event gone by and re-post to the blogs some of my favorite moments from BlackBerry Live / World / WES events over the years. I'll kick it off with last year's Welcome to BlackBerry Live intro... not necessarily one of my favorite moments, but it's a fitting one:

If you've ever been to a BlackBerry Live, BlackBerry World or WES, be sure to share your favorite memories in the comments!


Mother's Day Sale: Save 20% on all BlackBerry accessories!

Mother's Day is this weekend. And we can't think of a better way to tell Mom you love her than by saving 20 percent on all BlackBerry accessories at ShopCrackBerry.com. So, through midnight May 12, that's exactly what we're giving you!

To celebrate Mom (or anyone else you want to celebrate, we suppose), we're giving you 20 percent off BlackBerry cases. And headsets. And chargers. And batteries. Basically anything and everything Mom might need to keep things up and running. (And as we all know, things wouldn't be up and running if it weren't for Mom.) Just be sure to use coupon code MOM14 at checkout!

We have plenty of great accessories in stock for the BlackBerry Z30, BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 including batteries, cases, headsets and much more!

And for those of you taking a spare device along for the ride, don't forget the MOM14 coupon also works at the iMore StoreShopAndroid.com and our Windows Phone Central Store. Your shopping cart will follow you through all four stores, so you can buy from all four stores and checkout once. 


Win Sonos speakers, Hue lights and more in Connectedly's site launch contest!

Earlier this week we pulled the trigger on the rebranding of Smartwatch Fans to Connectedly. In case you missed the Welcome Post, be sure to give it a read as it lays out the mission and vision for Connectedly.

With May 1st here and a few days of smooth running now behind it, Connectedly is kickstarting things today with their first community contest! The grand prize is a Sonos Playbar and two Sonos Play:1 speakers. Runner up prizes include Philips Hue and the amazingly-fun Sphero toy. These are all products that I own and love - great prizes to get you living connectedly!

Entering for your chance to win is EASY - simply jump over to the Connectedly contest page and leave a comment to enter (remember, if you're already a member of any Mobile Nations site you can simply login with your existing username. To really move things into high gear straight away, with this contest you can gain an additional contest entry every day in the month of May by visiting Connectedly daily and participating in the Connectedly forums and commenting on the articles, for up to a max of 31 entries. Totally awesome.

Hit up the link below for full contest details and to enter. Good luck!!

Click Here for Full Contest Details and to Enter!


Are you an awesome BlackBerry 10 developer and want to make the CB10 app better? If yes, read this! [Updated]

As I promised in the CrackBerry Forums a few weeks back, today I'm happy to announce we're inviting more BlackBerry 10 app developers to participate in the upkeep and development of our award-winning CB10 app.

With finite resources and a BIG to-do list on the apps front across all of our Mobile Nations properties, some of you have noted that CB10 hasn't been getting updated and progressing as fast as you'd like. After seeing a few developers express their wantingness to pitch in, we are making it happen! If you're a qualified BlackBerry 10 app developer (by qualified, I mean you've published BB10 apps before and know what you're doing) and are interested, keep reading for more details on how to get involved!


Welcome Connectedly to the Mobile Nations family!

As promised, today I am extremely excited to announce the rebranding of Smartwatch Fans to Connectedly!

Along with the great new name we are expanding the coverage to include the full scope of next-generation of smart devices and connected products hitting the consumer market today — think connected lifestyle (health trackers, wearables), connected home, connected toys, connected automotive, and more! Be sure to visit the Connectedly is Open for Business welcome post for the full manifesto.

The site is hosted at Connectedly.com and we also have Connected.ly which will be used as the URL shortener for story links that appear on social sharing sites like twitter.

Nobody guessed the Connectedly name right in our guess the new name contest. Many of you got close, but no cigar. It's not surprising though - it took us over a year to land on the Connectedly name. Personally, I really love it. It's actually similar to CrackBerry in a lot of ways. It is a word in the dictionary (there can be only one connectedly!). It's highly relevant to the subject matter, but doesn't just spell it out directly. It's fun word to say. It's memorable. And somehow, just like CrackBerry, it starts with a C, ands in a Y and has a double consonant. Weird. Must be fate!

Be sure to visit Connectedly, check out the welcome post, and start visiting on a regular basis. On May 1st we'll kick off our launch celebration contest - you won't want to miss it!


Developers: take this survey, and get a chance to win a free BlackBerry Z30!

**SURVEY ENTRIES NOW CLOSED **

Hey developers! If you have ten minutes to spare today and happen to want a new smartphone (who doesn't?), then we have something for you: The Developer Economics Survey. Brought to you by our friends at Vision Mobile, this quick survey focuses on developer questions around the things that are important to developers: platforms, frameworks, customers, and more.


ShopCrackBerry Easter Sale: Save 20% on all BlackBerry cases and accessories!

In addition to hunting down hidden Easter eggs this weekend, you can save 20% as find new cases and accessories for your BlackBerry during our ShopCrackBerry.com Easter Sale (now through 4/22). To take advantage of the savings, all you need to do is enter in coupon code HOP14 during the checkout process. FREE shipping is available on all orders over $50 (domestic US / Canada), and you have lots of payment methods beyond standard credit card including Amazon payments, Paypal and Bitcoin!


From BlackBerry to CrackBerry Nation, "You can count on us to get it right"

As promised, I made the trip to NYC this week to meet up with Adam Zeis and our new-to-CrackBerry contributor, Jubei Raziel, to catch up on all things BlackBerry.

Specifically, we were going to spend 15 minutes listening to Jubei's thoughts on last week's BlackBerry Experience: New York, but in true CrackBerry fashion we stretched it out just a little bit longer (you know me... I tend to talk a lot once I get going).

It's an absolute must-watch vodcast as we walk through the multiple topics that BlackBerry's senior management team talked about during the BlackBerry Experience event. A lot of tough questions were asked, and a lot of straight answers were given on subjects like BBM and BlackBerry's marketing activities.


Stay tuned next week for the return of the New York City CrackBerry Vodcast!

A year ago right now I was in New York City, covering the launch of BlackBerry 10 in big city style (be sure to hit play for the replay of our awesome CrackBerry NYC Meetup!).

Between those fond memories, yesterday's BlackBerry Experience: New York and the welcoming of NYC-based Jubei Raziel to the CrackBerry team, I couldn't take the not being in NYC anymore. I just booked my flight and Sunday I'm flying to the Big Apple for the week.

Jubei promised you a CrackBerry Podcast talking about all that was learned and heard during his BlackBerry Experience, so we're going to record it up in person next week, good 'ol CrackBerry Vodcast style and from NYC. Stay tuned for it!

In the meantime, be sure to watch the TRAILER below!


Get Ready For It: Smartwatch Fans is expanding... and rebranding!

When we Welcomed Smartwatch Fans to the Mobile Nations family on January 1st of this year, we told the story of how the site came to be. In reality, we actually started 2013 with the goal of building a community and resource with a broader focus, covering not only smartwatches, but also other wearables and the broader world of connected devices often referred to as the internet of things.

The problem was, we couldn't find a domain name and brand that we loved. With the months rushing by and 2013 coming to a close and the urge to get a new community launched just as strong, we decided to not delay and get things rocking with the more niche-focused Smartwatch Fans. It's been a busy four months on Smartwatch Fans, and things are about to get a whole lot busier and way more fun.

We FINALLY have a name and brand we love for the destination we've been wanting to build, and later this month we'll pull the trigger on the change. We're going to keep the name a secret for now, but above you can gander at the awesome logo for the rebrand. Starting immediately, we'll begin ramping up the coverage on Smartwatch Fans to include more topics like connected fitness, connected home, connected automotive, connected toys and more. In fact, we've already expanded the discussion and help forums to cover this new range of topics, so the community participation can begin immediately.


Welcome Jubei Raziel to the CrackBerry and Mobile Nations team!

I'm extremely excited to announce a new passionate BlackBerry enthusiast to our team. Give me a hand in welcoming Jubei Raziel to the CrackBerry blogs!!

Since Friday I've received over 40 emails from hopeful candidates in response to my call for new passionate blood on CrackBerry. I'm still reading through all of the applications and need to get back to a lot of people, but Jubei's application was one of the first to come through and the decision to bring him onboard was immediate.


A Thank You to all the app developers out there who support BlackBerry 10 natively!

When it comes to apps on BlackBerry 10, I want them all to be there available for download in BlackBerry World.

Preferably, I want those apps to be built native for BlackBerry 10, and better yet, Built for BlackBerry approved. In other words, the best apps are best-built with BlackBerry's BB10 SDK and are designed and optimized for the BlackBerry 10 user interface and experience. If that can't happen for whatever reason — lack of time, lack of resources, lack of caring — then I'm happy when a ported version of an Android app is available to fill that void. Even though it's not native, I'd rather have an app that works OK over not having one at all.


CrackBerry Mailbag: In Bulgaria we can't type in our native language on BlackBerry 10

Today's CrackBerry Mailbag letter comes to us from a CrackBerry reader in Bulgaria, who reminds us that while BlackBerry 10 has come a long way over the past year, there is still some filling in left to do around the edges. Specifically in this case, we're talking about the languages available for typing.

Hi Kevin, I'm from Bulgaria and I currently use my BlackBerry Bold 9900 but if I want to get Q10 I'm not going to be able to write in my native language, because BB OS10 doesn't support Руский Траснлит. We have already have written to BlackBerry Help but they didn't give us any answer so I'm turning to you. With BlackBerry operating system versions 5, 6 and 7, when we click Russian Language we can make choice between Руский and Руский Транслит. In this case when I choose Руский Транслит, I can write in my native language — the alpha-bet letters are the right position on the keyboard. However, if I choose Руский, the letters have a completely different location. BlackBerry 10 currently only offers the Руский (Russian) option - it is the same alphabet but location of letters is very different.

Please could you mention that to BlackBerry Developers or somewhere to fix, so that even if we don't have the Bulgarian language we at least have the Руский Транслит layout for typing. This would be great. Currently this is the reason I'm not going to buy a BlackBerry 10 phone.

Overall, I think the general feelings of language support on BlackBerry 10 have overwhelmingly positive. I know a quite a few people who put the option to have three different languages running at once to full use daily. Hopefully bringing some attention to this request will get it put on BlackBerry's to do list!


So you're a BlackBerry fanboy (or fangirl) and can blog? I want to hear from you!

I'll get straight to the point. I've been seeing a few too many comments and forum posts around here recently suggesting that we're not being big enough BLACKBERRY FANS with the articles we've been writing as of late. That maybe, we've lost some of the pure enthusiasm we once had.

Now, I personally disagree with this — a whole lot —but I'm one who likes to focus on solutions and not the problems. You're either growing or you're dying, right? And I always, always want to be giving our readers what they want. So with that, if you're reading this and are a HUGE BlackBerry fan and have the chops and desire to be a "blogger" around these parts, then I want to hear from you.


PSA: BBM Stickers purchases do not transfer if you switch to another mobile platform

Ok, I take back ALL the mean things I said about BBM stickers. I kinda, actually, LOVE THEM! Honestly, BlackBerry was smart to give away the WWE BBM stickers free of charge for a limited time. I pretty much reply to every BBM I receive now with The Ultimate Warrior.

Beyond the freebie sticker packs, I've also been purchasing the other for sale ones, like Bubble Bot and Cos Cat (don't judge me - the little sheep holding the BlackBerry is just so damn cute).

One thing I noticed though is that BBM Sticker purchases do not move with you if you switch to a phone on another mobile platform. For example, if you buy stickers for iPhone 5s and switch to a BlackBerry Z30, your purchases won't be there. If you want that sticker pack, you'll have to rebuy it.

This isn't really a surprise, given that BBM Sticker purchase transactions take place respectively via BlackBerry World, Google Play and the Apple App Store. It's a good strategy for BlackBerry that ultimately should help push BBM up even further on the top grossing app lists. That said, it's definitely something you want to be aware of though in case you're going sticker crazy like me and will likely buy every sticker pack that becomes available.


Now that the PlayBook is officially dead, which non-BlackBerry tablet would you buy next?

Now that the BlackBerry PlayBook is officially done with (for real this time), many users are left wondering what their best option for a tablet may be.

In fact, the first email I read this morning was from my older brother, asking me what tablet he should replace his PlayBook with. And reading through the CrackBerry forums shortly after, I came across this thread where the question was posed, Now That The PlayBook Is Officially Dead, What Tablet Will You Use?

Over the years I've picked up most new hot tablets and in addition to my PlayBook currently have an iPad Air, Retina iPad mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and Microsoft Surface RT kicking around Chez Michaluk.


A must-watch enthusiastic review of the BlackBerry Z30!

Back in February, Dan Nessel from DadDoes.com accepted the challenge to put down his iPhone 5 and pick up the BlackBerry Z30 for 7 days.

Unsurprisingly to BlackBerry fans, Dan walked away from the test really appreciating the BlackBerry Z30 and the timesaving features offered up by BlackBerry 10.

Now Dan is back with another look at the Z30, this time following the big upgrade to OS 10.2.1, which introduced even more features for Dan to play with, not the least of which is the ability to run Android apps.

It's an enthusiastic review, and one well worth watching and reading. So check it out!


CrackBerry Mailbag: The Death of the PlayBook

Following yesterday's BlackBerry PlayBook update and subsequent recognition that this is the last OS update the BlackBerry PlayBook will ever see, the community has been pretty vocal. Looking back at the history of the PlayBook, it really is a sad story. So much potential, but instead we're left with shattered dreams, broken promises and what still feels all these years later, like an unfinished project.

What a lot of people may not realize is that the vision for original BlackBerry tablet was much simpler. As the story goes, what Research In Motion founder Mike Lazaridis originally wanted was a simple big screen companion device for his BlackBerry Smartphone. Much more a simple multimedia accessory and much less a full blown standalone tablet. Plans were already in motion on this one before Apple announced the original iPad in early 2010, but after that announcement BlackBerry pivoted and the vision for BlackBerry's tablet became much BIGGER, and of course, much more difficult to execute on.

What's ironic, and is well illustrated by the message I received this morning from CrackBerry member Jsolts, is that the original basic "big window to a BlackBerry" functionality is still what's wanted today!


BlackBerry PlayBook OS support officially ends this April

There's a depressing saying that goes something like, "Everybody dies twice. The first time when you stop breathing, and the second time when somebody mentions your name for the last time."

In the case of the BlackBerry PlayBook, the first death came when BlackBerry made it clear they would not be delivering BlackBerry 10 to the tablet. The PlayBook is now (arguably) approaching its second death with word coming via BlackBerry's official Software Support Life Cycle site that shows April 2014 will mark the end of support for BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.x and 2.1.x.


Introducing the Mobile Nations Newsroom

I'm excited to introduce you to a new initiative we'll be piloting on Android Central, iMore, Windows Phone Central, CrackBerry, and Smartwatch Fans this April.

Internally we've dubbed it Mobile Nations Newsroom and it represents a change to our organizational structure and workflow designed to provide you, our readers, with a better experience. The goal of Newsroom is to get you the latest news faster while doing it better, and while also allowing our talented team of writers to spend more of their day working on the original content that we know you all love.


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