BlackBerry News and Reviews

More Employee Letters to RIM Surface...

Following yesterday's Open Letter to RIM Sr. Management by an anonymous employee and RIM's official response to that letter, today two more letters to RIM have been posted (apparently a dozen or so were received by BGR). Here's the start of each to put them in perspective:

Letter 1: I was an employee at RIM for a year and a half. I worked in the legal and business affairs departments, and despite having originally thought I'd landed the jackpot job-wise, it took no time for me to begin planning my exodus. My first week started with a complete change in my title and duties without anyone telling me, and when I dared ask what was happening, the director (my boss) and her BFF the OD business partner ganged up on me and threatened to let me go, setting the tone for the remainder of my time there. 

Letter 2: Inside RIM there is a small-ish (maybe 200-300) group of employees who's only focus is keeping the BlackBerry services (Email, Browsing, BBM, the network, etc) running for our customers. We're a 24/7/365 organization, maintaining 10′s of thousands of servers, network devices, services and basically anything that keeps devices working with our service. Keeping this massive service running smoothly, and keeping visible downtime to a minimum is a monumental task, made worse by the poor management decisions we deal with every day.

Overall it's mainly more of the same... not great to read from the perspective of a BlackBerry fan, but it is what it is. At this point I think RIM's issues are pretty well known to everybody. What matters now is where RIM goes from here. Oh, and for what it's worth, I hate blogging stuff like this... if any more letters get posted I'll think Ill just leave them to be discussed in the CrackBerry forums.  Let me know what you think of that notion in the comments. 

Read More: BGR

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RIM participates in winning bid for Nortel's patent portfolio

If you've been following along with the Nortel patent auction news then you'll no doubt know that the over 6,000 patents and applications attracted a high level of interest across the technology world and as such, were placed on hold for a while. Having resumed on June 27, RIM has issued the following press release regarding their involvement in that high profile auction which also included the likes of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony.

Press Release

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 1, 2011) - As announced separately today by Nortel Networks Corporation, a consortium of certain technology companies, of which Research In Motion Limited ("RIM") (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) is a part, emerged as the winning bidder for all of Nortel's remaining patents and patent applications for a cash purchase price of USD$4.5 billion. RIM's portion of the purchase consideration is approximately USD$770 million. The sale is subject to applicable Canadian and United States court approvals. Nortel plans to work diligently with the consortium to close the sale in the third quarter of 2011.

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BlackBerry theme roundup for June 30, 2011

Hey everyone, welcome back to the BlackBerry Theme Roundup! If you have developed a theme you want to share or be featured in the contest, or if you just see a really good one out there somewhere, let us know so we can post it. Send an email to themeroundup[at] with screenshots, links, and whatever information you feel is important for consideration. And don't forget to keep your eye on the CrackBerry theme forums for all kinds of free and premium themes.

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From the Forums: A new disappointment, Poynt for the PlayBook updated, discuss RIM's response to "the Letter"

Just another day around the CrackBerry blogs, except for the anonymous letter to RIM and the response, and all the heated debating that took place after, of course.  At least it's Thursday, which means the long holiday weekend is here! All of us here at CrackBerry wish our Canadian friends a very happy and safe Canada Day tomorrow, and the same to our American friends for Independence Day on Monday. We'll still be here all weekend bringing you all the BlackBerry goodness, don't worry. 

Found an interesting article you want to share with CrackBerry Nation? Have a burning question about that feature you just can't figure out? There is ALWAYS more happening just a click away in the forums. You can always head over and join in the conversation, search for answers, or lend your expertise to other members of our community. If you aren't already, take a moment to get registered in the CrackBerry forums today!

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Google improves Mobile Search for BlackBerry 6.0 smartphones

Google is rolling out all sorts of changes this week. Not only did they announce Google+, but they've been working on some UI changes both on the web and for mobile devices. Today they have updated and improved Google search on BlackBerry 6.0 devices. Accessible in 20 languages in 700 countries, if you have a BlackBerry on 6.0 (for example the BlackBerry Torch or Bold 9780), head on over to on your device and check it out. You may need to clear your browser cache before you see the changes.
  • Enter searches faster: Save time by using autocomplete and search history queries that appear beneath the search box as you type.
  • Web search: Find what you're searching for fast. Comprehensive results pages let you see relevant websites, images, videos, news, real-time results and more. Simply click on the arrow button ‘>>’ to the left of the top search box for more refinement options.
  • Image search: Swipe through image results quickly and easily on touch enabled devices. Start by selecting ‘Images’ at the top of, then enter a search. From there, click on any image to view a larger size.
  • Local search: Find restaurants, shops and other popular business categories with a single tap. Start by selecting ‘Places’ at the top of, then click on an icon from the Places homepage.
  • Enter searches faster: Save time by using autocomplete and search history queries that appear beneath the search box as you type.
  • Web search: Find what you're searching for fast. Comprehensive results pages let you see relevant websites, images, videos, news, real-time results and more. Simply click on the arrow button ‘>>’ to the left of the top search box for more refinement options.
  • Image search: Swipe through image results quickly and easily on touch enabled devices. Start by selecting ‘Images’ at the top of, then enter a search. From there, click on any image to view a larger size.
  • Local search: Find restaurants, shops and other popular business categories with a single tap. Start by selecting ‘Places’ at the top of, then click on an icon from the Places homepage.
Source: Google Mobile Blog, Thanks Jerry!

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ScoreMobile Tablet for the BlackBerry PlayBook and ScoreMobile FC for BlackBerry smartphones now available!

No matter what time of year it is, there are always sports to keep up with, and just because you're on the go is no reason to miss out. ScoreMobile has had one of the top apps for this for quite awhile now. Headlines, stats, blogs, schedules… you name it, ScoreMobile probably has it in their app. Today they have two new products to further assist you in staying on top of the game: ScoreMobile Tablet for the BlackBerry PlayBook and a Spanish edition of the BlackBerry app, ScoreMobile FC. Keep reading to learn what's new in each of these apps.

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RIM responds to the anonymous Open Letter to RIM Senior Management Team

By now, I'm sure everyone who cared enough to read the open letter to RIM has done so. But in regards to that open letter, RIM has now posted up their official response:

An “Open Letter” to RIM’s senior management was published anonymously on the web today and it was attributed to an unnamed person described as a ‘high level employee”. It is obviously difficult to address anonymous commentary and it is particularly difficult to believe that a “high level employee” in good standing with the company would choose to anonymously publish a letter on the web rather than engage their fellow executives in a constructive manner, but regardless of whether the letter is real, fake, exaggerated or written with ulterior motivations, it is fair to say that the senior management team at RIM is nonetheless fully aware of and aggressively addressing both the company’s challenges and its opportunities.

RIM recently confirmed that it is nearing the end of a major business and technology transition. Although this transition has taken longer than anticipated, there is much excitement and optimism within the company about the new products that are lined up for the coming months. There is a fundamental business reality however that following an extended period of hyper growth (during which RIM nearly quadrupled in size over the past 5 years alone), it has become necessary for the company to streamline its operations in order to allow it to grow its business profitably while pursuing newer strategic opportunities. Again, RIM’s management team takes these challenges seriously and is actively addressing the situation. The company is thankfully in a solid business and financial position to tackle the opportunities ahead with a solid balance sheet (nearly $3 billion in cash and no debt), strong profitability (RIM’s net income last quarter was $695 million) and substantial international growth (international revenue in Q1 grew 67% over the same quarter last year). In fact, while growth has slowed in the US, RIM still shipped 13.2 million BlackBerry smartphones last quarter (which is about 100 smartphones per minute, 24 hours per day) and RIM is more committed than ever to serving its loyal customers and partners around the world.

We won't make any attempts to read into the information here, instead feel free to leave comments with your thoughts on their response.

Source: Inside BlackBerry

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American Airlines application now available for BlackBerry devices

American Airlines has officially announced the release of their BlackBerry application today, which is aimed to help users flying their airline have a much better experience and give them all the information they need while on the go. Whether a frequent flyer, or an occassional traveler, navigating airports while trying to keep informed about the status of your flight, your departure gate, and whatever else is going on can be a daunting task, but now American Airlines users can stay informed of all of this while on the go, all from their BlackBerry devices. This free application is available for BlackBerry devices running OS5 and OS6, and while it doesn't show official support for the BlackBerry Storm, it will work on the device.

Download the American Airlines application from your BlackBerry

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BlackBerry Curve 9360 gets spotted again

We've seen the next generation curve strutting its stuff in the past but some new images how now popped up showing us once again what it's made of. If you'll all remember the BlackBerry Curve 9360 still remains one of those unannounced 2011 devices that sort of strays a little away from the rest of the line in terms of specifications:

  • Tavor MG-1 800mHz processor
  • 512MB of RAM / 512MB eMMC
  • Built in Digital Compass
  • 1050mAh Battery
  • 5MP Camera w/ Flash
  • 480x360 Display
  • Built in WiFi
  • Built in NFC
  • Built in GPS
  • BlackBerry 7
  • Bluetooth

When released, we know it'll arrive on both GSM and CDMA carriers and since it's considered the lower-end models at this point -- should sell for a fairly low price much like the BlackBerry Curve 85xx series. If you're looking for more pics you can jump on past the break to get a better look at the new BlackBerry Curve.

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Contest: Tell us the 20 apps you'd like to see come to the PlayBook and you could win 1 of 2 FREE BlackBerry PlayBooks!

* LAST DAY TO ENTER: Ok, the truth is I love this blog post image so any excuse to run it again is fine with me, but we are down to the FINAL HOURS of this contest... so get in for your chance to win 1 of 2 BlackBerry PlayBooks. If you haven't dropped and given us your list of apps you'd like to see come to the BlackBerry PlayBook, stop what you're doing and do this now!! *

OK, so you don't actually have to drop and give us 20 pushups, but you will have to stop what you're doing, give it some thought, and let us know with a comment to this blog post the top apps/games/services/etc. you'd like to see come to the BlackBerry PlayBook. The time it takes will be worth the effort, as we'll be picking two lucky winners from among those who drop and give us their must-have app list to win a FREE BlackBerry PlayBook. For this contest we're not talking the small stuff here, but the big hitting apps and services and names you know and use that are out there on other platforms but not yet on the PlayBook. For example, Angry Birds, Skype, Kindle, etc...

  • Prizes: Two brand new BlackBerry PlayBooks are up for grabs for two lucky winners. 
  • How To Enter: Leave a comment to this blog post listing the apps/services/games you want to see come to the BlackBerry PlayBook in YOUR order of priority. If you can come up with 20, that's awesome. If it's less, that's ok too. Just spill your guts on what apps you REALLY want to be able to install on your PlayBook asap!
  • Contest Details: Contest open worldwide. Deadline is midnight ET on June 30th, 2011.  Please just leave one comment to this post. We'll announce the winners on July 1st, 2011.
For some more insight on where PlayBook apps are at, be sure to check out our PlayBook Apps Initiative thread in the forums. That's it. Now drop what you're doing, and give us 20!!!  Best of luck!

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RIMAGEDDON saga continues... Anonymous RIM Employee writes an Open Letter to RIM Senior Management Team

And the RIMAGEDDON saga continues... this time in the form of an anonymous letter sent into BGR by a fairly high-ranking RIM employee. The intent of the letter? To catch senior managements' attention and make some changes around there. Here's a couple of paragraphs picked from the full letter:

We are in the middle of major "transition" and things have never been more chaotic. Almost every project is falling further and further behind schedule at a time when we absolutely must deliver great, solid products on time. We urge you to make bold decisions about our organisational structure, about our culture and most importantly our products.

RIM has a lot of people who underperform but still stay in their roles. No one is accountable. Where is the guy responsible for the 9530 software? Still with us, still running some important software initiative. We will never achieve excellence with this culture. Just because someone may have been a loyal RIM employee for 7 years, it doesn't mean they are the best Manager / Director / VP for that role. It's time to change the culture to deliver or move on and get out. We have far too many people in critical roles that fit this description. I can hear the cheers of my fellow employees now. 

For the full letter you can jump over to BGR at the link below. Be sure to jump back here and sound off with your comments. It touches base on a lot of good points, from the culture to some of the (bad) decisions that have been over the years and points out where some of the big problems in the organization lie.

It's funny, over the last few months I've been contemplating fairly regularly about writing an Open Letter to RIM here on the CrackBerry blogs. I've actually had a lot of you email or tweet or PM me that I should do one of these. I've stopped myself though, because the realization I keep coming back to is that it honestly doesn't serve a USEFUL purpose.  An open letter to RIM makes the assumption that RIM's senior employees and the CEO's don't have a clue as to what's going on around them. Trust me, THEY KNOW. They're not stupid. I guarantee there's not one thing in this open letter that RIM's CEOs and top management don't already know and haven't thought about. If I thought I could tell RIM management in an open letter something truly useful, I'd have done it already. 

What makes me exceedingly frustrated though, is that if knowing is half the battle (thanks GI Joe!), and I believe RIM already knows all this, the other half is action. From an outsiders perspective, I can't see the action RIM is taking inside the company. I would hope and expect that RIM is in full force action mode right now. But from this employee perspective, it starts to become more clear that RIM isn't doing enough, soon enough. And that, my BlackBerry friends, is NOT cool. I say RIMAGEDDON jokingly.. I DO NOT want to see it become a reality.  Come on RIM!!

Read the Full Open Letter to RIM

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BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac v2.1 now available!

Good news today for BlackBerry + Mac users, especially those of you who own a BlackBerry PlayBook and Mac. RIM has officially released  BlackBerry Desktop Software v2.1 for Mac which now supports the RIM tablet. Here's the word from RIM:

BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac v2.1 includes media sync support for the BlackBerry PlayBook. In addition to being able to drag and drop files directly to BlackBerry PlayBook over USB or Wi-Fi, you can now use Desktop Software for Mac to sync music, photos and videos with iTunes and iPhoto over USB. Make sure to get your copy at!

That's it. What are you waiting for? Go download it at the link below.

Download Desktop Manager for Mac v2.1

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BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Torch 9860 spotted on the streets of Toronto

Quite honestly, we don't really have a lot to say about this image. Since it came to us over the CrackBerry Twitter account and it was so beautiful we thought it fitting enough to go ahead and toss it up for everyone to enjoy. What you see above is both a BlackBerry Bold 9900 and what is presumed to be a BlackBerry Torch 9860, in other words the GSM variation of the Torch 9850 that's set to head to Sprint. Both are shown running on Telus but sadly that's where the joy ends. Still no official device dates for either device as of yet, in fact the 9850/60 still remains unannounced unless you consider the release of the device simulator an official announcement.

Source: @eatcalifornia

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Vodafone DE releases OS for the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Fancy an official OS on your BlackBerry, instead of a leak? Well owners of both the Blackberry Torch 9800 and BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300, if that's you, you may now feel free to install OS on your device, as it has been officially released by Vodafone DE. This isn't a new OS, exactly, as both of these devices as well as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 all saw it as a leak earlier this month. If Vodafone DE isn't your carrier, you can still install this OS, just be sure to have a quick read about that pesky Vendor.xml file before you do. If you do install, be sure to hit the forums and let us know what you find. As always, use caution when installing this or any OS.

Download OS for the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300
Discuss in the forums

Download OS for the BlackBerry Torch 9800
Discuss in the forums

Source: N4BB

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To delete Vendor.xml or not to delete, that is the question

Through the course of many BlackBerry OS announcements here at CrackBerry, many of you have asked about deleting the vendor.xml file. You may have seen it referenced in one of our articles about a carrier releasing an official OS update. You may have come across it several times in the forums. You may be hearing about this file for the first time. The truth is: you only need to delete the file from unofficial updates; that is, updates that are official for a carrier other than your own.

When updating your BlackBerry, oftentimes the first step is to install that Operating System update to your computer. The vendor.xml file is copied to your computer as a part of that process. If you are updating your BlackBerry with the official update supported by your carrier, the information in the vendor.xml file must match similar information in the hardware of your smartphone. If the two don't match, the update cannot be applied to the phone. This is how the carriers make sure you only load their supported version of the operating system on to your phone.

For the sake of argument, let's say that Orange in the UK has a BBOS version for my BlackBerry Torch 9800. Since AT&T's officially supported version is .570 (I think), I wouldn't mind getting that Orange update. BBOS versions that are supported by a carrier are usually pretty solid. Ah, but that vendor.xml file would prevent me from using it. The file won't match the hardware on my AT&T Torch. Well then, I'll have to delete it.

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MyOwnIcons lets you create icons on your BlackBerry smartphone

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Fonware, the developer behind the amazing shortcut application called ShortcutMe, has released another application in the CrackBerry AppStore that will either make BlackBerry users more efficient, or lazier, I can’t decide which. Regardless, this new application, called MyOwnIcons, will aim to please. MyOwnIcons is geared towards putting the power of icon creation and management in your thumbs. You can choose preloaded graphics, or your own images, to make into an icon. You can also decide what happens when the icon is pressed or even how it behaves with other applications. The icons you create can also be accessed through the BlackBerry menu. MyOwnIcons can even allow you to create an icon that taps into a macro shortcut found in ShortcutMe.


  • Send PIN message, Call or Email someone
  • Compose an Email, SMS or PIN
  • Create a new Task, Note, Appointment or Contact
  • Open Calendar in Agenda, Week, Month, Day view
  • Open a web page
  • Run a shortcut in ShortcutMe, the most powerful, macro enabled shortcut app for BlackBerry. For example your icon can launch 'Home Profile' macro shortcut in ShortcutMe that turns off your music (played from BB over to your car), turns off cellular Radio, turns on WiFi (to connect to your wireless Home Network) and turns off the Bluetooth (used in the car for handsfree system). Yes, all you need to do for doing all that is to click one icon!

MyOwnIcons will be available today at an introductory price of $1.49 – that’s 50% off. You can grab MyOwnIcons from the CrackBerry App Store.

More information/download MyOwnIcons for BlackBerry smartphones

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Weekly Accessory Roundup: Torch Edition - Win an accessory for your BlackBerry Torch!

Torch users are a unique bunch. They love the large touchscreen but also take time to remember the full QWERTY keyboard tucked away underneath. When it comes to accessories the Torch may seem a bit lacking, but there are some really great ones that every BlackBerry Torch owner should have. Obviously one of my favorites is the BlackBerry Charging Pod (which I have for all my devices). It is definitely a great accessory and useful in the home or office. Next up would be a great hard case or maybe a leather pocket pouch if that's more your fancy. If you plan to hit the road you can check out the great iGrip charging dock and take it along for the ride. Keep reading for more great accessories and your chance to win!

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BlackBerry Messenger v6.0.0.111 now available in the BlackBerry Beta Zone

Looks like BlackBerry Beta Zone members got a mid-week treat with a new version of BlackBerry Messenger, bringing the latest version to v6.0.0.111. While this version doesn't bring us any noticeable changes as the focus this round was on bug fixes in BBM 6 and the BBM Social Platform, it's an important one for developers to get installed for testing their new apps. Not a developer? Not a problem! RIM still wants your input and feedback on this version, so get logged in to the Beta Zone and see if you have the update! And if you aren't a member of the BlackBerry Beta Zone yet, it's never to late to sign up.

As always, make sure you follow the instructions and do a back-up of your information before installing any beta releases.

More information / Join the BlackBerry Beta Zone 

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Research In Motion Annual General Meeting to be held July 12th in Waterloo, and YES, CrackBerry Kevin will be there!

Full Disclosure: The order screen confirming my purchase of ONE share of RIMM stock

It's finally happening! After all these years of CrackBerrying it up, I'm finally going to the Mecca of BlackBerry... Waterloo, Ontario!!! Research In Motion announced yesterday that their Annual General Meeting of Shareholders will be held on July 12, and I've decided I need to be there to witness this pivotal moment in RIM's history. The flight and hotel are booked! Get ready for me Waterloo!!!!!

Full Disclosure: It's funny, I figured I would have to own some RIMM stock to be able to attend the Annual Shareholders Meeting, but after doing some research I discovered anybody can attend - you only need to own stock if you want to vote by proxy. That said, I want to be fully legitimate in my presence there, so I have gone ahead and purchased ONE share of RIMM. Hopefully nobody will think any less of my journalistic integrity. :)

So that's that. I'm going to Waterloo. I'm SUPER STOKED. Seriously, this is like Charlie going to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. This is going to be awesome.

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