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BlackBerry News and Reviews

Dropbox for BlackBerry updated to v1.0.39.34

After a bit of a meltdown on Sunday Dropbox has recovered and is back up and (securely) running. Their BlackBerry app has again been updated, this time what looks to be some minor bug fixes. Whether the "fixes" are related to their secutiry breach we're not sure, but better safe than sorry right? No change log this time around but it doesn't look like anything major has changed (if you sport something let us know in the comments). You can grab the update free from BlackBerry App World at the link below. Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

More information/download of Dropbox for BlackBerry

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Official OS for the BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 released by Appalachian Wireless

It's been a really long time since the BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 saw an OS update. I mean, a REALLY long time. Well that streak has ended as forums member lyricidal let us know that Appalachian Wireless has officially released OS It's available to download from the link below, so dust off Desktop Manager and give it a go! Of course, be sure to back up your data before you load it and if Appalachian Wireless is not your carrier you'll need to delete the vendor.xml file. Let us know in the comments or in the forums what changes you find!

Download OS for the BlackBerry Storm 2 9550
Discuss findings and fixes in the forums

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Leaked: OS for the BlackBerry Torch 9800

Fancy a new leak for the BlackBerry Torch? Of course you do. It took a while but here is OS for the BlackBerry Torch 9800. No list of what, exactly has changed as of yet but you all know what to do. Pick it apart and let us know in the comments and in the forums what the deal is. Good, bad, ugly? We wanna know.

*OS Disclaimer - Please Read: Keep in mind this is NOT an official release and as such is not supported by RIM or your Carrier. If you choose to install, do so at your own risk and only if you're comfortable in the process of upgrading and downgrading your device software. It is quite normal during operating system development for certain features to be crippled or disabled while others are tested, and these beta builds often reflect that. They are not always better. Depending on your BlackBerry comfort level, it may be best for you to wait for community feedback on a build before deciding to download and install for yourself or simply wait for the next official release. If you require support, you will find it in our CrackBerry forums via our extremely knowledgeable community base - do not contact your carrier or RIM for Beta OS technical support (their first course of action will be to advise you to downgrade to a supported OS). *

Download the leaked OS for the BlackBerry Torch 9800 (Mirror)
Discuss more in the CrackBerry forums

Thanks, you know who!

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BlackBerry Tablet OS v1.0.6 now available

It was only a few days ago that we let you all know that v.1.0.6 of the BlackBerry Tablet OS was headed to the BlackBerry Beta Zone for developers to test out. Well, looks like testing went well as that release is now available for all to download. As noted on the Inside BlackBerry Blog, changes include:

This latest version of the BlackBerry Tablet OS includes support for Adobe® Flash® 10.3 and support for Adobe® AIR® 2.7 software. This means that with this update you should experience even better performance for Flash videos than before, and be able to access new applications that are being built with Adobe AIR 2.7 software. For all the developers out there, be sure to check out our post on the Inside BlackBerry Developer’s Blog.

Today’s update also incorporates the Adobe Flash Player updates as noted in Adobe Security Bulletins APSB11-12 and APSB11-18, which addresses issues that can potentially affect any PC, tablet or other device with an operating system that supports Flash. While there are no known reports of any BlackBerry PlayBook tablet users being affected by these Adobe Flash issues, we (as always) encourage all BlackBerry PlayBook users to update to the newest version of the BlackBerry Tablet OS. For more information about what these security updates mean to the BlackBerry PlayBook please see our security advisory.

Have at it, the download is available now when you check for software updates on your BlackBerry PlayBook. When completed, reboot and give it a run through -- don't forget to drop some comments here on the blogs and let everyone know how it's running for ya. Keep reading for more on the update.

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Safely remove the memory card from your BlackBerry

There's a lot of memory installed in my BlackBerry. The Torch 9800 comes with 4 gigabytes of internal memory, and I have a removable 16 GB microSD card installed as well. Until recently, those cards were rather full. My BlackBerry goes where I go, so I usually have it filled with movies, music, ringtones, and anything else that strikes my fancy. My smartphone has so much memory available, I've stopped carrying USB thumb drives. Why would I when my BlackBerry can hold so much?

The Mass Storage mode on the BlackBerry is an extremely useful tool. Using a standard micro USB cable, I can attach the device to any computer and use the smartphone as an external drive. Since the BlackBerry uses standard USB drivers to connect, modern computers have no trouble connecting to and using the memory card(s) on the smartphone. Your BlackBerry will appear as one or more removable drives; you're able to transfer data to and from the device just like you would with a USB flash drive.

When my BlackBerry is attached to the computer as a drive, I'm a fanatic when it comes to that whole Safely Remove Device thing on Windows PC's; I'm sure there's a similar function on Mac's. I always worry about delayed writes or something else causing problems with my memory card if I unplug it too early. It's happened to me before, so I try to be careful.  Before detaching my BlackBerry from the computer, I always make sure to check that it's safe to do so.

So what happens when you want to remove or replace the microSD card from within your BlackBerry? Though some may argue this a useless step, I find it's a good idea to turn off my removable memory card first. That way, I can be certain that no data will be read or written as I remove the card. The process is slightly different depending on your OS.

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Seesmic dropping support for BlackBerry smartphones

Although Seesmic has been around on BlackBerry for a while now, I'm guessing the constant onslaught of RIM in the past few days may have helped just a little with triggering the blog update from the Seesmic developers. As posted on their blog:

Effective June 30th, Seesmic will discontinue support for Blackberry in order to focus development efforts on our most popular mobile platforms: Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.

We encourage those effected by this change to try out Seesmic for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7, as well as Seesmic Desktop and Web.


Team Seesmic

Ouch! Personally, I've never been a user of Seesmic on my BlackBerry -- I always felt their BlackBerry efforts a little underwhelming and I really can't remember the last time I saw a Seesmic for BlackBerry user in my Twitter timeline. That's not to say they don't make great apps because they really do, Seesmic is my preferred Twitter app on Android but for BlackBerry their offerings weren't all that great. Any Seesmic for BlackBerry users out there going to miss the support?

Source: Seesmic / Blog

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RIM updates screen resolution information for developers, inadvertently announces new BlackBerry devices

For developers, updating their applications to new devices can be easy but when new screen resolutions are introduced that task does indeed become a little bit harder. A prime example of this is when we were at BlackBerry World, Kevin, Adam and I tested out Angry Farm on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 to see if it would play any better with the new processor. Given that Angry Farm was not optimized for the Bold 9900 some portions of the game didn't fit the screen. The of course was because the BlackBerry Bold 9900 had a larger screen resolution then what the game was set to display.

So in short, developers will need to update their apps in order to make sure they work on the 9360, 9810, 9850, 9900 and 9930. Wait -- what? 9360, 9810, 9850? Yeah, Research In Motion just inadvertently outed the new BlackBerry Curve, Torch 2 and Torch 9850 via their own BlackBerry Developers blog. Although to their credit they are still listed as simulator models. However, we already know what they are due to all the previous leaks so I guess the real question here is -- when are you going to officially announce these devices RIM? You know, since even the simulators are now available and all.

Source: Blackberry Dev Blog; BlackBerry Device simulators

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Rumor: Verizon Wireless to unveil new tiered data plans July 7th?

Word around the web has been hinting at Verizon Wireless bringing some changes to both their family and data plans. Now it seems that July 7th might be the big day for these changes to go into effect, with tiered data plans and data + tethering plans. Supposedly at this time just for new customers and possibly current customers that are up for renewal, the new plans are shaping up to look something like:

Data plans:

  • 2GB - $30/month
  • 5GB - $50/month
  • 10GB - $80/month
Data + tethering plans:
  • 4GB - $50/month
  • 7 GB - $70/month
  • 12 GB - $100/month
So it looks like tethering is $20 extra per month for an additional 2GB of data. Additional data beyond your plan allotment will cost you $10/GB and tablet data plans will change to $30 for 2 GB. If this information plays out to be true, and you're looking at switching carriers, will it affect your decision regarding which company you go with?

*UPDATE* Android Central now has some more details posted up.

Source: Droid-Life

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Personalize your home screen with Fancy Widgets for BlackBerry!

BlackBerry users are all about customization. Be it with wallpapers, ringtones, themes, or apps, there are countless ways to go about making your BlackBerry reflect who you are. Another way this can be done that is usually not the first thing that comes to mind on this platform is through widgets. While not a native function of BlackBerry at this time, you can still have widgets on your home screen with the help of applications such as Fancy Widgets, which we first showed you back in December.

Packed with options, this application will replace your current wallpaper with the widgets you choose. Don't worry if you are a wallpaper fanatic though; one of the included options is a wallpaper changer. You can add widgets such as stocks, weather, quotes, countdown, Twitter, and RSS feeds, and place them wherever you want. If you switch themes often, this is a key feature as you can reposition, add, and remove widgets as needed. You can even save and load previous profiles to save time! BerryWeather is supported as well, which I know is huge for a lot of you out there.

The latest version of Fancy Widgets is v1.2.4. This version has brought some worthwhile updates, so if you haven't checked it out yet it's a good time to do so! You can download the free version which gives you access to just two widgets, or get the full version for $2.99.

Change log for v1.2.4:

  • Improved Clock Widget. It is now Digital Clock. Supports custom fonts.
  • Fixed some Wallpaper switcher bugs
  • Reworked all widget settings, added more visual customizations
  • Totally reworked Weather widget. Added location picker, 3 layout templates and icon packs support
  • Reworked Stocks widget. It has now 3 layout templates
  • Internal fixes to improve stability
For more information and to download Fancy Widgets

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Quick Review: Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case for the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Update: Unfortunately this item no longer includes a screen protector as stated in the video

The Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell case for the BlackBerry PlayBook is exactly the kind of case I have been looking for. When it comes to my devices I want protection without all the added bulk. With the Feather case you get just that. It's made of a strong polymer that fits snugly against your device protecting it from dents and scratches on the top, bottom and all four corners of the PlayBook. The soft matte finish is similar to what is already on the back of the PlayBook. The cutouts for the ports, buttons & camera are generously sized to provide ease of access without compromising the device or hindering their use in any way. My only problem with the case is that it covers my BlackBerry symbol on the back of the PlayBook. I'm a proud BlackBerry owner & I want people to know that the tablet I'm using is a BlackBerry. Check out the video above for more on the Incipio Feather Ultralight Case for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

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The secret BlackBerry address books

Ever needed to have a contact's number in your phone but didn't really want their name in your address book 'just in case' you were in a situation where other prying eyes are interested in who is in your BlackBerry address book?  This "feature" I found a few years ago I'm assuming is a bug in the OS, and is so far down the priority list of things for RIM to worry about that is now a permanent feature.

OK, full disclosure, because my wife and her friends read - I personally do not use this feature.  I only found it by accident and the way my brain works sometimes is to look several moves down the chessboard and see how this can be implemented.  I do know several people that when I have shown this to have in fact put it into play.

So with that all out of the way let's get down to the good stuff...

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Check out Swaggberry - The latest from JJ Money

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

It's been a while since we've seen a new tune about BlackBerry hit YouTube, but JJ Money comes through this time with the song Swaggberry. It is another song to add to the extensive list of BlackBerry/BBM tunes and it doesn't disappoint. Swaggberry is all about BlackBerry - "if you ain't got no PIN, I don't want your number. The only way to meet is through BBM". This is one more that will surely be stuck in my head for the next week or so. Check out the full video above, then just try to stop singing it in your head before the end of he day :-)

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Sling Golf for the BlackBerry PlayBook - Who says golf is just for humans?

Golf isn't just for humans anymore. Robots, monkeys, and monsters want to play too! Ok, of course in real life you're not to likely to see these guys out on the back 9, but in Sling Golf by BoltCloud Corp for the BlackBerry PlayBook, they've taken over the course and are ready to play! Choose which character you want to play as and hit the course.

The lite version of Sling Golf gives you one course of nine holes. As you progress through the levels, they increase in difficulty. Your goal, obviously, is to get your ball in the hole, under par. Water hazards, sand traps, trees, and hills all provide obstacles, making the game challenging but still fun. The full version is $2.99 and unlocks 2 more courses for a total of 27 holes in all. Both games come with smooth animation, sound, un-lockable achievements, and awards. If you want to try before you buy, I recommend getting Sling Golf Lite so you can play a full course.

For more information/screenshots and to download Sling Golf Lite
For more information/screenshots and to purchase the full version of Sling Golf 

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BlackBerry Bold 9900 gets shown off in Vietnam

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Although the BlackBerry Bold 9900 may be delayed for consumers that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of them out there. Even during BlackBerry World it wasn't all that rare to see plenty of folks making use of the device -- not as many as officially released devices mind you but if you were looking for a Bold 9900 they were easy to spot. This latest sighting comes to us from Vietnam, and also gives quite a reivew of the device itself. You'll have to hit Google Translate to read it but if you're just wanting to see more of the device you can jump on past the break for some nice photos.

Source: Vietnam BIS Community; via: CrackBerry Forums

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Press Release: Adobe Enables Developers to Build Mobile Apps for Android Devices, BlackBerry PlayBook, iPhone and iPad

Press Release

Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 Update Available Today

SAN JOSE, Calif.-- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today delivered an update to Adobe® Flash® Builder® 4.5 and Flex 4.5 software to enable developers to build applications for iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry PlayBook. Support for Android devices was released in April 2011. Developers now have a single platform for building highly expressive mobile applications that can be distributed via the Android Market, Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World. Offered standalone or as part of Creative Suite® 5.5 Web Premium and Master Collection, Flash Builder 4.5 enables the creation of applications that work seamlessly across leading mobile device platforms.

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CrackBerry Reminder: What you may have missed this week

From the Forums: Video quality on the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

We've taken a look at the video quality on the BlackBerry PlayBook a couple times in the past but it's always interesting to take a stroll through the CrackBerry forums and find others that are impressed by the video camera as well as and more importantly -- what they're recording with their PlayBooks. Forums member rjkolo attended a picnic and happened to catch a band called Leadfoot on video. The above video is that of their performance there. As you can tell, the video turned out great and even with all the backgound noise -- the audio sounds superb.

As rjkolo noted in his forums post -- the video was taken in 720p, it's the default setting of course but if you're looking to take video in 1080p you can quickly swipe down from the top when in the video camera and set it to 1080p. Have you captured some awesome video on your PlayBook? If so, feel free to share it in the PlayBook forums.

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BlackBerry Avatar Builder is back in App World with v1.0.1

A few days ago, we let you know about the free BlackBerry Avatar Builder that RIM released into BlackBerry App World. Shortly after its release, the app was pulled from App World with no explanation, leaving many people wondering why. After all, it was an official release from RIM, and it didn't have any obvious glitches or bugs, so it was a bit of a mystery to everyone. Well, not everyone... the app was brought up on the last CrackBerry Podcast, and Kevin mentioned it was likely pulled because, unlike all other apps developed and released by RIM, the Avatar Builder didn't make you agree to a lengthy EULA before using it.

Lo and behold, the Avatar Builder is back in App World today with an update to v1.0.1. I installed the update, and fired up the app, and guess what? Kevin was right, as usual. The miles long EULA popped up right away. So for those of you that tried to download the application and couldn't because it had been removed from App World, go ahead and give it a try now.

Download Avatar Builder Guys Edition
Download Avatar Builder Girls Edition

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CrackBerry Podcast Episode 071: It can only get better from here... we hope!

Following up Thursday's RIM earnings call, which has resulted in a lot of BlackBerry gloom and doom talk around the interwebs, we fired things up Friday afternoon for a Live CrackBerry Podcast. In case you missed it live, here's the recording of that show for you to listen to at your leisure.

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BlackBerry Bedside Mode, do my bidding!

Shhh. It's bedtime, time to charge your BlackBerry. Over the next few hours, both you and your smartphone will get some much needed recharge time. You'll lay your head upon a pillow, falling into a deep sleep. Your BlackBerry will sit nearby, silently suckling the electric teat of its charger or nesteled comfortably in its charging pod. All is quiet and peaceful in your world.

2:38 a.m. BRRRRRIIINNNNGG! An email arrives. You wearily open one eye to see that LED blinking. Blinking. BLINKING. You try to ignore it but to no avail. You've been trained (in a fashion) to respond immediately to that indicator light. Opening the "important" message, you find it's another email begging you to come back to Xbox Live. Ugh. You try to fall back asleep, but this night's constant bombardment of "special" offers "just for you" has just begun. In desperation, you hurl your BlackBerry out of the window and finally, mercifully fall back to sleep.

Without Bedside mode on your BlackBerry, this could be your night. Thankfully, we do have Bedside mode. As soon as you start charging your BlackBerry, the clock opens and soon dims into what I call a "quiet clock." The LED turns off and (sometimes) notifications are turned off. The BlackBerry becomes the perfect nightstand companion, silently doing nothing more than display the clock.

But what if you don't want that? What if you just want to charge the smartphone? What if you want some messages to sound alerts while others don't? Maybe you like the blinking LED. Can Bedside mode be set up just the way you like? You betcha.

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