BlackBerry News and Reviews

Go from grr to aaah with Therapy Studio

Hey. How are you doing? Did you have a bad day? I’m sorry to hear that. Why don’t you sit back and relax while I start playing some relaxing, soothing sounds to calm your nerves.

Sounds pretty good right? Here’s the thing- it’s not a person saying that to you – it may just be your BlackBerry. An application called Therapy Studio could be right up your alley if you need a few minutes to disengage from a stressful situation. It provides a dozen tunes and sound effects that can be enjoyed individually, or up to a combination of three simultaneously. These sounds include a creek, chimes, a singing bird and crickets. You can choose the duration of each loop and their start times – making it a truly personal, relaxing experience. A timer is also included so you know when to leave LaLa land and get back to the daily grind. Therapy Studio also has a free version available, but it’s a lot less relaxing. What I mean is the lite version has a greatly reduced number of sounds to choose from. You also don’t have access to the help menu, where it’s said you can learn which sounds can be used in certain circumstances and how to get obtain optimal relaxation. If you want to grab the full version of Therapy Studio, you can pick it up for $1.99 from the CrackBerry AppStore.

More information/download Therapy Studio
More information/download Therapy Studio Lite

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RIGID Digital Bubble Level for the BlackBerry PlayBook

The RIGID Digital Bubble Level is more of a novelty app than anything else, but it's actually quite cool and can be useful to some in certain areas. This free app provides you with a horizontal, vertical and angle level using your BlackBerry PlayBook. Use it to straighten out pictures when hanging or leveling up those backyard projects. There is an audible alert for those times when the level isn't in your view as well. Just start leveling and you'll hear a beep letting you know when you're straight as an arrow. The other cool feature is the camera level - letting you view through the camera with a set of crosshairs for those hard to do leveling projects. Overall a pretty neat app and the price is right. Grab it free from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download of RIGID Digital Bubble Level

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Quick Review: Vulkano Flow from Monsoon Multimedia - Leave a comment to win one!

We have 3 Vulkano Flows by Monsoon Multimedia to give away, keep reading for details!

The Vulkano Flow is the latest and greatest from Monsoon Multimedia in the Vulkano product line. The Flow allows the user to watch and control television programming they receive at home on their BlackBerry Smartphone, PC, Mac, and soon to their BlackBerry PlayBook.

Summary of Vulkano Flow features:

  • Mark channels as favorite for quick access on your mobile phone
  • Watch and control your live TV on the go via Wi-Fi or 3G
  • Change channels just like at home
  • Browse EPG for shows and episode descriptions
  • Connect to all major TV sources - cable, DVD, satellite, DVR, TiVo
  • Stream high-quality video at H.264 standards at 150kbps
  • Connects to set-top box analog output and wirelessly to home router (802.11n)

The Vulkano Flow is similar to the Slingbox, but it is avaiable at a fraction of the cost. Continue reading to see what it has to offer.

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BlackBerry News now available for the BlackBerry PlayBook

RIM has announced today that BlackBerry News is now available for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. BlackBerry News is a great RSS reader that first came to BlackBerry smartphones (as BlackBerry News Feeds) a while back and has now made its way to the PlayBook. The app comes pre-loaded with feeds from popular news sites and users can also add additional feeds from various categories. New feeds can be easily added by browsing the content library, or searching for specific keywords or URLs. The app takes advantage of the PlayBook gesture navigation allowing users to perform various tasks including:

  • Touching the "News Library" button feeds to easily find and add new feeds
  • Using the BlackBerry PlayBook bezel drop-down gesture from the "My News" home screen pulls up the options menu to update content, or edit and delete any subscriptions
  • Selecting a subscription provides an abbreviated summary view of articles within that news feed, allowing for quick scanning of content
  • Swiping left on the tablet screen turns the page

This application is currently available in the US and Canada, and will be available in other countries later this year.

More information/download of BlackBerry News for PlayBook
Discuss more in the forums

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BlackBerry News Feeds gets updated to v1.0.1.7 in App World

BlackBerry News Feeds, RIM's official RSS reader, saw an update back in April for BlackBerry Beta Zone members, which bumped the version number up to v1.0.1.5. Now it appears another update has been released, and everyone can download v1.0.1.7 through BlackBerry App World. If you don't have access to App World, check the forum link below for OTAs. As per normal, there is no change log for this update, so if you download it and spot some differences, let us know in the comments below or in the forums what you find! Thanks rroyy!

For more information/check for the update in App World
To discuss the changes in the forums

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SugarSync gets updated to v2.0

Single largest update to application since it was first developed

If you're unfamiliar with SugarSync, it is a file back & sharing service similar to that of DropBox.  I say similar because I have come to be a true believer that SugarSync is superior to DropBox.  We've written about it in the past and like many I glazed over and thought "Oh whatever, DropBox is better" and did so without really looking at what SugarSync offered.  At CES2011 I met with Robb from SugarSync and bluntly asked "Why do you think SugarSync is better than DropBox?"  To my surprise I was given an answer I wasn't prepared for from Robb, "DropBox is GREAT!  We'll even back that folder up for you!"  With that bizarre answer, he had my attention and I looked further.

My biggest frustration with DropBox was that all your folders must be underneath the almighty DropBox folder, and I am a little particular with my file structure and that always ate away at me but I dealt with it.  Looking further into SugarSync I found that I could select ANY folder on my computer for backup, I didn't have to live inside their file structure.  Next stop was the fact that DropBox's free account was 2GB and SugarSync's is 5GB.

Where I lost some love for SugarSync was the BlackBerry app.  Compared to that of the iOS and Android application , the BlackBerry was absolutely the 'black sheep twice removed' in the mobile app family.  Until today....

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CrackBerry Podcast 69 +1 = I want my BlackBerry Bold 9900!!

We had so much fun recording our last podcast -- episode SIXTY NINE -- that for our 70th show we decided to do the math and call it 69 + 1. We hope you enjoy it.

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Addressing the BlackBerry PlayBook screen time-out issue

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

As you all know, the BlackBerry PlayBook was issued an update not that long ago. It brought about some nice changes and included an updated version of Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook but it left out of simple thing -- that for some folks is a rather large issue. No, not native email and BBM but rather the screen time-out issue when viewing things in the browser. You see, if you are doing something within the BackBerry browser such as watching a video for example -- the maximum time allotted before the screen will time out and go black is 5-minutes.

This timing out of the screen causes whatever it is you are doing in the browser to come to a dead stop. Watching a video? It'll stop playing. Listening to music? It'll stop playing. Even if you are say reading one of Kevin's long winded reviews, if you don't touch the screen in 5-minutes it'll go black and you'll need to force a "waking" up of your PlayBook. The rather odd thing is that it doesn't time out on all things. Some videos keep it awake while others it will time out on. Some audio it will shut down, while other audio will keep on running through the browser.

There are workarounds for this issue in the meantime, such as downloading certain apps from BlackBerry App World  (more info on this in the forum links below) that keep the screen active, but really we shouldn't have to make use of a workaround for this particular problem. Ideally, it would be built into the OS that when the browser is open and active it wouldn't disable and go into standby mode. But as it stands now, this isn't the case. So, sound off in the comments if you're concerned about this and want it fixed -- hopefully RIM will take notice and correct it in a later update.

Discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums - here and here

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BlackBerry Desktop Manager updated to v6.1.0.35

Word is in that BlackBerry Desktop Manager (PC version) has updated to v6.1.0.35 and should be available for download. This version adds some fixes and it looks like support for BlackBerry OS 7 is built in as well. Most users are reporting they are prompted to update when they open up Desktop Manager, but a few have said they had to manually check for updates. Regardless, it should be available for all so get to downloading! Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

BlackBerry Desktop Software 6.1 adds new features and important enhancements to media and synchronization:
  • You can use the new Files feature to manage your files between your smartphone and computer.
  • If encryption is turned on for your smartphone, you can also synchronize encrypted media files or copy encrypted files between your smartphone and computer.
  • If your smartphone is associated with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you can also synchronize security certificates.
Download BlackBerry Desktop Manager
Discuss more in the CrackBerry forums

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YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus updated to version 2.3.4 - 20 copies to be won!!

In the United States, YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus is a popular (and free) visual voicemail application. In my opinion, it’s the way voicemail services should be. Think about it. Why should we have to go through voice prompts and have to skip through messages so clumsily? With YouMail, voicemail can be scanned through to access them in the order you want to. It’s especially helpful to be able to look at the time of call, the caller’s name and the message length (supports up to 2 minutes in length). What you do with your messages is up to you. You can forward off messages as blog posts, tweets, to Facebook or even archive them for life. Additionally, you can manage unwanted callers, record personal greetings, and actually read the voicemail message instead of listening to it. YouMail was recently updated to version 2.3.4. Among its updates, two stand out as substantial additions:

One-Touch Community Greetings and Management. A new navigation bar lets you easily access greeting settings, like what greetings play for your callers, and how you want to handle “blocked” numbers. In addition, the YouMail greetings community, with tens of thousands of greetings, is just a few clicks away from within the app itself.

Number Search Available In-App. It's YouMail's belief that once you receive a call from an unwanted number, you should never have to receive a call from that number again. In this latest update, YouMail's Caller Search lets you quickly do a Google search right from the “menu” key, so you’ll know the real story behind any phone number you're not familiar with.

YouMail offers a free service, as well as premium services. Through the Premium service, you are able to save 5000+ messages and support messages that are 5 minutes in length or longer. You also get Privacy Manager – enabling you to get phone numbers with Blocked or Unknown numbers. The app itself is free from the CrackBerry AppStore. If you want to upgrade to a premium service, rates start at just $1.99 per month.

Contest: We have 20 annual basic transcription packages to be won. That's a savings of $8.99/month. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered. Contest ends this Sunday at midnight PST.

More information/download YouMail Visual Voicemail Plus

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Active Alerts - an early warning application

The National Weather Service provides forecasts and warnings for the United States. Its official task is to provide “weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.” Recently, with the number of tornados and flooding that have tragically affected so many people, being alert and being prepared is key. In BlackBerry App World, an application called Active Alerts was recently released. Through Active Alerts users can learn of current alerts and what to do in response to the situation.

These alerts can be filtered through various options which include; location (by choice or by GPS), type, severity and type (you know, in case you want to ignore tornadoes or fires). Users can then decide what interval to use when refreshing alerts. Once set up, you can then navigate through the specified alerts. Details will include all of the affected locations, effective date/time and probability. Tapping into the power of notifications, Active Alerts can cause your Blackberry to sound a tone or vibrate when the alert is of an extreme and/or severe nature. It’s another level of personal security you can use, especially if you live in an area prone to such disastrous activity. Active Alerts is available for $2.99 from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download Active Alerts for BlackBerry smartphones

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Profixel for BlackBerry - Create free avatars right on your device!

Getting tired of your same old avatar on BBM/Twitter/Facebook, or looking for a way to pass a few minutes and feeling creative? Check out Profixel, a FREE app for your BlackBerry that you can use to make a fun and unique pixel based avatar for any number of uses! Profixel includes 2 pre-loaded templates that you can use as a starting point. After choosing one, you use the menu button to bring up a color palate, and from there you can alter the template however you like, one pixel at a time. If you're stuck, and in need of some creative inspiration, you can check out some sample avatars that are included in the app. Once you have your avatar the way you want it, simply save it to your device, and you can use it as your profile picture or avatar anywhere you choose.

Also from within the app, you can upload your avatar to the Profixel Fanpage on Facebook, and you can email it! I was also informed that once the final BBM SDK is released, Profixel will be updated so that you can set the picture as your BBM avatar from within the app as well. So go ahead, let your creativity flow, and create yourself a fun new avatar on your BlackBerry!

For more information/screenshots and to download Profixel FREE

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Quick Tip: How to Transfer Contacts from the SIM Card

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

A very close friend of mine just upgraded to a BlackBerry Torch. As a newbie, she was so excited that she almost forgot about her address book. How was she going to transfer her contacts from her regular phone? Would she have to add each number all over again? What is one to do? 

Before panicking and thinking you have to manually input each and every one there's a simple answer: the SIM Card. The SIM card is a little chip located near your battery that holds your personal phone information. It lets you switch devices by simply sliding out of one device and placing in another. Utilized by GSM Networks (i.e. AT&T, Rogers, T-Mobile) it can also be used to store your address book when transferring from the old device to the new one. Just remember to copy your contacts to your SIM first. How many entries a chip can hold varies depending on the card and how old it is. When I switched from my RAZR I was able to store around 200 entries. If you're over capacity you'll need to repeat this process.

You can also access by going through the Setup Wizard on your device.

  • OS 5: Homescreen > Setup > Setup Wizard > Import SIM Card Contacts.  Click yes when prompted to copy all.
  • OS 6: Homescreen > Setup > Personalization > SIM Contacts Sync.  Click yes when prompted to copy all.  

As you can see from the video it's an easy process to transfer contacts back and forth. Once loaded you'll be able to use device manager to save your information going forward.

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Go beyond weather on your PlayBook with What's it like in...

Your PlayBook includes a Weather Application powered by It provides detailed information like forecast details, wind direction, sunrise/set times and more for almost any destination you plug into it. Adding locations is a mere 4 step process – open the menu, click on the options icon, click on the ‘+’ (Add a city button) and then enter in the name of the city. Pretty simple right? Apparently for some that’s not good enough. They also say “Sure I can see the weather, but what’s actually going on there?” Geez, will they ever stop whining?!

To answer their call is an application called What’s it like in…

It’s a one step process to find a city as the search city field is ever present. Just type in the city of interest and you’re virtually there. The screen then provides three different ways to check out the selected city; basic weather, upcoming city events and images relating to the city. Now when I say basic weather it’s because you are given very little information. You can see the current weather and the forecast for tomorrow. That’s it. Clicking on the weather section redirects you to the Yahoo! Weather page. The same can be said for the upcoming events section; except that I kept seeing duplicated entries. The application appears to be powered by Yahoo!, as the basic weather is provided by Weather and images are from flickr (10 are available to view at a time). I can definitely see where the developer is looking to go with this application and it has a lot of potential. If you want to want to see what’s it like with What it’s like in…, you can pick it up for $1.99 from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download What's it like in... for the PlayBook

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BlackBerry theme roundup for June 8, 2011 - Win a free copy of NextGen from BB-Freaks!

We have 50 copies of NextGen by BB-Freaks to give away, keep reading for details! 

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, send it in! Send an email to themeroundup[at] for consideration. In the meantime, check out this week's picks and enter to win a free copy of NextGen by BB-Freaks! Contest details after the break.

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Possible BIS outage across Europe and North America

We've been getting plenty of users in North America and Europe letting us know their has been some issues with BIS as of late. Many folks in the UK have spoken up in the CrackBerry forums and for some North American users BIS over WiFi has been down for what is going on 48 hours now. Some carriers are advising that it is due to a BIS update that is rolling out now but -- the accuracy in that info cannot be confirmed at this time. What about you all, any issues? If so speak up in the comments or in the forums.

Discuss more in the CrackBerry Forums

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Vodafone shows off the BlackBerry Bold 9900 in sneak peek video

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

In case you were questioning if Vodafone would be picking up the upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900, ask no more. They have just posted a short "sneak peek" video showing off the latest BlackBerry smartphone. The video is under a minute, however it gets right to the point and tells all about the Bold 9900 features including BlackBerry 7, full QWERTY keyboard, 2.8" touchscreen, 5MP camera and more. Still no official date on this or its CDMA counterpart, but we're hopeful that we'll hear something solid very soon. Check out the video above for more and bring on the Bold!!!

Discuss more in the forums

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Quick look at Facebook for PlayBook v1.0.40

Yesterdays BlackBerry PlayBook OS update brought with it some new features for the software as well as a new version of Facebook for PlayBook. The latest version of Facebook is now at 1.0.40 and has some cool new features to go along with it. Along with some tweaks and fixes, Facebook for PlayBook has also added:

  • Video Uploading - Shoot video and directly upload or choose a video from your media folder to upload.
  • Facebook Search enhancements - Revamp of the search features now allows for easier finding of friends and Facebook Page using the Pages Search.
  • Improved access to Pages - A new Pages tab is accessible from the Friends list where you can view My Pages and Pages You Like.
  • Message deletion - You can now delete a Facebook message. Simply press and hold the screen until a delete button appears, and then tap the delete button to remove the message.
  • News Feed improvements - Interact with your News Feeds via the More button to Like or comment on posts without having to leave the News Feed view
  • Photo Upload Album Selection - when uploading a photo, simply select the album that you would like to upload the photo to.
  • Options and Help Center - Options and Help Center, Logout button now moved. Swipe down on the top bezel to access them

Overall some pretty cool new updates. Facebook for PlayBook is free in BlackBerry App World, but if you already updated your PlayBook to the latest OS you should have it rocking already. Check out the video above for a quick look at all the new features.

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Hedy Lamarr - Brains & Beauty


Take a look at that vixen of the ‘40's up there; that's Hedy Lamarr in Sampson and Delilah. Appearing in some 35 films from 1930 to 1958, Ms. Lamarr is arguably the most beautiful woman to ever grace the silver screen. So why are we writing about a film star from the last century? Take a look at that CDMA BlackBerry sitting nearby or perhaps your wireless router. Now, take another look at the woman who made all that possible.

Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna Austria, Hedy began her acting career at the age of seventeen. After leaving her arms-manufacturer husband in 1937, Hedy emigrated to the United States and Hollywood. There, in the time-honored tradition of actors, Hedwig Keisler became Hedy Lamarr. It was in Hollywood that Lamarr met her neighbor, George Antheil. Little did either of them know, this chance meeting would change the future of electronics for decades to come.

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Latest OS update brings BlackBerry App World notifications to PlayBook


One of the things I noticed after updating my PlayBook today was that I was notified of some available updates for apps I had purchased. Previously on the PlayBook you had to open up BlackBerry App World and navigate to My World to view any available updates. Now it seems the updates are popping up without ever entering App World which is very cool indeed. Tap on the notification icon from the home screen, then the listed update, and App World takes you right to the app page so you can update. Hopefully this will give way to other apps having notifications when not open as well, but only time will tell.

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