BlackBerry News and Reviews

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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Latest PlayBook OS update gives glimpse of future Android app treatment in BlackBerry App World


Notice the new BB logo on App pages? It's likely we'll see an Android logo for Android Apps 

This morning's BlackBerry PlayBook OS update brought with it a number of feature improvements, most of which were highlighted in the update note RIM sent out. But beyond that, keen eyes have been observing other changes, some of which are pretty noticeable (like the big boost of free working memory) and others which are more subtle.

One of these subtle changes is the new BlackBerry logo that's popped up on app pages within BlackBerry App World. Looking at the image above, what I'm talking about here is that little guy in the top left corner. That wasn't there before. Now it's there. WHY??! To me the reason for this addition is pretty logical. It's in preparation for the support of Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Remember, Android developers will have to submit their Android apps to App World (effectively making them BlackBerry developers and BlackBerry apps), but since the apps will run via the Android App Player, it's important that RIM denote within App World to customers what it is an Android app vs. what is not (especially since based on the demo we saw it seems like you may initially be only have one Android app running at a time in the App Player). I'm expecting that once Android Apps showing up in App World, you'll see this new little BlackBerry logo turn into an Android logo for Android apps.

I guess we'll know with time... but I'm betting that's the case (if I'm wrong we'll make up for it with a contest). So what do you think? Android logos coming soon to a BlackBerry near you?

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Research In Motion welcomes social gaming pro Scoreloop

Today RIM has announced that they have added another asset to their team in that of Scoreloop. Scoreloop is a company that offers cross-platform social gaming SDKs for developers, and their tools help make the social aspects (leader boards, gaming with friends) easier for developers. RIM already announced their BBM Social Platform, so we'll see what more Scoreloop has to add to the mix. We don't really know just how the Scoreloop team and tools will be put to use at RIM, but it looks like more good things to come from this one. Check out the video above for more.

Source: Inside BlackBerry

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Contest winners: PlayBook Tour schwag, Incipio case, TuneIn Radio Pro, and more!

Here are the winners from last week's round of contests. If you won you will be receiving an email either directly from us or the retailer/developer directly in the next few days. If for some reason you don't receive an email within 7-14 days (be sure to check your spam/junk folder just in case, and verify your registered address associated with your CrackBerry account) you can email us at sitesupport(at)crackberry.com and we'll be sure to get you taken care of. Please be patient as some emails may take longer than others to arrive. Congrats to all the winners!

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Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook update now available!

Although it was part of the OS update for the BlackBerry PlayBook -- the changes within Facebook for PlayBook were too vast to not have them mentioned in a post by itself. If you're a Facebook user, you'll be pleasantly surprised with this update to say the least. A quick run down shows us the following changes:

  • 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

Some great new features added there to enhance to overall experience of Facebook on the BlackBerry PlayBook. if you've not grabbed the latest version yet you can find it in BlackBerry App World for the next 24 hours. But, if you've already gone ahead and updated your BlackBerry PlayBook OS then you already have the update Facebook installed. Sound off in the comments about what you think about the new version.

Source: Inside BlackBerry

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BlackBerry PlayBook OS updated to v1.0.5.2304

It's been quite some time since the last BlackBerry PlayBook update and many users have been asking when the next one will roll out. With a lot of rumors and speculation now past us, we can say that today is the day for an update to roll out. You'll find the changes listed below for your viewing pleasure:

  • Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook -- The first Facebook app optimized for tablets now comes preloaded and introduces new features including video uploading, message deletion, Facebook search enhancements and more.
  • In-App Payments Support -- Enables developers to create apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook using the BlackBerry Payment Service, which will allow users to purchase enhancements within apps such as another level in a game or a new edition of a magazine.
  • Additional Language Support -- Updates language support to include: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch and UK English.
  • BlackBerry PlayBook Charging Enhancements -- By simply touching the battery indicator on the BlackBerry PlayBook home screen users can easily adjust the screen brightness or choose to restart, turn off, or put the tablet into standby mode. Other charging improvements include the ability to charge the PlayBook while it is turned off, as well as an on-screen alert to notify users if they accidentally have plugged in an incorrect charger into their BlackBerry PlayBook.
  • Video Chat Connectivity -- Adds support for the TURN (Traversal Using Relay NAT) protocol, which enhances Video Chat connections between users on home, public and enterprise Wi-Fi networks.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot Detection -- Automatic Wi-Fi hotspot detection in the BlackBerry Tablet OS v1.0.5 makes it easier to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot (at a coffee shop or an airport, for example).

For some, the update may not appear to be much but it is in fact laying the groundwork for larger updates that will be rolling out soon. Go ahead, check for updates -- it should be there for most folks now. if you're not seeing it, sit tight it's on the way. Official changelog is available after the break, courtesy of our friends over at Inside BlackBerry or you can head on into the CrackBerry forums and share your findings right now!

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BlackBerry Bridge updated to v1.0.0.93

Although we're still waiting for a BlackBerry Playbook update to roll out, we now have something that will presumably go along with that update. BlackBerry Bridge v1.0.0.93 is now available for download and is said to basically just contain some fixes to address the overall speed when using BlackBerry Bridge with the BlackBerry PlayBook. As of right now, it's still filtering through BlackBerry App World so you might not be seeing it. If not, you can refresh App World or just hit up the link below and grab the OTA. This file is for BlackBerry 6 users only, a version for OS 5 will be up shortly. Thanks, @rr_yy & @theiexplorers

BlackBerry Bridge v1.0.0.93 for OS 6
BlackBerry Bridge v1.0.0.93 for OS 5
Discuss in the CrackBerry Forums

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Apple introduces iMessage to take on BlackBerry Messenger - How will it compare?

Will iMessage be as good as BBM?Market Research

Apple today in San Francisco announced their upcoming iOS 5 feature set. Included in the update was a new messaging system they are calling iMessage. The name isn't exactly original -- much like the features it offers. In fact, if someone were to describe it to you without you knowing it was for iOS you'd think they were describing BlackBerry Messenger.

Messages are pushed across all iOS devices and since it’s all cross-device, you can pick up on the conversation right where you left off when switching from your iPhone to your iPad or iPod touch. The system, of course, will use the new notifications system in iOS 5. Tapping on the notification brings you straight to the new messaging interface, letting the recipient see right when you begin typing.

The new service includes sending messages, photos and videos right from the camera roll or albums and works over WiFi or 3G.

That's how our friends over at TiPB described the service. But as BlackBerry users here, what do you all think of Apples iMessage? For years now, people have been trying to come up with something to take the BlackBerry Messenger advantage away from RIM, does iMessage have the power to do so or is it just another we can do what BlackBerry been able to do for years thing? I'm just gonna leave a YouTube link here for you all to check out after you're done reading this.

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CrackBerry Poll: Are you an E-book addict or still loyal to paper?

Are you an e-book reader or are you still loyal to paper?survey software

This past Friday a colleague lent me a book to read. And when I say book, I mean an actual book. Hardcover. 252 pages. The title looked interesting and the content was relevant to me, so Saturday morning I picked it up and started reading in bed whlie Miss CrackBerry slept in.

There was nothing odd about this scenario, or at least I didn't think there was, until at 23 pages into the book it dawned on me... apparently I now hate reading physical books. Though I had attained this book for free, I put it down, grabbed my PlayBook, fired up the Kobo app, bought the book for $20.69 (could have bought it on the Kindle for $9.88 so Amazon had better get that Kindle app for the PlayBook out asap!), downloaded it, then continued to read happily for the next two hours.

For the past few years I've mainly done my reading on E-Book devices. I was a relatively early adopter of the Kindle, own an iPad and iPad 2 which when I do use them it's mainly for reading, and since getting the PlayBook have done a lot of reading on that. And when I don't have any of these bigger-screened devices around I'll read on my phone. But as much as I've been an adopter of E-Book readers, it wasn't until this weekend that I really reflected on why I prefer reading on a digital device.

I'm sure there are many more reasons than this, but here are mine:

  • I can read in silence (no sound of pages flipping)
  • I can read whatever books I want and the people around me don't know what I'm reading (I have pretty eclectic and occassionally weird taste in books so don't need people I don't know seeing what I'm reading)
  • I can have my entire library with me wherever I go (I tend to like to re-read a lot of my favorite passages)
  • I don't need to go to a bookstore to buy books (just need an internet connection)
  • I like that I can change up the font size (make it big so I can read on a treadmill)
  • I can look up the definitions of words I don't know on the fly

Put it all together and I find it almost a painful experience to read through a real book... unless of course, you know, my battery is dead or I'm trying to read outside. But most things being equal, I'm definitely a digital guy.

Which brings us to the question of this week's CrackBerry Poll.... are you an E-Book addict like me, or still loyal to paper?? Vote on the poll above and sound off in the comments!

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Interactive mayhem with The Visitor game for the BlackBerry PlayBook


If you're looking for an awesome interactive point-and-click game for the PlayBook then look no further than The Visitor by ClickShake Games LLC and Zeebarf. The Visitor is an adventure (horror) game that's been around for awhile in various online incarnations. Now optimized for the BlackBerry PlayBook it's your job to guide a murderous alien parasite on earth when it crash lands on a meteorite.

As it kills each new prey it morphs and grows depending on the human or animal it eats all leading up to its gory conclusion. Players must touch the screen in various spots to activate the puzzle hotpots that help guide the little killer slug through each level. Each one pops up as text when selected and needs to be activated in the right order or it won't work.

This is a neat game to kill time with and you won't be disappointed. The graphics are stunning and game play is smooth. My only complaint is that it's too short with not enough levels. Most people will probably finish in no time flat unlike me who had to consult some walkthroughs to pass the extremely tough kitchen level.

I must warn you this is not for the faint at heart. If you have trouble with images of blood and gore than this is definitely not for you. However, I did find this to be a fun, quick, and irritating game at times. As a twist, it comes with more than one ending. Think of it like those old choose your adventure novels we read as kids. The final chapter allows for at least two endings. I'm not going to spoil it for you so you'll have to figure them out for yourself.

Did I mention it's absolutely free? Check it out today at BlackBerry App World.

More information / download The Visitor
Discuss the Visitor in the forums

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Unofficial F1 Live app now available for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Own a BlackBerry PlayBook and Love Formula 1? If so you'll be happy to know an F1 Live app recently popped up in App World. Take note, this doesn't appear to be an "official" F1 app (so the fact it's using the F1 name means it might not hang around App World for all that long), but if you love F1 you'll want to give it download regardless.  

Features on the F1 Live app include:

  • Live Race coverage right from Friday's Free practice sessions to Raceday!
  • Complete 2011 Race calendar with Results.
  • Comprehensive information of all Drivers and Teams.
  • Latest Driver and Constructor standings.
  • Profiles of each circuit from around the calendar.
  • Last season Driver and Constructor standings.
  • Latest News from the paddock.
  • Latest Tweets from Drivers and Teams on Twitter.
  • Socialize with our exclusive F1 Fan Forum.

Not a bad feature set for a first crack at an F1 app on the PlayBook and for a price of Zero dollars and Zero cents (yes, it's free) there's no reason not to give it a download. Keep in mind that with the PlayBook's awesome web browser the actual Formula1.com website works pretty well too. The only question now is who are you cheering for in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal?!

Download F1 Live for the BlackBerry PlayBook

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Make a customized folder for your BlackBerry bookmarks

CrackBerry Tip of the Day

If you're like me, you visit quite a few websites on your BlackBerry. Some are for informational purposes; many more are purely for fun. Sometimes you need just a few minutes to yourself; and sites like CrackBerry, FML, and TextsfromLastNight can provide a welcome (and interesting) distraction. Most certainly, you've probably bookmarked those sites you visit most often. I go a little further though.

Instead of going to all the trouble of opening the browser AND clicking on the bookmark, I just click on my saved shortcut in a folder on my home screen. The shortcut launches the browser and takes me right to the website. To me, having my bookmarks in one spot; ordered as I like them; and with a recognizable icon makes it quick and easy to find them.

As we've done in a previous CrackBerry Tip of the Day, we'll start with creating a new folder. You'll only be able to create new ones from the All pane (tray). Before you do, make sure one of the visible icons is highlighted. It doesn't matter which one, but the Add folder option won't appear in the menu if nothing is highlighted. Press the menu key and select Add folder. Give your folder a name, and we're ready to add some bookmarks to it.

Open the browser and navigate to your favorite site. Press the menu key and choose Add to Home Screen. We're still going to save the bookmark to your folder, but select Add to Home Screen for now. You can change the name of the site; this is how it will appear under your shortcut. Next to Location, open the drop-down menu and select your folder from the list. Uncheck that Mark as Favorite box unless you want your shortcut in the Favorites pane as well.

Repeat as necessary for any additional sites you may want to add to your Bookmarks folder. Now, whenever you need a moment, your most-visited websites are but a single click away.

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BeBuzz Free updated to version 4 - Adds toasts, disco LED and more

The folks at Bellshare let us know they have update the free version of their best selling app Be-Buzz to version 4. The updates bring the UI of the free version up to date with that of the paid app as well as some additional features. Users of BeBuzz free now have the ability to add up to 5 contact alerts (instead of 3), use Toasts and create custom disco LED colors. So if you've been on the fence about using BeBuzz at all, the latest free version gives you a much better taste of what the app offers. The full version of BeBuzz has also been updated to version 4.0.77 and includes additional support for third party apps like LiveProfile, ScoreMobile, GroupMe and more. Also added is the ability to suppress the default red LED.

More information/download of BeBuzz free
More information/download of BeBuzz

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Conquer that to-do list on your BlackBerry PlayBook with Conqu

Conqu by AsFusion, is a powerful task management tool for your BlackBerry PlayBook that allows you to clear tasks from your inbox and keep all your to-do lists in one place. With Conqu, you can organize tasks according to your own personal criteria (For example I use CB, Personal, Day Care, Air Force etc.) and then accomplish those tasks at the right time and place for you (no WiFi needed). Conqu also allows you to assign a project, energy and the time you think it will take to complete said task. There are also even more options for customization such as filtering with tags and contexts.

The main features of the app are:

  • Unlimited everything: tasks, projects, contexts, contacts or tags
  • Filtering by contexts, tags, energy or time
  • Specifically designed for touch devices and tablets like the PlayBook
  • Future view to see what lies ahead in the next few days
  • Back burner view for tasks that you have to put off to do at a later time
  • Work offline: you don't have to be connected to the internet to be able to access all your tasks
  • Stay focused with views that are intelligently organized like TODAY and NEXT

The team over at AsFusion have even set up a roadmap that allows you to see what Conqu features are coming (Cloud Sync, Desktop Version & Recuring tasks are just some of what's listed) and the percentage towards completion. The icing on the cake is that this app is totally FREE!

More information / download of Conqu 

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Wakeful alarm app for BlackBerry gets a price drop - now only $4.99

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

If you've been holding out for a price drop to come to the awesome alarm app -- Wakeful, then we have great news. Previously available for $14.99, Wakeful has now dropped down to only $4.99 which puts it on par with other clock applications that are out there. If you're looking for an alarm app that is awesome, and totally different from anything else available then by all means, give Wakeful a shot.

Click here for more info and to download Wakeful for only $4.99

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CustomBerry HD by Global Torch Themes - Act fast and get 40% off!

BlackBerry Torch owners, are you looking for a theme you can customize to show off all your favorite apps, and that gives you control of your docks and color scheme? Do you love BerryWeather, but have trouble finding a theme that lets you use it how you want? Are you a fan of the BreakingNews app, but nowhere to fit it on your screen? Look no further, because Global Torch Themes has released CustomBerry HD to help solve all your (theme related) problems!

CustomBerry HD gives you the option of having one, two, or zero docks on your home screen. If you're a wallpaper junkie, this is an option you will especially appreciate, I'm sure. Above the dock area is the perfect spot for BreakingNews, tucked away under the top banner. BerryWeather fits nicely under the docks, and above the bottom banner. Speaking of the bottom banner, you have dual weather/OCD slots, so even if you don't use BerryWeather, you can still have your forecast showing. I also mentioned that you can change your color scheme up. GTT has included six skins with the theme, so you are sure to find a match for your favorite wallpapers. Hotspots for Clock/Alarm, Manage Connections, Messages, Media, Application Menu, QuickLaunch, and Profiles are also included.

If you're looking for a beautiful, high quality theme for your BlackBerry Torch, you'll really want to take a close look at CustomBerry HD by GTT. You can use coupon code CBCUSTOM from your device to get 40% off the regular price of $5.99, which isn't a bad deal considering how much you can customize this theme. It's like having several themes in one! Don't hesitate though, the coupon is only good for the first 50 people, so hurry up!

For more information/screenshots and to purchase CustomBerry HD

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How to make your own visual address book on your BlackBerry smartphone

CrackBerry Tip of the Day!

BlackBerry OS6 makes it easy to add any contact to the home screen. This means you can turn any of your contacts into a shortcut that goes on the home screen (with their picture on it and everything). The shortcut will allow you to message your contact in a variety of ways, all from the home screen. But, let's take that one step further. Instead of just storing your contact shortcuts on the All pane or in Favorites, you can make a visual address book by creating a folder and saving your most-used contacts there. No reason to go to the trouble of putting everyone in there, just the people you message the most.

Start by creating a new folder; you can only create new ones from the All pane (tray). You can't make folders anywhere else. Make sure one of the visible icons is highlighted. It doesn't matter which one, but the Add folder option won't appear in the menu if nothing is highlighted. Press the menu key and select Add folder. Give your folder a name, and we're ready to add some contacts to it.

Go to your contacts on your BlackBerry and highlight (don't select) one you'd like to add to your visual address book. Press the menu key and choose Add to Home Screen. In the dialog box that opens, you'll get options to rename your shortcut, mark it as a favorite, and choose what in folder to save the shortcut. Unless you want your shortcut in two different places, uncheck the box next to Mark as Favorite. Next to location, you'll see the default setting is "Home." We want to change that to the name of your new folder. Click Add, and your shortcut will be in your new folder.

Repeat as necessary to add more contacts. Once you're done, you'll have a quick list of all your most used contacts. At a glance, you'll be able to find who you're looking for. Unlike the actual Contacts, you can order your shortcuts any way you'd like. Clicking or touching the link will open their contact information. In addition, you'll also get the person's recent activity. Emails, Facebook posts, and tweets can all be found here. Select a shortcut and click & hold or open the menu to get a whole hosts of ways to contact your...er, contact.

Though this visual address book does the exact same thing as contacts, it makes things easier. Instead of cluttered with dozens of names, our project only contains those contacted most. We get a friendly face (or icon) to represent our contact; and because the shortcut is in a folder, you can put them in any order you desire. Most importantly, with a little practice, it becomes a super-fast way of connecting with someone...in a variety of ways.

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CrackBerry Reminder: What you may have missed this week


Fourplay for the PlayBook updated to v1.1.20

*Update: Looks like this version hasn't finished approval in App World yet. Should be soon.

Fourplay is a great app for that PlayBook that just got better, visually and functionally. They picked up a new graphics designer to help out, and it really shows. Some of the many new updates include:

  •  Full Screen viewing of photos from your friends check ins
  • Popup Badges more streamlined
  • Time stamp added to each check in
  • Many new menu options for navigation
  • Detailed info on mayorship and check ins
  • Venue specials details
  • Customizable radius search
  • New Venue details
  • New Specials screen shows nearby specials
  • Complete, detailed leaderboard

As always, Fourplay for the BlackBerry PlayBook is free of charge and completely ad free, and they say this will never change. Nice to have an awesome app that has no monetary catch to it. Definitely check it out.

More information and download of Fourplay

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It's Alive! Breathing icons make shortcuts and favorites easy on the BlackBerry PlayBook

CrackBerry Tip of the Day #4

Continuing our series of helpful tips about favorites, have you wondered how to turn an application into a favorite? It's not hard to do. In fact you make favorites, reorder icons, and even move icons to different panes in the same way.

The first thing to do is to touch and hold an icon. You can do this from any pane (i.e., All, Favorites, Media, etc.), but let's start with the All pane. After a moment of holding an icon, all of the icons on the pane will breathe. Now you can:

  • Delete a shortcut or application. Touch the trash can underneath each icon to delete it. If you are in the All pane, you will be prompted to delete the application. In any other pane, the shortcut will be deleted.
  • Reorder the icons: Just drag the breathing icon to where you want it to go. All the other icons will reorder themselves.
  • Make a Favorite: Drag a breathing icon to where it says Favorites in the ribbon. You'll see a dim blue box around Favorites. Let go of the icon and a shortcut will be added to your Favorites. And for that matter...
  • Make a shortcut in any of the panes: Just drag a breathing icon to the name of any of the panes in the ribbon. Just as before, a dim blue box appears around the name; let go and your shortcut will be created in your desired pane.

Once you've finished making your changes, touch the small check mark on the far left of the ribbon or touch the name of any other pane. Your icons will stop breathing and your changes are saved. 

All this shortcut-making starts in the All pane. If you try to copy from any other pane, you'll just end up moving the icon. Say you want to make the Videos app into a favorite. If you start from the Media pane, you'll add the Videos icon to the Favorites pane but it will be deleted from Media. Instead, drag the breathing video icon from All pane to Favorites. That way, you'll keep the shortcut in the Media folder, add a shortcut to the Favorites pane, and have another in the All pane. 

Or, any other way you'd like. The combinations and possiblities are endless; what you do with your icons and shortcuts is entirely up to you. 

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