BlackBerry News and Reviews

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
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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 AccuWeather.com. 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 Yahoo.com 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]crackberry.com 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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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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