BlackBerry News and Reviews

BlackBerry theme roundup for May 11, 2011 - Win a free copy of Urban Nightmare from BB-Freaks!

Win 1 of 50 copies of Urban Nightmare by BB-Freaks! Details after the break!

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 Urban Nightmare Animated by BB-Freaks! Contest details after the break.

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Photo Booth by S4BB Limited - Create photo strips on your BlackBerry!

I love photo booths. I can't seem to pass by one without jumping in for some quick pictures, dragging along whoever is with me. Now you can have the same sort of experience right on your BlackBerry, with Photo Booth by S4BB Limited. It's really easy to use, too. All you do is click on "take shots" and the app does the rest for you, snapping four pictures and combining them into a photo strip for you. The pictures can be viewed in a gallery within the app, and are saved on your media card in a folder called Photo Booth so you can email them or post to your favorite social media sites as with any other image. My only complaint is that Photo Booth is a little slow between pictures, though the description says photos are taken 1 second apart. You can adjust that time in the options, but it didn't seem to change anything for me. Hopefully it's a small bug that will be fixed soon. The app still works fine, and the slight delay does give you time to get in the next position so it may actually be a benefit for some.

Overall this is a fun app, and a welcome addition to my BlackBerry Torch. I see lots of fun pictures in my future! Photo Booth is available on sale for $1.99 (regularly $4.99) and is compatible with BlackBerry 82xx, 8330/50i, 85xx, 89xx, 9000, 91xx, 93xx, 95xx, 96xx, 97xx, and 9800.

For more information/screenshots and to purchase Photo Booth

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The BlackBerry PlayBook makes an appearance in Pitbull's latest video

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

We have seen music videos in the past showing a BlackBerry Bold and a BlackBerry PlayBook, and now a new video by Pitbull has been released showing off a PlayBook in action once again. The song is called Give Me Everything and features Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer as well. You can see a woman using the PlayBook to view surveillance cameras beginning around the 1:40 mark, and several times throughout the rest of the video. You can check out the video above, or if you prefer there are some screenshots after the break. Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

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Review: Easy Animation for BlackBerry

Not too long ago, I put together a three way battle (of sorts) between image editing applications. We looked at resizing, cropping and even clip art. One thing these apps didn't cover was animation. Yes, those sometimes cute, and often annoying animated avatars some use for their profiles. Now I'm not here to judge; chances are there is probably an old profile of mine sporting a simple animated gif; sitting unattended, on a website that I may or may not remember the name of. And no, I'm not telling you where. While stagnant images are covered time and again on your BlackBerry smartphone, animated ones are not.

That’s where Easy Animation comes in. This application says it provides users a way to create simple animations nearly effortlessly. You decide the text options, you figure out whether to use clip art or your own images. Some BlackBerry users like to use a slideshow to view images- well why not create a slideshow to share. Is Easy Animation as easy as its name suggests? Let’s check it out.

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How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Playbook - How do you enter standby mode?

  How do you enter standby on your BlackBerry PlayBook?online survey  

Here's on that came up in a discussion between some of our writers yesterday. We all know that some PlayBook's seem to have a big issue with the power button. While it bothers some users, others argue that you don't really need to use it anyway so it doesn't matter. If you don't already know, you can easily turn down the screen timeout on the device (to 1 or 2 minutes) and just let it go to standby on its own. To wake again, simply swipe bezel to bezel - you never need to use the power button. Everyone has their own method however, so our question is this: How do you put your PlayBook into standby? Do you use the power button to turn it off quickly or do you let it timeout on its own? Cast your vote in the poll above and leave a comment letting us know what works best for you!

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Quick Review: Facebook for the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

The Facebook for PlayBook app was announced and released last week during BlackBerry World and has been fairly well received overall. It's definitely a great app for Facebook users as it allows easy access to news feeds, profiles, messages, photos and chat. It's dead simple to use and the app itself is quick and responsive. You can tell a good amount of work went into things to ensure it was easy to navigate and get around quickly. I did have a few instances where the app crashed without notice and for no reason, but hopefully that can be worked out over time with a software update. Overall I say Facebook for PlayBook is a great app and if you haven't checked it out yet you definitely should. Free is free right?

Facebook for the BlackBerry PlayBook

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Menux adds quick call, email and SMS to your system menu

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

If you've ever wanted a quicker way to make a call or fire off an email or SMS then Menux may have the answer. This simple app allows you to add a system wide menu item that will let you send off a message quickly or make a phone call with one click. Setup the contact through the app, then click on the menu item to go right to the compose screen (for email or sms) or initiate a phone call. Menux lets you tweak out things to your liking, so not matter where you are on your device you'll be able to get in touch with frequent contacts quickly. Menux sells for $1.99 in the CrackBerry App Store.

More information/download of Menux 

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EA Mobile announces NFS PlayBook Sweepstakes

EA Mobile, maker of popular mobile games such as Need For Speed and Tetris, wants to give you a free, custom BlackBerry PlayBook! All you have to do to enter is head on over to their Facebook page at the link below, hit "Like", and enter your contact information. One grand prize winner will win the PlayBook, and 14 daily winners will win a free t-shirt from EA Games! The contest runs until May 23 and is open to US and Canadian residents (Quebec excluded). Be sure you read the official rules on EA's Facebook page before entering. In the meantime, check out their BlackBerry games in BlackBerry App World at the link below!

For complete rules and to enter EA's NFS PlayBook Sweepstakes
EA Mobile's games on BlackBerry App World

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Edit images on your BlackBerry Playbook with TouchUp Pro

That old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" still holds true, and more so today with the ability to take pictures and screenshots on the go with just about any mobile device. The new BlackBerry Playbook is no exception, and if you own one then undoubtedly you've snapped some pics or saved some screenshots by now. TouchUp Pro by esDot Development Studios is an application you can use to do some quick editing to the images you now have on your device. Featuring a clean and easy to navigate interface, you can use TouchUp Pro to crop, rotate/flip, reduce red eye, blur, as well as adjust the contrast/brightness and hue/saturation of your images. TouchUp Pro has a free trial available and sells for $1.99 in BlackBerry App World.

For more information/screenshots and to get TouchUp Pro

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Google announces movie rentals for Android, BlackBerry PlayBook already capable of playing them

You've no doubt by now heard some news about Google today considering they are holding their annual Google I/O conference. One of the larger announcements from their keynote, as noted by the fine folks over at Android Central was that the Android platform now has a movie rental service available to them from Google and YouTube. Major studios have signed on and the content being made available is rather broad and should be of interest to a lot of people.

Google however neglected to mention one thing about the actual services -- it works for other platforms as well. BlackBerry PlayBook owners can already access the content right from within the BlackBerry PlayBook browser. You see, the offerings are powered by YouTube and visiting the YouTube movie site from your BlackBerry PlayBook allows you to login, rent and view movies with ease.

In fact, you can even access it directly from the Android Market as well all from within the BlackBerry PlayBook. Pointless step, yes when you can just go to YouTube -- but the fact it allows you to do so is funny. So yes, Hulu and Netflix may be out for now -- but would YouTube really block the services? Not likely. Go ahead and give it a shot, let us know how it works for you. Keep in mind though, only available free videos can be played in Canada. Free and paid are available in the U.S.

Check it out via YouTube

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Audi Introduces Roadside Assistance App for BlackBerry

Audi has released an application to help customers connect directly to Audi roadside assistance from their BlackBerry smartphones. The app provides an easy solution for Audi owners to take advantage of their free roadside assistance packages when needed. Audi Roadside mixes the use of pre-registered owner info, GPS from the device and an easy phone UI to help solve problems quickly when using the app.

Features include:

  • Vehicle registration - Drivers simply provide their Audi's vehicle identification number (VIN) and some basic personal information to register the App with their customer information on file. This provides Audi Roadside Services your specific details when you request service, and greatly shortens the time it takes to dispatch service.
  • Audi Roadside Assistance - With a few simple steps, the driver selects the type of service they require (e.g. jump start, fuel delivery, tire change or tow) and the App locates the driver via the smart phone's GPS capabilities. The assistance request is sent to the Audi Roadside Assistance dispatcher as the call is connected to enable the dispatcher to provide faster service. Once the dispatch is complete, the App captures and conveniently stores the dispatch details, including the name of the roadside provider en route to the customer and estimated time of arrival.
  • Dealer Locator - For convenient access to dealer information, the App allows users to search for dealers nearby or within a given city. The App displays the dealer's name, location, hours of operation and phone number. With one touch, the user can display nearby dealers on a map or immediately call the dealer. This is particularly helpful when a service appointment is required immediately.

The Audi Roadside app is available as a free download for most devices in BlackBerry App World.

More information/download of Audi Roadside

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Review: ecolife Element Top Case for BlackBerry Smartphones

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

One size fits all...we see that statement a lot on different things but how many of us have found that this isn't always true? When it comes to universal cases, I tend to shy away from them because of that specific reason - one size does not fit all. I want a more custom fit so I know that my BlackBerry is protected at all times while it's traveling in its temporary home. My problem is that I have more than one device at my disposal. I don't want to shell out a ton of money for a case that fits each device. So I went looking through the universal cases available and came across the ecolife Element Top Case. I decided to give it a whirl with the devices that I own. For those of you who have jumped on the "going green" bandwagon, this case may be right up your alley. The ecolife Element Top Case is made from 100% recycled fabric and features a belt clip as well as supporting the BlackBerry sleeper function.

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BlackBerry Messenger on your Desktop - Fixmo Web Messenger enters public beta!

Well here's a pleasant surprise I came across while browsing the CrackBerry Forums this morning... it seems the good folks at Fixmo have gone into public beta on a desktop client for BlackBerry Messenger! That's right, we're talking about using BlackBerry Messenger from your computer.

Note, this isn't a standalone client - you still need a BlackBerry Smartphone with BlackBerry Messenger on it to use Fixmo Web Messenger from your computer. You can almost think of it like BlackBerry Bridge from your PlayBook to Smartphone, but this is from your BlackBerry Smartphone to your computer. Jump on over to the forum thread at the link below for more details and keep it locked to CrackBerry for more info on this as it evolves through the beta process. Cool stuff!

More Info / Download Public Beta of Fixmo Web Messenger

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BlackBerry 101: Conference Calls and Three Way Calling

Do you have the urge to speak to more than one of your friends at a time to share exciting news? Are there times you're not in the office but need to talk to your business associates? Speaking to two or more people at a time is what is commonly known as a conference call or three way calling. While there is more than one way to do this on your device, this 101 will focus on dialing each person separately and joining them together in one call.

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Official OS for the Curve 3G 9300 from du

Another new OS for the Curve 3G 9300 owners today. This one comes as OS from du. It looks to be a good one so far, so if you have the time them fire up App Loader and get it installed. If you're unsure you can always wait on some more reports before you make your decision. Head into the forums for more discussion. Thanks rroyy!

Download OS for the Curve 9300 from du
Discuss more in the forums

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Contest winners: Hellbent Top Pouch Case and Mp3CutterPro!

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) 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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Rumor: Microsoft to buy Skype for $7 Billion

If you all thought Steve Ballmer showing up during the keynote at BlackBerry World was a little crazy, maybe -- just maybe, there was a little bit more to it then we all realized at the time. No, Microsoft hasn't announced they're making a bid to purchase Research In Motion but -- they have however, according to some rumors floating around made a bid to purchase Skype for $7 billion.

As we know it right now, Skype has really never had much of an impact on the BlackBerry world considering their app is a Verizon exclusive and despite having announced it in the past as being made available for all, that has never actually come to light. If these rumors turn out to be true and the deal gets locked down, it could break the Verizon exclusivity and hopefully bring Skype to not only BlackBerry smartphones but to the BlackBerry PlayBook as well. We'll have to sit back and watch it all unfold but, fun to ponder the ideas while we wait that's for sure.

Update: Looks like it is a done deal, as reported by All Things D. Press release suggested for tomorrow morning.

Source: WSJ; via Android Central

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BlackBerry Bold 9700 and 9780 get an official update to OS from Taiwan Mobile!

Taiwan Mobile has released OS for BlackBerry Bold 9700 and 9780 owners bringing them up to par with the BlackBerry Torch 9800, which recieved the same update last week from Vodafone DE. This isn't a huge jump for either as the 9780 was previously sitting at .534 and the 9700 at .526 but an update is an update. We're interested in knowing how it performs for you, so if you choose to install it let us know in the comments or in the forums at the links below what changes you see. Thanks rroyy!

Download for the BlackBerry Bold 9700
Discuss for the 9700

Download for the BlackBerry Bold 9780
Discuss for the 9780

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BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Developer Kit webinar taking place May 12

While at BlackBerry World we heard plenty of talk about the upcoming BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Developer Kit but now that BlackBerry World is all said and done with, anyone who was not able to attend is being invited to a webinar  to get up to date on all the latest NDK news and information. The details are as follows:

Date: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Time: 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST
Duration: 1 hour

Join this webcast for two reasons! All registrants will receive news and updates on the BlackBerry Tablet OS NDK. And, we want to provide an opportunity for those that cannot attend BlackBerry World (May 3-5, 2011) to interact directly with our product manager who will cover the following topics:

  • Features and benefits
  • Application development
  • Performance and testing
  • Live Q&A with experts from Research In Motion Limited

Presenters: Patrick Mollins, Product Manager, Research In Motion Limited

If you're a developer looking to learn more about the BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Developer Kit and how to make it work for you, when released -- you can sign up today and tune into the webinar on May 12.

Register for the BlackBerry Tablet OS Native Developer Kit webinar

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BlackBerry PlayBook Native Email and PIM Running via BlackBerry OS Emulation?!! Makes hybrid QNX/BB OS plausible on new phones?

Thought Piece: Connecting the dots after BlackBerry World 2011...

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

With BlackBerry World 2011 now behind us, it's time to reflect upon all the news and things we saw. One of demos that really blew me away was of native email and PIM running on a BlackBerry PlayBook. Yes, we knew RIM said it was coming, but I was SHOCKED to actually see it in action. At first I honestly thought RIM was faking it. For the life of me I couldn't believe that RIM had already finished re-writing the email and PIM apps for QNX so they run natively on the PlayBook. Remember, these aren't just any old apps. These apps have to talk directly to RIM's Network Operation Center which means they have to be ROCK SOLID, just like native email and PIM on BlackBerry Smartphones today. We're talking secure and battle tested. These aren't just apps for RIM to quickly pump out and push live. Their reputation in business and enterprise rests on them.

Watching the video above I couldn't help but think how similar the native email and PIM experience on the BlackBerry PlayBook looked to that on a BlackBerry Smartphone. Then I had an ephinany. It looks like the same experience BECAUSE IT IS THE SAME EXPERIENCE. Instead of re-writing native email and PIM for the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM is going to run the traditional BlackBerry OS on top of QNX via an emulator to power the native email and PIM experience. To the user the actual email and PIM apps will look good and feel 100% native and the performance should be totally fine as we see in the video, but in reality it'll actually be the traditional BlackBerry OS running behind the scenes to deliver this experience (as pointed out in the comments, jump to 1m11s in the video to see the BB6 styled radio off indicator in the app). You won't see the BBOS, but it'll be there. At least for now.

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