BlackBerry News and Reviews

BlackBerry World 2011 Super Podcast and News Roundup!

BlackBerry World 2011 is now behind us and what a week it was. Adam, Bla1ze and I made it home from Orlando and we are exhausted. But before catching up on some Zzzz's we first recorded our BlackBerry World Super Duper Roundup Podcast which you can listen to here or download on your BlackBerry PlayBook or Smartphone via the Podcasts app. We want to see this episode be the most downloaded in the BB Podcasts app, so be sure to subscribe to us there and download. 

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CrackBerry Poll: Would you rather have a 7" BlackBerry PlayBook or 10" BlackBerry PlayBook?

  Would you rather have a 7" or 10" BlackBerry PlayBook?online survey

Since the BlackBerry PlayBook was first announced we have been adament that it wouldn't be too long before RIM would follow up with a 10" version of the device. Afterall, when it comes to their smartphones they have always provided plenty of form factor choice to consumers and this past philosophy on phones should transfer over to tablets as well. We've been hearing about a 10" PlayBook being in the works for a while now (oh yeah, and a 7" WHITE PlayBook is on the way too), and the 10" rumors are starting to really picking up now. This week BGR put word on their site about the 10" PlayBook being in the works and having confirmed it with their sources, and we even received an email this week of a 10" airplane PlayBook sighting that I personally believe to be true (I've spotted a lot of unreleased BB's on flights to and from Toronto over the years). Here's the word:

Today, On a flight from Dallas to Toronto I sat across the aisle from someone who had BOTH a 7" Blackberry playbook and what looked like a 10" Blackberry playbook as well. The 10" unit looked identical to the 7" unit and had the telltale vertical slotted speaker slits on the right and left side, forward facing camera (top middle) and some type of round sensor to the left of the camera sensor.

The larger unit had visibly better screen image quality than the 7"unit, significantly better contrast, brightness and viewing angle. I had a Xoom with me and it looked about the same size. I was able to see the menus/screens and it looked very similar to to the 7" screens. Additionally, the person who had this larger playbook was playing Need For Speed.

So with a 10" PlayBook in the works (I personally don't think it's a rumor at this point... it's happening), the question really becomes which size of PlayBook would you personally want to buy? I know in our BlackBerry PlayBook Review I was a little critical of the 7" form factor, feeling that it sacrificed the user experience for certain activities such as web browsing, but now that I've owned the PlayBook for a few weeks I have to say I've really fallen in love with the more portable 7" form factor and am more than happy with taking a few screen size tradeoffs in favor of a device I use way more often. I take my PlayBook with me everywhere!!

I know for some of our CrackBerry readers and myself the answer to this question is I'd buy BOTH... but really.. if you had to choose between 7" or 10", which would you go for? Cast your vote above and be sure to sound off in the comments with your reasoning. 

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Quick Review: ArtGO! Coloring for the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

It seems as though each time I bring home a new gadget, my son appears to be just as eager to check it out. Try telling a 4 year old that the PlayBook is the “World’s First Professional Grade Tablet” and not a toy… especially when the name contains the word Play. Not to dissuade a future BlackBerry addict, I went looking for applications I could download for him. I remembered the kids applications from Zeebu Mobile Inc, such as MathGO! And SuperBabyGo! and their ability to entertain/educate children without giving them access to anything else on a BlackBerry. ArtGO Coloring is available for the PlayBook, if you’re brave enough to put the tablet into their little hands.

The application provides various backgrounds to choose from, as well as resizable animals to populate the background with. Virtual markers, pattern paints, crayons and an eraser stand at the ready; waiting to help your child’s imagination take shape. At times my Son would get frustrated with the lagging response time when scrolling through, and moving animals. The resizing option wouldn’t always work either. Nonetheless, he did enjoy painting a dog to look like a tiger (sorry, no Ligers available). There is no way that a child can draw outside of the lines with ArtGO Coloring. The PlayBook can also house a gallery of saved works of art for future bragging. Zeebu also included an option to share the image via Facebook. I’m hoping for a Twitter option at some point.

Now unlike the BlackBerry smartphone versions, your youngling can easily exit from the application and access any other program in your PlayBook. The next thing you know, they can be into the browser or your messages (if bridged). I’m pretty sure you’ll find enjoyment with colouring or drawing on your own, just make sure you at least pretend to work. You can pick up ArtGO Coloring for $3.99 from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download ArtGo! Coloring for the PlayBook
More applications from Zeebu Mobile

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Review: Rocket Storm for the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Rocket Storm is an addictively fun game available for the BlackBerry PlayBook. The name itself makes me think of some kind of cheesy band name. It is a defence-type game that places your “space station” (ie, little metal sphere) against an increasingly aggressive onslaught of inbound rockets; hence the name. The reason for the attack is unknown, but the objective is clear; fight rockets with rockets! When you launch missiles/rockets, you want to make sure the enemy rockets are caught within the blast radius. The more rockets you catch in a single blast, the better you score will be. The last line of defence is your stations shields. After 3 hits, they are down for the count – no chance to recharge. As you advance through the levels you are presented with different types of enemy rockets (faster rockets, zig-zagging rockets, etc), as to prevent the game play from getting stale.

There isn’t anyway of saving your progress, so each time you close and open the game, you start at “Wave 01”. Game play isn’t always the same. Sometimes when the game has been paused for a while (before the level starts), I find that all of the enemy rockets for that round are launched simultaneously. The graphics are smooth and decent and should satisfy anyone who has an affinity for making things go boom. Locations of the explosions are spot on with player selections, so there are not really any cheap deaths to be had.

"blow'd up good, blow'd up real good!"

You can grab Rocket Storm for free from BlackBerry App World

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Review: HellBent Top Pouch Case 9650 - Leave a comment to win one!

Leave a comment to win a HellBent case for your device! Keep reading for details.

For me nothing beats the feel of a BlackBerry device without a case or anything on it, but unfortunately I don't always enjoy carrying the device around with me like that. Having to insert and remove the device from my pocket constantly opens up a whole lot of potential for it to get scratched up, and become old looking (big fear of mine). Predicaments like this leave little room for possibilities of what to use, but luckily there are quite a few holsters that are available to provide protection while not in use, but allow the naked style feel of the device while it is in use. While looking around, deciding which of them to purchase the HellBent Top Pouch Case caught my attention for a few reasons, so I decided to give it a chance. Hit the break with me to check out this case with a little more detail.

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Geek Pro: Use QR codes to make the internet mobile

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

Sometimes, don't you want to take the Internet with you? But Joseph, you'll say, I can already do that. I have this little device; it's called a BlackBerry. Maybe you've heard of it? No, I'm talking about those times when you have to leave your computer. You're in the middle of (shameless plug) a really good article, and it's time to step away. Maybe it's lunchtime; maybe it's time for a visit to the smallest room (don't lie; you've thought about it). Yes you can read the article on your BlackBerry, but then you'd have to open the browser and go to the site. And then follow that one link. And then the other. And the other.

It would be great to just send that URL to your phone and pick up right where you left off, almost instantaneously. There's no app to install on your phone, you already have the necessary pieces. All you need to do is change that webpage address or link into a QR code.

There are a number of free resources to do this. At Kaywa, you can copy and paste the URL into the appropriate box and have the website generate a code for you. You could also install an extension to your ChromeFirefox, or Safari browser. With the extension, you'll be able to make that QR code with one click from right inside the browser. The extensions should also let you create a code for any link on that page as well.

Now that you have a QR code, what do you do with it? You open up App World.  App World has a powerful QR code-reading scanner built right in. In the app, press the menu key and select Scan a Barcode from the list. The scanner will read any QR code, it doesn't have to be one linking to App World. Hold your camera steady as the scanner zooms in on your code. In a moment, you'll be asked if you want to go to your website.

Find a web link. Make a QR Code. Scan it with App World. Done. Geek Pro!

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Official OS for the Pearl 3G from SaskTel

Saskatel has officially released a new OS for the Pearl 3G. OS is now available and ready to go. Pearl 3G users with either the 9100 or 9105 can give this one a go. Reports are pretty good so far, so if your USB cable is handy then give this one a whirl. As always, use caution when installing any OS on your device.

Download OS for the Pearl 3G
Discuss more in the forums

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Facebook for BlackBerry v2.0 update now available in Beta Zone

Facebook for BlackBerry v2.0 has been available in the beta zone for a few weeks now, and today RIM has issued another refresh of the popular social networking application. Version 2.0 brings along a new UI for the app as well as Facebook chat and more. The refreshed version is available today for enrolled Beta Zone members. Features include:

  • Support for BlackBerry OS 5.0 - The beta app now supports BlackBerry smartphones with BlackBerry OS 5 and above.
  • Facebook Chat Enhancements
    • Know when a friend is typing a message by the visual cue of "is typing a message"
    • Filter Online Contacts to quickly find a specific friend and start a Chat message.
  • Mutual Friends and Friends List - Discover which friends you have in common with other users via the Info tab on Profiles (dependent on Privacy Settings of the user).
  • Enhanced integration with BlackBerry native apps - Click on PINs, Phone Numbers, and email addresses displayed in Wall posts, messages or the Info tab, to perform the respective action (e.g., place a call) or save the information to your BlackBerry Contacts application

The new version can be found in the BlackBerry Beta Zone today.

Source: Inside BlackBerry

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QuickSlide lets you easily lock and unlock your Torch without any buttons

Ever slip your BlackBerry Torch into your pocket or purse without remembering to lock it, and the next thing you know you have made a phone call, or browsing the web? Well, you are not alone and the folks at Boardwalk Mobile were feeling the same pain and have decided to do something aobut it. QuickSlide is the latest application from Boardwalk Mobile and the concept behind it is to lock your device for you without the need to press any buttons, or launch any applications each time you want to put the device away.

After installing QuickSlide users can customize how long after the screen goes off for it to be locked, and boom, just like that the device will lock. There are also options that allow you to exclude applications from this, so if you were in the browser and the screen times out, you are able to resume activity without unlocking the device. Unlocking is quite simple, all you have to do is slide the device open, or by pressing the back button twice. The best part about the application is that it is as simple as installing it, setting it up, and then it does the rest for itself, and you no longer have to deal with that over sensitive lock button.

More information / purchase of QuickSlide

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Video Demo of Wikitude's Augmented Reality Browser that comes preloaded on the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

During BlackBerry World's keynote demo sessions, RIM showed off the new Wikitude for BlackBerry app that will come preloaded on the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 and make use of the device's built-in Digital Compass. The Wikitude app is referred to as Augumented Reality Browser... but what does that mean? Probably the best thing to do is check out the video above to see it in action or Wikitude's blog post on the announcement for me details, but esssentially you can open the camera view within the app and see the world around you with points of interest layered on top. With over 150 milllion geo-referenced places already tagged around the world, Bold Touch owners are going to have a lot of fun with this one.

We hear an even better demo video is coming soon of the Wikitude app in action, so stay tuned and we'll post that up as soon as it hits the youtubes. 

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How to turn your website into a BlackBerry PlayBook App in THREE Minutes with the WebWorks SDK

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

During our BlackBerry World Developer podcast with RIM's Chris Smith and Mike Kirkup, we talked about the different development options available for the BlackBerry PlayBook and some of the factors developers will want to look at in deciding which SDK to use.

For mobilizing website content onto the PlayBook (and BlackBerry Smartphones for that matter), the BlackBerry WebWorks development kit is relatively powerful and easy-to-use option. How easy? Check out the video above and you'll see Tim Neil from RIM whip together a basic app in 3 minutes. Impressive. While the PlayBook's web browser does a solid job of loading, I'm starting to think it's time we build a kick ass CrackBerry app for the PlayBook. What do you guys and gals think?

Learn More About the BlackBerry Tablet OS WebWorks SDK

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Twitter for BlackBerry reaches v2.0 - Available at the BlackBerry Beta Zone

Today, some of you Twitter users are in for a treat. Available for most BlackBerry Beta Zone users is Twitter for BlackBerry The update brings a brand new and very attractive interface, and seems to make better use of your BlackBerry's screen real estate. Other new features include:

  • Redesigned Navigation Bar
  • New Compose Tweet Button
  • Single Search Screen
  • External Notification- New app header shows you notification from other apps like email, BBM, etc.
  • New Black/Chrome Color Scheme

Overall this is a great update, adding a lot of features. So if you are a Beta Zone user, head on over and check it out. Hit the break for more screen shots.

Download T4BB v2.0 at the BlackBerry Beta Zone

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Cars @ BlackBerry World: Jaguar w/ BlackBerry Integration and QNX Concept Corvette

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Adding some additional flare to BlackBerry World's Solution Showcase exhibition hall this year, a couple of hot cars touting awesome infotainment and computer systems graced the show floor. In the above video, you can check out Jaguar's factory available setup, which runs a QNX dashboard display and was demoing a beta of Connect and View, which will be available in 2012 models from Jaguar and Land Rover. Be sure to watch the demo above and you can check out the full press release lower in this post (note: The RealVNC BlackBerry integreation shown in this video is still in beta - the frames per minute will be much higher upon official release). 

And below you can check out the QNX Corvette that was on display, where I get a great walk through of how QNX can be used in cars today, and also get a look at what it is coming tomorrow. Remember the article I wrote on how I wished my BlackBerry PlayBook could integrate deeply with my car? Turns out that's not a wish! With a QNX-based tablet talking to a car running QNX computers, the integration CAN go real deep.  Awesome stuff here. Video below.

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New Demo Video Showing off the Android App Player on the BlackBerry PlayBook!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

On Tuesday we posted a video demo of Android Apps running on BlackBerry that was given during the BlackBerry World 2011 keynote. Getting into a bit more detail and giving us another look, RIM's blog has posted a followup video which again walks through the premise behind Android app support on BlackBerry and shows off the Android App Player in action. Check out the video above and be sure to drop a comment with your thoughts!

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BlackBerry Bold 9900 coming soon to Vodafone UK

If you happen to live in the UK and are looking to get your hands on the sexy new BlackBerry Bold 9900 as soon as possible then Vodafone UK has the hookup. Shortly after the T-Mobile US announcement Vodafon went ahead and placed the BlackBerry Bold 9900 on their coming soon page. No release dates have been posted as of yet, nor pricing but -- right now, you can sign up for updates and know exactly when Vodafone UK is ready to release. In the meantime, be sure to check out all of our previous BlackBerry Bold 9900 coverage, including and up close and personal hands-on and general first impressions.

Sign up for BlackBerry Bold 9900 updates from Vodafone

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BlackBerry Java SDK v7.0 to be made available soon

Now that the BlackBerry Bold 9900 series has been announced, along with BlackBerry 7 a whole subset of features are going to be rolled out. While the environment itself is not much of a stray from the current BlackBerry smartphone SDK it does offer a whole new set of API to make use of as well as, a whole new subset of features in which developers can leverage to make their applications better. Looking at the new features developers will have have access to:

  • OpenGL ES 2.0, taking advantage of the new graphics chip, allows you to create games rich in compelling graphics.
  • Window Manager API, also taking advantage of the new graphics chip and increased device horsepower, allows you to overlay OpenGL or any other UI component on top of anything you want, including camera and video.
  • Compass APIs, taking advantage of the new magnetometer sensor, allows you to determine the device’s orientation and direction. When combined with Window Manager API, enables the creation of augmented reality applications.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) APIs, taking advantage of the new NFC radio, allows you to read and emulate virtual tags and create rich solutions for payment and m-commerce.
  • Video capture APIs updated with support for HD video recording, taking advantage of the improved camera, allows your application to provide the user with the same high end media experience they get from the core apps.

Quite a wide array there but -- that's not all that is coming with the new SDK, make sure you jump on past the break for more items that are geared toward deeper integration with in apps.

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Video Demo of Multiplayer Quake III Action on the BlackBerry PlayBook - Easy to port POSIX games to BlackBerry Tablet OS!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

The Native Development Kit for the BlackBerry PlayBook's BlackBerry Tablet OS hasn't been released to the public just yet (see our BlackBerry Developer Podcast for more details), but when it becomes available we should see a plethora of games become available. Developers can take any game developed for a POSIX environment and easily bring the code over to the QNX OS. From there it's just a matter of tweaking controls for the PlayBook's user interface and sizing graphics for the appropriate resolution.

In this video recorded at the Ask the Experts booth at BlackBerry World, we get an explanation of how easy it was to port Quake III over to QNX via the NDK and of course we get to see some multiplayer first person shoot em up action. Check it out! 

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Steve Ballmer talks Microsoft + RIM, BlackBerry + Bing at BlackBerry World 2011 (video)

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

One of the big surprises this year at BlackBerry World 2011 took place during Tuesday's keynote presentation, when Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer took to the stage. In the video above you can watch Ballmer's full presentation where he talks about Microsoft working with RIM to enhance the cloud-based services available to BlackBerry, with a primary focus on Bing.

If you want to skip the talking and get to the goods, you can jump to 7m35s for a video depicting where Microsoft and RIM want to go with Bing on BlackBerry, and to 10m35s for a live demo of some of the new Bing on BlackBerry features that they already have working (including location awareness and search right from the locked homescreen - swipe to search). 

All in all, I really like where RIM is going here. The more we can get our BlackBerry devices doing the better. My only hope is that while Microsoft + RIM are going to work closely to bring more cloud-based experiences to BlackBerry handsets, that users who may not be Bing fans can turn off these core OS integrated services if they choose too. I like having the option of using all of these Microsoft services, but I don't want to be forced to.

Be sure to watch the video above and be sure to sound off in the comments with your thoughts. Do you like the direction things are going here??

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Poynt introduces pairing for BlackBerry PlayBook - Connects BlackBerry Smartphones to BlackBerry Tablet (video)

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

One of the cool things about the BlackBerry PlayBook is the BlackBerry Bridge functionality which allows you to connect your BlackBerry tablet to your BlackBerry smartphone. This concept of having two devices working together vs. having your tablet and smartphone as distinctly different experiences is one that gets a lot of CrackBerry readers excite.

That being the case, it was really cool to see Poynt come up with a pairing solution for the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry Smartphone by their own design by tapping into the push services that RIM offers. You need to check out the video above to see it in action - it's pretty awesome! The end result is that after you pair your phone to the tablet, the apps are essentially connected. You can have Poynt closed on our smartphone, and from within the PlayBook's Poynt app place phone calls, make reservations (it'll add them to the calendar on your phone), etc. Cool stuff.

Be sure to watch the video above and check out the video below. You can grab Poynt from BlackBerry World for free. Great job Poynt!!

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The BlackBerry Bold 9900 / 9930 Battery

A closer look at the all new JM1 1230mAh battery featured in the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 / 9930 Smartphone

Need a spare battery for your BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930? Get it at!

During our indepth hands-on with the BlackBerry Bold 9930 at BlackBerry World 2011, we pulled the battery cover off the device and saw a new battery that had a grey and blue wrapper on it. It turns out that particular device was a slightly older engineering unit that didn't feature the final production battery. To clear things up and make sure we got it right, we went back for another look at the new touch Bold and took some photos of the production JM1 battery as you can see in the photos above and below.

Low on battery life? ShopCrackBerry is #1 for BlackBerry Bold accessories!
9900/9930 Spare Battery More Bold 9900/9930 Charging Solutions

The JM1 battery is 1230mAh, which is a bit smaller in capacity than the 1550mAh MS1 battery that's been used in the Bold 9000 and 9700/9780. The footprint of the battery is about the same, but the JM1 is definitely thinner as you can see in the comparison shots below. During our press briefing session this week on the device I asked about RIM's expectation of battery life on the 9900 / 9930, seeing as there's a smaller battery but a higher performing processor, and RIM seemed very confident in the battery life. RIM's always put battery life as priority, and they haven't sacrificed the user experience here - so expect the device to power you through a full day of work and play. With the new Bold being the thinnest BlackBerry to date they needed to go with a slightly thinner battery. And for power users who eat through batteries regardless, the good news here of course is that you can always buy a spare battery and swap it out if you need to - I'm glad to see RIM still allowed for a removable battery on the new Bold.

Learn More / Buy BlackBerry Batteries

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