BlackBerry News and Reviews

BlackBerry DevCon 2011 registration now open

Although we're still going through BlackBerry World in Florida, during the general session keynote today Senior Vice President, Business & Platform Marketing, at Research In Motion, Jeff McDowell announced that registration for BlackBerry DevCon is now open. This year, the event will take place in San Francisco on October 18 through 20.

Some of the demos, such as TAT that we've looked at from BlackBerry World are slated for arrival at DevCon so, if you're looking to get in on the action early head on over the DevCon registration page. If you're unable to attend DevCon Americas, there is still DevCon Asia and Europe as well. Check out the DevCom 2011 Americas page for more details.

Visit the BlackBerry DevCon page for more details

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Contest winners: Bluetooth headsets, OtterBox Defender for BlackBerry Playbook, Shadow of 6, and Cute Puppies!

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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Official OS 6.0.0.546 for BlackBerry Torch released by Vodafone DE

In the midst of all the excitement coming from the BlackBerry World Conference, Vodafone DE has released OS 6.0.0.546 for BlackBerry Torch owners. The last official OS we saw for this device was not long ago in the form of 6.0.0.534 from Bell. As this new OS was never leaked, 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 forum what changes you see. Thanks rroyy!

Download BlackBerry Torch OS 6.0.0.546 from Vodafone DE

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Xobni for BlackBerry updated to v2.0.28 - New features, UI updates, bug fixes and more!

Award winning contact management app Xobni for BlackBerry just got a HUGE update! The team has been hard at work over the last couple of months, compiling feedback and suggestions and evolving their app to the next level. Not only are there some expected bug fixes, but they also added in new features, functionality, and UI updates for both the free and paid versions. Check out the full change log after the break (it's long!) and to download hit one of the links below.

For more information and to download Xobni from the CrackBerry store
For more information and to download Xobni from BlackBerry App World

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Angry Birds confirmed coming to the BlackBerry PlayBook

Surely you all remember Kevins open letter to Rovio, makers of Angry Birds right? At the time, Rovio did give us somewhat of a response but never actually stated they'd release a version of Angry Birds for the PlayBook but they did say it was a definite possibilty. Here we are, now in May and during todays Keynote Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer Research In Motion made sure everyone knew Angry Birds was indeed, coming to the BlackBerry PlayBook. No announcement came directly from Rovio as of yet but we're expecting as we get closer to release we'll start to hear more. Only fair to note -- no mention was made about a transition to BlackBerry 7 enabled devices but it's still a possibility, especially now that it seems Rovio and RIM have been working together plus there, is still Angry Farm for us all.

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Video Demo of Video Chat on the BlackBerry PlayBook!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

This morning's BlackBerry PlayBook OS update to version 1.0.3.1868 brought with it a number of updates, including BlackBerry Video Chat!! The Video Chat app allows BlackBerry PlayBook owners to... well.. you know.. chat over video with each other. Gone is the phrase What's your pin? when it comes to adding contacts. Instead, the big question from now on is What's your BBID? Enter in a person's email address tied to their BlackBerry ID account and you can easily call up a contact. There's no availability status at this time, so for it to work you're both going to have to have your PlayBooks turned on and in WiFi coverage (calling somebody not online will result in a Contact Not Available message). The person you're calling doesn't need to be in the Video Chat app though as long as their PlayBook is turned on (it can be sitting with the display off in standby) and WiFi-connected - even with the PlayBook display off and the Video Chat not open it will wake the display and you'll get a notification of the incoming call and can accept it and begin to chat. 

With the call connected we've found the video to be really smooth so far. WiFi coverage at BlackBerry World can be pretty spotty with 6,000 people all carrying multiple devices fighting for signal, but out of 10 calls so far we've found it to be more than acceptable in terms of smoothness. Talking to some of the other bloggers and writers in attendance, the word is it's way better than anything video chat on Android and looks to be as good or even better than Facetime on iOS (the PlayBook's video quality is really top notch thanks to the awesome camera and display). I really like the fact you can use either the front facing or rear facing camera during video chat. You can also do audio-only calls (no video), and set yourself to Do Not Disturb if you want to ensure nobody interrupts you. Overall the experience is quite impressive and we're sure it's only going to get better as RIM continues to work on it. We have run into some issues with trying to connect a couple calls where the error message "A firewall is preventing a Video Chat connection." We're not quite sure exactly what the situation is that can cause that to happen but we're going to figure it out. Stay tuned.

Check out the video above to see Adam and I call each other. It's a good ole video chatting time. Awesome stuff RIM. Keep the PlayBook updates coming. This device just keeps getting better and better and better!

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Unity shows off 3D gaming on the BlackBerry PlayBook


[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Over the next few months, developers will be busy porting games and apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook and one company looking to make the trasition easier is Unity. Unity today, showed off a good amount of games that were built using their development tools with one stand out, being Samurai II as shown in the video above. Of course, it's not Angry Birds that was also confirmed as coming soon but -- that doesn't make it any less stellar. Check out the video and let us know in the comments what you think.

Learn more about Unity

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Unsubscribe.com launches mobile app for BlackBerry

 

Unsubscribe.com has announced today that they have launched their mobile app for BlackBerry. The app easily lets users unsubscribe from unwanted mailing list spam with a few simple clicks. The service has been available for quite a while for various email clients including Gmail and Outlook, but now can be used easily on the go right from your BlackBerry. The simple install gives you an additional Unsubscribe menu option - just highlight the desired spam email, click the menu option and the app gives you an unsubscribed verification - that's all there is to it. The BlackBerry app is free to use (up to 5 unsubs a month) but those on a monthly Unsubscribe.com plan can go all out. 

If you want to give the full service a go, use the promo code crack when purchasing a plan to get 20% off. Download the app OTA from your device at unsubscribe.com/bbapp or hit the link below for more info.

More information/download of the Unsubscribe.com mobile app

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BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Adding a home screen shortcut on the BlackBerry PlayBook

One of the new features in the latest BlackBerry PlayBook OS update is the ability to add a browser shortcut to the home screen. This gives you the ability to create your own bookmarks right on the PlayBook home screen as opposed to the browser itself, giving you one click access to whatever site you choose. To do this, simply navigate to the site for which you want to set the bookmark. Then press and release the "add bookmark" icon (white star with the + sign). Choose Add to Home Screen, enter a name for the shortcut and you're done. That's all there is to it! Now you can make your own shortcuts for any of your favorite sites including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and of course CrackBerry :-)

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VEVO video app coming to the BlackBerry PlayBook

Todays keynote contained lots of goodies and sneak peeks of upcoming apps -- one of which, was Vevo for the BlackBerry PlayBook. If you're not familiar with VEVO, they're one of the top online music video services out there and hold the rights to a large catalog of content most of which, will now be streamed to your BlackBerry PlayBook in HD when the app hits release. Sadly, no date was given at this time but it's coming and if you're a music fan it'll be worth checking out.

Learn more about VEVO

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Video Demo of Android Apps Running on the BlackBerry PlayBook via the Android App Player!!!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Just weeks before the BlackBerry PlayBook became available for purchase, RIM made the announcement that the BlackBerry PlayBook would be able to support Android Apps. Today at BlackBerry World, we got our first chance to see exactly what this experience will look like on the PlayBook. Long story short, it's looking pretty darn good. RIM is working hard to make the experience very integrated on the PlayBook.

As we learned previously, Android App Developers will have to signup with BlackBerry App World and bring over their apps (an easy process), from which PlayBook owners will be able to download the Android-gone-BlackBerry apps from App World. On the PlayBook homescreen, the Android apps will appear the same as any other app - you get the same sort of icon. To launch an Android App, first the Android App Player has to be open and running on the PlayBook. If it's already open and you launch an Android App, it'll quickly load within the App Player. If the App Player is not already open when you launch an Android App, it'll first open the App Player and load the app within it (essentially the App Player is literally running the Android OS, so it has to open before the apps will run). Because the PlayBook doesn't have buttons, RIM has mapped the PlayBook's Tablet OS neatly to the Player. So where you would have an option button on Android, within the Android App Player you can swipe down from the top bezel to bring up the options menu. 

Hit up the video above to see it in action and let us know what you think in the comments. The performance with the apps demoed looks pretty solid, so I'm thinking this is going to be a BIG WIN for PlayBook owners. And I'm sure if that considering this is really phase one implementation on a young platform, that we'll further see this support improve over the months ahead. Excited much??

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BlackBerry PlayBook Native Email and PIM Video Demo!!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Here it is folks... a video sneak peek of native email and PIM apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook!! RIM showed it off during their BlackBery World Keynote today, and working with BIS and BES, this is the full native email and PIM experience you'd find on a BlackBerry Smartphone on the PlayBook. 

Sure, it would have been nice if this was on the PlayBook at launch, but what's done is done and it's coming and it'll be here soon. RIM says this summer, and it makes sense that it will be available as the radio versions of the PlayBook hit the market. Hit the video above for a first look!

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BlackBerry World 2011 Keynote Live Blog!

Status: Live Blog Now over.  Note: You can still watch the notes from the show below.

BlackBerry World 2011 Keynote Live Blog!

We're live on location in Orlando, Florida at BlackBerry World 2011. A TON of news already got announced yesterday -- see all of the announcements here -- so we're thinking today's keynote will involve a lot of demos and hopefully a few surprises. Tune into the live chat above and we'll be following up with a CrackBerry Podcast later in the day. Enjoy the show!

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Official OS 1.0.3.1868 for the BlackBerry PlayBook now available

Announced earlier today, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 1.0.3.1868 is now showing as an available update. This version brings along video chat, BBM, document editing and homescreen bookmarks. This is probably the best update we've seen yet as far as features, so if you're rolling with a PlayBook then check for the update if you aren't seeing it already. We'll be sure to report back with more when we get it up and running!

Discuss more in the forums

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BlackBerry Bold 9930 / 9900 Full Hardware and BlackBerry 7 Software Video Walkthrough!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

When we did our initial hands-on video of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 / 9930 Smartphone the booth was swamped and it was tough to record a decent video up, so we went back for seconds during the BlackBerry World opening reception and spent some quality time on the device. After getting a quick demo of NFC on the Bold 9930 and firing up a web browser shootout comparing BlackBerry 7 on the 9930 vs. BlackBerry 6 on the 9780, in this video we take our time and walk through the hardware and software on the first touchscreen Bold. Following up our first impressions, here's where we're at after spending a bit more time on the device.

BlackBerry Bold 9930/9900 Hardware: The more time we spend on the new Bold the more we're in love with the hardware. Of course the features and specs list is well filled out and you feel the performance and speed of the 1.2GHz processor. Photos don't do justice to both how thin the Bold Touch is and how light in the hand it feels. While the width of the device is the same as the Bold 9000, we're told there's actually 6% more of usable area around the device. The keyboard is frack'n amazing - it's literally a joy to type on. One thing we didn't notice previously was the addition of a third button sandwhiched between volume up and down which is for mute. And as for the cool feature of the backlit trackpad, I love the power down sequence of the device. When the device powers down into standby, first it kills the lighting on the display, then the lighting on the keyboard, and then finally the lighting around the trackpad - totally a nice touch.

BlackBerry 7 Software: Whether you think it should be called BlackBerry 6.1 or 7, there's definitely a lot of newness in the OS on the Bold 9900/9930. Definitely noticeable is what RIM has dubbed Liquid Graphics. Between the processor's speed and the GPU, the whole touchscreen/scrolling experience is liquidy smooth. New icons dress up the UI, and I LOVE that I can now personalize the homescreen views. Don't like all that homescreen left and right scrolling? You can easily disable it and go back to the BlackBerry 5 style of homescreen. Voice-activated Universal search is there, and there's an on-device music store. The web browser is faster, NFC support is there.... you get it.. there's a lot going on here.

Check out the video to see it all in action and learn more. Got any questions still? Be sure to let us know and we'll get the answers while we're here at BlackBerry World. Enjoy the video!

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Web Browser Shootout: BlackBerry 7 on the Bold 9930 vs. BlackBerry 6 on the Bold 9780!

[ youtube video link for mobile vewing ]

Following up our BlackBerry Bold Touch Hands-On and NFC Demo videos, we decided it was time to put the newly-announced BlackBerry Bold Touch up against the good ole BlackBerry Bold 9780 to see how things stack up in the web browsing department.

With its 1.2GHz processor and running BlackBerry 7, RIM tells us the browsing experience is approximately 30% faster than the BlackBerry 6 browsing experience on current in-market devices. Part of this is performance is obviously due to the increased processing power, but beyond that RIM says they have done a lot of work on the browser to further enhance it and it's just going to keep getting better. One of the things they have worked hard on is to really minimize the "checkerboarding" or "tiling" that can occur on mobile devices when scrolling down a web page. It definitely appears like RIM has succeeded here. Once a page is fully loaded on the Bold 9930, it's actually really difficult to get any sort of checkerboarding to happen - the scrolling is fast!

During our shootout we definitely saw the 30% improvement to hold true. Check out the video above to see the comparison for yourself. All I know is that as much as I love my Bold 9780, I can't wait to ditch it in favor of the 9900. 

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New BlackBerry PlayBook ad - Why can't every tablet do that?

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Another new ad for the BlackBerry PlayBook has been added to the BlackBerry YouTube page, although we've not seen it air on as of yet -- it's a pretty awesome video that oddly enough, shows off some clips of the upcoming Thor movie as well. Have a look, drop some comments in the forums or on the post and let us know your thoughts. With a new software update rolling out, Facebook now available and more on the way -- I think we'll see plenty more RIM marketing for the BlackBerry PlayBook arrive soon. 

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NFC Video Demo on the BlackBerry Bold 9930!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Following up our first hands-on of the new BlackBerry Bold 9900, we re-visited the experience room at BlackBerry World to get a closer look at some of the first touchscreen Bold's features. In this video we take a look at NFC. This is the first BlackBerry Smartphone to support NFC, or Near Field Communication, which is a short-range wireless technology (4cm or less) that allows two devices to communication - there's always an initiator and a target. On a device like a BlackBerry, that can mean a few things... like bringing the phone close to a poster to launch an action like downloading an app, or pairing accessories together, or even making wireless payments. RIM is committed to NFC so expect to see a lot of progress here over the months and years ahead as you start using it for more and more things.

Be sure to check out the video above to see NFC in action! Big thanks to Annu for the demo!!

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BlackBerry PlayBook Mobile Tour - Get up close and personal with the BlackBerry PlayBook

If you've not had the chance to pick up and play with a BlackBerry PlayBook then you may be in luck. RIM  has announced the BlackBerry PlayBook Mobile Tour which kicks off tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3rd from 9 AM to 5 PM, in New York’s Herald Square (Broadway and 34th Street). The PlayBook Mobile Tour is a tractor trailer completely outfitted to create an immersive PlayBook experience. Visitors will be able to:

  • Sit in the PlayBook Theater and watch a video showcasing all the benefits of the tablet
  • Get hands on at one of the demo stations to get a hands on tutorial of the stand out features of this powerful, ultra portable 7” tablet, including true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing with full Adobe Flash, rich multimedia and numerous apps from AppWorld designed specifically for PlayBook
  • Visit the bridging station and experience BlackBerry Bridge™, allowing secure access to BBM™, email, calendar, contacts, memo pad, tasks from your BlackBerry smartphone

Head on over to the BlackBerry PlayBook Mobile Tour site for more details and to see if your city is listed as one of the venues.

Learn more about the BlackBerry PlayBook Mobile Tour

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BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Photo Gallery

In addition to our hands-on video we have a simple collection of BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 photos for your viewing pleasure. This is one sweet device and the pictures don't do it justice - you really do have to see it live and up close. This is RIM's thinnest device to date and with its all-around stainless steel bezel, full QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen, the BlackBerry Bold Touch is definitely one of the best looking devices as well. If you haven't already, check out all of our BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 coverage for more on RIM's latest Bold.

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