BlackBerry News and Reviews

HiWiFi by i-Mentalist - A powerful wireless network manager for your BlackBerry!

You know Hedone Design for their awesome themes, and now you get to see a different side of their creativity. Their newest venture is app development under the name i-Mentalist, and their first offering is HiWiFi which was designed to save you money and make connecting to wifi hotspots easy and automatic. HiWiFi is a powerful wireless network manager. It provides automatic WLAN connection and informs you about available WLANs. With HiWiFi you can avoid using your data plan to help save money while roaming. You can save your favorite hotspots for automatic connection and be alerted by LED indicator when you are connected to a hotspot.

HiWiFi has two operating modes – Connect mode, which is default, and Watch mode which can be chosen in the Options menu. While in Connect mode, you will be automatically connected to any available hotspots, with preference given to the one with the strongest signal if there are multiple available.  Watch mode simply scans the area for hotspots, but it won't automatically connect to open ones. Depending on the type of hotspots found, they will be marked with a green circle (open and available hotspot), yellow circle (blocked hotspot that requires log in), or red circle (protected and unavailable hotspot). Untested hotspots are ones that have been found but HiWiFi has not yet determined the type, and are marked with a grey circle.

If you travel frequently, use roaming, or even just around town, this can be a very valuable tool for your BlackBerry. Wouldn't it be nice to worry less about how much data you have left for the month, and spend less time searching for wifi when you're out? Let HiWiFi do the work for you. HiWiFi is available for $8.99 and is compatible with BlackBerry 8220/30, 8330, 8350i, 8520/30, 89xx, 9000, 9300/30, 9520/50, 9650/70, 97xx, and 9800.

For more information and to purchase HiWiFi

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Quick Review: BlackBerry charging pod for the Style 9670

My BlackBerry is like my 4th child. It has it's sweet moments when everything runs smoothly. It also has it's temper tantrums where nothing seems to go right and I find myself pulling it's battery for punishment (sometimes I leave it out for a few minutes extra just to show it who's really the boss). I don't make my kids sleep on a hard counter or night stand so why should my BlackBerry? This is why I use the BlackBerry Charging Pod for the Style 9670. While it may not be as fancy as the one pictured above, it gives my baby a safe place to sleep at night and is still close at hand. The pod also allows me to save the USB port from needless stress.

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Fun with The Simpsons Arcade for BlackBerry

For some of you, The Simpsons have been around since before you were born. Me though, I remember watching those earliest episodes on the fledgling Fox Network, available in only a handful of cities at the time. If you didn't turn the antenna just right, you got mostly static. Since those early days, I've watched all 485 episodes. Yes, that's nearly a half-thousand episodes.

As you may have guessed, The Simpsons Arcade stars Homer, Marge, Maggie, Lisa, and Bart. Homer battles his way through Springfield. There's something about a doughnut and secret plans... The game is amusingly non-specific. The Simpsons Arcade is a Street Fighter-style game with basic controls and one button for kicking, punching, head-butting, etc. Had this simplistic game used any other characters, it wouldn't have been nearly as fun.  Still, it has its enjoyable moments.

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BlackBerry App Roundup for April 29, 2011 - Rounding up FREE games for you!

Welcome to this week's BlackBerry App Roundup! This week we decided to focus on games, and not just any games, but FREE games! Check them out after the break. If you have an app you want to see featured in the roundup be sure to check the end of the post for information on submitting it to us. We have several contests going on this week, so be to check them out and enter to win some cool stuff here.

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RIM outs the all new BlackBerry Bold Touch ahead of BlackBerry World Conference

We're just mere days away from the RIM's BlackBerry World Conference and while we speculated that the new device they'd be showing off there would indeed be the all new BlackBerry Bold Touch, RIM has for lack of better words -- confirmed it via a slip up on the BlackBerry homepage. While the the images are now gone, this is a pretty big slip up to be making in the first place, considering it gives out the name of the device and even shows off the fact it will be running BlackBerry 7. One more pic of the BlackBerry Bold Touch can be found after the break. Oh right, yes -- that is Facebook on the BlackBerry PlayBook as well in the background. Thanks, for sending this in Joey!

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CrackBerry Labs: BlueAnt Q2 vs Motorola Oasis Bluetooth Headset Head to Head

Two lucky readers will win either the Oasis or the Q2! Read on for details.

[ youtube link for mobile viewing ]

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I hate wires. They're cumbersome, always getting tangled in things, and half of the time you grab the wrong wire anyway. I love the freedom of movement afforded by Bluetooth headsets, the ease of paring the headsets, and the myriad voice responses built right in. Audio instructions, automatic pairing mode and a thankfully abset "Enter Code 0000" made for a surprisingly pleasant experience, pairing the devices with my BlackBerry.

In the past, I've written about Stereo Bluetooth Headphones; today, I'm taking a look at two Bluetooth headsets: the Motorola Oasis and the BlueAnt Q2. Both impressed me with their signal range, call quality and comfort. In the end, there could be only one winner.

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BlackBerry 101: Safe Mode

or Help! A Theme (or application) has locked up my BlackBerry!

 

Neicy had a bad day. You see, she downloaded a new theme. It caused trouble, and locked up her BlackBerry. She couldn't delete the offending application. She couldn't use her BlackBerry. She was stuck at work in limbo. Several users offered advice, but it was to no avail. Thankfully, andyahs suggested Safe Mode on her BlackBerry.

Safe mode allows your BlackBerry to start without applications or themes; oddly enough, it is similar to safe mode on a Mac or Windows PC. The core functions of your phone are there: calls, messages, Bluetooth. Any applications that run in the background (Where's My PhoneSOTI Pocket Controlleret. al.) are not loaded. Once the phone is in in Safe Mode, Neicy can easily delete the application or theme causing the problem.

PRO TIP: Not sure what's causing all the ruckus? Remove your most recently installed application or theme first. If that doesn't fix things, move on to the next most recent.

To enter safe mode, you'll need to do a battery pull; though sometimes a soft reset (Alt - Right Shift - Del) will do the trick. Once the red light goes out, press and hold the Escape (back) key until the BlackBerry starts up. It's not needed to hold the key for the entire startup sequence, but do hold it down for at least a slow count of 10.

You'll get a message once the phone restarts, letting you know the phone is in safe mode. It will also display Safe Mode at the top of the screen. It's at this point that Neicy would be able to delete that bad theme (or application). Once that's done, all she (and you) needs to do is restart the phone with another reset or battery pull.

More to find... 

BlackBerry 101 - How to uninstall themes
BlackBerry 101: How to remove, delete, and uninstall apps from your BlackBerry
Installing applications on your BlackBerry Smartphone
BlackBerry 101 - Application permissions

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BlackBerry Digital Compass - A closer look

Although we've seen a few pictures of the BlackBerry Digital Compass in action before, some new screenshots have now popped up and give us a up close and personal look at we'll be getting when the new dubbed BlackBerry 7 rolls out. While it may seem rather trivial to some folks to include a digital compass, fact is it's high time they done so given the additional GPS capabilities it adds in addition to the augmented reality solutions that can make use of such a thing. Jump  on past the break to get a further look of at the compass in action.

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BlackBerry PlayBook Help

Looking for help with your BlackBerry PlayBook? Don't know where to start? We're here to help. We've compiled all the help articles and videos right here in one spot so you'll always have them ready to go. From setting up your device to installing a new OS to changing the wallpaper - it's all right here. You can always check out our individual BlackBerry PlayBook 101 articles, but as we add more content we'll keep this post updated, so be sure to bookmark it so it's never more than a click away.

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Tasterous for BlackBerry now available - new location based food hunting app will lead you to the best local dishes nearby!

If you're like me, you have a LOT of photos sitting on your BlackBerry that you've snapped with the built-in camera. And if you're also like me, over half of them are photos of things you're about to eat.

That being the case, I'm pretty stoked for Tasterous, a new location-based mobile food recommendation app/game that lets you share your location-tagged food photos with other people. I actually got a preview of Tasterous back in Bali at DevCon Asia earlier this year from the developer and was really impressed with what I saw. The app makes use of Foursquare's location data, so every venue on Foursquare is already available on Tasterous (the app works worldwide), and has a social functionality built into it so you can always see where the people you are following are eating. The app is free of charge, so the only thing left to do is download it and put it to use! Visit tasterous.com/download on your BlackBerry's web browser or follow the link below to learn more. 

Learn More and Download Tasterous for BlackBerry

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Global Alert Network warns of traffic and weather alerts - Defenseless against backseat drivers

I haaaaate traffic. There’s nothing like driving at a tenth of the speed limit to cause stress. It also causes my mind to wander; what’s the hold up? Accident? Construction? Flooding? No one knows until they’re either stuck in it, or hear from someone who is.

There’s an app that’s been out for a while called the Global Alert Network that promises to provide warning as you near problem areas. This is done by using GPS versus using cell tower location. The application can handle alerts on a national, state/provincial or local level. Separated into Weather and Traffic alerts, Global Alert Network has over 100 distinct alert types to keep you informed of. Being a parent, I can appreciate that this app also provides Amber Alerts to its users. This is the type of app that you don’t think about until an alert comes in. At this point, you hopefully have a few options, or alternative routes, at your disposal. Depending on the situation, it could also potentially save your life. Global Alert Network is available to residents of North America at this point. You’re probably thinking like I am – with a name that contains the word Global, they should expand their operation. The application is free, and you can add additional alert services (such as Local/National Sports alerts and News) on a (free) subscription basis. Global Alert Network is available from BlackBerry App World.

More information/download Global Alert Network

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Jagamaga Audiobooks - Get hundreds of free audiobooks on your BlackBerry!

Before eBooks were invented, we had these crazy things called books on tape. Some of you may remember listening to them in your car on long drives, or at home on quiet evenings. I'm sure those are still around, but it seems they have been replaced largely by eBooks, with mobile devices having apps to keep them organized and portable, and the invention of eReaders. It's not always practical to read however, for example while driving, so audio books still have a place in modern life. I found a cool app called Jagamaga Audiobooks in BlackBerry App World that provides hundreds of classic, public domain books in high quality audio format. You can download entire books or a few chapters at a time and save them to your device memory or SD card. To select where the downloads save to, use the menu button from the app's main screen. This is also where you can view and play the books you have downloaded, and delete them as well.

  • The only app that offers professionally curated LibriVox audiobooks. 
  • Professionally mastered Public Domain audiobooks.
  • User-friendly interface.  
  • Dynamic catalog updates with new free content.
  • Over 200 titles…plus hundreds of free short works.
  • Smaller files for fast downloading and wireless access.
  • Carefully de-noised and edited for undisturbed listening.
  • Browse by genre, title, author, and narrator.
  • BlackBerry®-optimized file format. 

There is a free version of Jagamaga that offers over 200 titles, and a paid version ($2.99) that gives you access to the entire collection of books. This app is compatible with all BlackBerry smartphones on OS 4.5 and up, though there are some country restrictions.

For more information and to download the free version of Jagamaga
For more information and to purchase the paid version of Jagamaga

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BlackBerry Desktop Manager updated to v6.0.2.44

Although it was only a short while ago that RIM released and update to BlackBerry Desktop Manager, we now have another one available to all you Windows users out there. If you open up desktop manager now you'll be prompted to go ahead and update to v6.0.2.44. No full change log is currently available but it is however noted that it's related to the BlackBerry PlayBook. Sadly, Mac users do not (as of yet) have any updates available to them but - it is coming. In the meantime, if you're a Windows users you'll want to grab the latest to ensure all is well.

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RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie CONFIRMS BlackBerry 6.1 is now called BlackBerry 7 on Investors Call

He just said it on tonight's investors call.... what "we're now calling BlackBerry 6.1 BlackBerry 7.  It's such a big update from 6."

So if you weren't sure we were right yesterday when I said BlackBerry 6.1 is being renamed BlackBerry 7, now you know. I'm looking forward to seeing it in action next week at BlackBerry World! Maybe on a nice BlackBerry Bold Touch?

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Press Release: Research In Motion Provides Updated Q1 Guidance

At the close of the markets today RIM fired off a press release letting investors know they've adjusted their forecasted revenue down from the guidance provided last quarter. The drop is due to less phone sales than expected, with a bigger portion of the sales mix coming from lower end phones than expected. The press release is below to read, but if you're by the computer at 5:30pm EDT you can jump on the live webcast to hear RIM talk about the numbers (I'm curious to see if they have anything to say about the PlayBook launch). 

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Pandora for BlackBerry updated to v1.1.8

I know there is a lot of Pandora for BlackBerry fans out there and it's been quite some time since we've seen any sort of updates to the app. That said, Marc from Pandora dropped by the CrackBerry forums today to let everyone know a new version is now available for download. While the new version lacks a change log at this point, for the most part it's just a bug fix release according to the info available.

Download Pandora for BlackBery v1.1.8

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Getting them hooked on the CrackBerry young - toddler handles BlackBerry PlayBook with ease (video)

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Been wanting to pick up a BlackBerry PlayBook but can't quite justify another new gadget for just yourself? Maybe a PlayBook as a present for the whole family.... yeah... that could work, right? But is the BlackBerry PlayBook family friendly? Could the little ones use it?

If you've been pondering that question, check out the video above, where 2 1/2 year old Maryah shows she's pretty much got the PlayBook's gesture-based user interface mastered. Coloring book app, check. Racing on Need for Speed, check. Closing apps, check. Notice how the PlayBook's smaller tablet size makes it extremely friendly for her to hold the device (and not once did I hear her complain in the video about not having native email).

So what are you waiting for? If you were on the fence about getting a PlayBook for the family, you're not anymore! Note of caution - before letting kids get into the Need for Speed racing action you may want to protect the tablet in a BlackBerry PlayBook case - you never know where that PlayBook is going to get thrown if they don't finish first!

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2011 BlackBerry Developers Challenge announced

The BlackBerry Partners Fund has officially announced this years BlackBerry Developer Challenge. Although the event doesn't take place until the 2011 BlackBerry Developer Conference gets under way in October, in San Francisco the prizes and timelines have all been outlined.

This year's Challenge includes the following three competitions:

  • Best Adobe Flash®/AIR app
  • Most Innovative BlackBerry WebWorks™ app on the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 6
  • Most Addictive social app using the  BBM™ Social Platform

This year, both BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook developers can enter their applications for a chance to win US$3 million in prizes. As always, winners will be chosen across four global regions - North America, Latin America, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific. If you're a developer and looking to learn more about the prize packs and how to enter, you can check out the BlackBerry Partners Fund website for the full details.

More info available at the BlackBerry Partners Fund website

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Entertainment Tonight's Nancy O'Dell follows the Royal Wedding on her BlackBerry PlayBook

Personally I won't be blocking off any time this Friday to check out the Royal Wedding, but I know plenty of you will be. There are loads of ways to follow along with all the action no matter what part of the world you are in. Nancy O'Dell of Entertainment Tonight is checking out all of the weddingness in what is no less than a brilliant marketing move by RIM. She has been given BlackBerry PlayBook and is eagerly snapping up photos and HD video of the scene while she checks out what's going down. Keep reading to check out the quick and see her and the PlayBook in action. Note: The video is set to automatically start playing. 

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At BlackBerry World next week? Be sure to collect your PlayBook Passport stamps for a chance to win a free PlayBook!

With BlackBerry World just around the corner, we're starting to get revved up for what is to be the BIGGEST BlackBerry event of the year. Hopefully we'll see some cool news announcements next week and get our hands on some new BlackBerry Smartphone hardware. The other thing that's always nice to see are FREEBIES. I've got my fingers crossed that RIM will up and decide to give all attendees a free PlayBook (I know... I'm probably dreaming, but seriously, I need another one to mount in my car) but if that doesn't happen you still have another chance to get a free BlackBerry PlayBook if you're at the show.

A number of BlackBerry World sponsors are running a passport program/contest to win a 16GB PlayBook during the conference. The idea behind the passport program is that attendees walking the show floor collect stamps at each sponsor's booth. Once all the stamps have been collected, the person is entered into a draw to win a prize - in this case a 16GB PlayBook. Below are the list of participating companies and their respective booth numbers:

Actsoft - 353
bitHeads - 304
DragonRAD - 337
IGLOO Software - 321
Mobile Iron - 118
Tec-Garde - 303

So that's it. If you're at BlackBerry World in Orlando next week, be sure to grab your PlayBook Passport and collect your stamps and get entered to win a free PlayBook! See ya there!

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