BlackBerry News and Reviews

Orange Spain releases official OS 6.0.0.526 for the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Although the currently leaked OS for the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 is sitting at OS 6.0.0.534, the latest official version has now been brought to us all by Orange Spain. If you're more liking the idea of sticking to an official OS over a leaked one -- you can now head on over to the Orange Spain software download page and grab OS 6.0.0.526. If you're looking for some feedback on this OS, you can hit up the forum link from back when it was first leaked.

Download the official OS 6.0.0.526 for the Curve 3G 9300

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4-In-A-Row for BlackBerry - 50 copies up for grabs

One of my favorite games as a kid was Connect Four. Now, I can relive my childhood by playing it on my BlackBerry. What makes this even better is that I can play it for FREE! Tafasa, the makers of 4-In-A-Row, just released their free ad-supported version yesterday in BlackBerry App World. The premise of the game is very similar to Connect Four. You want to get four of your chips in a row (horizontally, diagonally or vertically) before the other player. It has a simple UI and smooth animations.

Features:

  • Play against a friend or three different computer difficulties
  • Undo a move after it has been played
  • Animations and a sleek interface

The free version is supported by all carriers and pretty much every device running OS 4.5 or higher (works smoothly on my 9800, 9670 & 8330). The only countries excluded are Australia and South Korea. As of now, the only place to snag the free version of this game is via BlackBerry App World. The paid version is available for $0.99 at ShopCrackBerry.com as well as BlackBerry App World.

Contest: We have 50 copies of the ad free version of 4-In-A-Row to give away. Just leave a comment on this post to enter. Contest ends Sunday at midnight PST.

More information/download of 4-In-A-Row in the CrackBerry App Store
More information/download of 4-In-A-Row in BlackBerry App World

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Five ways BlackBerry Bridge could be further improved

I've had a few days now to play around with BlackBerry Bridge on my PlayBook, and I have to say I do love the functionality. Granted it's not perfect (yet) but for the most part it does get the job done. While the obvious lack of BBM is a big issue at the moment, I am still hopefully that we'll see it (along with other apps) in the near future. I do have some gripes thus far -- some are big ones and some may just be "wishful thinking" -- that could stand to make BlackBerry Bridge a much better overall expierience for BlackBerry users. So keep reading for my short list of five improvements that could make BlackBerry Bridge better.

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Updated: BlackBerry News Feeds in the Beta Zone

 

For all you lucky BlackBerry Beta Zone members, BlackBerry News Feeds just got updated to version 1.0.1.5. BlackBerry News Feeds just got updated to version 1.0.1.5.  If you're not familiar with it, BlackBerry News Feeds is an RSS reader, designed to fetch the latest stories from your favorite blog. We've reviewed the application before and found some faults. Since then, the app experience has greatly improved.

Even before this update, developers had added better favicon support (a big deal for me), better swipy-ness, and great HTML support. How great? You can vote on CrackBerry.com Polls from within the reader.

As typical of these releases, there is no change log; but users report a number of smaller bugs have been fixed and the app seems to be starting and running more quickly. There's still that bug of a popup menu opening on touchscreen devices, but that could be because my OS isn't exactly supported. Spot any more changes? Be sure to sound off in the comments.

More information / Join the BlackBerry Beta Zone 

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Conan O'Brien has a little fun with The "iDea"

We saw Conan use a BlackBerry Torch to tweet during his show back in December of 2010, and last night he mentioned the BlackBerry PlayBook during his opening monologue. He didn't seem to spend much time on the new tablet from RIM, but he did have an amusing iDea for the next offering from Apple. Watch the video above to see what Conan predicts for the competition. Thanks to 2001bmw330xi for posting this in the forums

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Review: Golla Smart Bags - Enter to win one for your BlackBerry!

Enter to win a free Golla Bag of your choosing! Details below!

If you find yourself walking frequently, as I do, you know it can sometimes be a hassle to juggle your BlackBerry, keys, wallet, mp3 player (if you don't use your BlackBerry as one), and whatever else you need while you're out. It's not always practical or possible to carry a purse or shove all of that in your pockets. I've always looked at the Smart Bags by Golla on ShopCrackBerry, and finally decided to get a couple and try them out. I picked out two different styles, the Sabine and the Riley, which are actually pretty similar but have subtle differences, which is true for most of the Golla Bags we carry. Read on for a closer look at the Golla bags and to see how you can win one of your very own!

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Vibrance by WJD Designs - 25 copies to be won!

After a brief hiatus, WJD Designs is back with another awesome theme for your BlackBerry smartphone. As with all of his themes, Vibrance is totally custom, and personalizes the theme thoroughout. It's custom battery and signal meters along with very bright colors really makes this theme jump out at you, hence the name. Vibrance is very wallpaper friendly, and each version contain a weather dock as well as a hidden dock.

All in all, Vibrance is a very good, wonderfully colorful theme sure to spruce up your BlackBerry. You can pick it up at the CrackBerry App Store on sale for $1.99. It is available for the 9630, 9650, 9700, 9780, 95xx, and the Torch 9800.

Contest: We have 25 copies of Vibrance to give away. Just leave a comment on this post to enter. Contest ends this Sunday at midnight PST. Please only leave one comment, multiple entries wont count.

More information and purchase of Vibrance

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BlackBerry PlayBook now available at Rogers

 

If you're in Canada and haven't yet made your way out to pick up a BlackBerry PlayBook, you now have one more option to add to the list. Rogers Wireless stores are now stocking all 3 version of the PlayBook. The prices are the same across the board with the 16GB, 32GB adn 64GB coming in at $499, $599, and $699 respectively. No major bonus to buying at Rogers but they are the one of the first majors carrier stocking the device and hopefully more will follow soon. It also looks for now that you can only purchase in stores and not online. Thanks James!

Check out the BlackBerry PlayBook at Rogers

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Install the Latest Unreleased Build of the BlackBerry Tablet OS on your BlackBerry PlayBook by Updating via Desktop Manager!

So this is pretty awesome for all you hardcore CrackBerry readers + PlayBook owners out there who want your PlayBook to have the absolute latest software on it, even if it's an internal build that will never get pushed out to PlayBook owners via the WiFi update. This means if you Check for Updates on your PlayBook, none will be available (it says your OS is current), but if you follow the steps in this blog post you'll be able to upgrade to a newer version. Props go to Scott at BBSync for figuring this one out.

To upgrade your BlackBerry PlayBook to the latest internal version of the BlackBerry Tablet OS, do the following:

Step 1: Connect your PlayBook to your PC via MicroUSB cable and open Desktop Manager
Step 2: Backup your PlayBook! This install process is a CLEAN WIPE. You'll lose all data.
Step 3: Within Desktop Manager, hit Device > Update on the menu.
Step 4: No Update will be found. Just hit ok and go back to Desktop Manager homescreen.
Step 5. From there, while still plugged in, Restart your PlayBook using the power button app.
Step 6. A new popup window will appear giving you some options. Hit Update.
Step 7: Let that baby update and you'll be on the latest software. Warning: it takes a while!

It's kind of funny to see that this is RIM's way of fixing a bricked PlayBook (see the debrick in the filename above?!). It's also pretty awesome that this process loads up what we think are the latest internal builds of the PlayBook. The day the PlayBook was released, it launched with version .1690 software. Later that day we saw some PlayBooks get updated to .1696 via this method. If you follow this process above right now, you'll get updated to .1705. Yet via the WiFi update method .1690 is still current. As always with this sort of thing, do so at your own risk, but a few of us have tried it now with great success. It's hard to say how long RIM will allow this to continue to happen for, so get in while the getting is good!

Read More BlackBerry PlayBook 101 Articles
Discuss in the BlackBerry PlayBook Forum

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NYTimes David Pogue Pokes Fun at the PlayBook (video)

Ahhh David Pogue. I don't know whether I should kiss you or kick your ass for this one. I guess we'll see what happens the next time we meet. Check out the video above for a little NY Times video skit which shows off the BlackBerry PlayBook hardware, and points out some of its awesome features as well as its current shortcomings, which I hlghlighted in our BlackBerry PlayBook Review. Be sure to sound off in the comments on this one!

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RIM releases two free Spring themes in BlackBerry App World!

RIM is back with more free BlackBerry themes! You may recall back in December they released free Christmas themes, and more recently they released a theme for those with visual disabilities. This time around they have published two lovely spring themes, Roots of Spring and Spring Blossom. Roots of Spring has a sweet tree wallpaper and flowers and suns sprinkled throughout. Spring Blossom has a pastel BlackBerry wallpaper and a more subtle look throughout. Icons in both themes have a glow to them, which is a warm touch. You can download these from BlackBerry App World for free! They're compatible with most BlackBerry smartphones.

For more information/screenshots and to download Roots of Spring
For more information/screenshots and to download Spring Blossom

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Hulu now blocked on the BlackBerry PlayBook, big media strikes again

Some sad but expected news folks -- we've started getting tips in the forums and through the CrackBerry support tips line that Hulu has gotten a little cranky about offering content on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Although PlayBook owners previously have had access to all movies and TV shows it now looks that Hulu has added the BlackBerry PlayBooks browser string to their blocked list.

Overall, it's not really a huge surprise that they have done so but rather more frustrating and annoying that big media can't see the advantages here for end users. If you live in an area where the content is licensed for -- it really shouldn't matter on how you access that content. Hopefully, it'll work out in the end though and hulu will realize they just simply need to make an app for the Blackberry PlayBook that allows access. Thanks, to eveyone who sent this in!

Discuss the Hulu blocking in the CrackBerry Forums

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Contest: Win a free copy of Battery Saver Pro by MMMOOO!

A common complaint you hear among anyone that uses a smartphone, whether it's a blackBerry, iPhone, or Android device, is battery life. There is never enough charge to get us through as long as we would like, but there are several tips you can use to help extend the life of your battery. Battery Saver Pro by MMMOOO will help make these steps for you, so you don't have to think about it. With options for automatically locking and dimming your screen, turning off wifi, radio, applications, and the device itself, you can literally set it and forget it. Battery Saver Pro will do the work for you.

This app also acts as a screen saver for your BlackBerry. You can set it to activate when the backlight turns off or you plug in your device to charge. With a large battery icon that you can customize with different colors, flags, or designs, you also get your battery level in percentage, the current time and date. The Battery Saver Pro UI looks slick and is easy to navigate ensuring that you will only activate the tweaks that you want. Compatible with most BlackBerry smartphones, you can pick Battery Saver Pro for $2.99 at the link below, and there is a free trial available!

For more information and to purchase Battery Saver Pro in the CrackBerry store
For more information and to purchase Battery Saver Pro from BlackBerry App World

Contest: We have 25 copies of Battery Saver Pro to give away courtesy of the good people at MMMOOO. If you'd like to enter to win, leave a comment below. Contest ends this Sunday at midnight PST. Good luck!

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Quick Tip: BlackBerry Podcasts vs. the Data Plan

Like many wireless customers, I live in fear of the day I go over on my data usage. I worry that one day, I'll open my bill and find that watching Sammy the Squirrel 132 times has increased my payment by a decimal place or two. That's never happened, and I doubt it will. But the spectre of that day still looms, so I tend to be pretty stingy with my data usage.

I really like the BlackBerry Podcasts application. Podcasts are (relatively) huge files of 30, 40, even 100 MB. Like any good podcast application, it limits what it downloads over your mobile network, preferring to download only while connecting on Wi-Fi. That's not always enough. Sometimes the CrackBerry Podcast goes up when you're nowhere near Wi-Fi. No Problem, as long as your data plan can handle the large audio and video files.

Just change one setting. On the main BlackBerry Podcasts screen, press the menu key and select options. Under Podcasts and where it says "Download Podcasts using:" change Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi and mobile networks. Once you've saved changes, you can check on your podcast's status by selecting Podcast Downloads from the menu. When the file is done, you can change the setting back to Wi-Fi; you don't want to kill your data plan.

You can also download individual episodes instead of subscribing to an entire feed. Simply Explore podcasts to find an interesting feed. From the list of episodes, click one to get a brief description. Once you've decided to listen, click download and just that one episode will be downloaded to your BlackBerry.

In closing, be mindful of your data usage, but don't be afraid to use it, either. Manage what and how you download to get the most out of your plan.

Download / more information about BlackBerry Podcasts at BlackBerry App World 

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Quick Review: Case-Mate Barely There Case for BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry PlayBook Case Contest: Leave a comment and you could win a Barely There case for the BlackBerry PlayBook!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

As one of my favorite cases for all my devices, the Barely There case for the BlackBerry PlayBook does not disapoint. It's a simple case that covers the back and most of the sides of the PlayBook, keeping it safe from scratches you would normally get on the back of the device. It's sturdy plastic that fits great on the PlayBook and doesn't really add much bulk. If you're looking for something simple to keep your tablet safe, this is the way to go. Check out the video above for my quick review.

 This Case
 More PlayBook Cases
 

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BlackBerry 101: the Help Me! screen explained

I tried to find something today, a tidbit of knowledge here at CrackBerry.com for Storm and Pearl users about getting to the Help Me! Screen. I couldn't find it. I remembered the gist of the information, I remembered writing the darn thing, and I still couldn't find it. When I finally tracked down the article, I realized the Help Me! Screen needed its own BlackBerry 101, and here it is.

For most BlackBerry users, it's a simple three key press top access this useful little screen. Press the alt, left shift, and H key at the same time. Don't worry about pressing them simultaneously, just make sure all are depressed at the same time. In other words, while holding both the alt key and the left shift key, press H. Pearl users can hold the alt key and type R A C E. Storm users will hold down the return (back) key while they click the top left corner, then the top right, top left, top right and release. Slightly complicated, but it works. Any further questions, head on into the CrackBerry forums.

So what information does the screen give you?

  • Vendor ID: the identifying number Research in Motion uses for your specific carrier
  • Platform ID: Internal designation for the Java Development Environment
  • App Version: When you hear about such and such leaked or official OS, this is the number we're talking about. 
  • PIN: Your Personal Identification Number; the unique number assigned to your Blackberry.
  • IMEI: International Mobile Equipment Identity, your carrier's way of uniquely identifying your device on the network. When changing devices, it's a good idea to alert your carrier of your new IMEI.
  • MAC: Media Access Control address; uniquely identifies your smartphone on the network. Every single device connected to the internet will have it's own MAC address.
  • Uptime: the amount of time (in seconds) since your BlackBerry was last restarted
  • Signal Strength: Your carrier's wireless signal strength represented in dBm. Through a quirk of physics and math, the numbers are all negative. A higher number is still better, thus -65 is a much higher signal strength than -127.
  • Battery Level: The amount of charge left in your battery
  • File Free: The amount of space available on your BlackBerry's internal memory. This figure does not include removable microSD cards.
  • File Total: The total amount of space in your BlackBerry's internal memory. Also does not include removable microSD cards.

More to find...

BlackBerry 101: Application Permissions
BlackBerry First Steps: Operating systems - official, leaked, and unofficial
BlackBerry 302: A complete wipe and clean install of your BlackBerry OS 

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BlackBerry World Mobile guide now available in BlackBerry App World

If you're planning on attending the upcoming BlackBerry World Conference in May, you can now find the mobile guide app available in BlackBerry App World available for download, but if you're not attending -- that doesn't stop you from downloading it and following along with those who are. It has some cool features built into it for both attending and non-attending indivuduals.

The 2011 BlackBerry World Mobile Conference Guide is an easy way to look up the full breakout session catalog, keynote speakers, community speakers, read up on conference sponsors plus create your schedule before getting to the event. You won’t miss a beat with the apps Event Messages and social channels – all this right from your BlackBerry device. 

Although the majority of the content does require you to be registered, the social networking additions make it a great app to get a one stop shop quick glance of everything that is happening. Especially when BlackBerry World gets rolling, considering during that time RIM's social teams go into overdrive in an effort to make sure those not attending, are at least kept up to date. Of course, we'll be there on-site as well to bring all the latest news.

Download the BlackBerry World mobile guide

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Quick Review: Need for Speed Undercover on the BlackBerry PlayBook

One of the first games we knew was coming to the BlackBerry PlayBook was Need for Speed Undercover. RIM has packed it in totally free and it's by far the best game on the PlayBook. It has multiple modes so it will keep you busy for quite a while and the graphics look amazing. The story mode has some live motion video mixed in and it's sure to draw you in for hours at a time. It was built especially for the PlayBook and I can only hope that other games/apps follow in the same footsteps. The PlayBook native SDK should allow devs to come up with greatness and truly make the PlayBook stand out. This just shows what can be done as far software on the PlayBook - very cool stuff. Check out the video above for a quick look at the gameplay, then get to racing!

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BlackBerry PlayBook shows incoming calls when bridged to your BlackBerry smartphone!

 

I love having a brand new device on hand with an OS we haven't played around with before. All these new things keep popping up and make me say "wow ... that's pretty sweet". Forums member cooleddie found something new that totally wowed me today. When your BlackBerry smartphone is bridged to the PlayBook, incoming calls show on the PlayBook screen in a caller-id sort of way. The screen dims and a box pops up with the incoming number as well as a Ringer Off button. Want to kill the ringer on your phone? Tap the button and it's muted. This is a totally cool and gets our hopes up for more phone related features down the line. Surely you should be able to actually answer the calls on the PlayBook and use it as an extension of your smartphone. Once you answer the call on your phone the popup automatically goes away. For now it's still a pretty cool feature, but let's see what else RIM has in store down the road. If you find any new stuff like this on your own be sure to send it into the ol' CrackBerry tip line at tips(at)crackberry.com.

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Desktop Manager for Mac Support for BlackBerry PlayBook coming this summer


Desktop Manager for PC (pictured) supports the PlayBook... Mac support coming this summer

One of the questions that has been popping up a lot in our BlackBerry PlayBook Forum is in regards to BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac support. As it stands now, if you have Desktop Manager for Mac installed and plug in your PlayBook, nothing happens. It doesn't recognize the device. The reason for this of course, is that DM for Mac currently doesn't support it. We reached out to RIM for an estimated timeline on when Desktop Manager for Mac will get PlayBook support, and were told:

Desktop Manager for Mac will be available this summer. 

Of course, this doesn't mean that Mac users are left high and dry. Upon connecting a PlayBook to a Mac via microUSB cable for the first time, you'll be prompted to install drivers onto your Mac. Once installed, your PlayBook will appear as a network drive and you can easily drag and drop to transfer your pictures, movies, documents and other files onto the PlayBook. You can even transfer files via WiFi. So you can survive without worries without Desktop Manager, but for those of you waiting on Desktop Manager for Mac support, you now have a better idea of when it's coming.

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