BlackBerry News and Reviews

Apple introduces iMessage to take on BlackBerry Messenger - How will it compare?

Will iMessage be as good as BBM?Market Research

Apple today in San Francisco announced their upcoming iOS 5 feature set. Included in the update was a new messaging system they are calling iMessage. The name isn't exactly original -- much like the features it offers. In fact, if someone were to describe it to you without you knowing it was for iOS you'd think they were describing BlackBerry Messenger.

Messages are pushed across all iOS devices and since it’s all cross-device, you can pick up on the conversation right where you left off when switching from your iPhone to your iPad or iPod touch. The system, of course, will use the new notifications system in iOS 5. Tapping on the notification brings you straight to the new messaging interface, letting the recipient see right when you begin typing.

The new service includes sending messages, photos and videos right from the camera roll or albums and works over WiFi or 3G.

That's how our friends over at TiPB described the service. But as BlackBerry users here, what do you all think of Apples iMessage? For years now, people have been trying to come up with something to take the BlackBerry Messenger advantage away from RIM, does iMessage have the power to do so or is it just another we can do what BlackBerry been able to do for years thing? I'm just gonna leave a YouTube link here for you all to check out after you're done reading this.

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CrackBerry Poll: Are you an E-book addict or still loyal to paper?

How do you read these days? Are you an e-book reader or are you still loyal to paper?survey software

This past Friday a colleague lent me a book to read. And when I say book, I mean an actual book. Hardcover. 252 pages. The title looked interesting and the content was relevant to me, so Saturday morning I picked it up and started reading in bed whlie Miss CrackBerry slept in.

There was nothing odd about this scenario, or at least I didn't think there was, until at 23 pages into the book it dawned on me... apparently I now hate reading physical books. Though I had attained this book for free, I put it down, grabbed my PlayBook, fired up the Kobo app, bought the book for $20.69 (could have bought it on the Kindle for $9.88 so Amazon had better get that Kindle app for the PlayBook out asap!), downloaded it, then continued to read happily for the next two hours.

For the past few years I've mainly done my reading on E-Book devices. I was a relatively early adopter of the Kindle, own an iPad and iPad 2 which when I do use them it's mainly for reading, and since getting the PlayBook have done a lot of reading on that. And when I don't have any of these bigger-screened devices around I'll read on my phone. But as much as I've been an adopter of E-Book readers, it wasn't until this weekend that I really reflected on why I prefer reading on a digital device.

I'm sure there are many more reasons than this, but here are mine:

  • I can read in silence (no sound of pages flipping)
  • I can read whatever books I want and the people around me don't know what I'm reading (I have pretty eclectic and occassionally weird taste in books so don't need people I don't know seeing what I'm reading)
  • I can have my entire library with me wherever I go (I tend to like to re-read a lot of my favorite passages)
  • I don't need to go to a bookstore to buy books (just need an internet connection)
  • I like that I can change up the font size (make it big so I can read on a treadmill)
  • I can look up the definitions of words I don't know on the fly

Put it all together and I find it almost a painful experience to read through a real book... unless of course, you know, my battery is dead or I'm trying to read outside. But most things being equal, I'm definitely a digital guy.

Which brings us to the question of this week's CrackBerry Poll.... are you an E-Book addict like me, or still loyal to paper?? Vote on the poll above and sound off in the comments!

Interactive mayhem with The Visitor game for the BlackBerry PlayBook

The Visitor
If you're looking for an awesome interactive point-and-click game for the PlayBook then look no further than The Visitor by ClickShake Games LLC and Zeebarf. The Visitor is an adventure (horror) game that's been around for awhile in various online incarnations. Now optimized for the BlackBerry PlayBook it's your job to guide a murderous alien parasite on earth when it crash lands on a meteorite.

As it kills each new prey it morphs and grows depending on the human or animal it eats all leading up to its gory conclusion. Players must touch the screen in various spots to activate the puzzle hotpots that help guide the little killer slug through each level. Each one pops up as text when selected and needs to be activated in the right order or it won't work.

This is a neat game to kill time with and you won't be disappointed. The graphics are stunning and game play is smooth. My only complaint is that it's too short with not enough levels. Most people will probably finish in no time flat unlike me who had to consult some walkthroughs to pass the extremely tough kitchen level.

I must warn you this is not for the faint at heart. If you have trouble with images of blood and gore than this is definitely not for you. However, I did find this to be a fun, quick, and irritating game at times. As a twist, it comes with more than one ending. Think of it like those old choose your adventure novels we read as kids. The final chapter allows for at least two endings. I'm not going to spoil it for you so you'll have to figure them out for yourself.

Did I mention it's absolutely free? Check it out today at BlackBerry App World.

More information / download The Visitor
Discuss the Visitor in the forums

Unofficial F1 Live app now available for the BlackBerry PlayBook

F1 Live for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Own a BlackBerry PlayBook and Love Formula 1? If so you'll be happy to know an F1 Live app recently popped up in App World. Take note, this doesn't appear to be an "official" F1 app (so the fact it's using the F1 name means it might not hang around App World for all that long), but if you love F1 you'll want to give it download regardless.  

Features on the F1 Live app include:

  • Live Race coverage right from Friday's Free practice sessions to Raceday!
  • Complete 2011 Race calendar with Results.
  • Comprehensive information of all Drivers and Teams.
  • Latest Driver and Constructor standings.
  • Profiles of each circuit from around the calendar.
  • Last season Driver and Constructor standings.
  • Latest News from the paddock.
  • Latest Tweets from Drivers and Teams on Twitter.
  • Socialize with our exclusive F1 Fan Forum.

Not a bad feature set for a first crack at an F1 app on the PlayBook and for a price of Zero dollars and Zero cents (yes, it's free) there's no reason not to give it a download. Keep in mind that with the PlayBook's awesome web browser the actual Formula1.com website works pretty well too. The only question now is who are you cheering for in this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal?!

Download F1 Live for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Make a customized folder for your BlackBerry bookmarks

CrackBerry Tip of the Day

Making a bookmarks folder

If you're like me, you visit quite a few websites on your BlackBerry. Some are for informational purposes; many more are purely for fun. Sometimes you need just a few minutes to yourself; and sites like CrackBerry, FML, and TextsfromLastNight can provide a welcome (and interesting) distraction. Most certainly, you've probably bookmarked those sites you visit most often. I go a little further though.

Instead of going to all the trouble of opening the browser AND clicking on the bookmark, I just click on my saved shortcut in a folder on my home screen. The shortcut launches the browser and takes me right to the website. To me, having my bookmarks in one spot; ordered as I like them; and with a recognizable icon makes it quick and easy to find them.

As we've done in a previous CrackBerry Tip of the Day, we'll start with creating a new folder. You'll only be able to create new ones from the All pane (tray). Before you do, make sure one of the visible icons is highlighted. It doesn't matter which one, but the Add folder option won't appear in the menu if nothing is highlighted. Press the menu key and select Add folder. Give your folder a name, and we're ready to add some bookmarks to it.

Open the browser and navigate to your favorite site. Press the menu key and choose Add to Home Screen. We're still going to save the bookmark to your folder, but select Add to Home Screen for now. You can change the name of the site; this is how it will appear under your shortcut. Next to Location, open the drop-down menu and select your folder from the list. Uncheck that Mark as Favorite box unless you want your shortcut in the Favorites pane as well.

Repeat as necessary for any additional sites you may want to add to your Bookmarks folder. Now, whenever you need a moment, your most-visited websites are but a single click away.

BeBuzz Free updated to version 4 - Adds toasts, disco LED and more

BeBuzzBeBuzz

The folks at Bellshare let us know they have update the free version of their best selling app Be-Buzz to version 4. The updates bring the UI of the free version up to date with that of the paid app as well as some additional features. Users of BeBuzz free now have the ability to add up to 5 contact alerts (instead of 3), use Toasts and create custom disco LED colors. So if you've been on the fence about using BeBuzz at all, the latest free version gives you a much better taste of what the app offers. The full version of BeBuzz has also been updated to version 4.0.77 and includes additional support for third party apps like LiveProfile, ScoreMobile, GroupMe and more. Also added is the ability to suppress the default red LED.

More information/download of BeBuzz free
More information/download of BeBuzz

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Conquer that to-do list on your BlackBerry PlayBook with Conqu

Conqu Main Screen

Conqu by AsFusion, is a powerful task management tool for your BlackBerry PlayBook that allows you to clear tasks from your inbox and keep all your to-do lists in one place. With Conqu, you can organize tasks according to your own personal criteria (For example I use CB, Personal, Day Care, Air Force etc.) and then accomplish those tasks at the right time and place for you (no WiFi needed). Conqu also allows you to assign a project, energy and the time you think it will take to complete said task. There are also even more options for customization such as filtering with tags and contexts.

The main features of the app are:

  • Unlimited everything: tasks, projects, contexts, contacts or tags
  • Filtering by contexts, tags, energy or time
  • Specifically designed for touch devices and tablets like the PlayBook
  • Future view to see what lies ahead in the next few days
  • Back burner view for tasks that you have to put off to do at a later time
  • Work offline: you don't have to be connected to the internet to be able to access all your tasks
  • Stay focused with views that are intelligently organized like TODAY and NEXT

The team over at AsFusion have even set up a roadmap that allows you to see what Conqu features are coming (Cloud Sync, Desktop Version & Recuring tasks are just some of what's listed) and the percentage towards completion. The icing on the cake is that this app is totally FREE!

More information / download of Conqu 

Wakeful alarm app for BlackBerry gets a price drop - now only $4.99

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

If you've been holding out for a price drop to come to the awesome alarm app -- Wakeful, then we have great news. Previously available for $14.99, Wakeful has now dropped down to only $4.99 which puts it on par with other clock applications that are out there. If you're looking for an alarm app that is awesome, and totally different from anything else available then by all means, give Wakeful a shot.

Click here for more info and to download Wakeful for only $4.99

CustomBerry HD by Global Torch Themes - Act fast and get 40% off!

CustomBerry HD by GTT

BlackBerry Torch owners, are you looking for a theme you can customize to show off all your favorite apps, and that gives you control of your docks and color scheme? Do you love BerryWeather, but have trouble finding a theme that lets you use it how you want? Are you a fan of the BreakingNews app, but nowhere to fit it on your screen? Look no further, because Global Torch Themes has released CustomBerry HD to help solve all your (theme related) problems!

CustomBerry HD gives you the option of having one, two, or zero docks on your home screen. If you're a wallpaper junkie, this is an option you will especially appreciate, I'm sure. Above the dock area is the perfect spot for BreakingNews, tucked away under the top banner. BerryWeather fits nicely under the docks, and above the bottom banner. Speaking of the bottom banner, you have dual weather/OCD slots, so even if you don't use BerryWeather, you can still have your forecast showing. I also mentioned that you can change your color scheme up. GTT has included six skins with the theme, so you are sure to find a match for your favorite wallpapers. Hotspots for Clock/Alarm, Manage Connections, Messages, Media, Application Menu, QuickLaunch, and Profiles are also included.

If you're looking for a beautiful, high quality theme for your BlackBerry Torch, you'll really want to take a close look at CustomBerry HD by GTT. You can use coupon code CBCUSTOM from your device to get 40% off the regular price of $5.99, which isn't a bad deal considering how much you can customize this theme. It's like having several themes in one! Don't hesitate though, the coupon is only good for the first 50 people, so hurry up!

For more information/screenshots and to purchase CustomBerry HD

How to make your own visual address book on your BlackBerry smartphone

CrackBerry Tip of the Day!

Make a visual address book

BlackBerry OS6 makes it easy to add any contact to the home screen. This means you can turn any of your contacts into a shortcut that goes on the home screen (with their picture on it and everything). The shortcut will allow you to message your contact in a variety of ways, all from the home screen. But, let's take that one step further. Instead of just storing your contact shortcuts on the All pane or in Favorites, you can make a visual address book by creating a folder and saving your most-used contacts there. No reason to go to the trouble of putting everyone in there, just the people you message the most.

Start by creating a new folder; you can only create new ones from the All pane (tray). You can't make folders anywhere else. Make sure one of the visible icons is highlighted. It doesn't matter which one, but the Add folder option won't appear in the menu if nothing is highlighted. Press the menu key and select Add folder. Give your folder a name, and we're ready to add some contacts to it.

Go to your contacts on your BlackBerry and highlight (don't select) one you'd like to add to your visual address book. Press the menu key and choose Add to Home Screen. In the dialog box that opens, you'll get options to rename your shortcut, mark it as a favorite, and choose what in folder to save the shortcut. Unless you want your shortcut in two different places, uncheck the box next to Mark as Favorite. Next to location, you'll see the default setting is "Home." We want to change that to the name of your new folder. Click Add, and your shortcut will be in your new folder.

Repeat as necessary to add more contacts. Once you're done, you'll have a quick list of all your most used contacts. At a glance, you'll be able to find who you're looking for. Unlike the actual Contacts, you can order your shortcuts any way you'd like. Clicking or touching the link will open their contact information. In addition, you'll also get the person's recent activity. Emails, Facebook posts, and tweets can all be found here. Select a shortcut and click & hold or open the menu to get a whole hosts of ways to contact your...er, contact.

Though this visual address book does the exact same thing as contacts, it makes things easier. Instead of cluttered with dozens of names, our project only contains those contacted most. We get a friendly face (or icon) to represent our contact; and because the shortcut is in a folder, you can put them in any order you desire. Most importantly, with a little practice, it becomes a super-fast way of connecting with someone...in a variety of ways.

CrackBerry Reminder: What you may have missed this week

Fourplay for the PlayBook updated to v1.1.20

Fourplay

*Update: Looks like this version hasn't finished approval in App World yet. Should be soon.

Fourplay is a great app for that PlayBook that just got better, visually and functionally. They picked up a new graphics designer to help out, and it really shows. Some of the many new updates include:

  •  Full Screen viewing of photos from your friends check ins
  • Popup Badges more streamlined
  • Time stamp added to each check in
  • Many new menu options for navigation
  • Detailed info on mayorship and check ins
  • Venue specials details
  • Customizable radius search
  • New Venue details
  • New Specials screen shows nearby specials
  • Complete, detailed leaderboard

As always, Fourplay for the BlackBerry PlayBook is free of charge and completely ad free, and they say this will never change. Nice to have an awesome app that has no monetary catch to it. Definitely check it out.

More information and download of Fourplay

It's Alive! Breathing icons make shortcuts and favorites easy on the BlackBerry PlayBook

CrackBerry Tip of the Day #4

BlackBerry PlayBook icons breathe

Continuing our series of helpful tips about favorites, have you wondered how to turn an application into a favorite? It's not hard to do. In fact you make favorites, reorder icons, and even move icons to different panes in the same way.

The first thing to do is to touch and hold an icon. You can do this from any pane (i.e., All, Favorites, Media, etc.), but let's start with the All pane. After a moment of holding an icon, all of the icons on the pane will breathe. Now you can:

  • Delete a shortcut or application. Touch the trash can underneath each icon to delete it. If you are in the All pane, you will be prompted to delete the application. In any other pane, the shortcut will be deleted.
  • Reorder the icons: Just drag the breathing icon to where you want it to go. All the other icons will reorder themselves.
  • Make a Favorite: Drag a breathing icon to where it says Favorites in the ribbon. You'll see a dim blue box around Favorites. Let go of the icon and a shortcut will be added to your Favorites. And for that matter...
  • Make a shortcut in any of the panes: Just drag a breathing icon to the name of any of the panes in the ribbon. Just as before, a dim blue box appears around the name; let go and your shortcut will be created in your desired pane.

Once you've finished making your changes, touch the small check mark on the far left of the ribbon or touch the name of any other pane. Your icons will stop breathing and your changes are saved. 

All this shortcut-making starts in the All pane. If you try to copy from any other pane, you'll just end up moving the icon. Say you want to make the Videos app into a favorite. If you start from the Media pane, you'll add the Videos icon to the Favorites pane but it will be deleted from Media. Instead, drag the breathing video icon from All pane to Favorites. That way, you'll keep the shortcut in the Media folder, add a shortcut to the Favorites pane, and have another in the All pane. 

Or, any other way you'd like. The combinations and possiblities are endless; what you do with your icons and shortcuts is entirely up to you. 

e-office flashlight - a free flashlight app that actually works

e-office flashlight 

Are you sitting down? Well...yes, you probably are; but that's beside the point! I've finally found it. I've finally found a Flashlight app! "Um...Joseph?" you might be saying to yourself, "there are lots of Flashlight apps on App World and at the CrackBerry App Store." And you'd be right. This flashlight app is different, this one actually works.

To be fair to those other apps, they work too. They just work differently. In every single flashlight app I've downloaded, they just start the video camera. First though, the video light must be set to turn on when the video camera starts. You see, many of these apps are a mere shortcut to the video camera.

e-office flashlight is different (thank goodness). This flashlight app still uses the bright LED in front; but without starting the video camera. The light turns on much more quickly, and Torch owners can finally rejoice: the light doesn't go out when you tilt your hand slightly. If you've ever been searching for the remote under the couch with the video light, you'll know what I mean. The light turns off every time the screen orientation changes.

e-office flashlight is the flashlight app I've been searching for. The light turns on quickly, doesn't use the video camera (just the light), and doesn't need to be a Trusted Application or require a load of permissions to run. It does need the Files permissions (otherwise you get the "Unable to create player" error), but that's one I can feel safe in allowing. Why is this important? Some app developers are less scrupulous than others. No worries about that here.

Ah, and did I mention it was free?

More information / download from BlackBerry App World 

Humans vs Aliens updated - 100 copies to be won!

Humans vs Aliens

A while back we posted on Epic Applications' new game, Humans vs Aliens. It is a very fun game, that seems to take full advantage of the current BlackBerry capabilities. The gameplay is very smooth, and I seem to find myself playing it for hours on end. In this update, they have made the following changes:

  • Support for 85xx and 93xx (320x240 screens)
  • Significantly improved graphics for all phones
  • Improved memory usage for even smoother running(it’s already one of the smoothest games out)
  • Various other bug fixes

You can pick up Humans vs Aliens on sale at the CrackBerry App Store. Normally $5.99, they have cut the price to $.0.99 for a limited time. It is available for the Bold 9650, Bold 9700, Bold 9780, Curve 8330, Curve 8350i, Curve 8520, Curve 8530, Curve 8900, Curve 8910, Curve 8930, Curve 8980, Curve 9300 3G, Curve 9330 3G, Storm 9500, Storm 9530/9530T, Storm2 9550/9520, Torch 9800, Tour 9630.

More information and purchase of Humans vs Aliens
Humans vs Aliens free trial

BlackBerry App Roundup for June 3, 2011 - We have 50 copies of Talking Kitty to give away!

Blackberry App Roundup Welcome to this week's BlackBerry App Roundup! This week we have 50 copies of Talking Kitty by Almoko to give away this week! We have searched high and low and found some neat apps to share with you this week, so head on past the break to check them out and enter the contest! 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.

BlackBerry Torch 2 gets previewed yet again, still not official

BlackBerry Torch 2 gets previewed yet again, still not official

I'm sure this will come as no surprise to anyone out there but the still unofficial, unannounced BlackBerry Torch 2 has one again received some hands-on love. At this point, there is very little information remaining to be said about the BlackBerry Torch 2.

Aside from a release date and official announcement of carriers we're baffled as to why RIM isn't just shipping this device already -- they've had plenty of time to be working on it and they're well aware they need a new in-market device so, what exactly is the hold up? Specs call for AT&T on this one, we're wondering if it's carrier approval or if BlackBerry 7 is still being optimized for the new hardware we're seeing here.

  • Processor: 1.2 GHz processor
  • Radio: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE ; Tri-band HSPA 14.4Mbps
  • Display: 3.2" VGA - 480 x 640 capacitive touchscreen display
  • Memory: 8GB storage + 768MB RAM + up to 32GB MicroSD
  • Connectivity: WiFi + Bluetooth + NFC
  • Camera: 5 MP
  • Battery: 1300MAh battery
  • Dimension: 14.6mm thick
  • Sensors: magnetometer

If you're looking for more photos, you can jump on past the break or hit up the source link for the full details.

QuickWeather by NikkiSoft - A customizable weather widget for your BlackBerry's home screen!

QuickWeather by NikkiSoft

From NikkiSoft, the makers of QuickLaunch and QuickFind, comes another app in the Quick series. QuickWeather will display your current weather conditions anywhere on your homescreen. This is awesome for all you theme lovers out there.  That new theme doesn't come with a weather slot? No problem, you can make your own! Not enough icons on your home screen? Use QuickWeather instead of the theme's built in weather slot, and free up an icon for another app! It's got a ton of features you can customize, so you can really make this match your style.

Features:

  • Displays current temperature and hi/lo forecast
  • Choose update frequency
  • Change background color
  • Change text color
  • Set transparency level
  • Set on-screen location
  • Display weather conditions or city name
  • Celsius or Fahrenheit
  • 2 layout styles
  • Also includes 5 day forecast display (not a widget but a popup window) which displays temperature forecast, current temperature, current humidity level, wind speed and sunrise / sunset times
QuickWeather has a very small footprint, is not active when the backlight is off or your device is in bedtime mode and has no lag or battery drain effects on your device.  A Quick and Simple glance at your weather! You can pick up QuickWeather for just $1.99 for your BlackBerry Torch or Storm.

For more information/screenshots and to purchase QuickWeather

Google ad confirms the BlackBerry Bold 9930 coming to Verizon

Google ad confirms the BlackBerry Bold 9930 coming to Verizon

Following up on the Sprint news, I'm sure a lot of Verizon folks were wondering if the BlackBerry Bold 9930 would be hitting their network as well. While it's not exactly the same kind of confirmation we got from Sprint, it's as solid as we're going to get for now and that answer is -- yes. Verizon customers will be getting the BlackBerry Bold 9930 as well. When, remains a mystery but -- we're fine with just knowing it's coming soon for now.

Source: BBRocks

BlackBerry Bold 9930, BlackBerry Torch 9850 (monaco) both headed to Sprint!

BlackBerry Bold 9930, BlackBerry Torch 9850 both headed to Sprint!

Some nice info was just dropped on us today for all you Sprint users looking to get ahold of a new BlackBerry in the next little while. The above list, clearly shows the BlackBerry Bold 9930 and BlackBerry monaco 9850 will be launched on Sprint soon but possibly more importantly -- it also gives us the go-to-market name for the monaco. If all is correct here, the BlackBerry monaco 9850 will be placed under the BlackBerry Torch branding when released.

So when exactly are these devices expected to arrive? Well, if you jump on past the break you'll see the release date for the BlackBerry Bold 9930 is tentatively set for August 21 while the BlackBerry Torch 9850 is still stuck in that to-be-determined area.

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