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BlackBerry News and Reviews

RIM updates screen resolution information for developers, inadvertently announces new BlackBerry devices

Screen Resolution

For developers, updating their applications to new devices can be easy but when new screen resolutions are introduced that task does indeed become a little bit harder. A prime example of this is when we were at BlackBerry World, Kevin, Adam and I tested out Angry Farm on the BlackBerry Bold 9900 to see if it would play any better with the new processor. Given that Angry Farm was not optimized for the Bold 9900 some portions of the game didn't fit the screen. The of course was because the BlackBerry Bold 9900 had a larger screen resolution then what the game was set to display.

So in short, developers will need to update their apps in order to make sure they work on the 9360, 9810, 9850, 9900 and 9930. Wait -- what? 9360, 9810, 9850? Yeah, Research In Motion just inadvertently outed the new BlackBerry Curve, Torch 2 and Torch 9850 via their own BlackBerry Developers blog. Although to their credit they are still listed as simulator models. However, we already know what they are due to all the previous leaks so I guess the real question here is -- when are you going to officially announce these devices RIM? You know, since even the simulators are now available and all.

Source: Blackberry Dev Blog; BlackBerry Device simulators

Rumor: Verizon Wireless to unveil new tiered data plans July 7th?

Verizon Wireless Word around the web has been hinting at Verizon Wireless bringing some changes to both their family and data plans. Now it seems that July 7th might be the big day for these changes to go into effect, with tiered data plans and data + tethering plans. Supposedly at this time just for new customers and possibly current customers that are up for renewal, the new plans are shaping up to look something like:

Data plans:

  • 2GB - $30/month
  • 5GB - $50/month
  • 10GB - $80/month
Data + tethering plans:
  • 4GB - $50/month
  • 7 GB - $70/month
  • 12 GB - $100/month
So it looks like tethering is $20 extra per month for an additional 2GB of data. Additional data beyond your plan allotment will cost you $10/GB and tablet data plans will change to $30 for 2 GB. If this information plays out to be true, and you're looking at switching carriers, will it affect your decision regarding which company you go with?

*UPDATE* Android Central now has some more details posted up.

Source: Droid-Life

Personalize your home screen with Fancy Widgets for BlackBerry!

Fancy Widgets

BlackBerry users are all about customization. Be it with wallpapers, ringtones, themes, or apps, there are countless ways to go about making your BlackBerry reflect who you are. Another way this can be done that is usually not the first thing that comes to mind on this platform is through widgets. While not a native function of BlackBerry at this time, you can still have widgets on your home screen with the help of applications such as Fancy Widgets, which we first showed you back in December.

Packed with options, this application will replace your current wallpaper with the widgets you choose. Don't worry if you are a wallpaper fanatic though; one of the included options is a wallpaper changer. You can add widgets such as stocks, weather, quotes, countdown, Twitter, and RSS feeds, and place them wherever you want. If you switch themes often, this is a key feature as you can reposition, add, and remove widgets as needed. You can even save and load previous profiles to save time! BerryWeather is supported as well, which I know is huge for a lot of you out there.

The latest version of Fancy Widgets is v1.2.4. This version has brought some worthwhile updates, so if you haven't checked it out yet it's a good time to do so! You can download the free version which gives you access to just two widgets, or get the full version for $2.99.

Change log for v1.2.4:

  • Improved Clock Widget. It is now Digital Clock. Supports custom fonts.
  • Fixed some Wallpaper switcher bugs
  • Reworked all widget settings, added more visual customizations
  • Totally reworked Weather widget. Added location picker, 3 layout templates and icon packs support
  • Reworked Stocks widget. It has now 3 layout templates
  • Internal fixes to improve stability
For more information and to download Fancy Widgets

Quick Review: Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case for the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Update: Unfortunately this item no longer includes a screen protector as stated in the video

The Incipio Feather Ultralight Hard Shell case for the BlackBerry PlayBook is exactly the kind of case I have been looking for. When it comes to my devices I want protection without all the added bulk. With the Feather case you get just that. It's made of a strong polymer that fits snugly against your device protecting it from dents and scratches on the top, bottom and all four corners of the PlayBook. The soft matte finish is similar to what is already on the back of the PlayBook. The cutouts for the ports, buttons & camera are generously sized to provide ease of access without compromising the device or hindering their use in any way. My only problem with the case is that it covers my BlackBerry symbol on the back of the PlayBook. I'm a proud BlackBerry owner & I want people to know that the tablet I'm using is a BlackBerry. Check out the video above for more on the Incipio Feather Ultralight Case for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The secret BlackBerry address books

Arnold holding Bold

Ever needed to have a contact's number in your phone but didn't really want their name in your address book 'just in case' you were in a situation where other prying eyes are interested in who is in your BlackBerry address book?  This "feature" I found a few years ago I'm assuming is a bug in the OS, and is so far down the priority list of things for RIM to worry about that is now a permanent feature.

OK, full disclosure, because my wife and her friends read - I personally do not use this feature.  I only found it by accident and the way my brain works sometimes is to look several moves down the chessboard and see how this can be implemented.  I do know several people that when I have shown this to have in fact put it into play.

So with that all out of the way let's get down to the good stuff...

Check out Swaggberry - The latest from JJ Money

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

It's been a while since we've seen a new tune about BlackBerry hit YouTube, but JJ Money comes through this time with the song Swaggberry. It is another song to add to the extensive list of BlackBerry/BBM tunes and it doesn't disappoint. Swaggberry is all about BlackBerry - "if you ain't got no PIN, I don't want your number. The only way to meet is through BBM". This is one more that will surely be stuck in my head for the next week or so. Check out the full video above, then just try to stop singing it in your head before the end of he day :-)

Sling Golf for the BlackBerry PlayBook - Who says golf is just for humans?

Sling Golf by BoltCloud Corp

Golf isn't just for humans anymore. Robots, monkeys, and monsters want to play too! Ok, of course in real life you're not to likely to see these guys out on the back 9, but in Sling Golf by BoltCloud Corp for the BlackBerry PlayBook, they've taken over the course and are ready to play! Choose which character you want to play as and hit the course.

The lite version of Sling Golf gives you one course of nine holes. As you progress through the levels, they increase in difficulty. Your goal, obviously, is to get your ball in the hole, under par. Water hazards, sand traps, trees, and hills all provide obstacles, making the game challenging but still fun. The full version is $2.99 and unlocks 2 more courses for a total of 27 holes in all. Both games come with smooth animation, sound, un-lockable achievements, and awards. If you want to try before you buy, I recommend getting Sling Golf Lite so you can play a full course.

For more information/screenshots and to download Sling Golf Lite
For more information/screenshots and to purchase the full version of Sling Golf 

BlackBerry Bold 9900 gets shown off in Vietnam

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Although the BlackBerry Bold 9900 may be delayed for consumers that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of them out there. Even during BlackBerry World it wasn't all that rare to see plenty of folks making use of the device -- not as many as officially released devices mind you but if you were looking for a Bold 9900 they were easy to spot. This latest sighting comes to us from Vietnam, and also gives quite a reivew of the device itself. You'll have to hit Google Translate to read it but if you're just wanting to see more of the device you can jump on past the break for some nice photos.

Source: Vietnam BIS Community; via: CrackBerry Forums

Press Release: Adobe Enables Developers to Build Mobile Apps for Android Devices, BlackBerry PlayBook, iPhone and iPad


Press Release

Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 Update Available Today

SAN JOSE, Calif.-- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today delivered an update to Adobe® Flash® Builder® 4.5 and Flex 4.5 software to enable developers to build applications for iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry PlayBook. Support for Android devices was released in April 2011. Developers now have a single platform for building highly expressive mobile applications that can be distributed via the Android Market, Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World. Offered standalone or as part of Creative Suite® 5.5 Web Premium and Master Collection, Flash Builder 4.5 enables the creation of applications that work seamlessly across leading mobile device platforms.

CrackBerry Reminder: What you may have missed this week

From the Forums: Video quality on the BlackBerry PlayBook

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

We've taken a look at the video quality on the BlackBerry PlayBook a couple times in the past but it's always interesting to take a stroll through the CrackBerry forums and find others that are impressed by the video camera as well as and more importantly -- what they're recording with their PlayBooks. Forums member rjkolo attended a picnic and happened to catch a band called Leadfoot on video. The above video is that of their performance there. As you can tell, the video turned out great and even with all the backgound noise -- the audio sounds superb.

As rjkolo noted in his forums post -- the video was taken in 720p, it's the default setting of course but if you're looking to take video in 1080p you can quickly swipe down from the top when in the video camera and set it to 1080p. Have you captured some awesome video on your PlayBook? If so, feel free to share it in the PlayBook forums.

BlackBerry Avatar Builder is back in App World with v1.0.1

BlackBerry Avatar Builder

A few days ago, we let you know about the free BlackBerry Avatar Builder that RIM released into BlackBerry App World. Shortly after its release, the app was pulled from App World with no explanation, leaving many people wondering why. After all, it was an official release from RIM, and it didn't have any obvious glitches or bugs, so it was a bit of a mystery to everyone. Well, not everyone... the app was brought up on the last CrackBerry Podcast, and Kevin mentioned it was likely pulled because, unlike all other apps developed and released by RIM, the Avatar Builder didn't make you agree to a lengthy EULA before using it.

Lo and behold, the Avatar Builder is back in App World today with an update to v1.0.1. I installed the update, and fired up the app, and guess what? Kevin was right, as usual. The miles long EULA popped up right away. So for those of you that tried to download the application and couldn't because it had been removed from App World, go ahead and give it a try now.

Download Avatar Builder Guys Edition
Download Avatar Builder Girls Edition

CrackBerry Podcast Episode 071: It can only get better from here... we hope!

CrackBerry Podcast

Following up Thursday's RIM earnings call, which has resulted in a lot of BlackBerry gloom and doom talk around the interwebs, we fired things up Friday afternoon for a Live CrackBerry Podcast. In case you missed it live, here's the recording of that show for you to listen to at your leisure.

BlackBerry Bedside Mode, do my bidding!

Futurama starts June 23 on Comedy Central!

Shhh. It's bedtime, time to charge your BlackBerry. Over the next few hours, both you and your smartphone will get some much needed recharge time. You'll lay your head upon a pillow, falling into a deep sleep. Your BlackBerry will sit nearby, silently suckling the electric teat of its charger or nesteled comfortably in its charging pod. All is quiet and peaceful in your world.

2:38 a.m. BRRRRRIIINNNNGG! An email arrives. You wearily open one eye to see that LED blinking. Blinking. BLINKING. You try to ignore it but to no avail. You've been trained (in a fashion) to respond immediately to that indicator light. Opening the "important" message, you find it's another email begging you to come back to Xbox Live. Ugh. You try to fall back asleep, but this night's constant bombardment of "special" offers "just for you" has just begun. In desperation, you hurl your BlackBerry out of the window and finally, mercifully fall back to sleep.

Without Bedside mode on your BlackBerry, this could be your night. Thankfully, we do have Bedside mode. As soon as you start charging your BlackBerry, the clock opens and soon dims into what I call a "quiet clock." The LED turns off and (sometimes) notifications are turned off. The BlackBerry becomes the perfect nightstand companion, silently doing nothing more than display the clock.

But what if you don't want that? What if you just want to charge the smartphone? What if you want some messages to sound alerts while others don't? Maybe you like the blinking LED. Can Bedside mode be set up just the way you like? You betcha.

Review: Carbonite for BlackBerry smartphones


Carbonite Inc has been around since 2005. The company provides a nearly effortless way to back up and restore data on your computer. In fact, their motto is simply “Back it up. Get it back”. The days of not backing up your personal data are over, and have been for quite some time, so why aren’t you? There are many different options to consider; Carbonite is one to definitely look at. As far as security goes, they use 128-bit Blowfish encryption to keep everything locked down tight. They can handle all user generated files, no matter if you are looking at backing up a few documents, 200 GB of music or more.

As far as BlackBerry goes, they’ve added a few updates to their Carbonite application not too long ago. Through the Carbonite app, you can browse through, download and email practically any file you have backed up from your PC to your account. Is this the type of access you are looking for? Let’s take a peek.

Quick Review: BlackBerry PlayBook Slip Case

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

The BlackBerry Slip Case for PlayBook is a pretty sweet case if you're looking for something simple. Its made of solid leather so it holds your PlayBook snug and protects it from the outside world. It's not total, all-around protection however, but it still does enough to keep your PlayBook from getting beat up during the day. The main thing I don't like about the case is that its a big pain to get the PlayBook out of it. I haven't figured out just how to hold the case to make taking the tablet out an easy task, so hopefully I'm just missing something on that end. Overall I do like the slip case (aside from that flaw) and it serves its purpose well. I prefer an all around case like the convertible case or zip sleeve however. Check out my video above for more.

More info / purchase of the BlackBerry Slip Case for PlayBook

BlackBerry App Roundup for June 17, 2011 - Win 1 of 25 free copies of Fightin' Words!

Want a free copy of the hot new game Fightin' Words? Leave a comment below to enter to win! 

BlackBerry App Roundup

Welcome to this week's BlackBerry App Roundup! This week we have 25 copies of Fightin' Words by InterWork Inc 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.

Choice and Control - BlackBerry Bridge and BlackBerry Balance

BlackBerry Balance 

BlackBerry Balance should really be called BlackBerry You-Shall-Not-Pass or BlackBerry Wall, but I imagine Balance looks a bit better in the marketing materials. BlackBerry Balance isn't an application, it's an idea. Your Work life and Personal life can coexist on the same device, but they must always remain separate. Corporate data is sensitive data, no matter the size or operation of a company. Letting that data roam free amongst personal applications could be a disaster.

BlackBerry Balance is the wall that allows corporate data to be used on personal devices. This means a company can be secure in letting people bring their BlackBerry smartphone in "off the street" and use that phone on the secure corporate network. Running on a Blance'd smartphone or tablet, applications know when they're using work data; they won't allow it to be transferred to personal applications. Copy and Pasting work data into a tweet? Not with BlackBerry Balance you're not.

Balance demonstrates the high level of control, flexibility, and security offered to BlackBerry Enterprise Server administrators, executives, and users. BlackBerry Bridge, BlackBerry Balance, and the Enterprise Catalog of Applications in App World give network administrators choice without compromising security.

Quick Review: BlackBerry PlayBook Zip Sleeve

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

The Zip Sleeve for the BlackBerry PlayBook I can honestly say is my favorite case to date. I picked up this orange one at BlackBerry World (unfortunately we don't stock it, but we do have blue, black and gray) and I have been using it ever since. I did start out with the convertible case, but I've since moved on as I prefer the "naked" device without having it in the case all the time. The zip sleeve keeps my PlayBook protected all the time, and it's easy to get it out and in again. If you're somewhere that you need to get the tablet in and out of the case quickly, you can also leave it half zipped so it acts like a slip case of sorts. Overall I highly recommend this case. It does what I need it to and it holds up to the elements. Check out the video above for my quick review.

More info / purchase of the BlackBerry Zip Sleeve

Verizon CMO confirms 'three new devices this year'

Verizon Logo

While loads of BlackBerry users anxiously await the arrival of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 / 9930 we seem to forget that there are indeed other devices in the pipeline as well. The Bold 9900 / 9930 is the only of the rumored phones to be announced (although without a release date) thus far, but hopefully once it hits well see others follow closely behind. In a recent interview with BGR, Verizon Wireless CMO Marni Walden confirmed there will indeed be three new devices coming to Verizon before years end.

With the company going through a transition period, do you see Research In Motion being a strong part of your lineup in the future?

I do. RIM is still very, very important in the enterprise space. It does resonate in some of the consumer space as well, particularly with BBM. We'll have three devices this year that we will bring to market with RIM. We'll continue our partnership and it'll be important for now going forward.

None of the devices were named in the interview, but we can expect to see the BlackBerry Bold 9930, as well as the next generation BlackBerry Curve, full touchscreen device and/or the BlackBerry Curve Touch. We don't know much at all about the later devices coming to any carriers as we've yet to see anything solid from RIM, so with a bit of speculation take it all for what it's worth. 

Source: BGR