BlackBerry News and Reviews

Spending too much time sorting through your call log? Try PhoneCallNotes

Oh the mighty call log- keeper of call history and call times. You have been there time and again when I needed access to numbers, but didn’t want to dial or access my address book. You help house any notes I may need to make on each call. As much as I love you, I do have a couple of bones to pick with you; you take up memory on my BlackBerry and you are a pain with regards to coming up with a report on my calls. Oh how can I stay mad at you?

Luckily, there’s an application by the name of PhoneCallNotes available to answer the call…so to speak. As it runs in the background, the application maintains a record of all calls (missed or otherwise) and keeps them on your memory card. Everything that your call log can handle, PhoneCallNotes can handle as well – this includes call duration, phone number and even notes. This record is in CSV file format, which can be easily sent via email to billing and reporting. You can decide which types of calls are logged and whether or not you want to record notes or not.

Features:

  • You can view first 128 calls in PhoneCallNotes or email the entire csv file.
  • PhoneCallNotes works silently in the background and is only visible when you ask to enter a callnote after each call.
  • PhoneCallNotes requires a SD card. Even when you do an OS upgrade your call log will always be available on the SD card.
  • Use PhoneCallNotes to manage your client billing, projects, monthly minute tracking and more.

Isn’t that much easier than having to sort through your call log and manually capture the information. It also beats having to wait for your wireless bill to report your calls. PhoneCallNotes is available from the CrackBerry Store – it’s currently on sale for $1.99 (from $2.99).

More information/download PhoneCallNotes

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Twitter for BlackBerry v1.1 now available

It's been a while since we've seen an official update to Twitter for BlackBerry (now just known as "Twitter"), but today RIM has finally released version 1.1 for public download. This version has been sitting in the Beta Zone for quite a while and has received some good feedback. New features include:

  • Tweet Location
  • Refreshed Branding/New UI
  • Retweet Updates
  • New Language Support 

The updated release also includes beta user requested features like push @Mentions, #Topic Autocomplete, and ‘Retweeted by you' indicators, as well as several other enhancements based on feedback received during the beta. The update will be rolling out in BlackBerry App World in the next 24 hours, so if you don't see it available now, keep checking back.

More information/download of Twitter for BlackBerry

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CrackBerry reader Blake does BlackBerry Rap

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

It's been a bit since we've had a good BlackBerry song come into the tip line, but Blake sent this in today and it made my day. While many users out there love their BlackBerry, it's not often they choose to sing about it and throw it up on YouTube, but Blake did just that. Through his original rap, Blake drops his praises of BlackBerry and disses Apple a bit in the process. A fun one to get your Tuesday started, so check out the full video above. Thanks for the shoutout Blake!

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Bill Tracker for BlackBerry

Between my job here at CrackBerry, working at a day care facility, husband's work social functions, three children and all their activities as well as taking care of the three family pets, I occasionally mess up & forget something I was supposed to do. None of this is more aggravating then when it is a bill I needed to pay and didn't. We all know in today's economy one missed bill incurs a very hefty fee with most companies. I recently ran across an app in the CrackBerry App Store called Bill Tracker by Ajani InfoTech Private Limited.

Bill Tracker not only keeps track of your bills but also has the added benefit of keeping records of those bills & when they were paid, scheduling for when bills are due and adding custom bill reminders. You can also view your payment history and see where your money is going by tracking your bill logs. It's a useful app. An added bonus to this app is that you can email the bill logs to yourself or sync it with BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

One thing I love about this app that differs from the others is the fact that you enter in the payee's information manually. While this is a little time consuming at first you no longer have to worry if the company you use is supported by the app itself. Bill Tracker works on pretty much every BlackBerry device there is and at the price of only $0.99, it's definitely worth giving it a try.

For more information/screenshots and to purchase Bill Tracker

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Leaked OS 6.0.0.534 for the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Another leaked OS for you all from the forums, this time the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 gets the love. As usual, be careful when updating your device and be sure to make a backup before loading this one up. Thanks, Ryo-Kun!

*OS Disclaimer - Please Read: Keep in mind this is NOT an official release and as such is not supported by RIM or your Carrier. If you choose to install, do so at your own risk and only if you're comfortable in the process of upgrading and downgrading your device software. It is quite normal during operating system development for certain features to be crippled or disabled while others are tested, and these beta builds often reflect that. They are not always better. Depending on your BlackBerry comfort level, it may be best for you to wait for community feedback on a build before deciding to download and install for yourself or simply wait for the next official release. If you require support, you will find it in our CrackBerry forums via our extremely knowledgeable community base - do not contact your carrier or RIM for Beta OS technical support (their first course of action will be to advise you to downgrade to a supported OS). *

Download OS 6.0.0.534 for the Curve 3G 9300
Discuss more in the forums

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Leaked OS 6.0.0.534 for the BlackBerry Torch 9800

Yesterday we saw OS 6.0.0.534 leak for the Bold 9780 and now it has appeared for the Torch 9800 as well. This one freshly leaked so no reports on whats good just yet, so if you install be sure to swing by the forums with your findings. As usual, be careful when updating your device and be sure to make a backup before loading this one up. Thanks, Ryo-Kun!

*OS Disclaimer - Please Read: Keep in mind this is NOT an official release and as such is not supported by RIM or your Carrier. If you choose to install, do so at your own risk and only if you're comfortable in the process of upgrading and downgrading your device software. It is quite normal during operating system development for certain features to be crippled or disabled while others are tested, and these beta builds often reflect that. They are not always better. Depending on your BlackBerry comfort level, it may be best for you to wait for community feedback on a build before deciding to download and install for yourself or simply wait for the next official release. If you require support, you will find it in our CrackBerry forums via our extremely knowledgeable community base - do not contact your carrier or RIM for Beta OS technical support (their first course of action will be to advise you to downgrade to a supported OS). *

Download OS 6.0.0.534 for the Torch 9800
Discuss more in the forums

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Teknision: The designers behind the BlackBerry PlayBook user experience

If you've been following along with us since the BlackBerry PlayBook rumors started, then the name TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) will be a familiar one. If it's not ringing any bells, then we'll just say they are now most commonly known for developing portions of the BlackBerry PlayBooks user interface -- except, this information is slightly misdirected. As it turns out, TAT's involvement in the BlackBerry PlayBook UI is starting to look rather minimal compared to the involvement of Teknision -- an Ottawa, Ontario, Canada based firm. One look at their site reveals a lot about the company and their involvement in the User Experience Design within the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Teknision led the user experience design effort for the new BlackBerry PlayBook. Working closely with RIM’s executive team, Teknision provided creative direction, conceptualization and lead design execution for the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

As part of an extended engagement, members of Teknision’s UXD team became part of the PlayBook development team to oversee the design implementation and ensure the design vision and language extends to all aspects of the PlayBook experience.

The BlackBerry Tablet OS is a completely new user experience direction for BlackBerry, which will eventually extend to all RIM devices. The PlayBook engagement resulted in several patents and near unanimous industry acclaim.

Teknision also played a big part in building of the BlackBerry PlayBook applications such as, the PlayBook Photo and Music app as well as the BlackBerry PlayBook SDK. Looking at their statement above, it's pretty clear they will be looking to scape down the PlayBook designs to BlackBerry Smartphones. I for one, can't wait to see what they'll be able to come up with -- but it does beg the question on whether or not we'll see more influence from TAT or Teknision in the long run or will it be an amazing mix of both teams coming together to create one simply awesome UI -- time will tell I suppose but in the meantime, we'll be waiting for our PlayBooks so we can enjoy the work. Hit up their site for some of the finer details.

Source: BBCool

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BlackBerry Traffic v2.0 now available

BlackBerry Traffic has spent a bit of time being overhauled and we had a few updates in the BlackBerry Beta Zone. Today RIM has officially released the latest version in BlackBerry App World. The new version includes and updated UI as well as maneuver guidance, essentially giving you turn-by-turn directions from within the app. New features include:

  • Complete UI revamp – You asked for it, you got it. BlackBerry Traffic 2.0 features new icons, color scheme, 6.0-style theme, and more!
  • Route selection screen - You told us you want more routes to choose from, so we took action. There are now two route choices (including ETA and trip distance info for each) available to you as soon as you select a destination.
  • Future traffic view - A new future traffic view can be accessed by selecting the current time on the route selection screen, or by flipping through the different views when a route is selected. This view can be used to determine the best departure time based on predicted traffic conditions.
  • Next maneuver drive view - The simple view has been revised to display the next maneuver with corresponding turn icon in a large, easily viewable font.
  • Search history - Frequent search terms are now available from a drop down on the search screen.

While it doesn't necessarily beat out full out GPS apps like VZ Nav or Telenav, it does get the job done and you can't beat the price. If you haven't tried it yet or you still have an older version, head to BlackBerry App World to grab the latest version.

More information/download of BlackBerry Traffic

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Leaked OS 6.0.0.534 for the BlackBerry Bold 9780

A few days ago we saw OS 6.0.0.534 leak for the Bold 9700 and today it's popped up for the Bold 9780 as well. This one is brand new so no reports on whats good just yet, so if you install be sure to swing by the forums with your findings. As usual, be careful when updating your device .. always.

*OS Disclaimer - Please Read: Keep in mind this is NOT an official release and as such is not supported by RIM or your Carrier. If you choose to install, do so at your own risk and only if you're comfortable in the process of upgrading and downgrading your device software. It is quite normal during operating system development for certain features to be crippled or disabled while others are tested, and these beta builds often reflect that. They are not always better. Depending on your BlackBerry comfort level, it may be best for you to wait for community feedback on a build before deciding to download and install for yourself or simply wait for the next official release. If you require support, you will find it in our CrackBerry forums via our extremely knowledgeable community base - do not contact your carrier or RIM for Beta OS technical support (their first course of action will be to advise you to downgrade to a supported OS). *

Download OS 6.0.0.534 for the Bold 9780
Discuss more in the forums

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BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Icon Reference

BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Don't know what that icon on your PlayBook means? Refer to this guide so you won't be left in the dark.

If you're a bit confused as to what icon gets you where on your BlackBerry PlayBook, hopefully this will help clear things up a bit. There are tons of naviagtion icons on the device and with plenty of 3rd party apps there will only be more on the way. So check out this quick reference guide and get to know the major icons on your BlackBerry PlayBook on the homescreen as well as the camera, video chat and browser.

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RIM to handle BlackBerry PlayBook Warranty support and repair directly

If you've ever had an issue with a BlackBerry smartphone that required warranty service then you'll likely know that the process for getting an exchange is typically always handled by your carrier. Of course, that only comes after they have you reload your OS 3 or 4 times for an issue you clearly stated that was something totally unrelated to the OS. Frustrating to say the least -- but, we can take some joy in knowing that if, for whatever reason you should have an issue with your BlackBerry PlayBook you'll not have any carrier getting in the way of it being repaired. In fact, you'll be dealing with Research In Motion directly. As noted in the above document:

  • RIM will provide complimentary out of the box support for 90 days after a BlackBerry PlayBook has been activated. This covers the device and in-box accessories including how-to and setup inquiries. Customers are told to contact these two numbers:

US:  1-877-644-8410
CAN:  1-877-644-8405

  • RIM will have a out of the box limited warranty and repair service directly to end users for 12 months after activation of a BlackBerry PlayBook. It will also offer an Advance Exchange or Same Unit Repair service.
  • RIM will offer additional technical support and warranty coverage for a period of 2 years following activation of the Tablet to end-users who purchase the BlackBerry Total Care Program. RIM will offer Advance BlackBerry PlayBook Exchange as a repair service solution. Consumers can purchase the program anytime within the 12-month Limited Warranty period. 

Personally, in the past I've never had much issue with carrier related repairs but I do know some folks who have. For RIM to be handling the repairs and replacements themselves is a very good thing in the long run. Let's just hope none of us ever really need to use the service to the full extent.

Source: BerryReview

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QuickBubble version 1.5.0.3 pops up - 50 copies to be won!

Way back in August of last year, I had a look at an application called QuickBubble. The application focused on features we would typically see in two more popular types of apps – a message popup notification system (email and SMS) and a provider of shortcuts to more frequently used commands (create a new contact, calendar appointment, memo entry or email). The developers were extremely quick to respond to any concerns I had while reviewing QuickBubble. I haven’t heard from them since then and was worried that their bubble had burst. The application had some potential, though I was already impressed with what it had.

A day or so ago, an email from HandRapid popped up on my BlackBerry. They have been hard at work tweaking QuickBubble and have released version 1.5.0.3

What's new in 1.5.0.3:

  • A new UserInterface.
  • Turn off LED light automatically.
  • Mark Email/PIN as read automatically.
  • You can choice which Email Account you want to view message bubble.
  • Support PIN Message.
  • BlackBerry Enterprise Service Support.
  • SMS bubble filer function.
  • Optimized the speed of the bubble.
  • Reduced battery consumption.

QuickBubble can be found in the CrackBerry App Store for $7.99; it's currently on sale for $3.99.

Contest: With this new version we have 50 copies of QuickBubble for you to catch. All you have to do is pop a comment in below to be entered. To make it interesting, let us know how you would benefit from the bubbling bonuses this app brings. Contest ends this Sunday at Midnight PST.

More information/download QuickBubble

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BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Personalizing your BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry 101: BlackBerry PlayBook Personalization

The BlackBerry PlayBook is yours (or soon will be) so of course you need to make it your own. Just like your BlackBerry Smartphone you can change up the settings, wallpaper and other options to tweak things to your liking. While you can't go crazy (just yet anyway) with themes and the like, you can play around a bit to make your PlayBook better fit you. Let's take a look at the easiest ways to quickly personalize your BlackBerry PlayBook.

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BlackBerry Radio updated to v1.0.0.41 for select BlackBerry Beta Zone Members - Adds Nobex Radio Companion

If you were one of the select BlackBerry Beta Zone members chosen to test out BlackBerry Radio, then you'll be happy to hear it's been updated to v1.0.0.41. If you haven't heard of BlackBerry Radio, it is a radio station discovery application that integrates and streams some of your favorite digital radio stations (Corus, Slacker) all in one place for easy access. It even gives you the ability to download the full version of these partner apps directly from App World.

This version fixes quite a few bugs and replaces Clear Channel's iheartradio stations with ones provided by Nobex Radio Companion. As always, a new keycode is required to activate after installation and is e-mailed to you after downloading. When logging into Beta Zone, simply verify your information and you should receive the e-mail right away.

Some of the additional features include:

  • New Nobex radio streams are available, however it may take up 24 hours for you to see these stations in Blackberry Radio. If you do not see the streams, periodically refresh your streams by pressing the BB Menu key and selecting "Refresh"
  • Collapsible lists for genres
  • Various smaller bug fixes

To download the BlackBerry Radio update, visit the BlackBerry Beta Zone website

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BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Software Update

BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Check out this guide for help on how to update the software on your BlackBerry PlayBook.

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

When you first fire up your BlackBerry PlayBook you'll be required to do a software update. It doesn't take too long but it gets you the latest software so you're up to date. Updating the software is easy and only requires a few steps, but check out this quick 101 to make sure you're on the ball. Watch the video above for the full details, or keep reading for the quick version. We'll also check out the few options you'll find in the software update screen in your options.

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BlackBerry PlayBook 101: Setting Up Video Chat

BlackBerry PlayBook 101: How to setup Video Chat on your BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook brings some awesome new features that we as BlackBerry users have never used on the platform before. Perhaps one of the biggest is video chat. While we haven't actually been able to play with it at all, we have briefly seen it on devices. Kevin came across it during CTIA and nearly had it fired up before getting denied use. so while we hope it's on there at launch, we're not too positive that we'll see video chat right off the bat. In any case, when we do get access to it, this brief tutorial will help get you up and running with video chat on your BlackBerry PlayBook. It is super easy to setup and once you're done you'll be able to quickly chat with other PlayBook users. Let's get going!

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Contest winners: Weather Plus, Kino and TWP T-shirts, C point 1, and accessories!

Here are the winners from last week's round of contests. If you won you will be receiving an email either directly from us or the retailer/developer directly in the next few days. If for some reason you don't receive an email within 7-14 days (be sure to check your spam/junk folder just in case, and verify your registered address associated with your CrackBerry account) you can email us at sitesupport(at)crackberry.com and we'll be sure to get you taken care of. Please be patient as some emails may take longer than others to arrive. Hit the jump for the full list - congrats to all the winners!

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Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK announced, connects BlackBerry PlayBook with CS5

Adobe has been working very closely with Research in Motion for the past little while, so we really can't say we're surprised at the information they just announced surrounding the Photoshop Touch software development kit. The SDK works in conjunction with Photoshop CS5 and a new scripting engine that lets Android, BlackBerry and iOS tablets to interact with Photoshop on the desktop. iOS versions of Lava, Eazel and Nav should be available in early May, but the new SDK will allow apps to be developed for the BlackBerry PlayBook and other tablet platforms such as Android.

Looking at the suite of tools, the concepts behind them are rather easy to understand -- and most importantly, use. Your tablet connects to the PC via a secure connection, fire up the apps you are wanting to work on and you are all set. Adobe Eazel makes your tablet a virtual Eazel where you can create content on the tablet and have it seamlessly imported into Photoshop in fact, anything you create on the tablet just appears in Photoshop on your computer.

To help kick things off, Adobe's Creative Suite will be updated to Version 5.5 and developers can access the free SDK at www.adobe.com/devnet/photoshop. Current Adobe Photoshop CS5 users can update starting May 3. Adobe also is launching new subscription-based pricing for Photoshop, for as little as $35 a month, which is pretty awesome for those not wanting to purchase Photoshop at full cost. More details and information about subscription pricing can be found at adobe.com/go/cssubscription.

Jump on past the break for more images of the apps in action or view the full press release at Adobe

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Beat boredom and challenge your mind with Jigsaw Plus by Spice Labs

After a long day's work, there are times where you just need to sit back, relax, and play a game to take your mind off things. Jigsaw Plus by Spice is one of those games. Based upon the classic puzzle-piece brain teaser, Jigsaw makes my long and unbearable train ride fly right by.  

Jigsaw Plus is a jigsaw puzzle game where you choose the difficulty level and select your puzzle from a collection of 30 random images. There is even a new puzzle to try every day. The only thing missing is the ability to upload your own photos and turn them into puzzles. Maybe in the next update they'll be able to move beyond the stock images and add this feature.

Levels are broken down by the number of pieces also known as cuts. They range from the simple 9 piece cut to the extremely intricate 100 piece cut. Mind you these pieces are perfectly square and not the odd shaped locking pieces we're all familiar with. If you think this is easy, you're wrong. I dare you to attempt to solve the 100 piece cut without losing your mind (like I did). Until then, I'll stick to the kid levels and slowly work my way up. Plus, they've even included a counter that tracks your solve times and how many moves it takes.

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From the forums: Hands on video from the BlackBerry PlayBook Training event in LA!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Some really cool hands-on information showed up in the forums over the last couple of days. CB member theruined attended the LA PlayBook Training Event on Thursday and got to spend some one-on-one time with a BlackBerry PlayBook. He posted some video and some observations in the forums for us. Some highlights of what he found:

  • No sign of video chat yet, but reps did mention it will definitely be included in the BBM on the PlayBook though there was no mention of it being there at launch.
  • PIN's are going to be phased out within the next year or so and replaced with BBID - this is to push cross platform apps, messaging, and ease of use
  • Presentation mode was demoed. It works by splitting the media output stream into two outputs that are independent of each other; meaning you can watch a video or load a presentation on your HDMI OUT and still browse/play/chat/message on the PB screen. Orientation, volume, brightness, etc are all independent features controlled by a Presentation Mode switch function that allows you to swap screen, toggle screens, and control the options on each screen. (We saw this also at BlackBerry Dev Day)
  • Battery Life still unconfirmed but it was reiterated that we have a 5300mAh
  • The OS constantly updates battery performance
  • OS Updates are going to use a push-type system to be installed almost instantly on your device
  • Doc2Go will be Premium for Free!
  • The screen is very durable and hard to scratch
  • Orientation Lock Feature was present on this build
  • .MKV Videos will be supported via native OS soon after launch, but not initially at launch
  • Flash games on the web were not supported with keyboard controls. This wasn't programmed into the OS but may be in the future.
  • Power button will be fully programmable with options on what it does, kinda like your computer i.e. Sleep, Hibernate, Shut Down, Lock
  • BlackBerry Bridge has not been finalized but I have verified that carrier data will not be transferred during bridging. No Texts or call logs folks. This was due to controlling security on the devices, since RIM is transferring over only their data from their end of the game, it's easier to control.
  • The UI for the Bridge stuff was very polished, all updated, refined graphics and functions with even more options for stuff like adding events and such.
Since the PlayBooks that are being demoed are still pre-release models, things are still subject to change. I'm sure RIM is working until the final moments getting the UI polished and refined for us. You can check out the rest of theruined's thread and jump in the conversation over in the forums at the link below. Another CrackBerry member was also in attendance at the same event, and posted his experience in the forums as well. If you want to read his walkthrough of the event, you can do so at the second link below. He posted a lot of pictures of the venue and set up, which I always think are fun to see. Thanks UrbanGlowCam and theruined!

To check out the full post by theruined and join the conversation
For UrbanGlowCam's walkthrough and impressions on the event

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