BlackBerry News and Reviews

Get to know the CrackBerry Idol competitors - watch their audition videos! (part 2)

OK, we're back with our next preview of five more of the contestants competing in Round 1 of CrackBerry Idol. The CrackBerry Idol winner will become a regular contributor to the CrackBerry blogs, so among the audition vids you'll be witnessing a future CB blogger. Who that person is will be up to the community to decide, so be sure to watch all of the audition videos as we get them up here, so when it comes to the competition rounds (app review, case review, accessory review, device review) you'll know who each competitor is.

We did a random drawing for which order their audition videos would hit the blogs and next up we have Dave, Finza, DJ, Nick and David. Each of them is ready and more than willing to be the next CrackBerry Idol, and they each have some compelling arguments as to why they should be the next CrackBerry Idol. Watch their awesome audition videos below and be sure to leave some shoutouts of encouragement in the comments - the road to becoming the CB Idol is paved with hard work! Keep in mind the community judging starts with the app reviews (not the audition vids), so please keep your comments relevant and constructive. 

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CrackBerry Podcast 054: passionate BlackBerry talk + Vuvuzela = headache (and must-listen to episode!)

Time for another CrackBerry Podcast! We had a lot of fun recording this one, so hopefully all of you CrackBery listeners out there will enjoy it too. Granted, we went a little bit overboard with the vuvuzela (now banned from all future podcasts), but between the horn blowing we managed to cover a lot of topics, including App World 2.0, and follow-up reviews of the Bold 9650 and Pearl 3G.

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Google Voice now invite free and open for everyone

 

Ever since I started using Google Voice I've been a big fan. From the great voicemail services to the ability to send an SMS from the web, it has served me very well. I change phones fairly often, so having one number available to each of them is extremely convenient. Although the Google Voice app for BlackBerry isn't the greatest, it does get the job done. As we've said before it has its pros and cons, but losing things like MMS may not be favorable for everyone. In any case, if you've been wanting to get in on the Google Voice fun and you live in the US, you no longer need an invite to do so. Just head over to voice.google.com to sign up and then download the BlackBerry app to put your new number to good use. 

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Borders eReader app coming soon to BlackBerry?

We're not quite sure how long this one has been in limbo, but it looks like Borders may be bringing their eReader to BlackBerry in the near future. A quick look at their store shows the BlackBerry (and Android) eReader as coming soon. The Kindle app for BlackBerry was released a while back, so not surprising that more would follow. If the Borders eReader takes after is iPhone and desktop brethren it should have most of the same features including search, ability to purchase books, offline reading and more. We'll keep you posted if anything comes of this. Thanks to G.S. for sending this in!

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Another price drop for the BlackBerry Bold 9700 on Rogers?!?

It wasn't all that long ago that we let you all know about the recent price drop to $99.99 for the BlackBerry Bold 9700 on Rogers. Seems as though we may be seeing another as well. A few folks have sent us emails and pics, letting us know that some Rogers locations are now showing the device at $0 with a new 3 year contract (Although, it could be individual dealers sale price). I always enjoy a little speculation when devices see price drops so, could this just be an everyday sale? Or are they maybe looking to push some inventory for a soon to be released device? Let us know in the comments what you all think. Thanks Keith for the image.

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Quick Review: Verizon Wireless Push to Talk for the BlackBerry Bold 9650 and Tour 9630

While I was exploring some of the new icons on the BlackBerry Bold 9650 from Verizon, I jumped into the Application Center and saw the Push to Talk. There was a decent amount of buzz about it when it was released, so I figured I'd download it and give it a shot. The feature has to be added to your account (at $5/month) and currently works on both the Tour 9630 and Bold 9650. I was pretty excited to fire it up, and since I'm not a big phone guy I thought I may get some good use out of it. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Verizon's idea of Push to Talk isn't what you would think. Its not a quick "press a button and send a message". Verizon actually connects you to the contact through a PTT "call" where you then push the left convenience key to record your message. From this point on the entire process was lost to me. I could just as easily call a contact and talk to them instead of calling them via PTT and having to press a button to talk to them.

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Adobe announces Flash 10.1 for mobile devices. Not ready for BlackBerry as of yet

With the battle going on between Adobe and Apple right down to the adoption of Adobe Flash on some Android devices, seems there is no escaping talk of Flash when it comes to the mobile markets. One thing that we know for sure is that Research In Motion are certainly working together to bring Flash to the BlackBerry platform. The most recent announcement come from Adobe in the form of a Press Release letting folks know that Adobe Flash 10.1 is now available for Android devices in their market place and that other mobile partners have been delivered the goods to get their work started. So with that, we may eventually see their release as well.

"Flash Player 10.1 was also released to mobile platform partners to be supported on devices based on Android, BlackBerry, webOS, future versions of Windows® Phone, LiMo, MeeGo and Symbian OS, and is expected to be made available via over-the-air downloads and to be pre-installed on smart phones, tablets and other devices in the coming months."

Like it or not. Want it or not. Adobe Flash will be arriving on your BlackBerry although, Adobe and Research In Motion still remain quiet as to when, exactly that may be. Of course, we assume that it will be something that only BlackBerry 6 will see with the new Webkit browser but we're not positive there. It just seems to us it may be too much for the older browser to handle.

Source: Adobe

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New BES 5.0 SP2 IT polices get OS specific with BlackBerry 6

 

Last week we reported that details of SP2 for BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 leaked out. Well now we've found a RIM document with the full release notes on the upcoming BES Service Pack. What's interesting is the new IT policy rules in the release. Specifically at the number of policies that require a handheld to have OS 6 in order to enforce. Here's the quick list of policies that must have handheld OS 6:

  • Disable Feeds application 
  • Prevent BlackBerry Podcasts 
  • Prevent RSS Feeds 
  • Prevent uploading of videos to YouTube 
  • Content Protection Usage 
  • Disable Browsing of Remote Shared Folders 
  • Force IT Policy View Icon on Homescreen 

Many of these, for example "Prevent BlackBerry Podcasts", are to preserve wireless data usage which companies pay for and are concerned about. However this policy will only apply to the BlackBerry Podcast app which is currently in Beta. Apps such as PodTrapper will not be affected by this policy.

I'm intrigued by IT policies, they are a great look into the near future.  Whenever a new service pack for the BES rolls out a quick tour through IT Policies seem to be a crystal ball into the future of official BlackBerry apps. Back in the 4.0 days we saw ICQ, MSN & Yahoo! messenger IT controls show up long before RIM announced partnerships with these platforms. Currently there is no official RIM RSS program or YouTube app so it stands to reason that if there are new IT controls for these yet to exist products they are on the horizon.

If you're really in need of some good bedtime reading you can grab the full PDF of the release notes. It isn't for the faint of heart it's 66 pages long, don't forget your propeller hat.

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Get to know the CrackBerry Idol competitors - watch their audition videos! (part 1)

25 contestants are currently hard at work prepping their BlackBerry app reviews for Round 1 of CrackBerry Idol. But before their reviews hit the blogs next week we have this week to get to know the competitors via their audition videos. The CrackBerry Idol winner will become a regular contributor to the CrackBerry blogs, so among the audition vids you'll be witnessing a future CB blogger. Who that person is will be up to the community to decide, so be sure to watch all of the audition videos as we get them up here, five at a time.

We did a random drawing for posting order and first up we have Joseph, Yousif, Brittany, Zander and Shankeith. Each of them is ready and more than willing to be the next CrackBerry Idol, and they each have some compelling arguments as to why they should be the next CrackBerry Idol. Watch their awesome audition videos below and be sure to leave some shoutouts in the comments at your favorite. I can tell the battle is already heating up, and the first round has yet to begin!

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New iOS4 creates features the BlackBerry always had

Today, June 21st Apple releases iOS4, the latest OS for the iPhone & iPod Touch line of products (visit our sibling site TiPb.com for everything iOS4). Many have called it revolutionary rather than evolutionary. I've been using this in beta since it launched in April and for me, I'd say Apple has reached into the 1990's playbook and are trying to lay claim to features that have existed in the smartphone world for over a decade.

In case you've been climbing Mount Everest or living under a rock since the beginning of April I'll review the "7 Tent Poles of iOS 4" and contrast them against what is available in the BlackBerry world.

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Having issues with Facebook for BlackBerry? You're not alone

*Update: Things should be getting back to normal. Drop a comment and let us know if Facebook is working for you now *

If you've been having some problems trying to post from or refresh Facebook for BlackBerry you're not alone. It appears that there is an outage of some sort going down that RIM is looking into. This issue has been going on since late last night and there is no word of when things will be all patched up. From the BlackBerry Facebook page:

RIM and Facebook are aware of an issue with Facebook for BlackBerry and we are working together to resolve the issue. 

Unfortunately we'll just have to wait this one out but you can always try using the mobile site from m.facebook.com. So just hang in there and we'll keep you updated with any news on this one. Thanks to everyone that sent this in.

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CrackBerry Idol now in full swing... let's get ready to review!!


l to r: Dieter, Georgia and Craig. Our own Randy, Paula and Simon of sorts...

Let's get ready to Rumbbbble Revvview!!! CrackBerry Idol is now in full swing and we've hit that part of the competition where CrackBerry Idol posts will be hitting the blogs pretty much daily (if you're not sure what it's all about click here for the full CB Idol overview). Our preliminary round resulted in a total of 52 video auditions being submitted which the judging panel narrowed down to 25 contestants to move onto the competition rounds (thanks to ShopCrackBerry and SmrtGuard for hooking up the contestants who didn't move on with some parting gifts). 

Who's on the CrackBerry Idol Judging panel you ask? Well, we gave this some thought and came up with our own cracked up versions of Simon, Paula and Randy:

  • Craig Johnston (simon): Craig's accent is South African instead of British, but his straight to the point no sugar-coating demeanor will have the contestants on their toes
  • Georgia (paula): Georgia comes to us from our sibling site TiPb.com, where she's famous for her reviews of iPhone accessories and apps.
  • Dieter Bohn (randy): knowledgeable, friendly and always pimp'n a funky watch, Smartphone Experts' Editor in Chief Dieter Bohn will put his years of experience to use in critiquing the idol entries each round

As for Adam, Bla1ze and myself (Kevin), you can think of me as the Ryan Seacrest of the show (but taller and better looking) and Adam and Bla1ze as the coaches, who will be working with the contestants in each round of the competition to help make their entries each week be the best they can be.

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Deadliest Catch game for BlackBerry now available

Deadliest Catch is a big hit around CrackBerry HQ, so when I saw a game of the same name pop up in BlackBerry App World I was very excited. I quickly downloaded it and was up and running. Deadliest Catch consists of various mini-games while you set sail to catch crab in the Bering Sea. Buy your boat, choose your crew & bait and off you go. You'll have to navigate to the crab grounds, fight off bad weather, drop your pots, haul your crab and more. Deadliest Catch is a cool strategy game that plays fairly well on BlackBerry. At times the controls were a bit shaky and over-sensitive, but I really enjoyed it for the most part. It is available on all devices in US and Canada and sells for $6.99 in BlackBerry App World.

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Contest: OtterBox Strength Case for the 8500 and 9100 series - 6 up for grabs

 

Back at WES we first saw the new OtterBox Strength Case for both the 85xx series and the 9100 series. This classic Commuter Series case sports some new colors, with 10% of each purchase going to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. This not only gets you a great case for your device, but gives you a way to easily donate to a good cause. The two-piece design gives you unbeatable all-around protection for your device that is sure to keep you worry-free.

Contest: We have 3 OtterBox Strength Cases for the 85xx series as well as 3 OtterBox Strength Cases for the 9100 series (6 cases in total) to give away. Just leave a single comment on this post and be sure to include your device model (either 8530, 8520, 9100 or 9105). If you don't have any of these devices than unfortunately you'll have to sit this one out. Contest ends Sunday at midnight PDT.

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Seen any BlackBerry barcodes lately while out and about? You may want to scan them

It seems as though Research In Motion has stepped up their game a bit when it comes to uses and implementations of barcodes. As some of you know, you can add contacts and scan compatible barcodes with the latest BlackBerry Messenger. Research In Motion appears to be putting that offering to work for them by means of promotions and advertising. Free BlackBerry smartphones, free VIP sections at concerts and more. This could turn out to be quite the marketing effort, if it shows up on a larger scale. A interesting read from the CrackBerry forums tells the full details.

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Best of Smartphone Experts, 20 June 2010


CrackBerry reminder: What you may have missed this week


Digital China and Research In Motion Launch the BlackBerry Curve 8910 Smartphone in China

The device has long been talked about and it started a good many debates over what, exactly it was and what market it was intended for. Finally, the BlackBerry Curve 8910 has shown up in China in official form. Digital China and Research In Motion issued a press release today confirming the device and listing out the specifications for everyone to see.

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Official OS: 5.0.0.713 For The BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 From Verizon

This should make some Verizon Storm 2 owners happy. Verizon, has just made available for download OS 5.0.0.713. We've seen it released from TBayTel but now you can grab the official Verizon version from their download page. OTA updates don't seem to be working at this time but, I'm sure that will come eventually. Thanks to all who sent this in to us. You can check out more in the CrackBerry forums.

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Fathers Day Contest: Win a $200 shopping spree at ShopCrackBerry.com!

Maybe you're a BlackBerry-using dad or maybe you have a BlackBerry-using dad. Either way, this weekend we're saluting all of the fathers out there with a little CrackBerry Father's Day contest. Up for grabs is a $200 gift certificate so you can go nuts on some new BlackBerry accessories from ShopCrackBerry.com.

To Enter: Leave a comment to this blog post letting us know either

  • how using a BlackBerry lets you be an awesome dad... or...
  • why your BB-using dad should win this prize 
Just leave a single comment to this post per the above and you're entered to win. Deadline is this Sunday (father's day!) at midnight PST and we'll announce the lucky dad on the blogs next week. Oh, and if you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out our Father's Day Gift Guide. Good luck... and Happy Father's day weekend! 

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