BlackBerry News and Reviews

Review: Ascendo DataVault v4.5.3

There's nothing like discovering you have a "compromised" card while in line, trying to purchase groceries or gifts. It's both embarrassing and worrisome. The mind may wander, as you begin to wonder what else has been compromised. Not everyone can remember dozens of passwords; some may stick to less than half a dozen. Think about it: you have email accounts, work logins, multiple social network accounts, banking information, wireless accounts, even your CrackBerry account! Perhaps you, yes you, use a single password, the ONE password...to rule them all! Um, actually, that's not the best idea. What you need is a powerful and organized way to manage everything that is for your eyes only.

Marc from Ascendo Inc has been in contact, letting me know about the updates made a little while ago to their password manager, DataVault. You may recognize the name from a review I did back in 2008. To meet with the demand of the customer, Ascendo Inc has worked quite hard to enhance upon an already impressive password manager. That being said, let's take a look what the newest version of Ascendo DataVault has to offer.

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Classic Paperboy Game Hits BlackBerry App World

Talk about a throw back to the classics. I remember playing Paperboy on my old NES and loving it. Now, thanks to Elite systems I can relive those times right on my BlackBerry. Yes, that's right, they have released the officially licensed version for BlackBerry smartphones which is now available via BlackBerry App World for only $4.99. Most devices are supported with the exception of touch screen devices and seemingly the Bold 9000. But, I've come to not really trust the online compatability list and check from my device instead. If Paperboy was one of your favs growning up check it out.

[ BBCool ]

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BlackBerry Tour SmrtCase Winners Announced

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

The video first look I posted last week (re-embedded above) for the new BlackBerry Tour Glide case from SmrtCase got a very positive response from CrackBerry readers. We had to five to give away... here are the usernames of the lucky winners:

Leach0789, djy5005, pampham, Djitch, Mobilejray 

Following up on the contest, SmrtCase shared some additional news with us.....

Sign Up for Updates on Bold 9700 / Storm2: If you own a BlackBerry Storm2 or Bold 9700 and want to sign up to be notified when it becomes available, you can sign up here.

Free Fedex Ground Shipping: FedEx Ground shipping is free for everyone who orders right now.

Save 15%: Just use coupon code smrt-cb-holiday - this codes give 15% discount to the WHOLE order (including shipping)

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Research in Motion Statement Regarding December 22nd Service Outage - BlackBerry Messenger to Blame!

* Update: Been getting lots of tips, and we've received the same message ourselves, from the BlackBerry Network Administrator pushing you to upgrade to the latest version of BlackBerry Messenger. We'll be paste the email in down below. Better upgrade! *

WOW. BlackBerry Messenger brought down BBM. Who would have thought. Our CrackBerry readers were first to pick up on the issue and we were quick to report that BBM was on the fritz... from there it escalated into one crappy evening with all BlackBerry data services going down.  But we're glad to be back in action.

RIM Statement - December 23rd

A service interruption occurred Tuesday that affected BlackBerry customers in the Americas. Message delivery was delayed or intermittent during the service interruption. Phone service and SMS services on BlackBerry smartphones were unaffected. Root cause is currently under review, but based on preliminary analysis, it currently appears that the issue stemmed from a flaw in two recently released versions of BlackBerry Messenger (versions 5.0.0.55 and 5.0.0.56) that caused an unanticipated database issue within the BlackBerry infrastructure. RIM has taken corrective action to restore service.

RIM has also provided a new version of BlackBerry Messenger (version 5.0.0.57) and is encouraging anyone who downloaded or upgraded BlackBerry Messenger since December 14th to upgrade to this latest version which resolves the issue. RIM continues to monitor its systems to maintain normal service levels and apologizes for any inconvenience to customers.

BE SURE TO UPGRADE to the latest version of BlackBerry Messenger. You can grab it by visiting blackberry.com/messenger from your BlackBerry's web browser or from BlackBerry App World.

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BlackBerry Messenger 5.0.0.57 Now Available For Download

While some folks in North America can't even send or recieve messages via BlackBerry Messenger, Research In Motion has decided to put out a new release. Version 5.0.0.57 is now available via the BlackBerry Messenger download site. Again, just a maintenance release with no huge changes expected to be in it. In any event, grab the new update. Hard to say if it will actually fix the issues we are currently seeing now but if it seems to help let us know in the comments folks.

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BlackBerry EVERYTHING on the Fritz??! Data Service Issues Being Reported by Users

* FINAL UPDATE: Things are back to normal. RIM Statment to follow.

* Update 1: OK, preliminary word coming in is that it's a partial outage affecting North American carriers: BlackBerry Messenger and things like the web browser and apps that use a data connection. Email seems ok though. And it seems not all carriers and not all subscribers are affected. I sure am though.. was in the middle of making a video on the new crackberry launcher when data quit. lol. *

* Update 2: BlackBerry data is no more. No emails, no web browsing, no BlackBerry messenger for it's North American users. Estimated time for a fix to come through is 3 hrs to a day, yes..a day.

* Update 3: ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! This is SERIOUSLY FRUSTRATING AS ALL HELL.

* Update 4: It seems that upgrading to the newest version of BlackBerry Messenger (blackberry.com/messenger) may help resolve some of the BBM issues. So if you can manage to get it loaded up, you might have some life again. Man this night has been frak'd. 

* Update 5: Here is the current Google Search Results for "BlackBerry"... it makes for some additional fun reading to kill the time. Maybe we should all just go to bed now... and hopefully by morning this nightmare will be over. On the silver lining side... we set a new forum record tonight for users online. Yay outage! lol. Bad joke. This sucks. BlackBerry is also the #1 trending topic on twitter tonight! BlackBerry email update below.

Lots of reports have been coming in over the past hour of BlackBerry Messenger service being on the fritz. You'll sometimes get a check mark on a sent message, but not the D or the R signifying that the message has been delivered and read. Some users seem to be unaffected. For others, some of the messages are getting through and others are not (as shown above - Adam received two of the six messages I sent, yet I have yet to receive confirmation of him actually reading them). We're starting to get reports from some people that it's coming back up for them... let's see how this goes. You can follow the forum threads below and use the comments to this post to stay on top of it!

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BlackBerry Bold Made Simple Now Available for $14.95

If you've just snagged a new Bold 9700 (or think you will be getting one from Santa) you might want to check out the eBook BlackBerry Bold 9700 Made Simple. The book will guide in the ways of the BlackBerry force, and help you master the 9700 from top to bottom. Features include:

  • Dozens of hidden or little-known time-saving tips and tricks.
  • Make sure you never miss another ‘To-Do' item using the "Flag for Follow Up" feature in Email.
  • How to squeeze every ounce of power from the Address Book, Calendar, Tasks and MemoPad.
  • Support for both BlackBerry Internet Service and Corporate BlackBerry Enterprise Server users.
  • Tips and tricks to unlock the rich Media Features of the BlackBerry Bold.
  • How to turn your BlackBerry into something that could replace a video and audio iPod
  • Learn how to go Online as well as update your Facebook and Myspace pages - right from your BlackBerry

The electronic version is available now for $14.95, and for the holidays you can save an additonal 30% by using the coupon code 64D83F49F2 at checkout. For more information, head over to madesimplelearning.com.

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Elecite Releases Poser - A Fun Premium Theme

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Poser has been around for a few days now and after having checked it out I can surely say it's unique and not just your everyday theme. First off, it's the first theme I have used that is actually interactive and fun to set up. Secondly, this is a premium theme on a very unique level.

Poser allows you to take a pic of Stewie from Family guy and "pose" him how you do so wish. Right from your device you can customize the head, weapons, accessories, outfit and if you want you can even give it a poodle for a pet. The best part is you can choose from five pre-made backgrounds or you can use your own.

In addition to all that fun, Elecite is making a contest out of it as well. All you have to do is download the theme, make your own poser and screen cap it. Once screencapped, email it off to Elecite for your chance to win the cost of theme plus another free theme and be featured in the Poser top 10 hall of fame. Great idea, cool theme. Downside? Only available for Storm devices at this time. However, it is available at the 50% off bonus price.

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Slacker Radio Now Offering Gift Subscriptions As A Holiday Promotion

Slacker Personal Radio is getting geared up for the holiday season with some great offers for those who are looking to pick it up for friends and family. Right now you order a Slacker radio plus gift certificates to give away to friends and family members. The breakdown looks like this:

  • 12-Month Subscription for $47.88 (Includes 10 free 1-month subscriptions to share)
  • 3-Month Subscription for $14.97
  • 1-Month Subscription for $4.99
Whoever you send them to will get a customized gift email from you with a gift code they'll redeem for all of the features of Slacker Radio Plus. They'll get unlimited song skips, ad-free listening, complete song lyrics and more. Personally, I'd love to get a gift like this for the holidays but alas, Slacker Radio is still working on their Canadian offerings which we are hearing will be worked sometime next year.

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Bluetooth Headset Head to Head: BlackBerry HS-500 vs. Jawbone Prime

Local laws changed? Time to buckle down and buy yourself a Bluetooth headset to avoid a silly traffic ticket for talking on your BlackBerry while driving your car? The hunt for a headset can be a difficult task since there are so many colors, styles, brands and price points that are currently available. Let's take some time to take a look at two great headsets that are highly rated.

A while back we reviewed the Jawbone Prime, and now we are going to take it and see how it holds up against the BlackBerry HS-500 headset. Now you may think to yourself at this point, there is no comparison, the Jawbone will blow the BlackBerry headset out of the water, but before making any assumptions, let's review the facts and compare.

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SearchIt Quickly Searches Popular Websites - 100 Free Copies!

SearchIt is a brand new application by ShaoSoft, maker of such popular apps as Leave It On and Wallpaper Changer. With a click of its icon you can quickly and easily select and search a variety of popular websites such as Google, YouTube, eBay, Dictionary, Wikipedia, IMDB, and even our CrackBerry Forums. The application is very customizable, letting you pick and choose which websites you want in your drop down menu. You can also add your own custom URL's ensuring your searching needs will be met. In my opinion, SearchIt is a must have app for those who are constantly browsing the web on their BlackBerry and want to make that experience a little quicker/easier. The application is especially useful to those of you that are on Verizon, and now only have Bing as a search engine in your BlackBerry's browser. It is on sale at the CrackBerry App Store for $1.99 (regular price $2.99) untill December 27th and is compatible with all devices running OS 4.2 and up. This application also has a free 3 day trial.

Contest: We have 100 free copies of SearchIt to give away. Just leave a comment on this post to enter. Contest ends this Sunday at Midnight PST. Please only leave one comment - multiple entries won't count.

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Contest Winners: PowerMat, MailMinder, VQ CarFinder, Mobile Checkbook

Its that time again! Another one down, and many more to go. Loads of contests this week with plenty of goodies to be won. We had offerings from SmrtCase (which we'll announce in another post later today) and PowerMat as well as some great apps in VQ CarFinder, MailMinder and Mobile Checkbook. Don't forget you still have time to enter our Colorware, TeleNav and AstraSync contests as well. If you didn't win this week, stayed tuned because we'll be announcing the winners from these huge giveways in only a week. Congrats to all the winners!

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FREE CrackBerry.com Berry Holiday 2 Theme Now Available! Awesome Theme Looks Great on Your BlackBerry Year Round

* Update - December 24, 2009: I figured we'd better re-post this one for the day too. If you haven't yet tried our free Berry Holiday 2 theme on your BlackBerry yet, then today is the day to give it a go! *

Berry Holidays everyone! Man oh man, our friend Zach from Z Man Themes has done it again this year. Last year he gave us the original Berry Holiday theme, which was pretty cool, but this year he has done up an absolutely AMAZING and FREE BlackBerry theme for CrackBerry Nation, aptly named Berry Holiday 2.

While Berry Holiday 2 is technically a holiday theme, the Z Man fully custom-built this one so you'll be able to use it year round in style. The default wallpaper is festive, but once the holidays are over you can change it up and keep rockin' it all spring, summer and fall (it looks really good with a straight black wallpaper and Berry Weather running - will do up a video tomorrow for the blogs to show Berry Holiday 2.0 in action). You can jump over to TheZman.us to grab the Berry Holiday wallpapers and for more details.

Berry Holiday 2 features three hidden docks. When they're all minimized the homescreen is very clean. Gotta love the CrackBerry fuel/battery gauge in the middle. From there you can scroll up for your core shortcuts and then back down the outer to icons to bring up the customizable side docks (Storm users can check out the hot spot chart). It'll take a couple minutes to get used to it. For devices running OS 5.0 the Berry Holiday 2 theme features nice transitions. I've been running the theme for the past few days and absolutely love it. It's clean and professional, nice and fast and ohhh sooo pretty. Love the icons!

Right now Berry Holiday 2 is available for the Curve 8900, Bold 9000, Storm, Storm2, Tour and Bold 9700 (OS 4.6 through OS 5.0 version available). Support for OS 4.5 devices is coming later this week, so stay tuned for that. Zach's turnaround time on this was pretty quick, so if by chance you experience any things that need tweaking, nicely let us know in the comments and Zach will get to them. Wicked theme Zach!!!! 

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New CrackBerry.com Website Launcher for your BlackBerry: Visit crackberry.com/getlauncher to Download for Free!

Here's one for all of our loyal CrackBerry readers and members out there... a new and improved CrackBerry.com web launcher! Our pal Fabian Heuwieser whipped up the new launcher as a little holiday gift for CrackBerry Nation. This isn't just a shortcut to the mobile site though - what Fabian built is a BlackBerry app that essentially mimics our entire site navigation. From within the application you can decide exactly where you want to go, and from there click the appropriate link that will open your web browser and take you directly to that page/section on the CrackBerry.com mobile site. It's basic and it works GREAT.

You can download the CrackBerry.com launcher by visiting crackberry.com/getlauncher from either your BlackBerry's web browser or on your computer (and send yourself the download link). This is the first version that has gone public, so if you run into any issues or have any suggestions you can leave them on this CrackBerry Launcher forum thread. Note to BlackBerry Storm owners: Be sure to disable compatiblity mode!

So what are you waiting for? Go download it now and get your CrackBerry on!! Thanks Fabian!

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Official OS 5.0.0.419 for the BlackBerry Storm 9530 from MTS Mobility

This one popped up in the forums earlier today, and Storm 9530 owners everywhere are rejoicing. The latest offical OS update comes from MTS Mobility in the form of OS 5.0.0.419. This is an official release, so get out those USB cables and update away. No notes on what is new/different in this version, so drop a comment and let us know your findings.

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Video: Windows Phones Review, Smartphone Round Robin

Week #2 of the 2009 Smartphone Round Robin has me sampling some Windows Phones, in the form of the AT&T Tilt 2 and the HTC HD2. You can check out the video below as I pick up these devices for the first time and get guided through what's going on in the land of Windows Phones by our expert Phil Nickinson of WMExperts. I gotta say, in this video I come across a little loopy and distracted.... the reason is the MASSIVE SCREEN on this HTC HD2. It's FRAKK'n RIDICULOUS.

To get some guidance on my Windows Phone experience, I've created a forum thread over at WMExperts.com. As for BlackBerry in the Round Robin this week, it's our old pal Rene Ritchie of TheiPhoneblog that's taking the Bold 9700 and Storm2 for a spin. He has created a forum thread in the CB forums to get some help from CrackBerry Nation. Be sure to post on these forum threads daily for your chance to win a new smartphone. Contest details here.

Enjoy the video and stay tuned for the full CrackBerry on Windows Phones later this week!

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BabyGO and SuperBabyGO Updated With Christmas Content For The Kids

Zeebu Mobile has released a new content pack to users this weekend for their popular kids application. BabyGO and SuperBabyGO now have great Christmas activities added to them upon startup. Just wait for the content to download and click on "Christmas" and you are all set.

Zeebu Mobile is also offering a holiday pricing for the SuperBabyGO through BlackBerry App World, previous pricing was set at $5.99, you can now grab SuperBabyGO for only $3.99.

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CrackBerry Awards 2009: Preliminary Categories and Nominees Announced!

Its that time again! The year is almost over, and in true CrackBerry fashion we're heading out with a bang. Last year we picked the Best of 2008 with our Cracky Awards in various categories, and this year we have tons of great apps, accessories, devices and more to choose for our Best of 2009. 

Before the official voting begins Wednesday, we need you, the CrackBerry Nation, to help make sure we have all the of the categories you want to vote on and to make sure we have all of the deserving nominees in there. Below you'll find a list compiled by the Crack Team of what we think is fitting for this year's CBAs. But we're not perfect and we may have missed some worthy nominees or not come up with some categories that could be fun vote on. That said, you can drop a comment on this post and let us know if you think we missed anything. Do we need to add a nominee or two to a category? Maybe there's room for a whole new category? LET US KNOW TODAY. We'll be launching the community voting tomorrow so you need to get your thoughts to us asap (don't cast your votes in the comments here... this is all about categories and nominees). Note: we decided to bypass including BlackBerry themes or theme developers in the polls since there are just way to many to choose from, but in the coming weeks we'll be starting a new weekly theme roundup to highlight the greatest free and premium themes throughout the year. Check out the Best of 2009 preliminary award categories and nominees below!

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Gym Technik Launches For BlackBerry Storm, With A Treat!

While many of you are probably enjoying Holiday treats and drinks, the guys at Gym Technik have been working hard on their BlackBerry fitness app, to help give you a head start on your New Year's fitness resolution - Yes, one of those resolutions that always seem like a distant memory by March...

Gym Technik's NextGen app has been keeping non-Storm BlackBerry users in check, and today they announced the release of their NextGen app for the Storm. Unfortunately, the app doesn't seem to be OS5 compatible yet and the team is still working on releasing for Storm2. Storm2 and OS5 support seems to be set for late January. The NextGen app for the Storm comes bundled with the following features:

  • Build workouts and schedule a routine on the NextGen calendar
  • Start and track workouts (Regular workouts, Circuit workouts, and Cardio workouts)
  • Enter and track body stats such as weight, and body size measurements
  • Upload before/after photos of yourself from your BlackBerry
  • Sync NextGen on your BlackBerry with your Online account

And to celebrate this launch, they're giving out a special one day promo of their premium service to all that upgrade today. Today only, they're giving away a 10% discount of their premium subscription with promocode holiday09. Just use this promocode upon checkout while upgrading your account in their store. A sweet deal for a running head start on your New Year's fitness resolutions.

So if this is the first time you've heard of Gym Technik, you can sign up for a free trial of the BlackBerry app. And if you do have an account, and were waiting for the Storm app, this is your chance to point your Storm browser to get.gymtechnik.com to download the app and give it a try. And finally for those of you running OS5 or a Storm 2, sign up online to get notified as soon as the app is released next January, while using their mobile web site to track and get motivated about your fitness.

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Kayak Flight And Hotel Search App For BlackBerry Updated

Back in August we looked at Kayak for BlackBerry. A great application that allows you to search, book and compare pricing on airlines and hotels all from within one application on your BlackBerry. Today, we got word from Ronen that the free application has been updated and is now at version 1.0.14. The update includes a revamped UI, better flight searches and the ability to view trending prices. Kayak remains a free application for all so be sure to check it out.

[ Berry Review ]

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