BlackBerry News and Reviews

CrackBerry Reminder: What You May Have Missed This Week

Another week down here at CrackBerry. Kevin ventured off to Barcelona to bring us the news from Mobile World Congress, and it looks like there is good stuff on the BlackBerry front. From BESX to Skype landing on Verizon, all around a good week. A few contests to check out as well (not as many as last week though) so jump on the links below and see what you may have missed.

What You May Have Missed

Contest Reminders

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BlackBerry Messenger Issues Today? Seems That Way

We certainly wouldn't say there is an outage but the forums are quickly filling up with users indicating they're having issues with their BlackBerry Messenger. Be it delayed or not getting send and receive confirmations something is up today. Some folks on Twitter are also reporting slower then normal emails in addition to BlackBerry Messenger issues so, how's things working for you all? Drop some comments and let us know if you're having any issues today.

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BlackBerry Takes to the Runway for London Fashion Week with the House of Holland App for BlackBerry Smartphones

 

This is pretty cool, especially for all of the fashionistas out there in CrackBerry Nation. BlackBerry is breaking new ground in the world of high fashion today as it marks the first time consumers can buy direct while sitting in the front row while they watch new designs come down the runway. It's going down at the House of Holland show at London Fashion week kicking off today at 4:45pm. Catch the press release below for details and download link. Celebrities and the fashion industry as a whole tend to LOVE BlackBerry Smartphones, so I would expect we'll see more of this BlackBerry involvement within the fashion industry in the months and years ahead.

Press Release

SHOP FROM THE FRONT ROW FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH THE HOUSE OF HOLLAND APP FOR BLACKBERRY SMARTPHONES

Pioneering app for BlackBerry Smartphones allows customers to buy House of Holland designs as they hit the runway

House of Holland is delighted to announce the launch of its bespoke app for BlackBerry Smartphones that will allow customers to buy pieces direct from the runway as they are shown at London Fashion Week on 20th February.

BlackBerry users will exclusively be able to order from the eight piece House of Holland slogan t-shirt collection by downloading the app from www.houseofholland.co.uk/blackberry or BlackBerry app world. This marks the first time consumers have been able to own a piece of the runway collection by ordering through mobile technology ahead of its retail launch in the Autumn.

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Introducing Office Hot Shots - New App Replaces Default Lock Screen and Provides a Fun Paper Toss Game All in One

The folks at NickelBuddy have just released a fun little utility and game all in one with Office Hot Shots. It is both a highly configurable locking application that replaces the default lock on the device and also provides a pretty darn fun office paper toss game. Here is part of the official overview:

  • When used as a lock application, the Office Hot Shot screen will display when any of the user configurable lock conditions are met. For example, you could configure it so the lock screen displays everytime the backlight times out, keeping prying eyes from seeing what's on your device.
  • Touchscreen users could set Office Hot Shot to launch when connecting on a phone call, keeping your device safe from accidental touches from your cheek during a call. Once activated, Office Hot Shot displays on your device, letting you see in a glance useful information, such as the day, date, time, unread emails, missed calls, battery level, and more!
  • Office Hot Shot comes bundled with a free game where you try to toss a ball of paper into the office trash can. You have to account for wind speed and direction to guide the ball into the can. Set the record and claim the title of Office Hot Shot!

Be sure to click through to the Office Hot Shots description page for the full details on this one. There are a lot of ways to configure the lock, and you can get an overview of all the info displayed. It's available for BlackBerry Smartphones with OS4.6 and higher (both non-touch and touchscreen) for $2.99.

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BigTinCan BuzzMe Premium - Get It Here First - 500 Copies to Give Away!

 

David of BigTinCan just let me know that a shiny new version of BuzzMe is on its way to Mobihand and App World next week. To celebrate the release, BigTinCan is making 500 copies of the new BuzzMe Premium available to the CrackBerry Nation before anyone else. BuzzMe Premium has all the great LED changing and vibrate features of BuzzMe for native apps, as well as support for Facebook, Myspace, Ubertwitter, BBM, Beejive and even the official Twitter for BlackBerry. The new version also has new LED colors as well as improved battery life. So what are you waiting for? Drop a comment on this post, and after Sunday we'll pick 500 winners to get Buzz Me Premium FREE as soon as it hits Mobihand. For now, you can check out the free trial Buzz Me Standard in the CrackBerry App Store to tide you over.

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Kindle App for BlackBerry A to Z

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

The long awaited Kindle app for BlackBerry is finally here. While not the biggest screen to read on, most of us carry our BlackBerry everywhere we go, so being able to read a book at any given moment is definitely welcome. The app has a fair amount of features (it could still use a few more options) and everything loads super fast. You can store and read Kindle books, as well as browse and purchase from the huge selection in the Kindle Store. Check out the video above for a look at the app, and head to amazon.com/kindlebb to download it free.

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Made Simple Learning Training Center for BlackBerry Bold 9700 and Curve 8500 Series Now Available

 

The best selling Made Simple Learning Training Center is now available for the Bold 9700 and Curve 8500 series smartphones. The Training Center's include the Made Simple e-book for reading on a PC or Mac, VideosNow, and VideosToGo. VideosNow includes 134 videos for computer viewing, and VideosToGo includes 110 videos for viewing on the go right from your device. Each set will help you learn the ins and outs of your device, taking you through all the applications and settings on your way to becoming a BlackBerry wizard. Each Training Center is available for $29.95. If you purchase before February 28th, you can save 30% but using the coupon code 639A3FC42A. Head to either of the links below (9700 or 8500) and enter the code at checkout in the coupon field.

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Azuric - A Uniquely Styled Premium Theme from WJD Designs

WJD Designs has always been a fan favorite among theme lovers out there. Waynes latest creation is a premium theme called Azuric. Azuric is a scroll bar based theme with a customizable dock that has been skinned with nice blue and chrome colored accents to help make it "pop". Complete with custom lock screen, battery and signal meters and rounded off with some stylish transitions Azuric has a nice over all flow to it. For those who need information at the ready, today features are here as well so all your items can be found with a quick glance. You check out more screen shots of Azuric in the CrackBerry forums or you can check out the video of it in action here. Azuric is available for the BlackBerry Storm series devices running OS 5.0 for only $4.99.

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RIM And Kodak Patent Case Now In The Hands Of The ITC

Some of you all may remember back to CES when Kodak was showing off their new BlackBerry offerings. Shortly after playing friendly at CES, Kodak then decided to bring forth some patent issues with Research In Motion and Apple at the same time, claiming both companies were infringing upon Kodaks image and image processing patents. Kodak then took the big leap and went to the ITC and asked them to investigate the issues at hand and most recently the ITC has stated they will certainly be investigating.

Now most times patent issues arise they tend to make big waves. Not always because of the possible impacts but, mainly because the companies that are claiming infringement are oft labelled "patent trolls". This doesn't seem to be the case with Kodak vs, RIM and Apple as Kodak claims they have been fighting this for many years now and having previously won settlement deals over the issues with Samsung. With the ITC now investigating the claims, as the Canadian Press points out these types of cases are beginning to pretty much seem like "the cost of doing business" in the technological age. Ride out as much use as you can before you have to pay up for licensing fees.

Its become common, so much so that the issues no longer have an affect on stock prices or investor relations. Either way, it seems as though Kodak will have their day to see if they were indeed right in their claims. In the meantime though, what do you all think? Has patent issues become a part of doing business or should something be done with the patent system improve upon it? The amount of time wasted in court could be better used, I think anyways.

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Ever Feel Like You Have A Map Following You Around?

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

We've all seen the commercials. Some of them are funny and well..some are just plain dumb. The whole Verizon vs. AT&T thing is seemingly far from over but at least one guy out there is having some fun with the situation. Have a look at the above video and enjoy the lengths he has gone to get some reactions from people. Now, if only I could think of something as cool to pull on Rogers, Bell and TELUS and get it on film like this guy.

[ Gizmodo ]

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BlackBerry App Roundup for February 19th, 2010; Contest: 50 Copies of Vorino Battery to be Won!

This week we've got 50 copies of Vorino Battery to give away, courtesy of Paul at Vorino Software. As per usual, just leave your answer to the giveaway question in the comments for your chance to win. Covered in the app roundup this week are the following titles:

Giveaway of the Week: Vorino Battery

Freebies of the Week: iFood Assistant LITE, Goal Mobile, The Help Haiti App

In Case You Missed It: BOLT Browser 1.7, skySYNC Launches in Beta, Verizon and Skype Team Up

New This Week: Fixmo Tools, Restaurant Inspector, Privacy Star

Cool at BlackBerry App World: Scotiabank Show Your Colours Navigator

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Using Google Voice and the Google Voice App for BlackBerry Smartphones

A few months back we posted some quick tips for using Google Voice. Today we're going to look at the app itself - how it works and just what it does. We'll check out how Google Voice can make your life easier, and what the app is still lacking. From having a unified phone number to being able to access all of your account details, messages and voicemails all from one easy place. Granted you still need to be invited to use Google Voice, but it seems like invites are floating around all over and are fairly easy to come by. So if you are a first time user or a seasoned Google Voice vet, hit the jump for a look at the app and see what makes it tick.

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e-GPS Updated to v1.1 - 100 Copies to be Won

e-GPS was recently updated to version 1.1, fixing most problems occurring with the previous version. If you have not used e-GPS, its an app that allows you to send remote commands to your device using SMS or email. Commands include contact backup, GPS location of your device, alert (audible notification to aid in search of device) and wipe. The latest update has fixed lag experienced in alert, and GPS location requests. The application is available for all devices running OS 4.5 that have unblocked GPS capability. You can pick it up at the CrackBerry App Store for $3.99.

Contest: We have 100 copies of e-GPS 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 wont count.

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Report Issues in Your Community with SeeClickFix

SeeClickFix is geodynamic application that is part of a movement to bring citizens closer with their local governments. The premise of the app is simple - when you come across a non-emergency issue in your community (ie. pothole, graffiti, broken street light) just open the app, describe the problem and upload a picture if you wish. This issue will then make its way to the powers to be in your local government, containing a description of the problem, picture, and GPS location that was provided by your BlackBerry. The appropriate department can then dispatch the proper employees out to fix whatever this issue may be. Also, any others using the application who are following the neighborhood with the reported issue will be notified immediately, keeping your community up to date on any problems in the area. All these issues are "shared" throughout all the users in the neighborhood. So if you drive by a few days later and see that the issue is fixed, you can upload a new photo telling that the problem is resolved, and all will be notified. Obviously not all areas have adopted this service, but it is growing very quickly. If you are tired of hitting those annoying potholes, let your local government know, and if they are not signed up for SeeClickFix Plus, request that they do.

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Synchronize Your Data Wirelessly with CyberSynchs

Everyone is looking for an easy way to synchronize BlackBerry data, be it to keep as a backup or "just to have it". CyberSynchs is the latest wireless synchronization tool for your BlackBerry to get in on the action. After registering online and download their client, you are ready for setup. You have the option to sync contacts, calendars, notes, call logs, voice mails, and GPS. You can also set sync to manual, or choose to have your data backed up automatically with times from 1 to 10 hours. They have told me that photo and ringtone sync is coming very soon, which will make this application a bit more compelling. It is now in beta and available for download with a 7-day free trial. After the trial, you need to pay a monthly subscription of $2.99. I have personally been using this for about a week now, and it has worked without any problems at all. However, having access to the free wireless synchronization solutions out there like mIQ and Google Sync, this may not fall onto your device as a "must have" application.

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Freddy Falling Updated - Get it Through February 28th for $1.99

 

One of my favorite BlacBerry games, Freddy Falling, has been overhauled with new art and features. We first checked out Freddy Falling way back in June of last year, and it has come a long way since. The opbject of the game is to guide Freddy down through a series of platforms, collecting coins for points while evading a swarm of angry mosquitoes. With the update comes a great new look, improved game play, support for more devices, the option to play your own music and more. Freddy Falling is available for most devices including the Storm, Storm2, Bold 9700, Tour 9630 and Curve 8900. Get it now through February 28th in the CrackBerry App Store for just $1.99.

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CrackBerry Podcast: Mobile World Congress Wrap Up!

Mobile World Congress 2010 is winding down which means Dieter, Phil and myself are packing our bags and heading home. Before I packed the podcasting microphone away though we setup for one final podcast to wrap up the news from the final few days. We also recorded a podcast Monday night which mainly talked about the Windows Phone 7 Series announcement - if you want to take a listen to that one you can find it here.

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BlackBerry Application User Interface Design Webinar Replay Available

Just in case any of you out there missed the February 16th webinar on application user interface design. Research In Motion has now made the replay available for all to view. Having sat in on the webinar, I did learn some good tips and tricks on what to be focusing on when it comes to designing BlackBerry user interfaces. Research In Motion also shared some great knowledge base articles that I had not seen before outlining some sample codes to help get anyone interested started. While I personally do not have the skill set as of yet to be pulling off some of the stuff shown, it will surely be good for those who do and hopefully we can see some "super apps" come our way.

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BBC Content Going Mobile And Headed To BlackBerry

Yesterday, as Mobile World Congress was winding down Erik Huggers, BBC Director of Future Media & Technology held a keynote speech declaring the BBC was taking it's content to the smartphone market. Indicating that BBC users were also smartphone users and the BBC was dedicated to providing those users with the content they wanted on their mobile devices. Starting with the iPhone, the BBC will be releasing multiple applications including BBC News and BBC Sport among others.

The demo shown off was for the iPhone and will arrive in early April with the BlackBerry and Android versions to come later in the year. Huggers also sated that the BBC was also working on dedicated iPlayer applications as well which could deliver great video content but also made metnion that the iPlayer services are currently available now in a mobile optimized fashion of which, the BlackBerry 9700 and Storm 2 are supported for those in the UK. Great to see the BBC recognize the simple fact that mobile subscribers is massive I just hope they also realize that market lives beyond the UK and considers widespread releases.

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Kindle For BlackBerry Now Available For Download

Been waiting for the Kindle for BlackBerry app? Sure you have. Now, provided you live in the US you can now head on over to the Amazon website and download Kindle For BlackBerry for free. The feature breakdown looks like this:

  • Search and browse more than 400,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers.
  • Find New York Times Best Sellers and new releases for $9.99, unless marked otherwise
  • Get free book samples - read the first chapter for free before you decide to buy
  • Books you purchase can also be read on a Kindle, computer, or other Kindle-compatible mobile device
  • Kindle newspapers, magazines, and blogs are not currently available for Kindle for BlackBerry
  • Kindle for BlackBerry is available to U.S. customers only 
Have to admit that I am disappointed that it's only currently available for the US. But, that said glad to see it arrive for those that can use it and surely, it won't be long until we see a Canadian release as well. Go grab it, check it out and let us know what you think in the comments folks. Can't wait to see hear what you all think.

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