News

CrackBerry Smuggler Apprehended!

It's Friday afternoon, so I couldn't resist posting this. It's really not funny, but a BIT funny at the same time....

Don't Smuggle BlackBerrysMumbai, June 1: One person arriving from Hong Kong on an Air India flight was apprehended by the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport for illegally trying to smuggle in high-end mobile phones and memory chips worth lakhs of rupees.

Acting on a tip-off, the customs officials yesterday intercepted one passenger, holding an Indian passport, while he was walking through the Green Channel of the arrival hall of the airport, according to an official release here today.

After a search, they found he had 7 highend Blackberry mobile phones valued at Rs 7,34,000 and 2450 memory chips valued at Rs 11,01,000, which were concealed in his bag.

The passenger has been arrested and goods have been confiscated under the provisions of Customs Act. 

[ Source

Grand Prize Winner Announced!

We Have a Winner!

This Just In. And the Grand Prize winner of the CrackBerry.com Confess Your BlackBerry Addiction and Win Giveaway is user...........

jimp1947 

We'll be contacting jimp1947 shortly to let him know the good news and work out the details of how he can collect and spend his $2,000 grand prize! Any bets on where the money will go? A different BlackBerry for each day of the week? Or maybe a weekend getaway for a bit of CrackBerry Rehab?

Over 4,000 names were in the box, and jimp1947 was the lucky name pulled! We'll keep you posted as we get a hold of the lucky winner and the details unfold.  Congrats jimp1947! 

The Name is Balsillie, Dr. Jim Balsillie

Dr. Jim Balsillie

What's Up Doc? That's Right! Jim Balsillie was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree during the morning convocation at Trent University yesterday. Jim is a native of Peterborough and was recognized by the University for making a "World of Difference". Congrats Jim! I mean Dr. Jim.

Be sure to Read the Full Story Here... 

Jawbone Headset Now Available in CrackBerry.com Store

Aliph Jawbone I'm happy to announce Aliph's Jawbone headset is now available in the CrackBerry.com store.

We have been stress testing one of these units for the past three weeks and have an in-depth review on the way (read Part 1 - Jawbone Initial Impressions).

The Jawbone retails for $139.95 and I can honestly say it is worth every cent. Aliph actually sent us out a free demo unit for reviewing purposes (along with the device they also sent a prepaid envelope for us to send it back to them in when we were done), but instead of shipping it back I sent them an email yesterday saying "I'm not returning the demo, I'll buy it!"

The Jawbone has definitely set the new standard by which all bluetooth headsets will be measured against.

Get a Jawbone Today!

Curve Available Today at AT&T Stores

blackberry curveAT&T is releasing the eagerly anticipated BlackBerry Curve today and the beautiful new device is now in stores. According to the company, the Curve can be snapped up for as low as $199.99 (with a two-year contract and mail-in rebates).

The Curve is available in the US only at AT&T and includes AT&T-specific services such as AT&T Music, Push to Talk and TeleNav Maps. This device also operates within the broadest domestic and international coverage area for BlackBerry services of any U.S.carrier.

The BlackBerry Curve measures just 4.2” x 2.4” x 0.6”, weighs approximately 3.9 oz., featuring a two-megapixel camera with zoom, enhanced media player, new desktop media manager, microSD expandable memory slot and spell checker for e-mail.

We at CrackBerry are waiting for ours (see below) and we will have our full reviews then.

Update: Beating the Rogers BlackBerry Curve

BlackBerry UPS Tracking

Read Part 1 of this story Here...

My attempt to get a BlackBerry Curve running on Rogers before it is officially released is not going as smooth as I had hoped. This post should have been about my first impressions of using the Curve, but instead is about my difficulties in receiving it!

My Curve shipped from the UK on Friday. I paid 60 British Pounds to ensure it would be delivered to me on Tuesday (yesterday) by noon. Instead, it's Wednesday afternoon, and even though the tracking info in the image above says my package is awaiting clearance in Winnipeg, according to the friendly UPS lady I just spoke to that actually means my Berry is still in transit and hasn't even hit Canada.  When I asked her what the hold up was, she said it looks like it got stuck in airport package scanning security in the UK. My guess is that security had never seen a Curve before, and thought it packed a little more punch than a smartphone should!

So while my prime concern when embarking on this quest was that I would run into difficulties in unlocking the device from the O2 Carrier, it's starting to look like just taking delivery of the Curve is going to be a mission in itself.

Stay tuned for Part 3... 

Turning Your Berry Into a Private Eye

digital private eye Earlier in the week we reported on a system that lets you see on a google map where your BlackBerry had been by using a GPS tracking system. It was designed, according to the maker, to allow you to see where you had hiked or drove although the best use seemed to be to use the Berry to track someone such as your teenager to see where they go with the Buick at 1.00 am.

Now, you have system that goes one better. New software allows you to actually spy on the Berry itself. Paranoid and worried your spouse is sending secret messages and e-mails to a lover? Now you can install a system on their Berry that will tell you what they are doing on their Berry when you’re not there or you are asleep and they are in the other room “watching that episode of ‘Matlock’ they’d always wanted to see.”

When did we all get so paranoid?

If your spouse is using the BlackBerry for illicit liaisons or drug buys etc. you can be monitoring this activity with software installed on the Berry without the user even knowing it is there. Call it a Digital Private Eye if you will.

Vervata Co. Ltd. has just released new BlackBerry versions of its FlexiSPY mobile phone spy software. The software secretly records all SMS messages, call logs, emails and the location of the device. It uploads this information via GPRS to a secure server where the information can be analyzed. The software can only be accessed using a secret code.

And there is one really creepy and yet strangely cool thing you can do with the software – you can secretly switch the BlackBerry’s microphone on from any other phone and listen to your target’s surroundings in real time.

The FlexiSPY software is available in two versions, PRO (around $199 U.S. for a year’s subscription) and LIGHT (around $132 U.S. per year).

This is why I am sticking with my BlackBerry 7290!

Why EVERY Bus Driver Should have a BlackBerry 8800

BlackBerry 8800s Should be on School Buses Everywhere!Believe it or Not.... this is a True Story!

A Winnipeg School Division bus driver arrived 90 minutes late yesterday to school after getting lost while driving a bus full of kids. The driver was new to the bus route and somehow found himself lost and panicking and way behind schedule. 

NOW...if only GPS enabled BlackBerry 8800s became standard fare on school buses this situation could have entirely been avoided. Mount it with a Car Kit, and the drivers and dispatchers could easily stay connected and on track! Message to RIM corporate sales - hit the School Divisions!

Read the Full Story Here....  

How to Build a Business Case for BlackBerry Upgrades

blackberry upgrades

According to Tekrati , The Advisory Council (note that isn’t An Advisory Council but The Advisory Council) has come with a publication that businesses can use to build a business case for BlackBerry Upgrades. We at CrackBerry thought just having a sexier Berry would do the trick but, alas, big corporations actually have to come up with something more than “It’ll look way sexier.”

Today, wireless devices are de rigueur in the business world and companies are having to justify and manage their wireless costs. This includes costs associated with purchasing, upgrading and adding functionality to their BlackBerrys, as well as costs related to device ownership and connectivity to the enterprise infrastructure.

The Advisory Council (TAC) has just releases its report which offers tips on building business cases for BlackBerry upgrades.

According to TAC, studies of enterprise deployments estimate improvements of 27% in productivity, 19% in customer satisfaction/retention, 17% in overall profitability, and 13% in revenues. BlackBerry is no longer considered “emerging technology” and is considered mainstream and an indispensable business need, much like a PC. And once used to it, user can become addicted to the ease and convenience. The good news for employers is that the addiction benefits the company more than the employee. Employees are no longer limited to working while they are at their desks or workstations.

For more on this, contact  The Advisory Council to request a complimentary copy of the SmartTip, “BlackBerry Upgrade Justification.”

BlackBerry Developer Community launches!

DevelopersI received an email from Terry in Toronto announcing he loved CrackBerry.com and more importantly that he and some coherts have launched a new BlackBerry Developer Community website.

The site is forum-based and is geared towards helping developers create BlackBerry Applications. So become a member, develop some killer apps, and then shoot me an email when your program is ready so we can review it and get it out to the greater BlackBerrying public!

GrandCentral.com - Never Miss a Call Again!

GrandCentral.comToday we came across a cool site that is offering a truly unique service.

GrandCentral.com gives you one phone number that can ring on one or more of your phones. Want your home AND mobile number to ring when someone calls? Give them your GrandCentral number and that's exactly what will happen!

One of the huge benefits of this as I see it is you will NEVER miss a call again if all of your phones ring at the same time!

Some cool features offered from GrandCentral:

 - Forward calls to all of your phones at once
 - Share funny voicemails with friends via email
 - Allow people to call you from your website
 - Receive phone calls on your computer
 - Visual voicemail

Unfortunately, GrandCentral is only available in the US at the moment. I tried to sign up here in Canada and service up here is currently unavailable.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

On the web: GrandCentral.com

Accessory Review: Vaja Classic Case for the 8700

Stylish Vaja PackagingRecently, vajacases.com was kind enough to send us 2 cases for a few of the 8700's we have here at CrackBerry.com.

I had been browsing Vaja's selection of products for some time now, so when I heard cases were on the way, I was quite excited!

When they arrived, the first thing I noticed of course was the great packaging! A very nice box, very professional... But lets get into the good stuff... We're just going to throw the box away anyway, right?

Both of the cases we received were the 'Classic' model. Out of the box you could tell that these cases were a quality product. One came with vaja's patented 'ultra clip', and one came without. (Vaja also has 3 other models for the 8700, but I'll touch on those a little bit later...)

Our 2 Vaja Classic Cases for the 8700
The ultra-clip is quite nice for those of you that like wearing your berry on your belt/pants/pocket. To use it, you first attach the clip portion to your pants... Then, turn your berry to a 90 degree angle to the clip, slide it on, turn it back another 90 degrees and it clips in, sound and secure. I had no problems with my berry coming out of the case. To unclip it, you have to push in a button on the clip portion, turn your berry 90 degrees and slide it out! Make sense? If not don't worry about it, if you get one you'll figure it out... It's easy :)
Check out the Ultra-Clip

The quality of workmanship on the cases is amazing. You can tell Vaja put a great deal of care into making each of these cases. The stitching is tight and there are no loose ends... Plus, the smell of the leather is great too :)

I preferred the look of the black case with my dark blue 8700... The lighter browny green of the case with the ultra clip didn't go quite as well together. However, I did appreciate the ultra clip. I'm kind of torn as to which one I'd prefer to use on a regular basis.

The Black 'Classic' Case for the 8700

The inner lining of each case is soft and supportive so as not to scratch your BlackBerry. I liked the 'vaja' logo detail on the inside. A cool touch.

Stylish lining in the Vaja Classic for the 8700

Cooler yet... Vaja offers a customization feature on their site called 'Choice'. Basically, 'Choice' lets you customize the color, style of leather, clip or no clip... It even gives you the option to have text or an image lasered on to the back of your case! Customized orders do take a little longer to manufacture, as the case will have to be made once you process the order. But if you're looking for a truly custom case this is a great option!

If you're looking for a quality case that will last a LONG time, I'd recommend Vaja. The classic cases we reviewed come in at $60 each. A bit more than most cases out there... But it is a quality, hand-made product. You get what you pay for.

In all, Vaja offers 4 cases for the 8700 series. The Balance , the Classic (with a flip top), the Normal Classic, and the Classic Pouch.

To check out all cases available for the 8700c and 8700r, click here.

Again, a very special thanks to Fabian and everyone at Vaja for sending us the product for review.

NetSuite Works With Developers to Expand Software Options

netsuiteNetSuite, Inc. the on-demand business management software providers has just announced that NetSuite product is now available wirelessly on mobiles such as the BlackBerry.

Now, busy sales reps and managers can run key business processes such as placing orders and closing transactions and sales from their BlackBerry. Support reps can immediately address customer service issues and other business users can have access to the business application in real-time and run their business as usual while away from the office.

NetSuite worked with third-party application developers such as Antenna Software, Explore Mobile and iEnterprises to extend NetSuite through the SuiteFlex development and integration platform, which is designed to enable the extension of NetSuite to third-party systems, the creation of third-party vertical applications within NetSuite, and the customization of end-to-end business processes for end-users.

Antenna Software’s AMPower for NetSuite mobile solution allows user to access and update essential customer and order information in real-time from the NetSuite system.

Explore Mobile’s Explore Order Entry allows sales reps to retrieve, update and take orders via their mobile device and have them uploaded into NetSuite.

iEnterprises’ Mobile Edge for NetSuite is a pre-built application that allows BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users to connect and extend NetSuite CRM and ERP capabilities to their handheld while away from the office.

JayZ Sports The New 8800

jayz

I’ve go the new Berry, eight-eight double-o, I wave it all around, there only for show, Keep it to my ear, so I don’t hear ‘em say, “How the hell is Jay-Z with smokin' Be-yon-ce.”

BlackBerry Sponsors John Mayer Tour

BlackBerry sponsors John Mayer Concert SeriesThis just in from Reuters/Billboard....

In a first for both sponsor and artist, BlackBerry will present musician John Mayer's upcoming North American tour, Billboard has learned.

Portable communication device BlackBerry will use the Mayer tour to help launch its upcoming AT&T-carried mobile phone, Curve.

The 40-date BlackBerry Presents John Mayer in Concert tour begins June 1 in Ridgefield, Wash., with Ben Folds supporting. Live Nation is promoting the majority of dates on the tour and reports that sales are strong in the early going.

Paul Kalbfleisch, senior director of corporate marketing for BlackBerry parent Research in Motion (RIM), said recent additions to the BlackBerry product line such as Pearl and the new Curve make live music a viable avenue to reach consumers in search of devices with plenty of capabilities.

"John Mayer's concert tour gives us that venue and that context to talk about BlackBerry to a group of people that maybe we haven't talked to before," Kalbfleisch said. "We're able to reach out to a new audience, maybe a slightly younger audience in their 20s, without at all alienating the existing BlackBerry audience," he added.
BlackBerry will launch a site highlighting the tour. Marketing in traditional and new media are part of the promotion, as is an on-site presence at concert venues. The details of consumer-interactive contests are being finalized, and BlackBerry will host VIP parties and backstage meet-and-greets at shows.

"On-site during every concert we'll have the ability to showcase and demonstrate BlackBerry Curve, along with our carrier partner AT&T, so that people coming to the concerts will see, touch and feel our product, learn what it has to offer them, take pictures with it, have a little bit of fun with it," Kalbfleisch said. "We will have the ability to interact with the audience without interfering with the concert itself."

"The product offering and our strategy had to be in line with reaching out to this type of audience," said Kalbfleisch, who noted that the BlackBerry brand is more mainstream than it was only a few years ago. "The entertainment world and more unique opportunities started to make sense to us now. Two years ago it probably wasn't time yet."

Both parties to the deal declined to cite financial specifics, but typically such extensive tour sponsorships are valued at more than $1 million in cash and more in marketing. Michael McDonald, Mayer's manager, said that upfront money from BlackBerry goes into upfront tour costs.

"Something we've really focused on is putting the check to good use," McDonald said, adding that marketing is also a big plus.

So what's this all mean to BlackBerry Addicts? Read between the lines and it looks like the BlackBerry Curve will be launched on AT&T June 1st! Talk about it in the CrackBerry.com forums...

Ahead of the Curve...Rogers BlackBerry Curve that is!

BlackBerry Curve 8300I couldn't take the waiting any longer!

As I type, a BlackBerry 8300 Curve is making its away across the pond and to the CrackBerry.com offices in Winnipeg. It's a BlackBerry Curve out of the UK, and the Unlock code has already been ordered straight from O2. I should have both the phone and unlock code in my hands Tuesday by noon.

I'm curious to see how this goes. Will it be easy going in getting it up and running on Rogers? Or am I in for a massive headache in getting the phone unlocked? Any thoughts? Should I have waited?  BlackBerry.com says the Curve is coming to Roger's soon... will I beat the Canadian release by a day, a week, or a month?! Stay Tuned to CrackBerry.com to see how this plays out...

Update: LOST in transit. More like stolen. Never to be Found Again. I ended up waiting and getting it from AT&T when it was finally released. 

New App Turns Berry Into Tracker

mobile trackerI am actually not sure what to make of this new application. A great way for a courier company to see where its vehicles are going or unbelievably good news for insanely suspicious spouses and parents everywhere.

Skylab Mobilesystems have come out with an application that takes advantage of the built-in GPS receiver of the BlackBerry 8800 and is now able to record tracklogs. Those tracklogs are saved on the BlackBerry's internal micro SD-Card and can be viewed directly in Google Earth once you have the BlackBerry connected to your desktop and click on the tracklog file.

The company indicates all the benign uses for such a product such as “you can now easily embed a tracklog from your hiking, biking or running trip into your website. Imagine publishing your current and previous running logs on your website or blog to let people take part in your hobby.”

Riiiiight. People will use it for recording hiking trips. Parents will not secretly toss their BlackBerries into the car trunk to find out just where their teenagers are actually taking the Dodge Caravan until 2.00am.

According to the company, to provide more flexibility it is possible to configure the delay between position recordings. So if you are on a ship crossing the Atlantic you can also set the delay to five minutes. MobileTracker works everywhere on the world, even without network coverage.

To learn more visit MobileTracker or watch this demo from YouTube.

Balsillie Hops On The Wi-Fi Bandwagon

jim balsillieJim Balsillie, RIM co-CEO and potential owner of the Nashville Predators hockey team, was the keynote speaker at the 35th Annual JP Morgan Technology Conference, which opened in Boston, on Wednesday.

Balsillie’s speech focused on the arrival of Wi-Fi and the proposed introduction of a “converged Wi-Fi BlackBerry by the back end of this year.”

The reluctance of some companies, including RIM, to get fully behind Wi-Fi was, as Balsillie explains it, because it was over-hyped. RIM is behind its competitors in developing devices with both cellular and Wi-Fi. Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp. are already selling phones with Wi-Fi and cellular aimed at business users.

"Wi-Fi was overhyped," Balsillie said. "I was not a big believer in it for the first two or three years because it was hyped as something that would subsume everything, that you would get rid of your cell phone. We feel it's complimentary of a cell phone."

But it has hung around and now RIM is ready to embrace the concept and catch up to the rest of the field the field.

You can listen to the entire speech via podcast here .

SpinVox Turns Voice Mail Into E-Mail

spin my vmail If you are like me, you occasionally want to see who left you a voice mail and what that person wanted. If you have ever wondered what would it be like if you could turn your voicemails into text then wonder no more. The Spin-my-Vmail application actually converts your voicemails into text messages and sends them to your mobile phone or e-mail inbox.

SpinVox the makers of Spin-my-Vmail have just announced BlackBerry support for their program. Now, there is no need to dial in to pick up your voicemail - just read your messages on-screen. The voicemail is dropped into your inbox as an e-mail or SMS, which is pretty convenient. It is also a great way to get voice mail when you can't actually use the phone like the movie theatre for example.

Unique to the BlackBerry version, the software syncs the caller’s name with your contacts to allow one click replies via e-mail or phone. RIM execs had a chance to trial the software and were so impressed with what they saw, the trial then became a product. SpinVox is offering a demo version, hit the link here .

Around The World In 80 Days On Your Berry

subway reader

Oscar Wilde once said “A classic is book everyone has heard about but nobody has read.” Well now there is no excuse for not reading your classics. If you have a BlackBerry and a few minutes to spare you can now enjoy a short snippet of some of the world’s great literary classics.

E-mails from www.dailylit.com offer up daily sections of novels like Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” which comes in 82 sections, or can access your inner Russian and take on all 430 sections of “Anna Karenina.” Just think, at 10-minutes a day on your daily commute you can have read the Tolstoy classic in just over a year. Sure beats another game of brickbat.

Currently, the company is offering public domain titles for free although plans are in the works to bring new titles on for a fee.” According to a story in Reuters today, the company has more than 370 titles with more added daily and apparently 50,000 people have registered for some 75,000 titles.

Other authors in the list include Jane Austen, Dostoyevsky and Charles Dickens (which is appropriate since Dickens wrote his novels in installments for magazines.)

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