RIM Previews New BlackBerry Client for IBM Lotus Connections

Lotusphere 2008

Following up RIM's official announcement yesterday at Lotusphere 2008 of BlackBerry Platform Enhancements, RIM dropped news today of an entirely new product as they preview a BlackBerry Client for IBM Lotus Connections. You'll want to read the full press release after the jump for the details, but it's essentially social networking on your BlackBerry for BlackBerry Enterprise users (i.e. Facebook for work).

Though as a BIS customer I will never use this app on my BlackBerry, I'm still excited to see it come to life. Last May at RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium I had a chance to meet many cool people, including some really nice RIM employees. During the week, I had an impromptu 30 minute sit down with two of them and they picked my brain (they wanted some consumer-oriented input) on what now turns out to be this application! I'm glad to see it come together! 

Pimp Your BlackBerry With a Custom Paint Job!

Custom CrackBerry Paint Job for the BlackBerry CurveColorWare has setup their website to accept custom BlackBerry paint jobs! You can either send in your BlackBerry, or order a new BlackBerry (for $50-$100 over retail) sent to you direct with a fancy new paint job. Not bad!

ColorWare is even offering a standard 1 year warranty with the unlocked phones they sell, and an option to upgrade to a 2 year warranty for another $149. 

The ColorWare designer allows you to create custom colors for the Pearl, Curve, and 8800 Series. Click here to try out their designer. It's very cool, fun...and seems like a great way to customize your Berry.

For customizations, the base price is $99 for one color throughout the device. You can also choose colors for the sides, back and bottom for $15 each. The color palette to choose from includes 15 solid colors and 20 metallic colors. Pretty cool! 

I'm very tempted to send in my 8800 for a custom 'CrackBerry' theme, however I don't want to give up the Berry for any extended period of time. I'm not sure I could survive without having my Berry for three to four weeks. Maybe the better option in that case would be to go with a custom skin from

At any rate, check it out. ColorWare looks like an amazing one-of-a-kind way to customize your Berry! 

Visit the ColorWare site >

Special thanks to our friend Ronen over at BerryReview for this one!

BlackBerry Pearl 8110 Smartphone Making its Appearance - Spain, Italy, Canada?!

BlackBerry Pearl 8110 (Vodafone Italy)The BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is officially here. RIM today has announced the coming of the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 to Vodafone in Spain. Furthermore, our friend Stefano over at BB World sent word he received the an official invite to RIM/Vodafone's Milan launch party for the 8110 coming on January 30th.

And just today, I received word from one of my trusted Rogers guys that corporate store reps are going to be receiving their 8110 Pearl demos this week. Not hard to believe considering we have already had BlackBerry Pearl 8110 in the wild sightings. It looks like Canadians will have to continue to wait to see a WiFi enabled BlackBerry hit Canada - it seems Rogers will introduce an 8110 before an 8120 or 8320. It raises a good question...if you have to choose between having GPS and WiFi on a device (all other things equal), which would you go for?

Not Pearl 8110 related, but potentially of even greater importance, BlackBerrySync is stating that a CDMA version of the Curve, the 8330, is on its way (apparently fact, not just hope) and that we may even see it before WES in May! 

Read the BlackBerry Pearl 8110 Vodafone Spain Press Release >>

RIM Showcases BlackBerry Platform Enhancements at Lotusphere 2008

Research in Motion

Lots of news and coming from RIM today at Lotusphere 2008 for enterprise users on the BES. Some of the big news: the ability to Download and Edit Documents (thanks to DataViz); the ability to remotely search and retrieve email messages from server (even if they are no longer on the phone); free/busy calendar look-up (check availability before sending out a meeting request); and HTML and rich text email rendering (wooHOO!). A number of management, security and development improvements have also been made to the BlackBerry Platform... read the full press release (below) for all the details!

Keep in mind these are BES improvements. Hopefully some of these will soon make their way to BIS customers in the near future as well. Not sure what the difference between BES and BIS are? Click Here to read our BlackBerry 101 article on it! 

Alltel Offers CRM App SalesNow for BlackBerry

SalesNow Solution from AllTelAlltel began offering the SalesNow customer-relationship management app to BlackBerry users. SalesNow, which was developed by Interchange Solutions, is designed to help mobile workers track and manage their contacts, deals, activities, and e-mails. The type of information users can share includes weekly reports, team forecasts, and details of business deals.

SalesNow works with BlackBerry e-mail and automatically synchs up with a hosted SalesNow Web site, so any changes made on BlackBerrys are reflected in the app when users return to the office.

Alltel is offering the software for $25 a month for individual users and $40 a month for business users with qualifying data plans on BlackBerrys sold by the carrier. Go here for more information about SalesNow from Alltel.

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BlackBerry 9000 Talk - more details, more potential confusion

BlackBerry 9000 Details

Another week, another BlackBerry 9000 rumor post. This time it's Jibi over at BGR with some more details and further clarifications (some might say confusions) on the BlackBerry 8xxx/9000.

More Details:

  • 9000 will include UMTS and HSDPA Support (said to be official info from RIM)
  • a new era of OS is being worked on at RIM... v5. (no details yet, though it's probably safe to assume most companies are working on new versions of their OS at any given time)
  • 9000 will launch with OS v.4.3.2 but will be updated to 5.0 by end of the year

More Clarification/Confusion:

  • From what I read, it seems the images of the new device we have been seeing as a BlackBerry 8xxx are no longer valid (remember the Vodafone slides that called the new device a 8xxx).
  • Apparently this new device is in fact the BlackBerry 9000, and it will be set to launch at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium (RIM's big annual show) in May. So it's likely not the BlackBerry 8920 which is what the most recent rumors were indiciating (leading us to believe there was another 9000 device in the works that has yet to be seen).

I have to admit even I am getting confused by what I read when it comes to these new device rumors. Apologies if I have any details confused here (feel free to clarify/add to them in the comments). I marked up the Vodafone leaked slide with some of the latest details of where things are at now. RIM should just make an announcement already and set the record straight!!

Rogers Comes out with REASONABLE Data Plans!

Rogers Wireless
Rogers Flex Data Plan

Get excited, but not TOO excited. Endgadget Mobile dropped word yesterday that Rogers is introducing a new Flex Rate Data Plan for PC Cards which ups Rogers' ante in the data game. At Tier 4 we're talking $100/mo. for 5GB of data (and only $0.03 per additional MB). The best part is you can start with Tier 1 (1GB for $65) and if you accidentally go over the limit you automatically get bumped to Tier 2!

I said don't get TOO excited - keep in mind this news is for PC Cards, not BlackBerrys, but hopefully is a sign of good things to come for BlackBerry Users. It kind of makes me really mad - obviously Rogers can still make money with data use at these new rates - but they're still taking us berry users for $60/mo. for 25 megs or $100/mo. for 200 megs (and it's currently not tiered so going over is COSTLY at a ridiculous rate right now - like $7/meg. Accidentally use 40 megs when you're on the 25 meg plan and you'll pay another $100+ bucks in overcharges!).

By REASONABLE I mean reasonable for Canadians. Keep in mind you can find $30 unlimited data BlackBerry plans in the United States. I guess Canadian GSM monopolies can get away with pretty much whatever they want.

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Nothing Says "I Love You" Like a Red Curve 8310

Nothing Says I Love You Like a Red Curve 8310Hold off on the dinner reservations and don't worry about calling the florist.  AT&T is running a special on their "red" devices from now until February 14th - the LG Shine, the BlackJack 2 and the Curve 8310 - all at a promotional $99.99 price point.  For that someone special that is still hanging on to their buggy Windows Mobile or Palm device, now is the time to show them how you really feel.  Give the ultimate gift of a new Red Curve at a great price.  

"Chocolates and flowers are standby gifts for Valentine's Day, but this year we're spicing things up by offering terrific deals for those who want to go with something different,"
said Andy Wilson, vice president of National Marketing for AT&T's wireless unit. "These eye-catching red devices are available at a great promotional price, and with unlimited Mobile to Mobile calling and unlimited text messaging plans, it's easy and affordable for consumers to stay connected with loved ones."

Information on the promotion and included calling and data plans at AT&T.



Ricoh Introduces BlackBerry Compatible Hotspot Printers

Ricoh Introduces New Line of Hotspot PrintersRicoh introduced the first in their new line of Hotspot printers this week.  The SP C410DN-KP color printer and SP 4100N-KP monochrome model provide printing from laptops, PDAs or supported cell phones (Blackberry) without the need for additional software on the device.  

Printing with the HotSpot Printers can be done two different ways.  Each printer has its own unique Web page by which mobile users can simply upload a file or Web page URL to be printed.  In addition, emails can be forwarded from laptops or PDAs to the printer's own email address.  Using either method, the system automatically sends a reply message to the user with a secure release code that can be entered on the printer's keypad upon printing the documents. Additional security features include data encryption during file processing and transmission, as well as password protection, to ensure that sensitive documents can only be printed by the appropriate users.

"These new printers fill an essential need for all types of organizations who seamlessly want to integrate this technology into their existing network infrastructure," Ann Moser, senior vice president, printing solutions division at Ricoh Americas, said in a statement.


Staying True to Old Blue: Jessica Simpson and the 8700

Jessica Simpson and her 8700

We haven't done a CrackBerry Sighting post yet in 2008, so I figured it was about time to do one (good content for a Friday!), and that said, it would only make sense to kick off the new year with my CrackBerry Sighting Favorite, Jessica Simpson.

You gotta respect Jessica when it comes to her choice of BlackBerry - though she can probably get her hands on any new smartphone device of her choice free of charge, she is STILL opting to stick with her trusty 'ole BlackBerry 8700. This photo was taken earlier this week in Los Angeles.

In 2007 I called the BlackBerry 7290 Old Blue. I think in 2008 I'm going to pass that title on to the 8700 - it's time to upgrade. Though to be fair, even though the 8700 feels like a tank compared to my Curve, thinking back to the pre-Curve days I really, really loved my 8700 - it was my do everything savior. I can't really fault Jessica for taking her time upgrade (though I'm not sure I could get by without a Media Card anymore).

Driving While Texting a BAD Idea - Especially in Boston

Driving While Texting a BAD IdeaThe Joint Committee on Transportation in Boston has approved a bill that bans the use of using a handheld device while driving. The Massachusetts House of Representatives will vote on the bill soon.

Good for them I say. Driving while texting is one dangerous move. As good and adept as I know we all think we are... Fact remains it is a hazard and distracts us from what is most important: Maintaining awareness and control of our vehicles!

Drivers will be fined $100 if they are caught using a device while driving. Fines go up each time they are caught. $250 for the second offence, and $500 for the third!

This trend on banning the use of handheld devices while driving is not going to stop. Look for a ban in your area in the near future :)

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SlingPlayer Coming to BlackBerry

Sling Media

SlingMedia announced a few days ago at CES 2008 (that’s the Consumer Electronics Show), that SlingPlayer Mobile is coming soon to the BlackBerry. And now it looks like they are gearing up for a beta program for the BlackBerry.

SlingMedia has a whole line of products now, but basically, they give you the ability to watch and control your home TV from an Internet computer or mobile device. So far, BlackBerry has been left out of that lineup, but that’s about to change in 2008.

To sign up for the beta program, visit here. Or to find out more about SlingMedia, visit their homepage and watch some of the movies. They’re very entertaining!

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RIM To Arrive in China Before End of Q1 2008

Rockin the RIM in China As I reported the other day, rumor had it that RIM was going to hit mainland China somewhat soon. A report today from the Shanghai Daily seems to confirm this.

I'm not going to mince words here, this is what the paper had to say:

"BlackBerry phones will be available on the Chinese mainland for the first time by the end of first quarter, said the country's major distributor China Mobile yesterday, which halted talks with Apple to introduce iPhone into China.
The first model offered to Chinese customers will be BlackBerry 8700 and it will be available for business use, but not to personal users, according to an official at China Mobile's Shanghai branch data service division."

Shanghai Mobile is reportedly going to charge 598 yuan/mth ($54 USD) for BlackBerry services, which would include e-mail, internet and phone.

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Hands Up! Now Give Me Your BlackBerry!

Hand over the BlackBerry and no one gets hurt!Joseph Mallia of newsday reported yesterday that 3 men are facing criminal charges after they used a 12-gauge shotgun to rob a man of his BlackBerry!..... and his wallet. (Ok, Ok, it wasn't all about the BlackBerry!)

Apparently the 3 men approached the victim late monday night, held him up with a shotgun, and then stole the Berry and his wallet. They quickly sped off in a silver BMW.

This raises the question: What would you be more upset about... Having your wallet stolen or your BlackBerry stolen? :)

Note to self, watch out for silver BMW's.

Revolutionizing Education: Blackboard Coming To The BlackBerry?

BlackBoard Acquires NTA GroupCollege and university students and professors from Louisiana State to Clemson will no doubt be familiar with the Blackboard software platform.

Blackboard announced Monday that it will acquire NTI Group (a large mobile messaging provider). So what this means for us here at CrackBerry? Well, it might lead to more BlackBerry centred educational applications in the future. Educational apps here we come!

Today's modern student will no doubt embrace the technology. This could be one of the first steps in integrating the BlackBerry into modern education at the best colleges and universities around the world. Think of the advantages... Test scores, assignments and reminders could be sent to you instantly on your BlackBerry. You could adjust your schedule or message your professor with questions in real-time.

This could be an eye opener but we'll see if it goes anywhere. The BlackBerry in the educational world could and should be a winner in my opinion.

View Press Release >>

RIM Ready to Rock China?

RIM Ready to Rock the Chinese Market? The writing is on the wall, and many believe it is only a matter of time before BlackBerry hits the Chinese market. Reutuers is reporting some new and exciting information on the topic.

TCL Corp began sending its partner China Mobile BlackBery devices in the fourth quarter of 2007... And now, chinese newspapers are reporting that the devices could go on sale as early as this month!

The last we had heard, the ball was in China Mobile's court. The devices had been delivered and China Mobile simply needed to 'flip the switch' to start the sales flowing. China Mobile must simply be waiting for the right opportunity and time to go ahead and launch. Stiff competition is expected from low-cost rivals (including a popular local service dubbed the 'Red Berry' Ha!).

I don't need to tell you what a huge breakthrough this would be for RIM.

Should be interesting to see what happens here over the next few weeks and months. 

China has been a tough nut to 'Crack' - Berry. Ok, that was bad.

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Motley Fool says... Worst Stock for 2008: Research in Motion

 Worst Stock in 2008?

Ouch. According to Motley Fool , RIM is in for a tough time, at least as far as their stock price is concerned, as they have named Research in Motion the Worst Stock of 2008. Motley Fool is citing Changing Consumer Tastes, Stretched Valuation and General Economic Woes as challenges that will certainly bring RIM's valuation down this year. The question posed by MF isn't whether the valuation will drop, but more so by how much? (full story and my counter argument after the jump!)

FranklinCovey's PlanPlus Comes to BlackBerry

FranklinCovey announced it now includes applications for BlackBerry in its new release of PlanPlus for Microsoft Outlook v.5, the company’s planning and information management application.

PlanPlus™ for Microsoft® Outlook includes applications specifically designed for BlackBerry. Their web page says you can prioritize your tasks and keep daily notes all on your devices as well as synchronize data with the PlanPlus for Outlook desktop. Each application is included with your purchase of PlanPlus v.5 for Outlook.

The new PlanPlus applications for BlackBerry include the FranklinCovey Prioritized Task List, Master Task List and Daily Notes.

FranklinCovey's PlanPlus
FranklinCovey with Applications for BlackBerry

PlanPlus for Outlook v.5 is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista, Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007. 

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Paul Giamatti Hits SimulScribe

Paul Giamatti Hits SimulScribe

I'm not sure on the statistics, but it seems to me in today's online world that Viral PR is more effective and cheaper (hopefully cheaper! though I'm sure there are some companies that pay a lot in hopes of getting picked up virally) than traditional advertising.

That said, I feel compelled to play my part in the Viral PR machine and post this story of Paul Giamatti (star of the movie SideWays)running into a Taxi cab that was carrying around a SimulScribe ad. For those who don't know, SimulScribe's leading product is SimulSays, which is a Voicemail to Text solution for your BlackBerry (I use it myself and I love it!). I actually gave SimulSays a Best of WES 2007 award last May because I liked it so much.

So if you're SimulScribe and get struck by a cab driven by a "star", what do you do? Turn it into a PR opportunity...check out this Press Release that just came in from SimulScribe (after the jump):

Bing, Bang, Boom! RIM Launches BlackBerry Solution in Bangladesh, Ghana and Madagascar!

RIM rapidly expands into new markets worldwide.

It's always good to see a hard working company execute its chosen strategies and achieve solid financial results. For a company like  Research in Motion , two of the strategies that are highly visible right now are growth in the burgeoning consumer market and expansion into new markets.

While the holiday season often means a slow down for many companies, that was not the case for RIM. In December RIM brought its BlackBerry solution to carriers in Oman, New Zealand, Thailand and the Philippines and not quite half way through January has already launched in Bangladesh, Ghana and Madagascar.

There's a reason RIM's Third Quarter Financial Results were stellar and why we can expect the fourth quarter to be more of the same. Good Work RIM. Next stop, total Global Domination. :-)