News

New System For Old Berries?

blackberry 7130With a new 5.0 operating system due to make its roll-out later this year, there is word that a 4.2 operating system for the 8700 and 7130 models is available at RIM. The question is will carriers provide this upgrade.

Within the concept of ever-increasing redundancy, the new models are more attractive if the old models can’t do the same things or have the same functions. Oh, you want YouTube videos for the BlackBerry? Then you might want to upgrade to the new model. Your Berry doesn’t have GPS? Lame. So why make your older BlackBerries more efficient when you can sell your customers and bigger better and shinier new one?

We’ll keep you updated on new systems if they become available.

Basketball or BlackBerry? It's a split!

Here's a picture of supermodel Jessica White sitting next to Kimora Lee Simmons, Tyra Banks and Beyonce at the Knicks game. Looks like Jessica has clearly chosen BlackBerry over Basketball. Non-Blackberry owners might hold this against her, but not CrackBerry abusers! 

Jessica White on her BlackBerry

The Aftermath of the RIM Outage

No Email!It’s been interesting to read about all the responses to the RIM outage. They range from panic for those of us cut off from our email, to relief for those of us who got a welcome respite from the normal deluge of messages.

As for me, it didn’t affect me very much because I was asleep. My BlackBerry isn’t allowed in my bedroom because my wife doesn’t like the little green light blinking in the room all night long. I’ve long since given up my perfectly reasonable assertion that you can’t see the light if you just close your eyes.

I was able to receive emails by the time I had my second cup of coffee the next morning, so no harm done. However, had I been on the road it would have been a different story. Away from my computer, my BlackBerry is a lifeline. For my various business ventures to flow smoothly, I have to be accessible most of the time. To be on the road and cut off from email for any length of time would have a serious impact on my job.

I’d like to invite you to share your stories. Was the outage a big impact for you? Or was it a relief? Did you miss an important opportunity or did you realize how important other activities can be, like being accessible to your family without that hockey puck of a keyboard to get in the way?

Let us know…

## This Article Was Originally Published on AllBlackBerry.com

Rough start to 2007 for Balsillie and Co.

nasdaq

First up was that Apple video conference showing off the wonders of the new iPhone. Then came the quarter billion dollar earnings misstatement, which has now turned into an investigation by the SEC. Then came the loss of the US Army monopoly. Next, a sharp dip in share prices following less than expected earnings figures. Finally, yesterday, a massive system failure that shut down every BlackBerry in North America for half a day.

I wouldn't want to be Jim Balsillie's cat this morning.

Research In Motion is being roundly criticized today following the massive system failure yesterday. The company’s refusal to inform users and provide carriers with any information is being seen as another black eye for the Waterloo, Ontario maker of the BlackBerry.

Certainly, people will be questioning RIMs response to the incident, which has been for the most part silent and unresponsive. The company should be congratulated on getting the problem sorted out quickly, but they might need to look at handling the PR a little better.

Surprisingly, prices for RIM stocks appear to have remained steady and appear to be holding up this morning. Investors are obviously more concerned about the company not meeting targets than there are with a backlash against the company over the outage. As of 10AM, shares were trading on the NASDAQ at $133.20 which is only down $1.17 from the previous day. However those figures are down significantly from the all time high of $148 just before the company announced its fourth quarter numbers last week, which were good but below investor expectations.

In Toronto, RIM shares were trading at C$150.21 on the TSX, about one percent down from yesterday and again down from a high of C$170 last week.

CrackBerry.Com Becomes 'Go To' Site For Information

crackberry logoNot to toot our own horn but…

Yesterday’s BlackBerry shutdown was big news everywhere. And CrackBerry.com became the “go-to” place for information.

Our own Kevin Michaluk appeared all over the net here, here, and here and was questioned why the BlackBerry maker was so reluctant to provide people with any useful information on the system crash, information that could have alleviated some anxiety. 

It’s also interesting to note how ubiquitous the word “CrackBerry" has become. In almost all of the magazines, television stations, websites and newspapers that covered the story, from Forbes to CBC to SmartDeviceCentral the little device’s nickname was used.

As we also reported, the outage also affected some of the other BlackBerry sites, but we managed to stay up and running bringing you information as it became available. Our Forums were also buzzing with info on how the system meltdown affected users here in North America.

Not related to the outage, but related to the uprising in Tech Gadget Communities and Fan Sites, CrackBerry.com was featured today in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper (the biggest paper close to RIM headquarters) as the cover story of their Tech Weekly section. A big thanks to Kelly Roesler for the help in spreading the CrackBerry.com name! The article, entitled "Ga ga over Gadgets" is a must read (the web version doesn't have the sexy Crack Team photo, but it's still pretty good!).

North America Service Update from RIM

Here's a screen capture of RIM's North America Service Update that went out to BlackBerry Customers. We used our cleverness to make sure we stay on RIM's good side - we are not republishing the announcement, we are merely linking to a picture sent to us by a CrackBerry.com member that may contain some words of interest for our loyal and growing readership. 

RIM North America Service Update
Image courtesy of Pinstack.com.

10 Things to do when the RIM Network Goes Down

RIM Network Outages Fail to Impress10. Remain calm and try to relax.

9. Speak positive affirmations to yourself, for example: 'the network will be up soon', 'everything is going to be ok', 'RIM will solve the problem shortly'

8. Exercise your thumbs. With the withdrawal could come tired and lathargic thumbs. Keep them in shape by doing simple thumb stretches and presses.

7. Turn your blackberry off and on constantly. Something might pick up. Keep trying until it works.

6. Run on the spot. It will burn off that built up anxiety and angst... Keep you relaxed and get your heart beating in a healthy way.

5. Grab a cup of coffee. Might as well pump some more caffeine into the system. Go for a dark roast with no cream or sugar. The way coffee was meant to be.

4. Pretend to yourself that your BlackBerry is actually working and continue on your day as usual.

3. Play 'Brick Breaker'.

2. Cry.

1. Pray.

Massive BlackBerry System Failure

Updated: Since approximately 7:15pm EST last night, reports have been coming in that Research in Motion is suffering a major outage all over the United States. Initial reports thought the problem was with local carriers, but as the issue has begun to unfold it is becoming clear that the problem lies within RIM's data network.

In addition to U.S. carriers, Rogers in Canada has been affected as well. In some cases users  are reporting they cannot send/receive email, access BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, or access the web or their service books. BlackBerry messaging seems to still be working, and some users seem to be exceptions to the rule with service still working (though be it slowly or erraticly). I can't even access the CrackBerry.com WAP site - what a shame!

Thanks to Harvey who got this news to me right away and is staying glued to the story over at his site FiscalTimes.com with updates:

Update, 11:22 pm, EST: There are scattered reports that some users are able to receive mail.

Update, 11:44 pm, EST: Reports indicate that all users of North American based Blackberry Enterprise servers are being affected. This includes users accessing North American BES servers internationally. RIM currently has no estimate on when they will be back online.

Update 12:23 am, EST: Some users claim that email has resumed.

Update 12:48 am, EST: Users who have spoken with RIM tech support are saying that this event started at 7:15 pm, EST. A few T-Mobile users are experiencing an intermittent resumption of email.

Update 2:35 am, EST: WNBC has picked up the story. According to them, “Officials said the problem would carry into the morning. For the moment, RIM officials recommend all who depend on their blackberry as a major way of communication should make some back-up plans.”

Update 7:00 am, EST: System remains down for most users.

Update 9:41am, EST: Some users are reporting that powering the device on and off will get messages flowing. Service still out for most of the United States with sporadic exceptions.

Update 10:15am, EST: CNN Money Reports RIM's email is back up, though some users may experience a delay in receiving messages as the backlog of emails is pushed through. A statement from the RIM said: "A service interruption occurred Tuesday night that affected BlackBerry in North America. E-mail delivery was delayed or intermittent during the service interruption. Root cause is currently under review, but service for most customers was restored overnight and RIM is closely monitoring systems in order to maintain normal service levels," the statement said.

We got on the story within minutes of the issue occuring, which has now been picked up everywhere. Be sure to report your status and talk more more about the BlackBerry System Failure in the forums. Were you affected? Are you back up running yet? History is being made with this one! 

BlackBerry 9900 Rumors Begin

RIM logo Breaking news over at BoyGeniusReport. It seems rumors are starting that the BlackBerry 9900 actually exists in some form.

Tentatively due out late 2007 or early 2008, the new device will feature a screen resolution of 384×288, which will give the new device a larger viewing area and a sharper image. The device will apparently run OS 5.0.0 at the time of launch.

For more info visit The Boy Genius website here.

Are BlackBerries Making Watches Redundent?

venture watch

Are watches becoming a thing of the past? I know I have started using by BlackBerry as a mobile clock. It’s always accurate and constantly with me. I have a clock on my digital TV box, on the bottom of my computer and on my Berry. My Berry also reminds me of appointments and dates. I just don’t need a watch any more.

If I do wear one it is for show.

So, we found this cool article that says that digital watches are becoming more like jewelry than they are practical tools. According to the AP article, the way we track time is changing with the times. The article also details how watchmakers are fighting back in innovative ways and how the concept of a watch is evolving.

US Army ends BlackBerry Monopoly

sabIn what may be the biggest fallout from last year’s patent infringement lawsuit against RIM, the United States Army has opted to break the monopoly BlackBerry has had with army wireless e-mail communication.

Until recently, US Army employees accessing sensitive e-mail messages on the Global Information Grid had to use BlackBerries. The Research in Motion devices were the only ones approved for use. But that is changing and it is not good news for RIM.

In February, the US Army approved Sensa secure mobile e-mail from Apriva/Appsware Wireless, for use with sensitive-but-unclassified and for-official-use-only e-mail. That approval makes available a host of personal digital assistants from multiple carriers running the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system.

US soldiers now have a choice.

Officially the Army sees competition as a good thing. Lt. Col. C.J. Wallington, the Army’s advanced technologies director at Fort Belvoir, said “When you get different products you increase your security posture, you lower your costs and you increase your feature choices.” More disturbingly for RIM the Colonel went on to add “RIM is a good product, but they became a little complacent and didn’t address the Army’s needs.”

The threat of a BlackBerry shutdown because of the lawsuit is an example of the need for a variety of platforms for messaging and e-mail, Wallington said.

Richard Spinella, Apriva’s vice president of government solutions said “We had the luxury of building a product from the ground up to meet the needs of the federal government.”

The company plans to sell in the private sector as well, but it is being launched in the government market first because it was designed to meet its needs.

One reason for the lack of variety on the Army’s list of approved Two-way Wireless E-mail Devices was that there was no formal process for adding products. Appriva was forced to do the testing themselves and then lobby for approval. Now there is a process in place, watch for new wireless platforms getting in on the lucrative contract.

CrackBerry WAP Forums Go Live!

CrackBerry WAP Forums

Attention all CrackBerry Forum Addicts! We have some great news for you!

We're proud to announce the launch of the new WAP version of our ever-popular forums. You can check them out here: CrackBerry WAP Forums

What does this mean for you? It means you can now access and chat in our forums wherever you (and your CrackBerry) are!

Punch up the WAP version in your 'Berry (http://wapforums.CrackBerry.com) and let me know what you think. Also, if you notice any 'bugs' please contact me as well...Sometimes these things pop up out of nowhere! You can contact me directly at  james AT CrackBerry dot com. Your feedback is always welcome.

Enjoy!

Banks in the Middle East Love Their BlackBerries

Abu Dhabi Commercial BankAbu Dhabi Commercial Bank is taking full advantage of the power of the BlackBerry. Top executives over there have recently started using the devices with great success.

Seems to me like more and more large businesses/banks/corporations are going mobile (if they haven't already)...The defining line between home and office will continue to get blurred as people become less attached to the office because of mobile technology.

Access to phone, email and internet from anywhere is a wonderful thing, but what are the consequences? Is it effecting your life in a postive or negative way?

Chat about it here in the forums

OR

Click here to read an article on Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

White Pearl Now Available in UK

white pearl Today, T-Mobile UK has released the White BlackBerry Pearl for its UK customers.

T-Mobile hopes the fashion-friendly version will be hit with savvy mobile consumers. The exclusive deal for the mobile operator brings a stylish makeover to the push-email friendly Pearl 8100. The white version of the Pearl has been available for a couple of months for T-Mobile subscribers in North America.

The new phrase in the UK is “candybar phone” and the Pearl fits that description to a tee. With a Qwerty-keyboard style keypad arrangement (with two letters per button), the 8100 uses RIM's SureType predictive typing technology for easy messaging. It also included such consumer friendly features as a 1.3-megapixel camera, onboard MP3 player and a web browser.

T-Mobile is offering the white BlackBerry Pearl as one of its “web'n'walk” range of mobile internet-ready handsets. Check out the T-Mobile website for full pricing details.

Remote File Access For The BlackBerry

blackberry remoteOne of the problems related to handheld mobile devices is access to files and documents. Normally, to save certain files on your BlackBerry you have to send yourself an e-mail attachment.

But help is at hand. Today, Ottawa-based WICKSoft  announced a remote file access, document viewing, and e-mail attachment solution for the BlackBerry .

WICKSoft’s PocketVPN is the first mobile-enterprise remote file access solution that allows BlackBerry users to remotely access files and folders located in their office.

According to WICKSoft CEO, Will Hickie, “with PocketVPN you can leave your files where they belong-- in the office. PocketVPN lets you send and manage your files from just about anywhere. You always get access to the most up-to-date information too, because you’re not duplicating files anymore.”

Apparently, the application in more than just file access. PocketVPN can convert documents into a mobile format in real time. Just click View, and seconds later you’re reading the document. It also lets you attach files to e-mail messages, and manage them in the same way you would as if you were in your office.

For further information, contact WICKSoft at (613) 882-2809, or info@wicksoft.com. Product details also available online at http://www.wicksoft.com



Strange News

 large blackberry

This week saw the opening of the ZeGiganticElectonicaDevisenExposition in Dusseldorff Germany at the swanky new UberExibitionHalleundStadiumArenaPlatz.

On hand were all the new shiny devices from the likes of RIM, Palm and Nokia as you'd expect. But an interesting side booth featured historic electronic devices from the former East Germany.

Apparently, before the Berlin Wall came down, East German scientists were working on their own version of the BlackBerry. Called the SchwartzCherry, it looked remarkably similar to the fledgling Canadian device, but a error in the espionage pictures led to a small mistake in the manufacturing of the East German model.

LEGO My Blackberry

BB 950 FrontIf you have been addicted to Crackberry as long as I have, you will remember using the classic 950 model back at the turn of the century. 

Back then, Blackberries were more like glorified pagers then the hi-tech multimedia devices they are today. 

I remember the first one I had.  I had it set to the "da da di di da da di <bzz> <bzz>" tone and vibrate notification when I received a new message.  I think it was called "1812 Overture ".  It was wicked cool.  We would sit around the server room and send messages back and forth to each other just to hear that vibrating little gadget known as the RIM Blackberry.  Ah the memories... 

Who is Mobilizing with BlackBerry? Free Video Case Study

Who is Mobilizing with BlackBerry?Something free to get your Friday started right...

CrackBerry.com in its partnership with TradePub is pleased to offer a Free Video Case Study entitled "Who is Mobilizing with BlackBerry?".

This short video highlights BlackBerry customers in government and SMB using the wireless capabilities of BlackBerry for more than just email applications (and no, they are not using it to play in online poker tournaments!). In this video you will see how "mobility" is being redefined by BlackBerry, including:

  • Where the BlackBerry solution is being used
  • Types of BlackBerry device users
  • Types of applications being used
  • Size of deployments

If you have BlackBerries in your organization you will want to watch this video. You might just unlock some ideas to take things to the next level!

Watch the Video Here!

Image Courtesy of MiiCreator.com. I just started playing with a Nintendo Wii this week. The addiction is already starting - between CrackBerry Addiction and Wii Addiction I'm in serious trouble! Be sure to have a Great Wiikend!

RIM Dominating the Handheld Market

RIM Revenues in Motion

Check out this groovy little chart we found recently. It clearly shows the dominance of RIM in today's current handheld market.

Are there going to be any contenders to the throne in the coming year? Apple with its iPhone? Nokia with the new N800 and E62 models?

Time will tell. But so far, all signs appear to be pointing in RIM's direction.

In the next year or two, we predict that RIM will take over for the Government of Canada to join forces with Google (who will take over in the United States).

Canada and the US will no longer exist...Instead most of North America will simply be known as "GoogleBerry".

Makes perfect sense to me :)

Could A CrackBerry Addiction Bring Down Karl Rove?

karl rove blackberry

Addiction had its costs and we are about to find out how much is going to cost White House puppeteer, advisor and all around dark force Karl Rove.

The Democrat-led United States Congress is currently investigating shenanigans at the Bush White House. Democrats claim a number of US attorneys were fired for political reasons and have demanded the White House turn over their e-mails regarding the matter, which have to be kept on file and are subject to oversight by the Congress.

However, it turns out White House staffers may have been deliberately using Republican National Committee(RNC) e-mail accounts to avoid congressional scrutiny. E-mails already examined suggest that White House officials were made aware of the need to avoid the White House e-mail system when discussing certain issues.

Now that this has come to light, surprise, surprise, the RNC announced that it had lost most of those e-mails. And many of them come from senior Bush advisor and architect of his contentious election victories, Karl Rove (pictured above center).

How does that relate to BlackBerries? Well, according to Washington blogger TPMuckracker, Rove is a major league CrackBerry addict. According to an insider who writes for the blog, Karl Rove is “surgically attached to his Blackberry.”

Furthermore, Rove who dodged indictment last year in the Scooter Libby case, is so addicted that "When he's not on the phone, he's tapping e-mail messages into his handheld Blackberry, staying in the loop, even when he's out of the office.” Rove had one of the first e-mail programs available and one of the first BlackBerries. The insider goes on by revealing that Rove “used the Blackberry in the Eisenhower building while sharing discreet chuckles with Andrew Card and Condoleezza Rice, and in a domestic policy meeting in the Roosevelt Room. He's been known to use it in bed, while driving and when quail hunting down in South Texas...tapping away...during the shoot. In fact, he even uses it to e-mail colleagues in the same room.” So your basic CrackBerry addict then.

Now all those e-mails are missing. But as the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Partick Leahy pointed out yesterday “You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers. Those e-mails are there -- they (the White House) just don't want to produce them. It's like the infamous 18-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes.”

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