RIM Offering BlackBerry Push Service To All BlackBerry Developers

Back during the BlackBerry Developers Conference last year, Research In Motion made the announcement that the BlackBerry Push APIs would be available to all developers for free within the first half of 2010. In keeping with their promise, Research In Motion has made available today two levels of push services. 

  • BlackBerry Push Essentials - is a free service that developers can incorporate into their applications and allows them to push content to their customers with unparalleled immediacy.
  • BlackBerry Push Plus - which has a free tier and paid tiers, provides developers with notification that their push has been delivered. If a content provider needs to get information to someone, they can tell if the target device has received the push. 

While this is great news for developers, it's also great news for end users. Many applications out there already make use of push services. But previously, those services cost quite a bit for developers to implement into applications. Now with two service offerings being available to developers for either free or on a paid basis we should see plenty more apps delivering content. With all this push goodness happening, makes me wonder how much more use it's going to see in later OS'.

[ BBDevBlog ]

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How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Do You Use Voice Commands?
  Do you use voice commands on your BlackBerry?survey

We're back again for our second installment of our How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series. Last weeks AutoDim results showed what I pretty much expected, almost 80% of the 10,000 that voted keep the Automatically Dim Backlight setting on. Some good comments as to just why you do or don't use it, my favorite being "Off because it does what it wants anyway".

Well this week we're back with another burning question. If you listened to our last CrackBerry Podcast, you'll remember we quickly discussed the voice dialing/commands feature. The Voice Activated Dialing is a pre-installed feature and is mapped to the side convenience key right out of the box. If can be useful for getting around the device using voice commands, and for making calls when in the car or on the go simply by speaking. So my question this week is, do you use voice commands on your BlackBerry? After you vote be sure to leave a comment telling us why you do or don't use this feature.

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Happy Saint Patrick's Day from CrackBerry.com (Yes, we're half Irish)

Everyone is speaking with a slight accent, has the corned beef stewing and is getting set to drink some green beer (or just Campari). The happiest Irish holiday of the year is here, and we've got some wallpapers and themes to dress up your Berry for the long night out. You'll want your device looking its best and matching your once-a-year green sweater. Our galleries are full of wallpapers for St. Patty's Day (you just have to do a little digging), be it Guinness, Ireland, something Irish or just something green. If you're looking to go all out, you can check out some great free and paid St. Patrick's Day themes for all devices as well. You can also take a look at our ringtone gallery and are sure to find something to get you in the holiday spirit. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

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[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Remember the screen captures of that "personal concierge" app RIM put into a BlackBerry Developer presentation that had people wondering if by chance it could be a glimpse of what OS 6.0 is going to look like? It has been the cause of a lot of interesting conversation in the forums and must have struck a chord with theme developer WJD Designs too as demonstrated by their new theme SIX which emulates the app design in a theme and even makes room for two widget-styled apps. WJD Designs worked with Toysoft to put a working analog clock and calendar into the theme. Definitely cool to see some collaboration in the app/theme space.

There is a LOT to SIX, so be sure to watch the video above and jump over to the product page for the full description. It's available for the BlackBerry Storm2/Storm, Bold 9700/9000, Tour 9630 and Curve 8900. The theme normally costs $4.99 but is on sale right now for $2.99 until March 20th. The Calendar and Clock applications are in 7-day trial mode and each sell for $1.99 normally, but are discounted to 99 cents each when purchased via the installed theme. 

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Has Your YouTube Video Playback Quality Increased On Your BlackBerry?

One gripe often heard about BlackBerry smartphones anytime, anyone mentions YouTube and BlackBerry together is that YouTube streaming on BlackBerry looks like crap. At some point, last week Youtube seemed to increase the quality on their mobile site for BlackBerry devices. Many others have noticed this as well, in the forums and even on Twitter. I've seen this mentioned on more than one occasion in my Twitter stream by different individuals.

Some are attributing it to some optimization made through their YouTube accounts as described in the forums. However, having not tried this method myself I'm quite certain that isn't all there is to the story. Especially since my videos are looking much better without having done anything. Let us know in the polls folks.

Has Your YouTube Video Quality Increased?polling
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Official OS For The BlackBerry Bold 9700 Released By Vodafone UK

It's almost as if Research In Motion and Vodafone had this one scheduled huh? As we mentioned back when it leaked, OS hit that "Gold" status we were expecting. The one time leaked OS gone official is now available for download from the Vodafone UK website. If you never made use of the leaked version maybe you'll wanna try the official on for size. As always, if Vodafone isn't your carrier make sure you delete the vendor.xml file. Shout out to cbaboy88 for finding it first.

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Opera Mini 5 No Longer Running Beta, Final Version Released

While we all sit and wait to see what Research In Motion is going to bring with its WebKit browser, the folks at Opera Software are going full steam ahead. Long the chosen alternative over the built in BlackBerry browser, Opera Software has finally taken Opera Mini 5 out of beta. As noted in the press release:

Today’s release puts the finishing touches on the Opera mobile-browsing duo. The focus is on delivering the best Internet experience on nearly any mobile phone, along with a unified look and feel and innovative favorite features, such as Speed Dial, password manager and tabbed browsing.

Keeping in mind the needs and wants of our 50+ million users, we have emphasized speed, desktop-like functionality and data savings in our mobile browsers. Today, we have made it even easier for everyone to surf, search and socialize on the Web,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software.

It may be quite some time yet before we see the WebKit browser from RIM. In the meantime, rather then suffering through the horrific browsing experience the BlackBerry offers, you can check out Opera Mini 5.

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BlackBerry Accessory Roundup: Automobile Edition - Chance to Win a Free Car Charger!

This Week's Featured Item: Micro/Mini USB Car Charger

BlackBerry MicroUSB Charger (see all car chargers)
  Do you own / would you buy a Car Charger for your BlackBerry?polls

Compared to the competition, BlackBerry Smartphones typically have pretty stellar battery life (especially that magical Bold 9700). That being the case, I'm sure every BlackBerry owner reading this can relate to a time when they ran out of juice before having a chance to get back home or to the office to plugin.

Just last week actually I was on day two of my battery and was driving out to my parents in the early evening (mom's bday) and my battery level dipped into the red. It wasn't a big deal for me as I just plugged my BlackBerry into the Car Charger I keep in my vehicle and recharged the phone. For me this is a no brainer - as long as I have owned a BlackBerry I have always made sure to have a car charger... just in case. This event prompted me to wonder if all BlackBerry owners are like me and have car charger? Had I not, I would have had a rough evening of being unconnected. 

Be sure to cast your vote on the poll above. I'm really curious to see the results of this one. From there, if you don't own one I suggest you pick one up. It's definitely a must-have BlackBerry accessory in my book.

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More Verizon Push to Talk Information Surfaces

More Verizon Push to Talk Information Surfaces

We got our hands on a PDF from Big Red today and it looks like Push to Talk will definitely be coming to the BlackBerry Tour. We had heard rumors as the last few leaked OS versions surfaced (PTT files and alerts were included in the OS), and a few days ago some additional info popped up in the forums. My question (as I'm sure many of you are already thinking) is if this new service will finally bring the long awaited Tour OS update. Highlights of the PTT service as outlined in the document include:

  • Connect with team members in the next room or across the country.
  • Make group calls with up to 50 participants.
  • Use Presence to see who's available for Push to Talk calls.
  • Manage Push to Talk contacts for your entire company online.
  • Access email and the Web while you're on Push to Talk calls.

Push to Talk will be available as a $5 add-on feature and should be official late this month or in early April. For more information, head to verizonwireless.com/ptt (although nothing noted about the Tour on that site just yet).

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BlackBerry Slider Rumormill Continues: Final Device Model Numbers to Be 9900/9930? 9930 a Sprint Exclusive?
BlackBerry9999 and 9650x are both new to our analytics this week...

Gotta love BlackBerry Slider talk.... and there's so much left to be known about the device. The Boy Genius dropped a "whisper" over the weekend with a couple new BlackBerry slider tidbits gained from one of his "solid connects".... here's what he had to say:

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Social Business Communicator Offers Access To LinkedIn

Social Business Communicator Offers Access To LinkedIn

Just in case you are a little tired of waiting for the official LinkedIn app for BlackBerry, here's something you might be interested in. Social Business Communicator is a new, free app available for download that is currently in beta. No doubt the options are limited at this time, but the app does show some promise for the long haul. Since it is a beta application, you can check it out and offer the developers some feedback based on what you would like to see put into the application as it grows.

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Registration Now Open For Australian BlackBerry Developers Day

Some news for the folks down under today. Research In Motion will be holding a BlackBerry developer day for all Australian developers to attend. The course is open for registration on a first come, first serve basis and is being held free of charge. If you are looking to learn more about BlackBerry development and live near Sydney you'll want to look into taking this oppurtunity to take in some knowledge from the experts. The course will be held on March 24th at The Hilton Sydney, 488 George Street, Sydney.

[ @TferThomas ]
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Contest Winners, ZenMinder, VQ Carfinder, Sands, ThumbPlay, Tether, BerryBlab and More!

Spring is almost here and the contests just keep coming. Another action packed week for giveaways. We had great offerings with ZenMinder, BerryBlab, Addictive Tower Defense, Wheres My Phone, Tether, VQ Carfinder and more. Hit the jump to see if you're one of the lucky winners. If you're a retailer or developer and interested in running a contest of your own, drop us a line at editorial(at)crackBerry.com. Congrats to all the winners!

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Iconify version 1.1.0 for BlackBerry Smartphones Review

Speed, thy name is BlackBerry. Whenever you want to go online, BAM, you’re there. Whenever you want to email someone, KA-POW, it’s sent. Whenever you want to make a phone call, ZOOM, you’re connected. Whenever you watch the 1960s Batman series, you’ll probably see BAM, KA-POW and ZOOM there as well. It’s understood that speed is addictive, as is your BlackBerry. For both addictions, the need for speed drives you to achieve even greater velocity. You want to find ways to get what you need with less effort and less time. You want to accelerate any processes in order to become more efficient, but don’t really want to put in any more work than you need to. Well what steps do you need to take to make things easier to access? What kind of shortcuts can you take? Let’s think about it for a second – what’s one of the first things you do when you want to make items easier to access on your computer? Create a desktop shortcut, right!

Iconify, is an amazing application that allows you to create quick access icons to websites and contacts that are easily found on your BlackBerrys home screen. Check out the review after the THWAP!

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Get Your Daily Horoscope on your BlackBerry with BeHoroscope - 75 Copies to be Won!

BeHoroscope by QuiteSimple brings your daily horoscope to your BlackBerry smartphone. After choosing your zodiac sign, you are now able to view the days (or any days) horoscope. It uses a ranking system, giving 1-5 stars for such categories as work, finance, love, health, and of course they could not leave out the BlackBerry category. The app will also display your current zodiac sign on the BeHoroscope icon. Its a very simple application, sure to please those of you who love your daily horoscopes (my Twitter timeline is full of you :) ).  The app is available for all BlackBerry devices running OS 4.2.1 and up, and nicely priced at $0.99.

Contest: We have 75 copies of BeHoroscope 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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Center For Disabilities Embraces BlackBerry Technology

Center For Disabilities Embraces BlackBerry Technology

The 25th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference kicks off in San Diego, Ca on March 22nd - 27th. While many courses and hands on labs will be held during this time one things of interest to BlackBerry users with disabilities is sure to be the "Creating Closed Captioned Content for BlackBerry Smartphones" lab. This lab in particular will be held on Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 10:40 - 11:40 AM PST.

Lately, we have seen a growth in adoption of BlackBerry offerings for those out there with disabilities and this is a great chance to learn how to cater to the needs of those individuals. As we all know, BlackBerry is a great communication tool already. Great labs like this, serve to bring the offerings to those who might have challenges on other platforms out there.

[ @TferThomas / @reallyrosie ]
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3 Of The Hottest Elecite Premium Themes Now On Sale For Only $0.99

Here is a sweet deal for anyone who has previously thought of purchasing an Elecite theme but chose not to due to the price. From now until, March 18th you can grab Ace, Halcyon or Keen for only $.99 cents each. Personally, out of the three themes offered I'd have trouble deciding which to grab and would likely end up buying all three. Have at em folks and let us know which is your favorite in the comments.

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BIS 3.0 Arrives In EMEA Missing GMail Sync Feature?

BIS 3.0 Arrives In EMEA Missing GMail Sync Feature?

* UPDATE- After speaking with several folks, it looks as though the GMail 2 way sync portion is to be a gradual rollout. So no immed. access is available, it should arrive in the near future to users. Taking this approach ensures that all will work fine rather than releasing something then finding out it may cause an issue*

We've been talking about the BIS 3.0 upgrade for a while now. And while nothing really overly exciting was to come from the update, the one thing it had going for it appears to have been ripped out. Users in Europe are among the first to get the newly launched BIS 3.0 but many have been reporting that 2 way GMail sync did not arrive as expected. Say it isn't so? 2 Way GMail sync was one of the key features of this upgrade coming in the form of enhancements to the GMail plugin.

While all other things seem in place, Open Office support and items such as the update to the carrier portals as shown above from the pics sent to us from BB Master. The mystery behind the absence of 2 way GMail sync seems rather odd considering the Official BlackBerry Support forums are even claiming it's supposed to of have been released with this update. However, when you access the Research In Motion knowledgebase you'll see that the documentation there shows nothing regarding 2 Way GMail sync. The line, as shown on the official support forums has been removed from the knowledge base entry.

Since users are reporting the service does not seem to be available to them we're thinking someone, somewhere may have messed up with the documentation. In all actuality, we may not see 2 way GMail sync until BIS 3.1 is rolled out. In the meantime, sit tight while we dig a little bit deeper into this story and try and find out what exactly the real deal is here.

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