CrackBerry Podcast 046: We talk Magnum Prototype, Tour 9650, Apple iPad, Avatar the Movie and More!

Bada bing bada boom.... two weeks go by and we're back with another Podcast! On this episode we plow through a bunch of the BlackBerry and other news that's popped up recently. We talk about that magnum video, that Tour 9650 unannouncement, cover a lot more BlackBerry stuff (Foursquare, 5.0 updates, RIM Twitter client, etc. etc.) and even talk some non-BlackBerry stuff like Apple's iPad.

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BlackBerry Apps to use during Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

If you haven’t heard by now, there’s something big coming to Vancouver in just over two weeks. Some kind of…winter….sport…..competition….thing. Vancouver 2010. I can’t believe that we found out about Vancouver –Whistler hosting the Winter Games, almost seven years ago. It’s amazing to think that the world will be looking in this direction and watching what I call home (hey you! Stop picking your nose!). With the temporary surge in the population, there will most definitely be a surge of BlackBerry users as well. With this in mind, I looked for applications, sites and themes to bring you what you need to experience the games. Just a fellow BlackBerry user looking out for another BlackBerry user. Time to bring home the Bold, I mean, Gold.

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WiFi_BTPower Schedules Your WiFi and Bluetooth Radio - 25 Free Copies

WiFi_BTPower by Toysoft Development is a great solution for those who use WiFi/Bluetooth on their BlackBerry SmartPhone. The application allows you to control when you want your WiFi and Bluetooth radio on, saving your battery power. You can choose what days of the week, and the precise time you want these radios to turn off or on. This application is great for those who use their WiFi and/or Bluetooth radios often, and want to save their BlackBerry's precious battery power. I personally have mine set to turn off WiFi everyday of the week from 2am till 7am, I figure why waste the power when I am sleeping. WiFi_BTPower is available for $1.99 until January 31st for all devices running OS 4.2 and up.

Contest: We have 25 copies of WiFi_BTPower 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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WhatsApp Smartphone-to-Smartphone Messenger Now Available for BlackBerry

WhatsApp has been available for the iPhone for quite some time, but it is just now making its way to BlackBerry as well. The app is still in the (very) early stages, so the UI and features leave a bit to be desired, but WhatsApp is delivering free smarthphone-to-smartphone messaging. What this means is that you will be able to send messages to all of your iPhone toting buddies for free. WhatsApp uses the phone numbers in your address book and works over your data plan, so you won't incur any additional SMS charges. You can send "a million messages a day" and it won't cost you a thing (aside from the $2.99 purchase price). The app definitely has a way to go in terms of design and function, but its a good start. If you have a few friends who refuse to convert to BlackBerry, you may want to give WhatsApp a go. While the price may be a bit high for some ($2.99 in App World vs. $0.99 in iTunes) it may be worth it if you're a message hound. Check out WhatsApp in BlackBerry App World for more.

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A Video Look At The BlackBerry "Magnum" Prototype

We've previously seen the pics of the BlackBerry "Magnum" prototype. But, just in case anyone out there needed more proof the device was at one point or another, on the BlackBerry roadmap Cellguru has done up a quick walkthrough video for everyone. Since there is no OS or anything loaded it's more of a hands on look at what could have been for the "Magnum" but RIM has since moved on. Rather interesting to see the SurePress implementation here. Sound off in the comments.

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BlackBerry Master Control Program Beta 4 Now Available

If you've ever modified your BlackBerry OS a little as a moderate to advanced user of BlackBerry smartphones you might be familiar with BlackBerry Master Control Program. If not, it's a great app for your computer that can help get at some of the inner workings of your BlackBerry OS to modify some stuff other apps simply cannot get at.

After having used the app myself for a while now, I've got to see it go through some growing stages and this time Darren, has released version Beta 4 to the masses. The change log for BlackBerry Master Control is one that is always extensive, so hit up the site for downloads and more information on it's release. And remember folks, be careful with this app if you have no idea what it does, probably best left alone.

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Shazam Encore Hits BlackBerry App World Offering Premium Features

The music identification program that is Shazam has been available for a while now. But, their latest premium offering, Shazam Encore is a new addtion to their line up. When it was announced I was kind of left wondering what exactly was in Encore that was not available in the other versions. The free version allows for look up, purchasing and sharing music but the premium version, Encore adds a whole lot more.

Premium Features:

  • Learn more about the music: Read track and album reviews, artist biographies and (starting in North America initially) view song lyrics, plus find other music available from the same artist.
  • Options to find similar music: Discover other music similar to the track you like, to enhance your music collection and knowledge.
  • Find out what’s hot and popular: Access to Shazam music charts generated by millions of other users in your country.
  • Music search capabilities: Enabling you to easily find music by artist, album or track from a database with over 8 million songs.

That's quite a few additions to an already great app. Do they justify the $4.99 price point? Guess that depends on the user. But for myself, I can't really see me paying the cost for the additional options so I will stick with the free limited version that is also available in BlackBerry App World.

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CrackBerry Poll: What do you think of Apple's new iPad?
As a BlackBerry owner, What do you think of Apple's new iPad?(polls)    
The Apple iPad - coming soon...

Apple's big announcement has come and gone and its wake it has left us with the Apple iPad - a mobile tablet computer ebook reader thingy that looks like an oversized iPod Touch or iPhone. It'll run all of the iPhone's apps, also run iPad-specific apps and will be available in models with or without 3G service. If you missed the live coverage, be sure to jump over to our sibling site who is all over it. Be sure to watch the video below too for some additional iPad enlightenment.

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Once you're up to speed with Apple's latest gadget that fills in that void between smartphone and laptop, be sure to cast your vote above and let us know how you feel about it. I sort of look at it as a device that compliments the BlackBerry quite well (check out my iPhone Review for this year's Round Robin and you'll understand why I think that's the case - it's all about the Hierarchy of Needs). And be sure to ellaborate in the comments - I'm personally really curious to hear what you all think. Is it a Kindle killer? Your next must-have gadget? Is it technology for the sake of technology without their being a need for it? Sound off!!

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CrackBerry Poll: Do You Still Like the Term Smartphone for BlackBerry or Should RIM Start Thinking Name Change Again?
BlackBerry what?? Should RIM stick with Calling the BlackBerry a BlackBerry Smartphone or come up with something new?(survey)

* Update: Interesting poll. The voting is pretty close to split, but I like where the comments are going with this. Maybe RIM doesn't need to change the word smartphone to anything else but rather they just need to drop an additional word altogether. It's a BlackBerry. Period. Everybody knows what a BlackBerry is - heck, it's one of the world's most popular brands. So let's just call it a BlackBerry and skip categorizing it into a larger group at all. It's not a smartphone, it's not a handheld wireless device, it is a B L A C K B E R R Y. *

When I got my first BlackBerry and first launched, Research in Motion didn't refer to the BlackBerry as a BlackBerry Smartphone as they do these days. Instead, they called it a BlackBerry handset or BlackBerry handheld wireless device. As the Pearl and Curve hit the market, RIM quickly changed it up to be a BlackBerry Smartphone, as smartphone became the industry term that separated crappy feature phones from devices that combined the more powerful functionality of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant - ex. Palm Pilot) with a phone. Think Handspring Visor, Palm Treo and the old school BlackBerrys.

The reason for this poll? In recent months, I've noticed that while RIM might refer to the BlackBerry as the BlackBerry Smartphone, whenever I see carrier ads around where I live it almost seems they do everything they can not to refer to the term smartphone. In many cases the BlackBerry is grouped into ads featuring other non-BlackBerry devices, but the terms they're using are name like webphones, qwerty phones and I even heard an ad earlier this week that referred to is as the BlackBerry communicator. In the tech blogsphere this notion of the term smartphone being a bit out of date now has come up a few times. I think it was a sometime last year that David Pogue put forth the term app phone as being more proper for a device like the iPhone and generation of smartphones that put such a focus on apps. And if you think about the convergence of web browsing, apps, media player and pda along with all of the communiction stuff, it really is much more than just a smartphone. The term superphone has even come up recently in reference to Google's new device - I sure hope that name disappears fast from use.

I'm not sure what word makes the most sense to tack on after BlackBerry, but as the devices get better and better I think at some they may need to change things up yet again. I don't dislike the smartphone term - though I do think it doesn't really paint much of a picture of what the device is about when you think of it from a consumer branding standpoint. I've always felt smartphone to be more of an industry term that some consumers may also use, rather than a term all consumers know. 

If you have any brilliant naming ideas or thoughts, be sure to post a comment. We had feature phones, and smartphones.. do you think there's one new term that everybody will agree upon/start using? Or are we going to see a mix of names moving forward?

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Official OS for the BlackBerry Storm 9500 from Vodafone Australia

Another day, another update. The Storm 9500 is the latest device to be graced with new software as Vodafone Australia has officially released OS We saw another official 9500 release a few weeks back, but this one looks like a pretty decent jump from there. If you do install it, drop a comment and let us know your findings. As always, even though this is an official release, use caution when upgrading the OS on your device.

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Deal of the Day: Save 50% on Mobiscope

Today only as our Deal of the Day, you can purchase Mobiscope for a huge 50% off. This cool app allows you to easily view webcams in real time through your device. You can install multiple cameras in your home or office, and monitor activity when you're away through live feeds with video and audio. You can also setup Mobiscope to send you email alerts when motion is detected, and record the feed directly to your computer. Monitor your babysitter, employees or empty house with just a few simple steps. Mobiscope sells regularly for $19.95, but you can grab it today in the CrackBerry App Store for just $9.97.

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Research in Motion Teases "The BlackBerry Tour 9650 is Coming" on Facebook

No need to go camp outside the Verizon store just yet, but RIM dropped this quick note on their Facebook page earlier today. The message simply stated "The BlackBerry Tour 9650 is coming! Check back soon for official news!" This hopefully means that the device will actually be announced sometime in the near future. The Tour 9650 (which maybe won't be called the Tour 2?) was expected to drop in the first part of 2010, so that leaves another month or two for RIM to stay in our good graces. Lots of good signs in the last few weeks that the device is on its way, but we know the only thing that really matters is having an official launch date to mark on our calendars :-) Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

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Rogers Sportsnet Launches Free BlackBerry Application

Rogers Sportsnet Launches Free BlackBerry Application

Alright, so I know posting this application I'm only going to be catering to a small audience since it's currently only available for Rogers and Fido customers. But yesterday marked the launch of Rogers BlackBerry, iPhone and Android Sportsnet application for those who need their sports fix on the go.

"Sportsnet's mobile applications will ensure that Sportsnet fans will get their Sportsnet updates no matter where they are," said Claude Galipeau, SVP, Digital Media, Rogers Media Inc. "These applications expand Sportsnet's content directly into the hands of sports aficionados everywhere." 

Since Sportsnet teamed up with Polar Mobile to create the app, you have access to customize it. The customization options allow you to target what news it is you want to see. Be it National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) news, it's all there for updated and pushed to your device. Pretty sweet for sports fans.

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Textender Updated to Version 1.5 - 50 Free Copies

Textender Updated to Version 1.5 - 50 Free Copies

While at CES I had a chance to hang out with Jason from, creator of the popular app Textender. He explained that he had an update that was soon to be released, and generously offered to give away some copies to the CrackBerry Nation. If you have not heard of Textender, it is an app that allows CDMA users to send text messages longer than 140 characters. New features in version 1.5 include:

  • OS 5 compatibility
  • Now able to select from multiple phone numbers for a contact
  • Outgoing SMS are now marked with a message count i.e. 1/3, 2/3, 3/3
  • Textender is now in the system menu, allowing quick access from almost anywhere

Textender is on sale for $1.49 until January 31st, and compatible with devices running OS 4.5 and higher.

Contest: We have 50 copies of Textender 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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BerryShell - Premium BlackBerry Theme From Hedone Design

Hedone has emerged from his lab again. This time bringing with him the beautifully designed BerryShell theme. As with most of Hedones designs, BerryShell looks fresh and sharp on your BlackBerry screen. The grey and orange color scheme is nice, similar to his Bussfast theme we've seen before, so if you have used that one BerryShell would suit you nicely. The filesize is rather large on this one, coming in at around 1.7mb for the Bold 9700 version so keep that in mind. Normally, BerryShell would sell for $6.99 but until February 1st if you use the coupon code BSHD20 on the mobile checkout screen, you'll get an addition 20% off of the price.

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Introducing the BlackBerry Accessory Roundup for All That's New and Hot... Free Featured Item Given Away Each Week!

This Week's Giveaway: Win a Seidio Extended Battery! Contest Details Below...

Welcome to our very first BlackBerry Accessory Roundup! We already bring you a BlackBerry Apps Roundup, BlackBerry Themes Roundup and BlackBerry News Roundup on a weekly basis, so we figured it only made sense that we go the extra distance and add a weekly BlackBerry Accessory Roundup to the routine. We hope you find value in it and enjoy it.

It might take us a few accessory roundups to nail down the format that works best, so please let us know in the comments what you'd like to see in this type of weekly article. We are writing it for your benefit. Our plan as of now is to highlight some of the some of the new products that have hit the market and/or our store in the past week, hone in on greater detail on one featured item (which we'll give you a chance to win!) and make note of some great deals. To keep things always interesting, we'll mix up the contributors who put together the roundup on a fairly regular basis and from time to time put a theme to the roundups - accessories for the car, the office, the frequent traveler... sort of as we did with our Holiday Gift Guides which were well received. Enough of an intro, read on for the roundup!

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AstraSync One-Day January Sale - Get It For 50% Off!

AstraSync One-Day January Sale - Get It For 50% Off!

*Update: Sale extended through Thursday at Midnight PST*

In case you missed AstraSync in our last giveaway, you can grab it now for 50% off. Today only, the awesome "Activesync for BlackBerry" is on sale for new users. The application allows you to easily sync your email, calender and contacts from services like Exchange, FirstClass, and Google to your BlackBerry. It gives you loads of of BES functionality while being on a BIS. The full software retails for $49/year, but today you can grab if for 50% off. Just head over to the AstraSync portal and enter the code JanSale at checkout to receive the discount.

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New Cases From Speck Coming Soon - Enter to Win One Free!

Since checking out the Speck booth while down it Vegas a couple weeks ago (which was a favorite for most of the CrackBerry attendees) I have been on their site taking a look at some of their new cases being offered for BlackBerry. Adam dropped a quick announcement of their upcoming products, and I have to say they have some pretty sweet new stuff coming this year, most of which I had the opportunity to check out first hand. Speck has brought out several new cases for the Tour, Storm2, 9700, and 8520. For the first three devices, Speck has introduced their line of PixelSkin, SeeThru and Fitted Cases, which have always been popular for the iPhone but have now made it into our accessory-starved hands. For the 8520, the Fitted case is available now. The list of new product available for 2010 includes:

  • BlackBerry Tour 9630 - Fitted: Black & White Plaid | PixelSkin: Black | SeeThru: Smoke
    • BlackBerry Storm2 9550 - SeeThru: Smoke | PixelSkin: Black | Fitted: Black Pinstripe & Tartan Plaid Grey
      • BlackBerry Bold 9700 - Fitted: Black & White Plaid | PixelSkin: Black | SeeThru: Smoke
        • BlackBerry Curve 8520 - Fitted: Black & White Plaid

          Now, just because you don't have one of those devices - don't worry. Speck also offers several fantastic cases for other BlackBerry devices, as well as many other personal electronic products. You can check out the available products for your device on the Speck website.

          Contest: The great people over at Speck dropped me a line to offer up 5 cases to be given away to the CrackBerry community. All you need to do is leave a comment to this post. One per customer please, multiple entries will not count. Contest ends Sunday at Midnight PST.

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