BlackBerrys and boob tubes: U-verse Mobile hits BlackBerry App World

U-verse is a service provided by AT&T which includes internet, TV and phone; all through a FTTN network. As AT&T says; “goodbye cable, hello digital AT&T U-verse TV”.

Their service allows customer use the My Multiview feature to watch four shows at once, get instant information on sports, weather and more, with one button access. Other features include; easy to manage on-screen guide, on screen Caller ID (if you use U-verse Voice), as well as share music and photos. Before you start thinking that I’m breaking into a commercial here, I actually wanted to mention the U-verse BlackBerry app that was just released in BlackBerry App World. U-verse Mobile allows U-Verse subscribers to use their BlackBerrys to watch TV shows, schedule DVR recordings, set favourite channels, check the guide and more. In order to watch shows on your BlackBerry, keep in mind that you need to subscribe to their U300, U400 or U500 TV packages. The features include:

  • Browse TV - Browse or search your personal TV programming guide to find your favorite shows. Schedule one time or series recordings on your DVR at home.
  • Favorites - Set your favorite channels to bring them to the top of your guide view and tag favorite shows for quick access.
  • Recordings - Easily view and edit your scheduled and recorded shows on your U-verse DVR at home.
  • Watch - Browse the library of available shows for download. U300, U400 and U450 U-verse TV package subscribers can download select shows available in the U-verse Mobile library to their BlackBerry for viewing on the go. Show downloads occur over Wi-Fi only.
  • More - See U-verse feature highlights and available apps, configure settings, view the user guide and more.

Unless you’re a couch potato, you’ll enjoy being able to manage your U-verse TV preference without having to plop down on the couch. Come to think about it, you may want to minimize your TV time and watch on the go, as you may run out of thumbs between the remote and your BlackBerry. AT&T U-verse customers, you can get U-verse Mobile for free from BlackBerry App World.

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AT&T BlackBerry Torch 9800 goes on sale today; you grabbing one? Be sure to share your first impressions!

It's a big day today for AT&T BlackBerry fans - the Torch 9800 is now available for purchase! As with any new highly anticipated BlackBerry, it's been getting a lot of coverage here on the blogs and in the forums the community is getting revved up too. I always love the release of a new device as the forums just explode with activity, as new owners unbox their precious and start providing their feedback. And with a new form factor that combines touchscreen and full qwerty keyboard and the debut of BlackBerry 6, I'm sure we'll see a LOT of first impressions and user reviews pop-up.

So if you're picking up a new Torch today, let us know in the comments and be sure to drop by the BlackBerry Torch forum and share your photos and in-depth thoughts. And don't forget we have a dedicated BlackBerry 6 forum too. Below are a couple threads to get you started!

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BlackBerry headset throwdown - Battle of the big three

BlackBerry Headset Throwdown - Battle of the big three

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Wires or Bluetooth? Headphones or earbud? Normally having a multitude of options is a good thing but when it comes to choosing a hands-free device where does one even begin? You read the reviews and most don't answer the questions consumers really want to know. Examples of those would be; "Will my glasses knock the headset off my ear?", "Is it comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time?" or "Since I'm paying so much for it, can I use it with my MP3 player as well?". I really wanted to see the difference between some of the top sellers from each area (earbud headset, headphones & wired headset) and really put them to the test of the "average" consumer. I judged each of these on a 1.0 to 5.0 scale, 5.0 being the highest. I also tried to explain why I gave each device a certain score because some would say the wired device doesn't even compare to the other two. Everyone's preference is different so I wanted to make sure all styles of headsets were represented.

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BlackBerry 9670 (Oxford) simulator shows up online for download

If you're a developer or just interested in playing with an unrealeased device simulator then this is something you may be interested in. The good folks over at BBLeaks have posted up the download links to the BlackBerry 9670 (Oxford) simulator. Pretty cool to play around with if you've yet to go hands on with a BlackBerry 6 device.

I've played with it since last night and digging through some of the files, there is a lot going on that we haven't really seen show up yet even on the BlackBerry Torch. If you're handy at viewing the files you'll see that Torch Mobile has been rather busy with other things aside from the browser. Looks as though Research In Motion has had them working on a few applications. Alas, the download is not for everyone but if ya wanna look into it, at least it's available to do so now.

Source: BBLeaks
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CrackBerry Poll: How important is it that your smartphone have a physical keyboard?
How important is it that your smartphone have a physical keyboard?customer surveys

With the recent announcement of the BlackBerry Torch and BlackBerry 6 last week, BlackBerry has been making headlines everywhere. In addition to the expected reviews and buzz surrounding these new products, I've noticed a common theme emerge in a lot of these stories regarding the smartphone keyboard. Specifically, it's the old debate about physical keyboards vs. touchscreen keyboards. Is the physical keyboard the critical factor that makes a person buy a BlackBerry? Will the demand for physical keyboards continue long term or will they eventually become a piece of history in favor of full touchscreen devices?

RIM is known for making the best physical keyboards in the industry, and for the most part it's one of the key visible attributes that make a BlackBerry easily recognizable. As I told CNN last week in an interview (check out the full story here), I think a lot of people see a phone with a full keyboard and they immediately assume it's a BlackBerry whether it is or isn't. It's almost as if the competition has conceded the physical keyboard market to RIM while most new devices hitting the market are focused on delivering a big touchscreen experience. That's good news for RIM and BlackBerry, so long as that need for a physical keyboard not only continues, but continues to grow along with the growth in the smartphone market.

Personally, I love physical keyboards and think it'll be a long, long time before that changes. The tactile feedback builds a muscle memory you just can't develop to the same extent on a touchscreen (how many of you can type on your berry without even looking at the keys?!) and the rhythm of pushing buttons is just so much more rewarding than having to watch the screen to see that the letters you've tapped have been entered properly. And of course, a physical keyboard allows you to still pound out messages in bumpy enviroments -- while walking, in the back of an NYC taxi cab, etc. -- with much more ease than trying to type on a touchscreen. That's not to say I don't like touchscreens as I definitely do, but I like having a physical keyboard too (hence why I'm liking the Torch). But I'm just one person with one vote in the poll above. So where do you stand up on the keyboard debate? Cast your vote above and be sure to sound off in the comments with your theories on the future of the physical keyboard and BlackBerry's dependence or lack of dependance on it.

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Plug It InPlug It In

One of my biggest gripes with the new BlackBerry Torch is that is has no low battery indicator. None. Why I have no idea. Instead when the battery gets low you see a message telling you the device is powering off and that's that. In the middle of a phone call, composing an email or browsing the web -- you're totally out of luck unless you have a power cable nearby. To help save some frustration, Plug It In is a simple app that pops up an alert when you battery is low. You can set the threshold (I like it at 30) and when your battery gets down, Plug It In alerts you with a popup, colored LED and sound (if you choose). This way you can get your device plugged in and charge up before it eats it. Whats cool is that Plug It In also shows a notification in the banner after your threshold level letting you know exactly how much battery power is left. Charge up the device again and the notification goes away. Granted there shouldn't be a need for this app, but if you want to keep up and running without the fear of your device randomly shutting down, this is definitely the way to go. Plug It In is available as a free download for the Torch 9800 and other devices in the CrackBerry App Store. Be sure to check out all the other great apps from ShaoSoft while you're there :-)

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Never miss your stop again with Bus Alarm for BlackBerry - 50 free copies to win!

I have been driving my own vehicle for many years, but I still remember the days when I was going to school, or even when I was working graveyard shift, and used to take the bus everywhere I need to go. I can't count the number of times I fell asleep or got distracted reading and missed my stop completely, making my trip even longer. This app would have been quite handy back then, allowing me to set reminders based on location or time so I wouldn't end up three stops past my destination. The app is pretty straightforward, allowing users to set a designated stop via their GPS location, or to program in their bus stop schedule and receive a notification when they are nearing their destination or transfer point. If you need a quick update on where exactly you are at any time, you can easily display your current location, heading and speed on a map. Available in the CB store for $4.99, it's an extremely useful tool for those taking the bus on their daily commute.

Contest: We have 50 copies of Bus Alarm 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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Jim Balsillie appointed to UN Panel on Global Sustainability

On Monday it was announced that RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie will be joining the United Nations Secretary-General's 21 member panel regarding Global Sustainability. The members include high-ranking government officials and civil society representatives from developing and developed countries.

"I am pleased to help this esteemed group develop new ideas for prosperity in a low-carbon world," Balsillie said on Monday. "This is a critically important initiative for all countries, and integrates perfectly with the work CIGI is undertaking to address the international governance challenges of climate change."

He will be the only Canadian on the panel, as well as the only private sector representative. Mr. Basillie is also the CIGI's (The Centre for International Governance Innovation) chair; which he founded in 2002. For more information on CIGI, head over to www.cigionline.org

The purpose of this panel is to discover a "new vision" when it comes to sustainable growth. With the accelerated rate of changes in the climate in mind, this vision will tackle issues that include poverty, discover and maintain workable consumption/production levels and achieving a greener economy. A report from the panel is expected to be made by December 2011.

I wonder if the panel will receive BlackBerrys to aid them in their research?

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Head's up for theme devs, OS6 icons have been edited to include focus icons

Bla1ze gave developers a head's up about bbthemelab a couple months ago, the site is a great resource for theme developers no matter what their experience level, offering tutorials, icons sets, etc free to the development community. A couple of weeks ago, the theme community was buzzing when the Official OS 6 icons were extracted and released for download from multiple sources, and we've seen an explosion in OS 6 themes since then. The only thing missing in these themes though has been an "OEM" focus icon, which has frustrated some people looking for the closest replica possible. Matt from bbthemelab fired me an email this morning to let me know that one of the members from their forums has taken the time to create a full set of focus icons in mutiple sizes for the various devices, and that they have been posted for download on their site. They are there for personal and commercial use, they simply ask that proper credit is given if you do so.

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Aces Cribbage for BlackBerry now available

Aces Cribbage  Aces Cribbage

The folks at Concrete Software has just released their latest game Aces Cribbage. Take your cribbage skills with you when you're on the go. Aces Cribbage has multiple difficulties, multiple game modes and anyone can play - even if you have no idea what cribbage is. Features include:

  • Multiple ways to count your hand; including fast count, slow count and auto count.
  • Online Leaderboards for each game: daily, weekly and overall
  • Option for Muggins
  • Hundreds of variations of Cribbage boards, pegs, and card design combinations
  • New user tutorials and hints
  • Glossary of commonly used Cribbage terms
  • Tracks tons of statistics including number of wins, loses, skunks, and the average point leads.

Aces Cribbage is on sale now through August 17th for $2.99 (regularly $4.99) and is available for all devices. Head to the CrackBerry App Store for more.

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IM+ Lite updated to version 8.5.1

 IM+ Lite updated to version 8.5.1

IM+, from Shape Services, is designed to give social butterflies a one stop shop for their instant messaging needs. With thumbs blazing, users can access and manage their accounts with various social networks and chat clients. This means that you can chat away with friends on Twitter, Windows Live Messenger, MySpace and more- all from one application. That means no more switching back and forth between multiple applications to keep up with your chit-chatting ways. IM+ is available in two flavours; Lite, for free and Pro. You can check out our review of IM+ here. IM+ Lite was recently updated to version 8.5.1 to include the following: 

  • Completely redesigned user interface with new theme available.
  • New UI elements with tabs, new message indicators etc.
  • Convenient history review for all conversations.
  • Improved group chat for MSN and Skype.

If you want to take a swing at an easier way to handle your conversations, try out IM+ Pro or Lite.

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BlackBerry Podcasts - Now available in BlackBerry App World

Looks like BlackBerry Messenger update wasn't the only rollout that Research In Motion had planned. BlackBerry Podcasts is now available for download through BlackBerry App World as well. Lends a little credibility to the fact T-Mobile dedicated a whole page to the application. In any event, fire up BlackBerry App World and get your podcast on. Be sure to add the CrackBerry podcast as soon as ya do. ;) Thanks Tim

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BlackBerry Messenger Updated - v5.0.1.38 now available for download

Looks as though the latest BlackBerry Messenger has just gone live. Through BlackBerry Beta Zone, RIM had released v5.0.1.32 but, the live links to the update are showing v5.0.1.38. You can hit the BlackBerry Messenger link to download the latest version. BlackBerry App World however, is still not fully live as of yet although, it is showing so it'll only be a short while. Let us know if ya find anything new.

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Xobni beta with Linkedin integration now available for everyone to try out

The folks at Xobni have let us know their BlackBerry beta has been rolled out to the masses. Everyone is now welcome to download and check out the application. As we noted in our "What's on a CrackBerry BlackBerry?" article, mostly everyone asked had Xobni installed. If your contact list and inbox is a little messy then Xobni is a sure bet to help you clean up that mess. Since it organizes your contacts by frequency of communication, the most communicated with folks will always be at the top of your list, allowing easy access. The public beta has plenty of bug fixes included as well over the prvious beta:

  • Search speed improvements
  • Performance improvements for BlackBerry local data integration
  • Performance improvements for scrolling in the search results
  • Better integration with Blackberry Address book
  • Trials and gift code activation
  • Phone number source and email snippet from Xobni One/Outlook
  • Xobni one status dialog and purchase flow
  • LinkedIn Sign-in integration for additional data access (in Options)
  • Icon fix for Storm
  • Contact update improvements
  • Better image integration with LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Fixes for recent message, phone and SMS data scanning 

If you're looking for a better way to control your address book and contacts, give Xobni a shot today. The latest version is now available for download via the Xobni website via OTA.

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Review: Trillian beta for BlackBerry

Review: Trillian beta for BlackBerry

It wasn’t too long ago when we reviewed IM+; the all-in-one messenger. IM+ united various instant messengers/chat features from social networks and allowed users to manage their accounts from a single location. While it is a great solution for keeping in contact, there are also other options available out there. For example; there is Nimbuzz, which we have reviewed in the past as well; you can check it out here. These are welcome additions to any BlackBerry, especially since not everyone is a BB user; which means no access to BlackBerry Messenger. Don’t ask me why they don’t own a BlackBerry, that’s just silly talk if you ask me.

Trillian is a multi-platform application that “lets you chat everywhere” and has other 450 features available (not all of the features are available for the BlackBerry). The application is currently in public beta for BlackBerry users. From your BlackBerry, you can connect to Windows Live, Yahoo!, Jabber, Google Talk, MySpaceIM, Facebook, ICQ, AIM and Astra (allows you to connect and share with other Trillian Astra users). Let’s see if Trillian can prove that it’s the “Ultimate Instant Messenger”

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Asurion recalling counterfeit BlackBerry branded batteries due to fire hazard

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a recall alert for some counterfeit BlackBerry-branded batteries that are known to burn and are a fire hazard. The batteries were issued with Asurion replacement devices sent out prior to November 2009. The problem batteries date back as far as March of 2004 and should not be used. Customers who believe to have a battery meeting these conditions can contact Asurion directly via phone at 866-384-9175 or via their website at 001batex.com for more information and to be issued a replacement. Thanks Sturta!

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Spot the differences with Photo Quest for BlackBerry - 50 free copies to be won!

I can still remember spending hours as a kid playing "spot the difference" games with a pen and paper in my activity books. When I got a little older, I used to steal the newspaper to play it before my parents got down to the crossword. Now, thanks to BBerryGo, I can play right on my device, any time I want. The latest game from the same company that gave us apps like Show Me the Images, Photo Quest is a simple, very time-consuming game. You will be presented with two photos, and you need to spot and mark the changes between the two. The game will randomly choose a set of differences every time, so you'll get a lot of replay value out of each set of photos, and the timer ticking down adds a great challenge to the gameplay. Online leaderboards allow you to compete against others trying to post the highest score, a feature I'm happy to see is making it's way into more BlackBerry games. Available in the CB store for $4.99 for all devices running 4.5 OS and up.

Contest: We have 50 copies of Photo Quest 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 won't count.  

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[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Rebooting a BlackBerry - something we hate doing yet something we (unfortunately) need to do. Battery pulls, "soft reset" or whatever you want to call it, it has to be done. Historically our devices have taken nothing short of an eternity to reboot, pushing toward 10 minutes in some instances just to get up and running. Well with the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 a welcome relief comes as the improved boot time which is roughly 2 minutes. Finally we don't have to fret pulling the battery - which is few and far between on this device as it is.

Check out the video above (I didn't edit it down at all so we get the full effect of how painful a reboot is - it's kind of long and boring in the middle so feel free to skip ahead) for a head to head comparision of the Bold 9700 (OS 5.0.0.586), Bold 9650 (OS 5.0.0.732) and Torch 9800 (OS 6.0.0.141). Each of them is loaded up with nearly the same apps and data (messages, contacts, calendar etc) to make things as close as possible. The video is kind of long as I left it run through the whole boot process, so you can skip ahead if you want to just see the meat of it. The Torch boots up in around 2m 20s (at 3:17 in the video), the Bold 9650 takes a not-so-close second at 6m 40s (at 7:40 in the video) with the Bold 9700 bringing up the rear with a boot time of 9m 15s (at 10:33 in the video). Now keep in mind this isn't exact, but its a pretty good show of how long each device takes to boot up. This will totally vary depending on your data, apps etc as each device is specific to its owner, but we tried our best to do a decent comparison. Regardless it is totally obvious here that the Torch with BB6 is way faster (RIM did tell Kevin they improved the boot time considerably) than older devices. Your mission for today is to do your own boot test and drop a comment with your device/OS/boot time. Lets see who has the best and who has the worst!

Read more:

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BlackBerry Desktop Manager 6 now available for download

After a few weeks of waiting and a leak or two, BlackBerry Desktop Manager 6 is now available for download. This version is for the PC, so Mac users are still left with what they have. The latest and greatest adds some cool features and a totally revamped design as well as support for the Torch 9800. Updates include:

  • An improved, simpler design for the software
  • Added BlackBerry Media Sync features to import and synchronize your media files (music, pictures, and videos) from one location
  • Option to synchronize your music by artist and genre
  • Support for the BlackBerry® Torch 9800 Smartphone and the BlackBerry Curve 9300 Smartphone
  • If your device is using BlackBerry Device Software 6.0, you can use the Wi-Fi music sync feature to download or remove songs from your computer's music collection using your device when you connect to your home's Wi-Fi network

You still have all the fun of the old desktop manager software with some newness mixed in. Hit the link below to download.

Downoad BlackBerry Desktop Manager 6 for PC

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