You may have heard that we're taking a short break from the 3rd annual Smartphone Round Robin for CES this year (and for our own sanity, truth be told.) Lucky for you, we have just the thing to tide you over this week: two podcasts with your favorite editors from the Smartphone Experts Network.

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OS 5.0 Update: Official Statement from Research in Motion Regarding Availability of OS 5.0

With 2009 a memory and 2010 now upon us, I have been seeing a ton of forum posts, tweets and emails from BlackBerry owners wondering when handheld device software version 5.0 will become officially available for their device. While the newest BlackBerry Smartphones to hit the market are shipping with 5.0 (think Storm2, Bold 9700, Curve 8530) and a couple already-on-the-market devices have received the update (VZW Storm 9530), there are still literally millions of devices in the hands of users waiiting to receive some five point oh love. With holidays over, I reached out to RIM for an update on the situation, since our previous 5.0 update pegged it to be out before the end of 2009.  Here's the statement:

RIM began rolling out BlackBerry OS 5.0 late last year through our carrier partners for supported devices, including the BlackBerry Bold 9700, BlackBerry Storm and BlackBerry Storm2. We continue to work with our carrier partners to make BlackBerry OS 5.0 available to users on new and other supportable in-market BlackBerry smartphones. 

So what's this mean? It comes down to this... RIM held up their end of the bargain per their word. They made OS 5.0 available through their partner portal to their carrier partners prior to the end of 2009. After that, it's really up to the carriers to sign-off (pass technical acceptance) on the updated firmware and push it out their subscribers. The 5.0 software is there.

Going forward, the forum threads and tweets and emails shouldn't say When is RIM going to make OS 5.0 officially available for my device? but rather When is insert carrier name going to make 5.0 available for insert device name? I know. It's not the update you were maybe hoping to hear, but that's where it's at.

Feel free to leave a comment to this post begging your carrier to push out 5.0 for your BlackBerry. It might not help, but certainly won't hurt! And you'll feel better. :)

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Pandora App for BlackBerry A to Z

Pandora App for BlackBerry A to Z
[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Pandora for BlackBerry was picked as the top streaming media app for BlackBerry in our Best of 2009 Awards, so we figured it would be worth giving it a quick A to Z for those of you who haven't tried it out. Pandora is totally free, and lets you stream custom radio stations to your device. You can create stations right from the app, and tweak them to your liking with Pandora's "thumbs-up" and "thumbs-down" buttons. The app syncs up with any stations you've created through the web or another device, and gives you a quick and easy way to stream music on the go. This is really a "no frills" app - its does what it needs to with no excessive options or erroneous features. Check out the video above for a look at what Pandora has to offer.

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[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

If you are a power user that constantly feels the drain WiFi can put on your battery, SmartWiFi from S4BB may be just what you need. The app combines cell tower and Wifi data and automatically turns off WiFi when you aren't in a "hotspot area". The app remembers your locations (home, office, etc) and shuts down WiFi when you aren't in a service area to save on battery life. When you arrive at a known hotspot, the app powers up WiFi again allowing you to reconnect. The app features:

  • Saves battery by turning off WiFi when not needed.
  • Remembers the WiFi locations you use.
  • Up to 100 WiFi locations supported!
  • Powers WiFi back on when you are back at WiFi coverage.
  • Saves battery by avoiding to constantly check for available WiFi hotspots.
  • Displays useful information: BSSID, SSID, Data Rate, Radio Band & Signal Level.
  • Supported mobile devices: GSM / GPRS, CDMA and iDEN.

Check out the video above for a quick look at how the app works. SmartWiFi is on sale for just $4.99 through January 29th (regularly $9.99) in the CrackBerry App Store and is available in App World.

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Boost Mobile to Offer BlackBerry 8330 on January 13th?

Word on the street is that Boost Mobile will offer up prepaid BlackBerry service on January 13th with the Curve 8330. BGR dropped some screens showing the Curve 8330 listed in the Boost system, and from the looks of it, the 8330 will be available for $249 and carry unlimited talk, text and web for $70 a month. I'm a big fan of T-Mobile's FlexPay, so I can only assume that some users who want to stick to CDMA will be all over this. I think that prepaid BlackBerry offerings are a great thing for those who don't want to get wrapped up in a contract, and while the 8330 obviously isn't the "latest and greatest", at least it gives some users another contract-free option.

  [ BGR ]

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Contest Winners: Role Call Tasks, Cellunlock & Maritime Master

I hope everyone had some good times over the holidays! Sadly its now back to the grind for most of us. We're changing things up a bit in 2010, but you can still count on as many contests as we can find. We'll be moving some into our weekly theme roundup, but you can be sure there will be plenty of others spread out along the way. Hit the jump for the full winners list - congrats to everyone and Happy New Year.

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Review: Food Network Canada Mobile App for BlackBerry

The best part of big family dinners is, of course, the food. Admit it or not, we like to see what everyone is bringing, and what to avoid like the plague. I can’t say much for myself; I’m hovering around below average for my cooking skills (my wife can attest to that). Despite the lack of knowledge in the kitchen, I do fully support her adventurous palate. When you are trying to focus on eating healthier, you may initially think that your choices are quite limited. It’s this mindset that may cause you to revert back to your poor eating habits; would you like fries with that? My wife and I started looking for ideas online, in a magazine, or even from peeking in Momma Blundell’s super secret recipe cards/book. That last one runs the risk of the perpetrator getting hit by a wooden spoon. A great source of fun, facts, frustration (still fun for us) and food, is the Food Network and Food Network Canada. Your brain will salivate as much as your mouth will, when you watch the various reality and cooking shows.

Canadians can take all of this information with them in a doggy bag with the Food Network Canada Mobile application. More after the chomp, I mean, jump.

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Headed To CES 2010? Be Sure To Grab CES Mobile For BlackBerry

In just a few short days the International CES is kicking off in Las Vegas, Nevada. The International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow and no event like this would be complete unless there was a BlackBerry application to go along with it. The CES Mobile app has been put together for BlackBerry smartphones by the good folks over at Boopsie.

CES Mobile was created to assist those attending CES with making the most of the event. From within the application you can search exhibitors, access your My CES planner, get updates delivered right to your device and finally, help you navigate your way around Las Vegas. It's something you'll want to add to your must-have items for attending CES.

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[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Elecite released a cool new theme a few days ago now. Plasma is the first animated background theme from Elecite. The pulsating wallpaper in the background is rather eye catching and can be turned on or off directly from the homescreen depending on your mood. An integrated weather slot and 11-12 icons take up the homescreen which allows for easy access to applications.

When clicking to the application screen you are welcomed with some unique icons. The icons are pictures of the applications you're trying to access, only minimized as seen in the video above. The notification system in Plasma is also one that is unique. If you have unread messages of any sort you will see the yellow star at the bottom turn red and then yellow again as messages are checked. Be sure to read the reviews from other users to get an idea of how it may function on different devices.

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Official BlackBerry Bold 9000 OS 5.0.0.411 Released By Bell Mobility

Here we go folks. Something many of you all have been waiting for. Finally, an official 5.0 release for the BlackBerry Bold 9000. As it was posted in the CrackBerry forums, Bell Mobility has made OS 5.0.0.411 available for everyone to download. If you've been running the previously leaked version there is no reason to update but if you haven't grabbed a leaked version yet you'll want to get your hands on this one. Remember to delete your vendor.xml file if you are not a Bell Mobility subscriber. Here's to hoping we'll see a bigger roll out across carriers for all devices still needing OS 5.0.

Download The Official 5.0.0.411 For The BlackBerry Bold 9000
Instructions: How to Upgrade your BlackBerry's Operating System
Instructions: How to Downgrade your BlackBerry's Operating System
Instructions: Mess things up? Fix a Bricked BlackBerry Here

 
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Leaked OS 5.0.0.436 For The BlackBerry Storm 2 9520

Leaked OS 5.0.0.436 For The BlackBerry Storm 2 9520

Alright, the year started off with a leak for the BlackBerry Tour 9630. But I just got an email from an anonymous CrackBerry forum member leading the way to OS 5.0.0.436 for the BlackBerry Storm 9520. Details are short with this one in how it actually performs so I'll leave it up to you all to discuss those aspects in the CrackBerry forums. Remember, back up your data folks. Enjoy!

*OS Disclaimer - Please Read: Keep in mind this is NOT an official release and as such is not supported by RIM or your Carrier. If you choose to install, do so at your own risk and only if you're comfortable in the process of upgrading and downgrading your device software. It is quite normal during operating system development for certain features to be crippled or disabled while others are tested, and these beta builds often reflect that. They are not always better. Depending on your BlackBerry comfort level, it may be best for you to wait for community feedback on a build before deciding to download and install for yourself or simply wait for the next official release. If you require support, you will find it in our CrackBerry forums via our extremely knowledgeable community base - do not contact your carrier or RIM for Beta OS technical support (their first course of action will be to advise you to downgrade to a supported OS). Follow the links below for more information and instructions. *

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    BlackBerry Theme Weekly Roundup for January 4th 2010

    Contest: 50 Copies of iPhony Theme to be won. Leave a comment!

    We have decided to do something a little different with the theme blogs here at CrackBerry, so instead of posting individual themes on the front page quite so often, we would like to introduce our new weekly theme roundup! Every week, myself (obi) and michaelwpg will be bringing you our top picks for both free and paid themes. Due to different theme styles, features, and availability for different devices, we will pick some for touchscreen as well as non-touchscreen devices. Depending on the generosity of the developer community we will try to run a contest weekly, giving away some copies of one of our weekly themes. So hit the jump below and check it out, we also have a contest running.

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    Leaked: OS 5.0.0.419 for the BlackBerry Tour 9630

    Leaked: OS 5.0.0.419 for the BlackBerry Tour 9630

    The time has finally come - Tour users have endured endless OS leaks with no love of their own, but BBleaks has just posted OS 5.0.0.419 for the Tour 9630 which is a decent step up from the last leaked OS. No reports on whats good, bad or indifferent, so if you feel like giving it a go be sure to drop a comment and let us know how it is. Keep in mind (as usual) this is not an official OS, so install at your own risk.

    *OS Disclaimer - Please Read: Keep in mind this is NOT an official release and as such is not supported by RIM or your Carrier. If you choose to install, do so at your own risk and only if you're comfortable in the process of upgrading and downgrading your device software. It is quite normal during operating system development for certain features to be crippled or disabled while others are tested, and these beta builds often reflect that. They are not always better. Depending on your BlackBerry comfort level, it may be best for you to wait for community feedback on a build before deciding to download and install for yourself or simply wait for the next official release. If you require support, you will find it in our CrackBerry forums via our extremely knowledgeable community base - do not contact your carrier or RIM for Beta OS technical support (their first course of action will be to advise you to downgrade to a supported OS). Follow the links below for more information and instructions. *

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      Shameless Plug - CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse Available on the Amazon Kindle

      * Update - to those in the comments asking for it, I posted the link to the straight .pdf version. *

      Have a New Year's Resolution to get your BlackBerry use under control? Get an Amazon Kindle for Christmas? If so, then just type the word "crackberry" into your Kindle and you can pick-up CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse. This is not a BlackBerry how-to book, but rather a book full of real-life stories of BlackBerry use gone too far as well as lots of tips and tricks to get your smartphone use under control (even though it was written for BB, the strategies are good for anybody who can't put down their mobile device).

      The paper back copy of this book came out in November 2008, and the Kindle version actually was released in May of 2009, but of course it was only since I personally picked up a Kindle this Christmas for myself (contributing to these sales stats I guess) that I even realized it was available in Kindle-format! The Kindle version actually sells for $6 less than the paperback.

      All in all, if you're one of those hardcore BlackBerry users you should appreciate it - it's kinda funny, slightly disturbing and actually has some really helpful and useful information. Definitely take the BlackBerry Addiction quiz. And one of these days we'll have to follow up with an updated version - so if you have good stories to share jot them down and be ready to send them in for when we do a call for stories.

      I guess now all we need is that Amazon Kindle for BlackBerry app to get released! :)

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      One of the most forgotten features in the BlackBerry OS has to be Bedside Mode. This feature was first introduced on the BlackBerry Bold 9000 and is on all devices featuring version 4.6 > software. Many users swear by it, while others don't even know it exists. There really isn't much to setting it up, but it can come in handy if you're like me and use your device as an alarm clock or don't turn it off when you go to sleep (but let's be honest, what BlackBerry addict does?). Bedside Mode is a great way to tweak your device with some quick settings that will activate when the device is charging. You can choose to disable the LED, turn off radio, dim the screen and more. The device will automatically enter Bedside Mode when a charger is attached, and if you're at your desk or in a car or anywhere you don't want to activate the feature, you can easily exit simply by pressing the back button. Check out the video above for a quick look at setting up and using Bedside Mode on your BlackBerry Smartphone.

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      [ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

      [ Forums member moviemogul gave us a this great video review of the Case-Mate Barely There Case for the Storm 2. This video comes from our Community Reviews forums. Post your review and if we promote it to the blogs you'll receive a coupon for free accessories or apps. While we don't currently have the Barely There Case for the Storm 2, we should have it in stock in the near future. Check out all of the Case-Mate cases at ShopCrackBerry.com. ]

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      Contest: 75 Free Unlock Codes from Carrier Unlock

      Contest: 75 Free Unlock Codes from Carrier Unlock

      Carrier Unlock is again offering up some free codes to the CrackBerry Nation. The codes will be for Rogers, AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Cincinnati Bell, Centennial, Cellular One, and Suncom. As an added bonus, with the coupon code CB the above carriers can be unlocked for just $6.99 during the contest, or the code will take $3.00 off any of the other products Carrier Unlock offers. Head over to carrierunlock.com for more info or to purchase. Just leave a comment on this post to enter the contest - ends this Sunday at Midnight PST. Please only leave one comment, multiple entries won't count.

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      New GStyle Magazine Theme Now Available For Free

      New GStyle Magazine Theme Now Available For Free

      I've always enjoyed reading some of the articles over at GStyle Mag - they're always funny and informative. This post though is not about their great articles. Rather, it's about the new theme they had designed for them by CockyCulture, who we know from their previous theme creations. GStyleCity is now available as a free download for everyone. Currently the theme supports Blackberry Bold 9700, Bold, Curve 8900, Curve 85xx, Tour, and Storm models.

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