The Last Set of Four BlackBerry Developers Challenge Finalists Announced

Time yet again to go over the last set of finalists for the BlackBerry Developer Challenge which will of course be wrapping things up at the BlackBerry Developer Conference in November. This time around the list of finalists is brought down to four and amongst them are some great applications.

With some great prizes up for grabs here, finalists will have to bring their "A game" to the challenge to prove their applications worthy of what the BlackBerry Partners Fund is offering and with these applications being the last ones chosen, things are now heating up.

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BlackBerry Atlas Video Walk Through And Spec Sheet!

BlackBerry Atlas Video Walk Through And Spec Sheet!

Salomondrin has got a new video of the BlackBerry Atlas in action for us all to have a look at coming after it's first on screen appearance. This device is running platform 6.0 and all signs seem to point to the fact it may not even show up on the US market if it indeed shows up on any market at all. The folks over at BlackBerryOS also got their hands on a spec sheet (after the jump) for the device which when reading it, makes it sound like RIM is even unsure of what to do with the Atlas, or that it's geared for markets in Asia as noted in the Bluetooth section where it notes China's no WiFi requirement. Have a look at the documentation and video, be sure to post your thoughts on it in the comments or in the CrackBerry Forums.

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This time around it's the guys at phonearena that have their hands on a pre-release BlackBerry Storm 9550 and have given it a first look/preview. It's a little less glowing than some of the other 9550 first looks to date, but overall they come away with the viewpoint that it's a much improved BlackBerry Storm compared to the first generation device, but that the improved SurePress still isn't something that they're likely to "enjoy" using on a regular basis. They never stated what exact OS version the device was running nor what the CPR/hardware manufacture date was, but judging from the video I think both the hardware and OS are fairly old builds. The end key issue they talk about and bottom screen buttons sometimes not wanting to click is something I have yet to experience with the Storm 9550/9520s I have handled, so I don't think this will be an issue to worry about at all.

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Rollin' Theme From Hedone Design

Rollin'

All I can say is that I love this theme! Rollin' from Hedone Design throws a great old-school look right on your homescreen. The smooth colors and nostalgic feel are awesome throughout. Rollin' breaks the mold for sure, and if you are looking for something unique to adorn your BlackBerry - look no further. A three icon dock sits on the side, and a very cool street sign icon banner shows all the important info. The only drawback to this theme is the lack of icons on the homescreen, but it is a small price to pay for such a sweet look. Rollin' is available in the CrackBerry App Store for $3.99 until October 10th.

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New Beta Application Blurts Coming Soon - Seeking Beta Testers At This Time

This is a sweet concept from MLH Software. A bluetooth device and desktop solution geared towards assisting you get call ID for your BlackBerry Smartphone on your PC. As spotted by my good friend Mauricio over at BlackBerryRocks the details goes like this:

If you are like us, you sit in front of a PC most of the day with a BlackBerry in your pocket. Every time it rings you have to dig it out just to see who is calling, and you think to yourself, wouldn’t it be nice if the caller ID just popped up on my computer screen so I could see who is calling before going through the trouble to dig it out of my pocket?

Well that is exactly what Blurts is designed to do. A desktop app and a BlackBerry app talk via Bluetooth to display caller ID info and more.

While the application is not yet available for download or purchase, MLH software does have it posted on their site that they are indeed looking for beta testers. So who better than the CrackBerry community to flood their inboxes and show em some love, right?  Keep in mind in order for this to work you have to have a PC or laptop with either Bluetooth built into it or a Bluetooth dongle ready to be connected. MLH has it listed as working for all devices running 4.2 OS + at this time but further beta testing is need so feel free to reach out to them if you want to help out.

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Quick Look At Storm 2 Hardware Updates!

Ahh, another day, another quick video of the Storm 2 in action. So far out of the BlackBerry devices leaked I certainly do believe this is RIM's worst kept secret. This device has had more pictures and videos taken of it than Kanye West after he flipped his wig at the VMA's. Nevertheless, Salomondrin takes the time to walk us through some of the hardware changes he has seen in the device over the past little while. It's brief but covers some key changes. Check it out!
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BIS 2.8 Upgrade Coming Sooner Than We Think?

BIS 2.8 Upgrade Coming Sooner Than We Think?

We got a tip this morning that there is a rumoured data outage for October 3rd. During that time, we are told RIM will be kicking it up and upgrading to BIS 2.8 for North American carriers. We originally thought the update would come in September, but in the style of Desktop Manager for Mac, being fashionably late in October may be the way to go.

"There is a RIM infrastructure upgrade scheduled for 10/03/2009 at 2:01:00 AM EST. During the maintenance window RIM will update the BIS Platform to Version 2.8 that supports the Americas; according to RIM all Blackberry Internet Services are expected to be down for 240 minutes. According to RIM this will affect all carriers on the North America Relay." 

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Review: Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset

You could win a Plantronics Discovery 975 BT Headset. Details @ end of this post!

More and more, we hear about talking on cellphones (and smartphones) while driving becoming a big no no. I have to say that I agree with that decision. I’ve had more than enough near misses that I would have liked to experience. Mostly because someone is on their phone, rather than having two hands on the wheel. There are obviously two decisions to consider; don’t use your cellphone/smartphone or use a headset. There are more Bluetooth headsets around than you can shake a smartphone at. Some look sleek and elegant, but have poor audio quality, while others look clunky, but sound great. A few lucky headsets benefit from the best of both worlds. I’ve had my fair share of Bluetooth headsets over the years. Perhaps I’m being picky, but a small part of me always wonders if there is a better sounding device out there. I want crisp clean sound! I want an ear drum delicacy! I want power and pizzazz without being pretentious!

Ingeniously Simple. That’s what Plantronics is calling their new Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset. Within its elegantly minimal design, sound is mastered using Audio IQ and WindSmart Technologies. Like the sound of it so far?

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SmartBCalendar Icon Shows Actual Day and Date

SmartBCalendar

I stumbled across this one this morning and thought it was pretty cool. SmartBCalendar simply replaces your stock calendar icon with a new one (that looks exactly the same) but this one is amped up. The icon shows the actual date, and when highlighted the application name displays as the day - very cool. When you click the icon it takes you right to the native calendar app. I know that we shouldn't have to pay for something like this that should be in the OS already, but at only $0.99 its worth checking out.

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Telus Releases Official OS 4.6.1.284 For The 8230

Telus Releases Official OS 4.6.1.284 For The 8230

Just in case you have avoided the 5.0 beta that has shown up previously for the Pearl Flip here is an official OS release of  OS 4.6.1.284. Be sure to grab this one if you are still running any OS lower that is official, and be sure to delete the Vendor.xml file from you PC as well if you are not a Telus user other wise the update will not go as expected, if at all.

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BlackBerry Curve 8520 SKU Shows Up for AT&T in Best Buy Inventory System

Back in May Engadget posted an AT&T presentation which showed a bunch of upcoming BlackBerry Smartphones, including the onyx (Bold 9700), magnum, Pearl 3G and gemini (Curve 8520). While the word is the magnum project has been scrapped in favor of dakota (half touchscreen, half keyboard, plus trackpad), the photo above taken from a Best Buy inventory screen shows the Curve 8520 might just be the first of the bunch to launch. The begin date listed in the photo is actually September 8th, which is long at past (date the SKU was added?), but as of yet we haven't seen the device go on sale and the inbound/intransit details are still at zero. Regardless, this is hopefully still a good sign that we'll see AT&T roll out the BlackBerry Curve 8520 soon! 

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RIM Launches Official BlackBerry YouTube Channel!

RIM has been utilizing their support forums a lot lately to make announcements and today was no exception. They just posted up some information regarding the official BlackBerry channel on YouTube which appears to be aimed at basic BlackBerry usage. It's a nice tips and tricks option but if you are looking to dig deeper into the workings of your device we suggest using the CrackBerry forums as they cover all ranges of users, be you a new user or an old hat to the way things work. But hey, we may be a little bias. :) By the way, congrats RIM - always good to see you embracing social media. Now just don't go sending yourself any youtube take down notices for no good reason... they're berry annoying! You can visit RIM's youtube channel at youtube.com/blackberry. So what do you think of the vids? Sound off in the comments!

[ BBRocks ]

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Storm 2 Headed To Best Buy October 25th?

Storm 2 Headed To Best Buy October 25th?

* Updated Photo: Take a look below. We just had another photo sent in. A reader saw the Item # in the photo above and checked it out immediately on the system..not it appears to be returning info for just the LG Glance (all the other stuff above is gone). So not sure what the deal is here, but am holding hope the dummy device is all good and the actual 9550 isn't far behind! *

* Update: Turns out the photo above sent in on the tip line today actually was in our forums postest by shaolinfinest. Click over to this thread for all the details and discussion! *

It looks like BGR landed a photo from Best Buys inventory system showing the Storm 9550 mock-up unit due in on October 25th. We had a tipster drop us a photo of the inventory system as well, but this isn't the mockup (which is apparently class 317) but the actual hardware (class 327). We're not sure why the model at the top is labeled as "LG Glance" in the photo, but the description is indeed for the BlackBerry Storm 9550 (the dimensions and weight match those of the mockup). Looking at both these screens, it appears as if the real deal and the mockup are due to be in inventory on the 25th of October. Things can obviously always change, but still all good signs that it will be here soon.

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BlackBerry App World Updated to Version 1.1.0.19

BlackBerry App World Updated to Version 1.1.0.19

Tips have been flying in today, and it looks as if BlackBerry App World was indeed updated to version 1.1.0.19. No news on what is new in the update, but most likely just some minor fixes. App World version 1.1.0.17 dropped a while back to run on OS 5.0, so if you find any new features be sure to let us know in the comments. You can snag the updated version by heading to blackberry.com/appworld from your mobile browser. Now that we have new IM clients, Facebook and App World - where is our new BBM? :-)

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LaterDude Pro updated once again! Hello, version 2.2.51

I think somebody needs a hobby. Just as I was getting used to the last update of LaterDude Pro, I get an email from Fabian. He let me know that he’s added a doozie of an update to this callback reminder solution. The LaterDude Pro name has been seen in the blogs in recent months; in both a review and in update notifications. I’ve said before, that LaterDude Pro enables you to create reminders to Email, call or send a text message to contacts that are important to you. These reminders are found in the BlackBerry Calendar or Task application. Check out what Fabian has added:

Update to version 2.2.51?

  • English, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish, Romanian and French Translation
  • Option if the Menu should be displayed in the whole system or only in the specific apps
  • Free Trial available
  • Select if you want to save the new event as Calendar, Task or be prompted
  • Option to set as what you want to preselect the new entry (Call, Contact, Meet, SMS or eMail)
  • Time and Date can be set from the pre-set buttons and also manually
  • Free upgrade for previous users
  • Many bugs fixed
He’s also added an icon (yay) for easier access to the options menu. For previous users, this is a warm welcome. If these updates aren’t reason enough for you to buy, how about a 50% discount?! Until October 1st, pick up LaterDude Pro for only $1.47 (for the math wiz in you, that’s actually 50.17% off).
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    BlackBerry Curve 8520 OS 4.6.1.305 from T-Mobile UK

    BlackBerry Curve 8520 OS 4.6.1.305 from T-Mobile UK

    Among all the 5.0 leaks people seem to forget there will still be carrier releases along the way. The latest offering is OS 4.6.1.305 for the Curve 8520 from T-Mobile UK. This is an official OS, so if you didn't make the jump to 5.0 this past week, you may want to check it out. You can grab it from the T-Mobile UK download site.

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    PodTrapper Updated to Version 2.5

    Podtrapper

    One of my favorite apps PodTrapper, has been updated to version 2.5 and includes some great new features. PodTrapper is probably the best app there is for listening to podcasts on your BlackBerry, and the new updates make it that much better. Some of the updates include:

    • Podcast recommendation engine (Add Podcasts->Recommendations)
    • Setting to run PodTrapper on Startup
    • Configurable rewind after unpausing
    • Ability to save files to your SD card with reasonable names (Save As.. in episode viewer)
    • Sleep timer (started via the Settings Screen)
    • Ability to specify day and time for weekly updates

    Podtrapper is available for $9.99 in the CrackBerry App Store. While the price is a bit higher than the average BlackBerry app, if you do a lot of podcast listening on the go then it is well worth the price.

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    mSpot Brings Streaming Movie Rentals To BlackBerry

    mSpot Brings Streaming Movie Rentals To BlackBerry

    mSpot has launched their new mobile video rental and streaming service for BlackBerry Smartphones. More commonly known as a company which has offered ringtones and music downloads for a number of platforms, mSpot has teamed up with some big media players such as Paramount, Universal and The Weinstein Company which opens up access to a selection of movie titles.

    One thing mSpot has over other offerings such as PrimeTime2Go is that they are utilizing the carriers network to bring you all this new content so it's available as long as you have carrier coverage. Pricing models are realistic as well which mSpot I'm sure hopes will give them an edge over the rest. A quick look into the services reveals:

    • Mobile Movies works on 30+ different phones (incl. iPhone, Blackberry, Android and more)
    • Watch movie trailers for free
    • Rent single full-length movies for only $4.99
    • Up to 4 movies for $9.99 when you join the Movie Club
    • Not all movies are available in the Movie Club. 
    It's great to see big media lossening the strings a little and offering these kinds of things. Long have they ignored the mobile market and now to see some of them embrace it is a good sign of things to come. However, in my testing I did come across one thing that struck me as weird and i Hope mSpot sees it as well. While visiting their site on my device it immediately told me my device was unsupported, yet in their FAQ section it says if "previews" play on your device you will be able to purchase and view the full length video. This could be a bit confusing for the unintiated so mSpot might wanna look into that so that they do not have customer just assume it's not going to work. Check it out on your device and let us know how you feel about the service in the comments.

    [ TechCrunch ]
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    BlackBerry 101: How to Unlock Your BlackBerry

    BlackBerry 101: How to Unlock Your BlackBerry

    Today we are looking a procedure that most of us will do at one time or another while owning a BlackBerry which is unlocking. Keep in mind, this will only work on GSM devices, or "World Phones" like the 8830WE, Storm or Tour. If you are like me, you will sometimes want a BlackBerry from another carrier to run on your own carrier. Or maybe you want to sell it and increase resale value while opening yourself up to more potential buyers. All you need to do is get an unlock code and follow our quick session and your on your way!

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    LaterFlag - Flag Your Emails For Follow Up

    LaterFlag - Flag Your Emails For Follow Up

    Fabian Heuwieser has been back at work on his awesome and most importantly useful BlackBerry applications. This time around he has created LaterFlag, an application which allows you to flag your emails in two ways (high or low priority) for follow up at a later time. Best of all it's a free application.

    Most of you who are running a 5.0 leaked OS will have noticed this type of service is indeed integrated into the OS, but those of you on older devices where 5.0 is not available are going to want to grab this one for sure. Is it just me or does Fabian seem like a porcrastinator to you all? First LaterDude, now LaterFlag - the man likes to put things off, but I'll assume it's just to make us great apps for our devices. Thanks go out to Fabian for bringing us just what our devices need, no more..no less.

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