Articles by Jared Dipane

Hands-on with the ZAGGkeys FLEX

With PlayBook OS 2.0 coming up many of us are trying to ramp up our typing skills on the BlackBerry PlayBook, but now that it will have native email and all that goodness why not pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard to help get the job done even faster? ZAGG has just announced their newest Bluetooth keyboard, the ZAGGkeys FLEX, and what makes this keyboard different from many of their other models is that this is a univeral keyboard and isn't meant for any one specific device, so if you own multiple devices you will be able to take full advantage of this keyboard.

HzO shows us how you really waterproof a device

Let's just start this off by saying yes it is real, and no you can't just add it to any device. Now that we got that out of the way let's talk about the amazingness that HzO brought to us here at CES 2012. Walking around the tech floor I saw a display of some devices sitting underneath falling water like it was nothing, people were playing with the units, they were playing music and it was like everything was normal, wet but normal. Instantly I was intrigued and walked over and that is when it happened.

Off came the battery door, SIM card and battery exposed and boom, there went his beloved Android device in the water like it was nothing, and thanks to HzO it is like nothing happened to the device, it remains fully functional with zero damage to any of the electronics.

So you are wondering how it works, right? Well unfortunately it isn't something that we (the consumer) can purchase to add on to an existing device, instead this coating has to be applied at the factory during production. The thin coating which they have named WaterBlock that is applied prevents water from coming in contact with the electronics and important parts inside the device, thus making it water resistant and giving you the ability to dunk it and not have to be worried. Unfortunately it doesn't appear as though there are many (if any) devices that are currently available with this product, but we can sure hope that the exposure from CES 2012 gets this installed on devices, because well who wouldn't love a waterproof BlackBerry 10 device to hit the market, right?!

Hands-on with the Octa WhaleTail & Vacuum Dock

Walking through the various halls here at CES 2012 you sure stumble across a whole bunch of different stuff, some things get a bit repetitive but sometimes there are things that just jump right out at you. While cruising through one of the halls I noticed a bunch of tablets all propped up without anyone holding them and I was immediately intrigued, then I met Octa WhaleTail and Vacuum Dock. While it is not specifically a BlackBerry PlayBook only accessory it certainly works well on the tablet, and for those of you who like to watch movies, play games, type long messages or anything else that you don't want your tablet laying down for you will want to check this out.

The concept is quite simple, they wanted to make holding a tablet a more enjoyable experience for everyone so they designed a holder that suctions to the back that contours the hand very nicely. To get the back to stick on the device all you have to do is put it on there, give it a few pumps and it's on there, and rather firmly. Releasing the piece is pretty simple (once you get the hang of it), pull up slightly on the two tabs and then push them in, and off it comes. Also included is the WhaleTail which hooks onto the back of the Vacuum Dock which allows the tablet to be propped up and it also doubles as a security measure for when you are carrying your tablet around so it doesn't just fall right out of your hands. Hit the break with us for a few more images as well as a video walkthrough of the product in action!

BeBuzz for BlackBerry updated to version 5.0.24, brings custom colors to BBM contacts and more

Odds are that you have heard of BeBuzz (formerly BerryBuzz) and it is a large possibility that you have it installed on your very own device right now. The application received a rather large update today bringing some neat new features, and some enhancements to fix bugs that were previously found. Included in this update was the addition of the ability to add custom colors to BBM contacts, users can now have the BBM messages displayed as a pop up instead of just a notification on the icon, a rework of the user interface and more. If you are a current user be sure to head over and grab the update, and if you would like to purchase the application hit the link below!

More information / purchase of BeBuzz

UberSocial themes now available in AppWorld as free downloads

We have previously seen various themes become available for UberSocial for BlackBerry but downloading them required you to go to the UberSocial site instead of just being able to grab it right through AppWorld. That seems to have changed, and now all the themes are listed in AppWorld for your easy downloading pleasure. I'm not sure if these get updated periodically, I would assume they will be updated when the app is updated, so it will be much easier to get notified of these updates having installed it through AppWorld. If you are an UberSocial for BlackBerry user be sure to hit the link below and check the themes out!

More information / download of UberSocial for BlackBerry themes 

Skip the cheeseburger and grab My Fitness Friends for only 99 cents for a limited time


Whether one of your resolutions this year was to get in better shape, or you are just always looking for ways to improve your health, My Fitness Friends is a great BlackBerry application you will want to check out. Many of us live life with a rather busy schedule, we are always on the go and hitting the gym is not always possible. My Fitness Friends is a BlackBerry application that allows you to create a work out routine that doesn't need any weights and can be completed nearly anywhere.

Whether in a hotel room, home watching the kids, or in any other situation which does not allow you to hit the gym this is a great replacement. In addition to just creating a routine it allows you to share your routing with BlackBerry Messenger buddies so they can compete with you, making it a bit more interactive. So I challenge you, skip the $1 burger this week and try out this app, your health will thank you.

More information / purchase of My Fitness Friends 

How to change what happens when USB is connected to your BlackBerry device


Ever get annoyed when you plug your BlackBerry device in while in the middle of watching something, only to have the screen turn black and a big clock appear in your face? By default your BlackBerry device is set to display the clock when it is charging, so anytime a USB that is connected to a power source or computer is plugged in it will appear. Luckily for you this can be changed to enable Bedside Mode or do nothing at all, and making the change is quite simple.

  1. Launch the Clock application
  2. Press Menu then scroll to options
  3. Select the option for When Charging
  4. Change selection to Do Nothing or Enter Bedside Mode (depending on your preference)
  5. Save your selection

That's it. Really. It is just that simple. No more clock popping up everytime you connect your device to a power source, instead you get to decide what it does.

Using BlackBerry Tasks in everyday life


In an effort to keep myself more organized and ensuring maximum productivity I have been assigning myself tasks to complete each day, but keeping track of them can be a bit difficult for me. After trying several different options, making lists in Memo Pad, adding calendar appointments, email reminders and more I realized none of them really met my needs. When trying to keep organized options are key, simplicity is a must, and reminders need to be reliable, and luckily I found all of these right in the native BlackBerry Tasks application.

Most of the times when looking to complete something specific on a phone the first thing I do is search around for a third party application to allow me to get things done, but this time the answer was found via a pre-installed application. Hit the break with me to see how BlackBerry Tasks is used in my daily life.

Top 5 apps to help you keep your New Year's resolution

With the New Year having just rolled in and a new resolution being made, odds are that you need a little bit of help to keep you on the right track. With tons of different applications available in BlackBerry App World, there are plenty of choices available to keep you on the path to success. No matter if you are planning to diet, save money, be more productive or just have an awesome year. So let's get going and check some of them out!

Jared's most-used BlackBerry Apps of 2011


Applications. They come and they go -- some remain in the daily use category and others go to the instant removal category. This year I have discovered quite a few different applications, and put them to use in different ways, but hit the break with me to find out what five applications I can't live without on my BlackBerry device.

How to personalize your BlackBerry with custom ringtones, wallpapers and more

Getting a new BlackBerry is always fun, but having your device look just like everyone elses makes it way less awesome. Odds are you want to add some custom touches to the device by changing the ringtone, setting a new wallpaper, arranging your icons to your preference and making some new folders. 

How to download and set a new ringtone
How to download and set new wallpapers
How to make a custom folders

Sure it may seem like some pretty basic stuff, but if you are new to BlackBerry devices (welcome!) or have just yet to try to change yours to make it really your own this may not be common knowledge. Now, get to personalizing your BlackBerry and be sure to hop in the forums and show us your home screens once you get it all set up! 

Get 23 games for the price of one courtesy of Ajani InfoTech

Whether you got a new shiny BlackBerry for Christmas or you are just looking for something new on your favorite device, odds are you will not want to miss out on this deal. Ajani InfoTech is offering 22 free applications with the purchase of their game Jeweled, which runs at only $4.99. You read that right -- 23 games for only $4.99 -- that's a $42 value and a heck of a holiday deal. Included in the free apps are titles like LightBulb, Crazy Cabbie, Save the Cake, and tons more. If you are interested be sure to act quick as the deal ends on December 31st. Hit the link below for full details on the promotion.

More information of Ajani InfoTech Christmas Promotion

Rooted BlackBerry PlayBook brings the possibility of changing icons and possibly more


Have you rooted your BlackBerry PlayBook with DingleBerry and then sat back and wondered why exactly you did it, and what benefit it could have? While many developers are behind the scenes cracking away and what kind of things can be done it appears as though others are looking for quicker changes, like changing up the icons and working towards the fonts and more. CrackBerry forums member Sith_Apprentice has found that the root access allows the icons on the PlayBook to be changed, but unfortunately there is no step by step instructions on how for the rest of us. 

While there may be no official tool for developers to build themes in the works for the PlayBook this just goes to show that the root access that DingleBerry brings us will be able to be put to good use for the average consumer, and that fun things can come from this. Be sure to keep an eye in the forums for updates, and let's hope that fonts and more can be changed soon as well!

Discuss more in the forums 

Use the #TAXI application this Holiday season to enter for a chance for $50 credit for future cab rides

Looking for an easy way to find a taxi in an area you are unfamiliar with? #TAXI (Pound TAXI) is an application available in BlackBerry AppWorld which allows users to easily find and call for a taxi service. The concept of the application is quite simple, once you launch the application you are presented a screen in which you decide whether you want the first available taxi or a specific company. 

Once you select this you simply press the call button and the app will then find the taxi for you, the only downside being a charge from your carrier of somewhere in the ball park of $1 - $2 per use. Users who download the application and make use of it between now and January 5, 2012 could enter for a chance to win $50 in cab rides. Hit the link below to download #TAXI for yourself!

More information / download of #TAXI 

Concrete Software drops pricing of their BlackBerry games to just $0.99


With the holidays rapidly approaching and hopes of a new BlackBerry on the horizon, the folks at Concrete Software have decided to slash the price of their BlackBerry games down to only 0.99 cents. Whether you have been eyeing one of their games but haven't pulled the trigger, or you are looking for something new and fun to play with on that BlackBerry 7 device you just got (or hope is under the tree), be sure to check out their selection.

With titles like PBA Bowling, Aces BlackJack, Aces Traffic Puzzle Pack and more -- odds are you will be able to find something you will enjoy. Hit the link below to check out all of their games and grab them before the price jumps again!

More information / purchase of Concrete Software Apps

CallAssistant for BlackBerry lets you politely ignore phone calls with a custom reply - Win 1 of 20 copies!

Ever been in an important meeting or out for the day with the family and feared missing an important phone call and the calling partying being upset that you ignored them? Luckily those days are behind us and CallAssistant is available to help remedy this situation. Once launched CallAssistant will allow you to create custom messages that can be used to reply to missed calls and you can select whether to have a reply sent automatically or to chose a reply for each missed call. Whether you find yourself in these situations often, or only once and a while this application can certainly come in handy. Normally running $1.99 the folks at BerrySet offered us up 20 copies to give away to you, the best readers out there.

Contest: BerrySet has given us 20 copies of CallAssistant to give away to you, so to enter all you have to do is leave a comment here. Limit one entry per person, contest ends Sunday!

More information / purchase of CallAssistant 

Speedlock for BlackBerry - Win 1 of 50 copies!


Looking for a new way to unlock your new shiny BlackBerry device? It's possible you have heard of SpeedLock for BlackBerry, an application that allows you to use your devices touch screen instead of a physical key to unlock it. Well, whether this is your first time hearing about it or you have just held back on the purchase for any reason you are in luck. The folks at BoardWalk Mobile got in the holiday spirit and wanted to give away 50 copies of the application to you, our favorite readers.

Contest: BoardWalk Mobile has provided us 50 copies of this application to give away. Simply leave a comment here for your chance to win. Limit 1 entry per person, contest ends Sunday. 

More information/download of Speedlock

BBM Music updated to version


Earlier this week we saw a BBM Music beta hit that was only available to Canadians but luckily for the rest of us this update has rolled out officially and version is ready for your downloading pleasure. This update brought a slew of new features to the table, such as the ability to request a subscription from a BBM contact, send invites via Twitter and Facebook, and much more. If you are a current subscriber be sure to hit the link below and grab the update, and if you are not currently a BBM Music user be sure to sign up before January 4, 2012 to get 4 months free. Full list of improvements available after the break!

More information / download of BBM Music

Scan barcodes and more on the go with Barcode Scanner


Looking for a simple way to scan barcodes on the go with your beloved BlackBerry device? Well, meet Barcode Scanner, a new free application for your BlackBerry device that allows you to scan QR codes and more while on the go. Once you launch the application you will notice a nice big scanner button which once pressed activates the camera to begin scanning.

After you scan the barcode the application will give you the option to either navigate directly to the URL, or copy it to your clipboard. Being able to save the URL to the clipboard is quite convenient as you can then share the information with friends, or save it for future uses. Unfortunately the application only supports devices running BlackBerry 6 and higher, but it is available through BlackBerry AppWorld as a free download.

More information / download of Barcode Scanner 

Citrix Receiver ditches the preview status and lands officially as version 1.0 in AppWorld


Citrix Receiver for the BlackBerry PlayBook has officially shed the "tech preview" status and gained the official tag with version 1.0 hitting BlackBerry AppWorld. For those unfamiliar with Citrix Receiver, it is an application that offers IT managers enterprise virtualization from the PlayBook. Previously in the tech preview many of the important features like CAG support, RSA token supprt and even Citrix Gateway support were not available, but with the recent bump they now are. The upgrade to 1.0 brings along the following new features for those of you upgrading

  • CA encryption (SecureICA) and SSL, to secure communications between user devices and XenApp and XenDesktop
  • Windows Extended keyboard, including keys such as Ctrl, Alt, and Delete
  • Pan, pinch, and zoom
  • Session roaming between Receiver for PlayBook and other Receivers 

If your company uses Citrix be sure to hit the link below to grab Citrix Receiver for the BlackBerry PlayBook, and if you would like to learn more about it be sure to check that out here.

More information / download of Citrix Receiver