BlackBerry News and Reviews

CrackBerry Santa Contest: Win an IOU for a BlackBerry PlayBook this Christmas!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a BlackBerry PlayBook!

* December 24th Update: This is it folks, we're into the final hours of our Win an IOU for a BlackBerry PlayBook this Christmas contest. If you haven't left a comment yet for your chance to win, do it now! Good luck to everyone, and MERRY CHRISTMAS! *

We usually get pretty festive here around CrackBerry during the holiday season (I guess when the site's founder lives in Winterpeg that's bound to happen) which means every year we try and come up with an awesome contest to run in December. As deputized CrackBerry Santa I was chatting it over with my Little Helper (pictured above) the other night as to what would be the ultimate gift for a BlackBerry user and abuser to receive under the tree this year. We both decided it would be a BlackBerry PlayBook, but alas, it won't be on sale until 2011. So this year CB Santa is doing the next best thing and giving away an IOU for a BlackBerry PlayBook!

Enter to WIN an IOU for a BlackBerry PlayBook: You have until Midnight PST on Christmas Eve to leave a comment to this blog post to be entered for your chance to win an IOU from CrackBerry Santa for a BlackBerry PlayBook. If you're not a member, you can register for free. As soon as the BlackBerry PlayBook goes on sale in 2011, we'll pick one up from RIM's elves and get it out to out to you. The contest is open worldwide. Please just leave a single comment to this post. GOOD LUCK, and be sure to spread the CrackBerry Holiday Cheer this month!!

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Bring that Quantum of Solace feel to your BlackBerry with Quantum theme - 50 copies to be won!

Quantum is a new theme from BBThemes that is based loosely on the UI of the wall phone used in the Quantum of Solice Bond film. It features custom icons, meters, wallpaper today screen, and some very handy hotkeys. The theme also comes with a hotspot for BerryWeather and QuickLaunch, which in my opinion is a must for any theme.

You can pick up Quantum theme at the CrackBerry App Store on sale for just $0.99, for a limited time. It is available for most devices running OS 4.6 to 5.0.

Contest: We have 50 copies of Quantum 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.

More information and download of Quantum Theme

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PETCO launches new mobile-optimized site

PETCO has launched a new mobile-optimized site for online shopping and pet care. The site can be accessed from any mobile device and features a store locator, product descriptions, customer reviews and more. The new site, powered by Digby, aims to help pet lovers keep in touch when on the go.

"With mobile shopping adoption increasing so rapidly, PETCO is expanding into the mobile channel at the right time," said Dave Sikora, President and CEO of Digby. "PETCO's new mobile site will help the company build even stronger personal connections with pet parents who seek and appreciate the convenience of mobile shopping and information. We're also pet lovers at Digby, so the partnership with PETCO is a special one for us. We look forward to helping PETCO ensure its long-term mobile strategy is a success."

To access the PETCO mobile site just head to m.petco.com from your mobile browser. 

Check out the new PETCO mobile site

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RIM acquires The Astonishing Tribe (tat) - Expect to see *AWESOME* UI on BlackBerry PlayBook and Smartphone Platforms!

[ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

Research In Motion quietly announced some BIG news this morning via a blog post by RIM's CTO, David Yach. They have acquired tat - The Astonishing Tribe - which as David says:

Today we are pleased to confirm plans for The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) team to join Research In Motion (RIM). We're excited that the TAT team will be joining RIM and bringing their talent to the BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphone platforms. 

For those who don't know, TAT is renowned for their innovative mobile user interface (UI) designs and has a long history of working with mobile and embedded technology. TAT focuses on delivering great user experiences, from a design, technology, and usability perspective. Their design technology is used today in a variety of industries including the consumer electronics and automotive sectors. Examples of TAT's UI designs and concepts can be viewed on their web site at www.tat.se.  

Man oh man, you gotta love the way RIM goes about its acquisitions. With acquisitions like Torch, QNX, and now tat, RIM is really pulling in all the pieces it needs to ensure BlackBerry will be fighting for a long time to come in the smartphone space. I'm sure tat has already been working on some RIM projects (PlayBook) prior to becoming part of RIM, but lets hope they go to work quick so you can see and use a little of tat's kick ass UI talent on your next BlackBerry in the (hopefully) near future. 

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eBay for BlackBerry updated - Now includes Deal Finder to help you find the best offers

With the holiday shopping season well underway already, eBay and RIM have just updated eBay for BlackBerry to better help you out if you're shopping plan consists of online shopping. Updated to version 1.0.3.5, the eBay app for BlackBerry smartphones will now include great deals from Deal Finder, which will replace the Daily Deal feature in the application.

Deal Finder is a great way compare eBay.com with prices on retail websites such as Amazon and Best Buy. Also included with this update is some overall fixes for slow loading times and eBay for BlackBerry can now make use of BlackBerry Shortcut keys. The update hasn't gone live in BlackBerry App World as of yet but you can grab it from the direct download page. If you prefer to download from BlackBerry App World, try refreshing using ALT RSTR and it may show up.

Click Here To Learn More About eBay For BlackBerry Smartphones

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BlackBerry 6 earns FIPS Security Certification for U.S. Government Agencies

In a press release issued early this morning, Research In Motion confirmed what most folks out there already understood. When it comes to security on handheld devices Research In Motion, BlackBerry devices and now, their latest BlackBerry 6 OS rank as high as you can get when it comes to security. BlackBerry 6 is now FIPS 140-2 certified. In layman terms, it's ok to load BlackBerry 6 onto President Obamas BlackBerry Bold 9700 as it's been tested and approved to be secure. Although, by the time carriers approve it he may no longer be President.

"This FIPS certification will help extend the reach of BlackBerry 6 to users in a wide range of government agencies and other security-conscious organizations in the U.S.," said Scott Totzke, Vice President, BlackBerry Security Group at Research In Motion. "BlackBerry 6 offers an exceptional mobile experience for BlackBerry smartphone users on the most secure wireless platform in the industry."

Maybe now that it's been FIPS certified we'll see it roll out officially to more carriers and devices? Full press release is available after the break if you want to dig into the finer details.

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CrackBerry Holiday Gift Guide - Gifts for the BlackBerry Student

I always enjoy this time of year, getting together with family and friends. I especially love giving perfect gifts. To qualify as a Perfect Gift, it must meet three standards. A) The gift should be something the giftee has little or no knowledge of. B) The gift must be useful to the recipient. C) The gift must be something the receiver probably would not buy for him or herself. The reward is that look of surprise and delight upon their face. Ah, bliss!

Finding the perfect gift for the student in your life does not have to be a difficult chore. We’ve gathered several of the finest applications and accessories sure to please that deserving someone.

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Review: Where's My Phone

Whether lost in the bedsheets or lost at the movie theatre, Where's My Phone has you covered.

Where did I put my phone? It was right here. Maybe over… no. Okay, how ‘bout… no. Not there either. Has anybody seen my phone? Anybody? It’s black…

If you’re like me, you’ve misplaced your phone a time or two. My BlackBerry is almost glued to my hand. If it’s not there or in my holster, something’s wrong. That’s why I need an application like Wheres My Phone.

Wheres My Phone helps you find your phone in the case where you’ve simply misplaced it within your home or workplace. Wheres My Phone also protects you in that dreadful situation when you’ve lost your phone, providing a number of features for you to call, locate, and disable your device.

Where’s My Phone is available in both a free and paid version. Essentially, the free version allows you to find your phone when you’ve lost it nearby; and the Pro version allows you to call, find, and disable your BlackBerry in the event that it is lost or stolen.

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Calling all developers: BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR beta 2 now available!

Leading up to their fourth webcast on developing for the BlackBerry PlayBook, today RIM has made available the beta 2 release of the BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR. Highlights in version 0.9.1 include:

  • BlackBerry OS UI Component bug fixes: Some tweaks were made to the API to make it better for you, and some beta bugs were fixed as well.
  • Windows 64-bit support: The installers now work in Windows 64-bit.
  • Linux support: Simulator and BlackBerry OS SDK for Adobe AIR now supported on Linux.
  • Flash Builder 4.5 (Burrito / Flex Mobile ‘Hero') Support: The plug-in installers will work with either Flash Builder 4.0 or the pre-release version of Flash Builder Burrito from Adobe's website.

Developers can jump over to the RIM DevBlog for additional details and to blackberry.com/developers/tabletos to download the SDK and user guides. Let's get on it devs... we want to see a crack load of apps at launch!

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Contest: Win 1 of 100 free copies of !Aspire by AG Designs & Graphics!

In this week's Theme Roundup we included a brand new theme from AG Designs & Graphics called !Aspire. This theme is really well put together, and has a ton of great features that I'm sure you're going to love.

All graphics were meticulously created and specifically optimized for BlackBerry. Each device's Home Screen was custom-coded separately to achieve the "best of both worlds:" a simple, clean interface and innovative, user-friendly functionality that is second to none. Designed with speed in mind, they have minimized coding and animations to make Aspire fast and effective for the casual to active Blackberry user.

    • 100% Custom Graphics
    • Skinned Everything
    • Device-Specific Custom HomeScreen
    • User Controllable Today Box
    • 12-15 Sliding dock for Non-Touch Devices
    • Hidden Shortcut Dock Non-Touch Devices
    • 3 Docks, 5 Icons each - all controlled by one button for Touch devices

    Head on over and check out all of the screenshots and the full description for !Aspire at the link below. Available on sale right now for $3.99, !Aspire is compatible with BlackBerry 85xx, 89xx/96xx/9700, 9000, 9100, 9300, 95xx, and the 9800.

    For more information/screenshots and to purchase !Aspire

    Contest: AG Designs & Graphics was kind enough to offer us 100 free copies of !Aspire to pass on to our readers. Just leave a comment below to be entered in the contest. As usual, one entry per person please. Winners will be drawn this Sunday at midnight PST. Good luck!

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    (Updated) Oh SNAP! Research In Motion suing Kik for patent infringement

    * Update: Statement of Claims are publicly viewable documents, so if you want the details on RIM vs. Kik you can click here to download the pdf and check them out for yourself. In addition to the claims of infringing on three patents, another issue at play here is that Kik's founder Ted Livingston used to work for RIM... wait for it... on the BlackBerry Messenger team. Ouch. You can check out Kik's latest blog post on the subject here too. Maybe RIM should just buy Kik. That would solve everybody's problems ;) *

    Research In Motion isn't buying into Kik's tag line of "play nice." Filed yesterday in Canada's Federal Court in Toronto, RIM filed a statement of claim against Kik Interactive Inc for patent infringement (see court filing T-1996-10). Odds are a US suit will follow shortly as well. We recently posted RIM's official statement regarding the removal of Kik Messenger from App World, which stated:

    RIM became aware of a number of issues and customer concerns regarding the Kik app and service. Following discussions with Kik, the app was removed from BlackBerry App World on November 12. Upon further investigation, RIM concluded that Kik had breached contractual obligations. Based on the broad scope and seriousness of the issues and concerns, RIM terminated its agreements with Kik and withdrew RIM's support for Kik's service.

    For those not familiar with Kik, it's a cross-platform (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry) instant messenger application that resembles a very basic version of BlackBerry Messenger in that it features Sent and Read confirmations (and is pretty quick to use!). Kik has also been getting a lot of attention, growing from 0 to over 2 million users in its first month after relaunching. I guess we now know what one of those "issues" is that RIM has with Kik. I'm also guessing Kik downloads for BlackBerry won't be resuming anytime soon....

    Source: David Lam's law blog

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    BlackBerry PlayBook webcast continues tomorrow

    The fourth in the five part series of the BlackBerry PlayBook developer webcast continues tomorrow. The session is entitled "User Interface Guidelines for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet" and will deal with UI for applications on the PlayBook. RIM will provide information on icons, screen layouts and more. The series has been an overwhelming success so far.

    Date: Thursday, December 2, 2010
    Time: 2:00 PM EST / 11:00 AM PST

    Presenters: Prosanta Bhattacherjee, Application Development Consultant, Research In Motion Limited; Renaun Erickson, Adobe Developer Evangelist, Adobe Systems Incorporated

    Register for the BlackBerry PlayBook developer webcast

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    ÜberTwitter - No longer in beta, now rocking v1.0

    After a year of being in beta and becoming one of the top used Twitter clients out there, the folks behind ÜberTwitter have decided it's high time to drop the beta tag from their releases. Available now, ÜberTwitter v1.0 maintains all the great features that fans have gotten used to as well adds a few final, touch ups to make the v1.0 an earned one.

    • Rich Facebook Posting - Optionally post your tweets directly to Facebook from your device. Pictures and location show up in your stream as rich media previews.
    • Bit.ly Pro - You asked and we delivered, now you can configure your own Bit.ly Pro account and track your own URL shortened links and take advantage of the advanced features that Bit.ly provides including the use of custom shortened URLs of your choosing.
    • Dismissible Ads - For those of you on touch screen devices with the Ad supported version, you can dismiss the ad at the bottom of the screen to give you more screen space. 

    If ÜberTwitter is your preffered Twitter client be sure to grab the latest update from the ÜberTwitter website today.

    Click Here To Download ÜberTwitter For BlackBerry Today

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    Stream your iTunes library to your BlackBerry device with Jam11 - Now in beta

    Jam11 is a new app (currently in beta) that allows you to stream your iTunes library to your BlackBerry smartphone. It also streams over 40,000 SHOUTcast internet radio stations, from around the globe. During my testing, I have personally experienced lightning fast streaming over 3G and Wifi. It is also nice that the app will also stream over sub-3G connections, a feature that a lot of apps don't support.

    Jam11 is a great app for those who have massive music collections and do not have the space on their device to hold it all. You can download it at BlackBerry App World free of charge in the beta section. It supports only non-touchscreen devices at the moment,  but hopefully will add touchscreen devices soon.

    More information and download of Jam11 beta
    Download the Jam11 desktop software

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    FCC outs the BlackBerry Curve 8980

    The little-know BlackBerry Curve 8980 has been revealed by the FCC today. We saw the device a while back with China Mobile branding, but haven't heard much since then. The Curve 8980 resembles the Bold 9700 from head to toe with the exception of the Curve 8900 keyboard. It sports a 3.2MP camera, quad-band GSM antenna, Wifi b/g/n and looks to be running OS 5. The device has yet to pop up on the radar for any carriers as of yet and with no official announcement it is still unknown if it will land on any North American carriers at this point. What do you think? Would you pick up a non-3G 8980 if it was made available? Sound off in the comments!

    Source: PhoneScoop Via: BGR

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    Accessory Roundup Cyber Tuesday edition - These are a few of my favorite things

    Contest: Win a $100 in accessories from ShopCrackBerry! Details Below.

    Save with Cyber Tuesday: We extended our Cyber Monday sale until Midnight PST tonight. Use coupon code CB1129 at checkout to save 10% on ALL BlackBerry Accessories! Start Shopping Now!

    When it comes to BlackBerry accessories there are a few for me that are tried and true. Well, over the years I've actually accumulated a ton of favorites, but for the sake of this post I've narrowed it down to a few of my must-haves. I bounce between devices quite often, but I always have at least some of these on hand for every new device. If you're in the market for some great gifts for your BlackBerry loving friends and family, give these a look (and pick up a few for yourself too!). Leave a comment on this post to enter to win a $100 ShopCrackBerry.com coupon code! And if you don't want to try your luck, be sure to take advantage of our Cyber Monday/Tuesday sale.

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    Verizon confuses their Curves - Mistakes 8330 for Curve 3G

    It looks like Verizon is having a bit of trouble keeping their devices straight in their holiday ads. Not only did they show an iPhone screen on a Droid X, but they seem a bit confused on which Curve is which. As seen in this banner from Big Red's front page, they list the Curve 3G as part of their weekend sale yet the image shows the old standby Curve 8330. Not sure who is to blame on this one but certainly someone will be taking some heat. If you happen to pick up a Curve 3G make sure they don't slip in an 8330 while you're not looking :-)

    Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

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    Contest: iBerry 4 - the iPhone Simulator. 50 copies up for grabs!

    [ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

    iBerry 4 - the iPhone Simulator is a popular BlackBerry theme that seeks to do more than just copy the look of iOS 4. The developers at BlingBerry Themes spent months perfecting their graphics for this theme and no detail has been overlooked, no matter how small. iBerry 4 is more than a theme, and in fact they like to say it is a simulation of the iPhone, ported to your BlackBerry device.

    Included with the theme is BlingBerry's custom made updating calendar icon application called RealCal. RealCal brings your native calendar icon to life by keeping it up to date with the current date.

    Other features include:

    • Three different areas on the home screen. A dedicated 'Today' area with Calendar/Messages/SMS, a screen with just icons, and a blank screen for wallpaper visibility.
    • Over 50 professional designed icons you won't find anywhere else.
    • Real-time icon reflections on the dock. (not on the Curve 9300/8500)
    • Clean, with amazing attention to detail. Absolutely everything is customized and the whole thing performs beautifully.
    • Built in FAQ section icon. If you have a question and don't have time to contact technical support, you can click on the FAQ icon and get access to some of the most commonly asked questions, right from your device.
    • Devices supported: Torch 9800, Bold 9700 (OS5), Bold 9650 (OS5), Tour 9630, Storm 1 & 2, Curve 9300, Bold 9000, Curve 8900, Curve 8500

    For more information and to purchase iBerry 4 on sale now for $3.47

    Contest: BlingBerry Themes has given us 50 copies of iBerry 4 to pass on to CrackBerry users. Simply leave a comment below to be entered to win. One entry per person, and winners will be chosen randomly this Sunday at midnight PST.

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    BlackBerry Empathy concept design magically detects the moods of your contacts

    [ youtube video link for mobile viewing ]

    We have seen BlackBerry concept designs before, but this concept may take away our need for BBM emoticons, forever. The Empathy pairs with a biometrics ring to send the user's emothional data to the crystal like device. The concept device was designed by Kiki Tang and Daniel Yoon for a RIM sponsored project at the Art Center College of Design. One of the designers describes the interface as follows:

    "It is of course touch based and all the user’s connections are shown graphically so you can see who is connected to whom. Each contact has an avatar that is encompassed by two colored rings. The inner colored ring shows the contact’s previous emotional state, and the outer ring represents the contact’s current emotional state. It is important to show the shift in emotions in order to see how an event has affected that contact.

    Another important feature that we felt was important was the “Emotional Health Chart”. This chart would monitor the user’s emotional health through an indefinite period of time. One would be able to see how a certain event, or phone call/ message has affected the user. Obviously, if the chart shows someone is always upset, there would be a problem… If permitted, a user would be able to view other user’s charts as well."

    A very interesting concept. Though there is no technology that can accomplish this yet (there hasn't been any huge strides in mood ring technology), it doesn't mean there someday won't be. It we would be interesting to see my mood at the site of the dreaded hourglass, or my girlfriend's mood change the minute I bought my fourth BlackBerry of the year. Software aside, I actually like hardware concept (Gorilla Glass what?). It even sports a full qwerty keyboard on the reverse side! What do you all think? Let us know in the comments.

    Source:  Yanko Design via Engadget

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    Contest: Win a free copy of Ceres, the new theme from Pootermobile!

    Pootermobile is a talented theme developer that is always looking to bring something unique and eye catching to your BlackBerry. His latest theme Ceres continues with that mission, and I have to say, he has definitely accomplished his goal. Not only does this theme have awesome grungy icons and fonts, the homescreen is designed to look like a polaroid taped to your background. What's cool about this feature is that when you change your wallpaper, it becomes the picture in the polaroid!

    Other features include:

    • Customizable icons (6 for keyboard devices - 8 for touchscreen devices
    • Transitions throughout
    • No carrier

    Ceres is available for $3.99 in the CrackBerry store and is compatible with 97xx/96xx/89xx, 95xx, 9000 devices running OS 4.6 - 5.0 and the Torch 9800. Note from Pootermobile: All Torch (9800) themes as of now are being made with a beta software. There will be some bugs present in themes. As soon as the software is updated our themes will be updated and available for free to whoever purchased the theme previously.

    For more info and to grab Ceres for your BlackBerry

    Contest: Pootermobile has given us 20 copies of Ceres to pass on. Business as usual for the contest folks. Leave your comment below to enter, one entry per person, and winners are chosen at midnight PST this Sunday.

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