Monday, February 22, 2010

BugMe! BlackBerry Edition Updated

Electric Pocket Limited is announcing a significant update to the BlackBerry version of BugMe!, the simple and fun-to-use mobile app for staying on-task and on-time.

After the initial launch of the BlackBerry version of BugMe!, the company began work on the next version in response to user requests. The most significant new features include:
  • Reminder Alerts (nags) for notes so they will repeatedly alert you until acknowledged.
  • The ability to schedule BugMe! alarms on a monthly basis - both on the same day of each month and "First Tuesday" style.
  • Alarms set to repeat on a recurring basis will now display their next scheduled alert time.
  • The option to set a snooze time, which is ideal for those who use BugMe! to wake them up or who may not be able to act on an alert right when it sounds.
  • A daily email summary of notes with alarms for the next 24 hours.
  • Auto-backup of notes to SD card (if present).
  • Automatically checks for app updates, with a link to download the latest version.
BugMe! for BlackBerry makes it easy to quickly jot notes, ideas and tasks on-the-go and set any note as a reminder. BugMe! will automatically sound an alarm and pop-up an alert at the exact moment a reminder is needed.

BugMe! for BlackBerry is available for US$4.99 at BugMe.net. For additional information, visit the ElectricPocket website.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Verizon to Bring Skype to Popular Smartphones

At the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Verizon Wireless and Skype today announced a strategic relationship that will bring Skype to Verizon Wireless smartphones in March. The new Skype mobile™ product enhances Verizon Wireless’ smartphones for users who have data plans by offering a new way to call around the globe, while also giving hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues in the United States using Verizon Wireless.

The two companies have created an exclusive, easy-to-use Skype mobile offering for 3G smartphones. Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans can use Skype mobile to:
  • make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America’s most reliable wireless network

  • call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates
    send and receive instant messages to other Skype users

  • remain always connected with the ability to see friends’ online presence.

Initially, Skype mobile will be available on millions of best-selling Verizon Wireless 3G smartphones with data plans, including the BlackBerry® Storm™ 9530, Storm2™ 9550, Curve™ 8330, Curve™ 8530, 8830 World Edition and Tour™ 9630 smartphones, as well as DROID by Motorola, DROID ERIS™ by HTC and Motorola DEVOUR™.

John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless, said, “Skype mobile on Verizon Wireless changes the game. For Verizon Wireless’ more than 90 million customers, Skype mobile adds great value because we’re effectively giving customers with smartphones and data plans the option to extend their unlimited calling community to hundreds of millions of Skype users around the globe. And you’re not limited to using a single type of phone; we’ll have nine smartphones ready right at launch in March.”
Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of Skype, noted, “People want to take their Skype conversations with them wherever they go, whether it’s on a PC, TV or increasingly mobile phones. Verizon Wireless will give U.S. consumers the best Skype experience on mobile phones and will truly change the way people call their friends and family internationally.”
Customers interested in learning more about Skype mobile for Verizon Wireless smartphones can visit www.verizonwireless.com/skypemobile. Additional information about the service will be available next month.

Visit www.verizonwireless.com for more information about Verizon Wireless. Learn more and download Skype at www.skype.com.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Get Some "Love" From Research In Motion

Research In Motion, the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry family of smartphones, has been running an ad campaign this holiday season featuring the 1967 Beatles song, "All You Need is Love."

RIM is giving away free, no strings attached, copies of the song "All You Need is Love" as an .mp3 file. Just head over to the BlackBerry website and hit the download link. It's that easy! No forums to fill out. No accounts to create. No personal information to fork over. And while you're there, if you somehow managed to not see the current BlackBerry TV commercials, you can watch them on the BlackBerry site too.

Get some "Love" from the good folks at BlackBerry.com.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

BlackBerry Storm 2 Hands On Review

I have just wrapped up my test drive of the Verizon Wireless BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 smartphone. I’ve been testing out a selection of some of the more popular CDMA phones to help find the phone that will replace the corporate fleet of Palm Treo 755p’s that are in service at the company I work for.

The Hardware

The BlackBerry Storm 2, is Research In Motion’s second smartphone without a physical keyboard. The first was the original Storm. The BlackBerry Storm 2 measures up as being 4.43 x 2.45 x .55-inches and weighs in at 5.5 ounces. In practical terms, it is about the same size as an Apple iPhone. The Storm 2 has all of the standard hardware buttons that you would expect to find on any other BlackBerry smartphone. Unlike the buttons on the Tour, Bold, or Curve, the buttons on the face of the Storm 2 are concealed beneath a smooth sheet of plastic. The green, BlackBerry, escape, and red buttons are part of the bottom of the touch screen and the power and silence buttons are part of the top molding. Another nice touch is that there is a small, clear strip of plastic that protects the Storm 2’s 3.2MP digital camera lens and flash. The Storm 2’s battery door takes up the entire back of the device and snaps into place. Unlike the battery door on the Motorola Droid I recently reviewed, I don’t see the Storm 2’s door accidently being popped off during normal use.

One thing that I don’t like about the Storm 2 is that the bottom extends beyond the top of the device. This gives the Storm 2 a cool, rounded edge look, but I found it hard to reach up with my left index finger to turn the screen on when I was holding the device in my left hand. The uneven edges where less of a problem when I was holding the Storm 2 in landscape mode.


The Touch Screen

The big difference between the BlackBerry Storm 2 and the BlackBerry Tour is that the Storm 2 is a touch screen device. There is no physical keyboard on the Storm 2 and this may turn off some people who have used BlackBerry phones in the past and prefer the hardware keyboard. Part of the reason why I wanted to test the Tour and the Storm 2 was to compare the user experience between the two devices and to see if I could use a Storm 2 for the long haul.

The unique difference with the Storm 2 and other slate smartphones that don’t have hardware keyboards is that the Storm 2’s screen is “clickable.” Take for example the HTC Magic or the Apple iPhone 3G. Both of these devices have touch screens that dominate the face of the phone. When you tap an object on the screen, the screen remains stationary with virtually no tactile feedback. With the BlackBerry Storm 2, when you press down on the screen to tap an object, the entire screen presses down and clicks similar to the tactile feedback you get when you are clicking an icon or hyperlink on your computer with a mouse. You can hear and feel the click. It is a nice gimmick, but does it really help when you are trying to use an on screen keyboard?

After having played with the Storm 2, the Tour, and the Motorola Droid recently, I have found that the spacing of the keys on the keyboard are more important to me than whether or not the keyboard is virtual or not. I have found that keyboards on the Palm Treo Pro and Pre are very easy to use. Similarly, the keyboard on the BlackBerry Tour was a little too close – however, the shape of the keys did help improve my accuracy. For the Storm 2, Research in Motion decided to pack in four flavors of the virtual keyboard. They are: Qwerty portrait, Qwerty landscape, two-key portrait, and three-key portrait. I found the two and three-key portrait keyboards completely unacceptable. While I completely refuse trying to peck out a SMS or email message by pressing the same key two or three times to type a letter, the younger crowd who might buy the Storm 2 as their first smartphone may find these keyboard modes familiar, more comfortable even, if they are moving up from a flip phone. With the other two Qwerty keyboard modes available for use, I see professionals selecting the formats that more closely resemble the keyboards on their desks that the ones that resemble those found on flip phones.

After using the Storm 2’s Qwerty keyboards, I can say that I prefer the landscape keyboard the most. It offers the largest key cap clickable area of all the keyboards and the clickable screen did a good job tricking me into thinking that I was pressing a key on a physical keyboard. That isn’t to say that I didn’t make any typing mistakes, but I think that the Storm 2 offers the best on screen keyboard of all the smartphones I’ve tested so far. My one basic gripe about the landscape Qwerty keyboard is that when it is displayed, it takes up a significant portion of the screen; which can severely limit the space on the screen to see what you are doing.

The Software

The BlackBerry Storm 2 runs BlackBerry OS v5.0.0.320 (Platform 4.2.0.124), yet I didn’t find any noticeable difference from the BlackBerry Tour running BlackBerry OS v4.7.1.61 (Platform 4.1.0.81). One welcomed difference is that the Storm 2’s application launcher screen shows you the name of the application just below the icon. To see the name of an application on the Tour, you had to use the scroll ball to highlight the icon for the name to appear at the bottom of the launcher screen. For the most part, I didn’t see any major differences in the software bundled between the two BlackBerry’s I tested for this evaluation.

Conclusion

I have always stated that the decision to purchase a smartphone is very much a personal one. What works for me may not work for you. The BlackBerry Storm 2 is a capable BlackBerry smartphone that has many of the features made popular by Apple’s iPhone and you won’t have to jump ship from Verizon to AT&T to get a cool looking touch screen phone. As a BlackBerry, the lack of a physical keyboard may be a deal breaker for some corporate types, while others may welcome the increased screen realestate that comes from not having the keyboard. From a software standpoint, I found little difference between the Storm 2 and other recent model BlackBerry smartphones.

The BlackBerry Storm 2 is available now from Verizon Wireless for $279.99 when you purchase a qualifying two year service agreement. If you order the Storm 2 from the Verizon online store, Verizon will knock an additional $100 off the price tag. For more information about the BlackBerry Storm 2 9550 smartphones, please visit the BlackBerry website.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

BGR: BlackBerry Tour 2 Hands On

The folks over at BGR have gotten there hands on another BlackBerry. This time we get to eyeball the upcoming BlackBerry Tour 2 9650, which is a CDMA phone from RIM that will likely replace the BlackBerry Tour on Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

The big changes for the Tour 2 seem to be a track pad and a speed bump. I really like the look of the Tour 2, however, I like the keyboard layout of the BlackBerry Curve 8530 better. Still, the Tour 2 is a nice upgrade for CrackBerry owners who haven't upgraded to the Tour platform yet.

Get all the details over at the BGR website.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

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Research In Motion: YANO - Yet Another Network Outage

In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, CrackBerry users where all in a tussle because there devices temporarily transformed into door stops. Turns out that there was some more trouble at the BlackBerry network operations center (NOC), the massive data center where most BlackBerry Internet traffic is routed from.

CrackBerry.com provided a running commentary of what was going on:

"* Update 1: OK, preliminary word coming in is that it's a partial outage affecting North American carriers: BlackBerry Messenger and things like the web browser and apps that use a data connection.

* Update 2: BlackBerry data is no more. No emails, no web browsing, no BlackBerry messenger for it's North American users. Estimated time for a fix to come through is 3 hrs to a day, yes..a day."

At about 6:30pm last night, I had four "dead" BlackBerry phones in my house and four BlackBerry addicts roaming around the house in a daze. We where seeing the data outage on the Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks. Based on what CrackBerry.com was reporting, no carrier was spared in North America. The good news was that my Palm Pre was still working!

You can read the full article on CrackBerry.com.

[Via CrackBerry.com...]

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Engadget: BlackBerry Curve 8530 Impressions

Jacob Schulman has a first impressions review of the new CDMA BlackBerry Curve 8530 up over at Engadget.com.

Mr. Schulman writes:
"We don't know, but it seems like RIM has enlisted a couple more CDMA engineers because the gap between new devices launching on GSM and then making their way to CDMA has been getting noticeably smaller over time. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 was launched on T-Mobile only a few short months ago, and it's already made its way to both Verizon and Sprint. It's not the same powerhouse as its older sibling the Tour, but this device packs a heck of a lot of punch into a very pocketable package."

You can read the full hands-on review over at Engadget.com...

[Via Engadget.com...]

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eWeek: Palm webOS One of the 2009 Products of the Year

The latest print edition of eWeek hit my desk today and they listed out the best products of 2009. Being a big fan of Palm, I was delighted to see that Palm webOS made this years list of outstanding products.

Andrew Garcia writes:
"From the way it integrates all like communication into a single interface, to the way it seamlessly moves from local search to Web search, to its intuitive gesture-based user controls, Palm webOS is a joy to use."

However, Mr. Garcia also warns that one of the biggest obstacles to the success of Palm's new mobile operating system is third-party developer support.

Again, Mr. Garcia writes:
"...I have my doubts as to whether third-party developers will create enough action on the platform to make it successful long term, Palm webOS is a thoughtful and well-designed mobile platform."

The complete list of eWeek's products of they year are:

1. AWS Toolkit for Eclipse
2. Microsoft Bing
3. RIM BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0
4. Cisco Unified Computing
5. Mozilla Firefox 3.5
6. Intel "Nehalem" Family of Processors
7. Palm webOS
8. SUSE Studio 1.0
9. VMware vSphere 4

Why 9? Usually at this time of the year, it is all about top 10 lists. Oh, well, let's just say that it has to do with the current year ending in '9'.

You can read eWeek Lab's full review of Palm webOS, written by Mr. Garcia, on the eWeek website.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8530 Arrives on Sprint

BGR is reporting that the BlackBerry Curve 8530 has arrived at Sprint.
"Sprint has just added a new device to its BlackBerry family — the Curve 8530. Though this is on the low-end for BlackBerry devices, that doesn’t mean it skimps out on any features. Best of all, for those of you who want a smartphone but are on a budget, the Curve 8530 is only $49.99 after two-year contract and [mail in rebate]."

The good news is if you are looking to stick with Sprint, but don't want to have to re-up for another two years, the good news is that you can buy the BlackBerry Curve 8530 out right for $349.99. That is much better than the $500+ you have to pay for a BlackBerry Tour or Palm Pre without a service contract extension.

I have had my Palm Pre for six months now. Maybe it's time for a new phone. After all, I tend to be a bit fanatical about my phones.

You can check out the full Curve 8500 series specs over on the BlackBerry website. If you are ready to order, you should head over to the Sprint online store to get your CrackBerry addiction on.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Briefly Noted: Storm 2 Battery Life

It has been a full 48-hours since I fully charged up my demo BlackBerry Storm 2 smartphone. Two days later, the battery is still holding a 20% charge.

Now, before you get too excited, you should know that I have been testing the phone in a specific way. I have been using it to check my corporate email account and two of my personal Gmail accounts. I have also been using the BlackBerry to make a few phone calls and Wi-Fi has been turned off. Just like the people who would be using phone at the office if the BlackBerry Storm 2 is selected as the our new fleet phone.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Up Next: BlackBerry Storm 2

I have received a Verizon Wireless BlackBerry Storm 2 for review today. As with the recent reviews of the Motorola Droid and BlackBerry Tour, I am reviewing the Storm 2 as a potential replacement for my company's fleet of Palm Treo smartphones.

The BlackBerry Storm 2, also known as the BlackBerry 9550, is a CDMA, GSM, Wi-Fi "world phone." My demo unit ships with a Vodafone GSM SIM card pre-installed. The Storm 2 is running BlackBerry OS 5.0.0.320 out of the box.

As is no doubt obvious from the picture, the BlackBerry Storm 2 does not have a physical keyboard. For this device, RIM has opted to include four variations on the soft keyboard. While I find the "full keyboard" usable in landscape mode, I'm not a big fan of the other three keyboard modes that can be used while the phone is held with a portrait orientation. The "clickable" screen does add a nice tactile feel that is missing from the iPhone and iPod touch, though I still much rather have that hardware keyboard.

In my initial testing, the device responded quickly and the screen is bright and readable. I also thing that it is easier to control the Wi-Fi radio on the Storm 2 verses Wi-Fi on the Droid. Oddly, this phone seems to be heavier than the other two I've looked at recently. While it doesn't bother me, it may be a deal breaker for some.

In short, if you are a 'Berry addict, the BlackBerry Storm 2 is your iPhone.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

BlackBerry Tour Hands On Review

As with the Motorola Droid that I recently reviewed, I had the opportunity to take Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Tour 9630 out for a few days for a test spin. The following is my hands on review of the Tour.

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is a CDMA/GSM “world phone” that works on popular wireless networks both in the United States (CDMA and EVDO Rev A) and aboard on 3G networks (GSM/GPRS/EDGE). The Tour is currently available on the Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks. My demo unit is from Verizon and has been loaded with a Verizon/Vodafone SIM card. As far as I can tell, the Verizon and Sprint handsets are the same, however, the service terms will likely vary. There is also a version of the Tour available for sale without a digital camera.

The Hardware

The BlackBerry Tour is a candy bar styled smartphone similar to the BlackBerry Curve. The Tour’s dimensions are: 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.6-inches and weighs in at 4.58 ounces. To put that in perspective, it is slightly thinner, taller, and wider than the popular BlackBerry Curve 8330. The Tour has a half VGA+ 480x360 pixel display; which I found very easy to read; and is powered by a removable 1400 mAh battery.

All of the familiar BlackBerry hardware buttons can be found on the Tour. Just below the screen, is the button bar that is home to the call send/end buttons, the BlackBerry button, and the escape button. Nestled in the middle of the device is the trackball. After spending a few days using the trackball on the Tour, I thought it felt much sturdier than the one on my Curve. That said, I have heard reports from a local cellular retailer that their store has had a number of returns of the Tour early on in its distribution run due to faulty trackballs. The review unit that I used had no such trouble with the trackball. Below the button bar is the hardware Qwerty keyboard. Since this BlackBerry is slightly narrower than the one I’m used to using, I found the keys to be tight initially. The keys on the Tour, for all intents and purposes, have no space between them. After using it for about a day, I had gotten my keyboard bearings and was happily emailing away.

Walking around the smartphone, you will find the camera convenience key and the volume up/down buttons, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the microUSB charging port. On the top of the Tour, is the ringer silence and screen lock button. On the left of the Tour is the voice command activation button and the speaker. On the back of the phone you will find the 3.2MP, auto focusing digital camera lens and flash. The phone’s mic is located on the bottom left of the phone.

Inside the Tour is 256MB of RAM, a microUSB card slot, a Bluetooth v2.0 radio supporting A2DP, and a GPS receiver supporting assisted, autonomous, and simultaneous modes. The GPS module also supports e911 and digital camera image geo-tagging.

Interestingly, unlike the Apple iPhone and Motorola Droid, the BlackBerry Tour does not feature a capacitive touch screen or a Wi-Fi radio. This could be a deal breaker for some, however, in my opinion, you get much better battery performance without those two features.

The Software

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 runs RIM’s Java based BlackBerry OS 4.7.1.61 (Platform 4.1.0.81). If you have used a previous BlackBerry running OS 4.3 or 4.5 you will have little trouble using OS 4.7, however, for this edition of the OS, there is a wire frame style to all of the icons. They are easy enough to figure out and the icon’s name appears at the bottom of the screen when you use the trackball to highlight and icon. Personally, I liked the old style icons better. The good news is that there are literally tons of themes for BlackBerry available for download from the Internet.



I was able to quickly and easily connect all of my Google Gmail accounts with the Tour. I was also able to use Notify Corp’s NotifyLink 4.5 client without trouble on this BlackBerry. If you want to sync the BlackBerry’s calendar with anything other than Microsoft Outlook, or a corporate messaging system like Microsoft Exchange using a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or Notify Corp’s NotifyLink Enterprise Server, you will need to get a third-party tool like GooSync for your Google calendar. Mac OS X users will need to download the BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac or purchase Mark/Space the Missing Sync for BlackBerry.

Research In Motion has also opted to bundle DataViz Documents To Go Standard Edition on the Tour. Unlike the view only editions that come bundled with the Palm Pre or the Motorola Droid, the BlackBerry Standard Edition allows you to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. You can also transfer files to and from the smartphone using the BlackBerry Desktop Software. I was able to read and update the same files that I used during my Motorola Droid test.

If you plan on using Documents To Go on your BlackBerry, you will want to install the free maintenance release from version 1.006 to 2.0. Heavy users will want to consider purchasing the Documents To Go Premium upgrade to gain access to the stand alone Documents To Go desktop synchronization application, native Adobe Acrobat viewing, the ability to create new Microsoft Office documents directly on the Tour, the ability to spell check Word documents, and additional document formatting features. One thing that I did find annoying about the upgrade process to version 2.0 of Documents To Go was the requirement to uninstall the bundled version and reboot the phone prior to the upgrade. While it isn’t the end of the world, it bugged me to have to leave the browser, uninstall the phone, and then return to the upgrade web page. (You did remember to bookmark the upgrade page before uninstalling Documents To Go, right? See how annoying that is!) Documents To Go 2.0 Premium for BlackBerry retails for $69.99, and is on sale for $29.99 until December 20, 2009. For more information about DataViz Documents To Go for BlackBerry, visit the DataViz website.

Just for the Fun of It

All work and no play is boring. So I also played with some of the fun aspects of the BlackBerry Tour. Social media junkies will be happy to hear that the Tour comes included with a Facebook and My Space clients. (Facebook users will want to upgrade to the latest mobile client version right away.) The camera took nice pictures at a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. The music player application worked well and I was able to watch Iron Man which I converted from DVD to an Mpeg-4 file.

I also installed some other free applications from the BlackBerry App World, including USA Today Mobile, The New York Times Global Edition, Google Maps, TweetCaster, UberTwitter, The Weather Channel, and Fictionwise eReader. (Fictionwise eReader can be downloaded from the eReader.com website.)

Conclusion

The BlackBerry Tour is a great upgrade for previous BlackBerry owners. If you are looking to upgrade from another smartphone platform to the BlackBerry, you will want to sync your old phone to Microsoft Outlook before making the jump to BlackBerry to ensure that all of your data makes it over. The BlackBerry Tour, like most other BlackBerry phones does not have a touch screen. That detail, and the lack of Wi-Fi may be a deal breaker for some, however, you will be repaid with longer battery life. If I don’t charge my Palm Pre, or the Motorola Droid I was testing every night, I would wake to find two phones with dead batteries in them while the Tour was still ready to work with about 45-50% battery life left in it.

The BlackBerry Tour is a solid business smartphone, however, if you are using a Microsoft Exchange email server, you will need to install a BlackBerry Enterprise Server or other third-party middleware server such as Notify Corp’s NotifyLink Enterprise Server since the BlackBerry does not support the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol as do most of today’s other smartphones.

Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Tour 9630 is available now from both Verizon Wireless and Sprint for $149 with a qualifying 2-year service agreement. For more information about the BlackBerry Tour, visit the BlackBerry website.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BlackBerry Tour On Deck


Following closely behind the Verizon Motorola Droid, I have gotten my hands on a BlackBerry Tour 9630!

The BlackBerry Tour is currently available from both Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Unlike the other CDMA/EVDO smarphones in their line ups, the Tour is considered a "World phone" because it also has a GSM radio and SIM card slot. The demo unit that I have from Verizon was shipped out with a Vodafone SIM card in it.

Just like the Moto Droid, I'll be testing this phone out as a replacement phone for my company's fleet of Palm Treo 700p and 755p smartphones. I'll have a short review of the BlackBerry Tour 9630 ready at the end of my demo period.

If you are interested in digging into all the details about the Tour 9630 now, you will want to check out the BlackBerry website.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Watching Wife, Sister-In-Laws Playing with BlackBerry SMS

I find this really comical since my wife hated technology until she "discovered" Facebook. Now, just a few minutes ago, my wife and her sisters where swapping BlackBerry PIN numbers and where having "fun" trying to set it up.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

BlackBerry Curve 8520 Coming to AT&T

Earlier today, AT&T jumped on the BlackBerry Curve 8500-series bandwagon by announcing that the Curve 8520 was heading to AT&T's network "in the coming weeks" for $99.99 with a new or qualifying 2-year service agreement.

AT&T announced today it will introduce the best value in its BlackBerry smartphone portfolio with the addition of the BlackBerry®Curve™ 8520 from Research In Motion.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a stylish, easy-to-use, compact smartphone offering the best value for consumer and business customers looking for BlackBerry service. The smartphone features a full QWERTY keyboard and touch-sensitive trackpad for easy typing and navigation, built-in Wi-Fi® and an advanced media player, plus dedicated media keys, smoothly integrated along the top of the handset, for a convenient way to control music and videos. The handset also provides global connectivity via phone, email, text, IM, picture messaging and social networking, with Facebook®and My Space applications preloaded.

The sleek, new device houses a high-resolution 320x240 display a 512 MHz processor, 256 MB of Flash memory, and a 2 megapixel camera equipped with video recording.
“AT&T was the first choice for BlackBerry in the U.S. and we continue to expand our offering of BlackBerry products to suit the different needs of business and personal users,” said Michael Woodward, vice president, Mobile Phone Portfolio, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “The BlackBerry Curve 8520 offers the best value by combining the essential features of a BlackBerry smartphone with access to AT&T’s network, which includes best coverage worldwide, as well as the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network.”

AT&T users of the new BlackBerry Curve 8520 can enjoy access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots — including approximately 7,000 Starbucks locations. As with all other Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry smartphones from AT&T, BlackBerry Curve 8520 users with a qualifying data plan, which includes all consumer BlackBerry unlimited data plans, get seamless and unlimited access to these domestic hotspots at no additional cost. When traveling outside the U.S., BlackBerry Curve 8520 users can enjoy the best coverage worldwide with wireless voice coverage in more than 215 countries and wireless data coverage in more than 185 countries.

Mobile users will enjoy great battery life, simultaneous voice and data capabilities when using Wi-Fi, and the ability to access up to 10 corporate and personal email accounts whether they are corporate or personal accounts. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 also affords users the ability to edit Microsoft® Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files with DataViz®Documents to Go®suite.
"The new BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a great choice for first-time smartphone users and offers easy-to-use messaging, social networking and multimedia features with a full-QWERTY keyboard that makes typing fast and comfortable," said Carlo Chiarello, vice president, product management, Research In Motion.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone will be available in the coming weeks for $99.99 after mail-in rebate. (Pay $199.99 and receive $100 AT&T Promotion Card. 2-year agreement on a min. $69.99 plan required.) AT&T smartphones require the purchase of a monthly data plan. Other monthly charges apply.

For more information, visit the AT&T website.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Documents To Go Premium for BlackBerry Released

DataViz has announced the availability of Documents To Go® Premium Edition version 2.0 for BlackBerry® smartphones. Included in this latest version is an easy to use desktop application with support for bi-directional file synchronization, a robust update to PDF To Go®, support for password-protected Microsoft® Office 2007 files, and a new file browser for accessing and managing documents.

New Version 2.0 Features

Desktop Application with Bi-Directional File Synchronization Version 2.0 now includes a desktop application that provides Windows customers with the ability to easily transfer files from their computer to their BlackBerry smartphone via USB cable. With this application, users can select individual files or entire folders to synchronize and all updates made on either the computer or the smartphone will be automatically transferred to the other location. This eliminates the need to manually manage files and ensures that documents are always up-to-date. Throughout this process, all original file formatting will be maintained thanks to DataViz’s acclaimed InTact Technology™.
“The introduction of desktop file synchronization is the direct result of the very high number of customer requests we received for this feature,” said Kathleen McAneany, Business Manager, DataViz, Inc. “We believe that providing an easy way for users to transfer their important and frequently used files to and from their BlackBerry smartphones will increase the overall usage of Documents To Go and add greater value to our Premium Edition offer which already includes an extensive list of advanced features such as creating new files, spell check, advanced formatting and much more.”
Enhanced PDF To Go

Offered as a free bonus application for customers who purchase the Premium Edition, PDF To Go provides high-fidelity viewing of native Adobe® PDF files and attachments without any desktop or server conversion needed. With this new version customers will be able to take advantage of many new features including: find and copy text, save as, send file via email, bookmarks and more!

New ‘Documents To Go Files’ Application

A new application called ‘Documents To Go Files’ is also included with this Premium Edition upgrade. This file browser for BlackBerry smartphones provides customers with one centralized location where they can conveniently access and manage (delete, rename, copy and paste) all of their Microsoft Word, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Adobe PDF, and image files without having to navigate between programs.

Pricing and Availability

Documents To Go Premium Edition retails for $69.99 and is available to all BlackBerry smartphone users running Device Software 4.5 or higher, including those that received Documents To Go Standard Edition pre-installed on devices such as the BlackBerry Tour™ 9630, Curve™ 8900, Storm™ 9500/9530 , Bold™ 9000 as well as the upcoming Bold 9700 and Storm2™ 9550. Current Documents To Go Premium Edition customers can upgrade to version 2.0 for $29.99. This offer applies to all customers who own Premium Edition for BlackBerry, Palm OS®, Windows Mobile®, or Symbian OS™. Documents To Go Premium Edition is currently available in English. Support for French, German, Italian and Spanish will be available in the coming weeks. Additional language support will be available later this year. Volume licensing is available for 5 or more users with discounts starting at 10 users.

For more information, visit the DataViz website.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

BlackBerry Storm 2 Coming to Verizon

Verizon Wireless today, along with Research In Motion, has started sending out emails to customers letting them know that the new BlackBerry Storm 2 will be going on sale at retail location, online, and through Verizon business sales channels on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. Starting today, BlackBerry Storm customers will be able to upgrade their handsets to BlackBerry OS 5.0 over the air, via the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, or as a download from the Verizon Wireless website.

The BlackBerry Storm2 with BlackBerry® OS 5.0 evolves the BlackBerry® touchscreen platform with hundreds of hardware and software enhancements – including new SurePress™ “clickable” display technology and built-in Wi-Fi® – delivering the exceptional multimedia experience and communications capabilities customers have come to expect from their BlackBerry smartphones.

Key Features:
  • Smooth design and premium finish with sloped edges, chrome accents, glass lens and stainless steel backplate
  • Large (3.25”), dazzling high-resolution 480 x 360 display
  • Capacitive touchscreen with integrated functions (Send, End, Menu, Escape) and new SurePress technology that makes clicking the display practically effortless
  • 3G and global connectivity support for making phone calls in more than 220 countries and accessing data in more than 185 countries (with more than 80 destinations in 3G)
  • Network Connectivity: EV-DO Revision A; UMTS/HSPA (2100 MHz); and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks
  • Supports Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
  • 256 MB of Flash memory
  • 2 GB of onboard media storage and a microSD™/SDHD memory card slot with a 16 GB card included
Pricing and Availability

The BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone is available beginning Oct. 28 for $179.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an Email and Web feature or an Email and Web for BlackBerry plan. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card. plans for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone begin at $29.99 when added to any Nationwide voice plan. Existing BlackBerry Storm customers will be able to update their handsets to the new BlackBerry OS 5.0 software via Web software load (www.blackberry.com/update), BlackBerry Desktop Manager, or from Verizon Wireless’ download site (www.verizonwireless.com/storm). The software update is available today.

You can read the full press release on the Verizon Wireless website.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Retail Editions of Windows 7 Go On Sale Today

While the final version of Windows 7 has been available to select Microsoft customers and TechNet subscribers for some time now, October 22, 2009 will be remembered as the day that Windows Vista was finally replaced.

Starting today, Microsoft has started selling four of the six editions of Windows 7 online and at retail locations. (Windows 7 Starter edition and Windows 7 Enterprise edition are required to be purchased under special conditions that we wouldn't normally have access to. Think netbooks and large corporate account holders.)

So what does that mean for smartphone users? Probably not much. Microsoft has worked hard to ensure that any software package that works on Windows Vista will also work on Windows 7. I've been using Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise editions for the last few months now and I haven't run into any serious show stoppers.

Palm Pre, Pixi - Palm webOS devices

Palm Pre customers (and Palm Pixi customers shortly) won't have any sync problems out of the box because Palm webOS, unlike Palm OS, does not sync directly with a desktop computer. People using webOS phones and third-party sync solutions like Chapura PocketMirror for webOS and Chapura Echo will want to check for any updates that may be made available. At the time of this posting, I did not see any updates mentioned on Chapura's website.

Treo 755p, Centro, Palm OS Handhelds - Palm OS 5 Devices

Customers using Palm's older generation smartphones and PDA handhelds, including the Palm Treo 755p, Centro, and Palm TX handheld PDA, things can get a little bit sketchy. Most of the issues with Palm Desktop versions 4.x and 6.x will likely continue. You will still need to be a member of the Windows Administrators group to install the software and all manors of HotSync voodoo will likely be needed to perform successful HotSync operations. In my limited Palm Desktop 6.22 testing on my Windows 7 Ultimate machine, which was upgraded from Windows Vista Ultimate, I have been able to HotSync my Treo 755p. However, I will caution you that 3-5 HotSync operations is hardly conclusive.

Windows 7 also won't correct the USB driver issue. Neither Palm nor ACCESS (the company that owns the Palm OS 5 and Windows Palm Desktop source code) has released a 64-bit USB driver. In short, that means if you have a 64-bit edition of Windows XP/Vista/7, you can't sync your Palm OS 5 device with USB cable. You will need to turn to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth solution to sync. I don't expect either company to release a 64-bit compatible Palm OS 5 driver at this late stage in the Palm OS life cycle since Palm OS 5 is no longer being used in new devices from Palm.

RIM BlackBerry Smartphones

I recently installed BlackBerry Device Manager 5.0 on my Windows 7 machine and was able to sync it with my BlackBerry Curve 8330. After installing Device Manager, I learned that there was an OS update for my Berry and I was able to apply the update without issue. The BlackBerry USB mass storage mode also worked without a hitch.

Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.5

There really isn't much to report here. Microsoft's latest desktop software is expected to sync with their mobile operating systems. While I haven't tried to sync my Treo 750 (Windows Mobile Professional 6.0) with my Windows 7 machine yet, it did sync (mostly) error free with Windows Vista.

What about everything else?

While I don't have an Apple iPhone or Google Android phone, I am not anticipating any serious problems. The iPhones and the iPod touch sync with Apple's iTunes software, which is still listed as being compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista should work fine under Windows 7. If an issue does come up, I'd expect Apple to have a fix out shortly since there are so many people walking around with both devices at this point.

You can learn more about the various Windows 7 editions on the Microsoft website.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Sprint BlackBerry OS 4.5.0.175 for Curve Released

Over the weekend, I activated a second smartphone on my Sprint account, a BlackBerry Curve 8330. (For those keeping score, I was using a Curve 8330 as my primary phone between December, 2008 - June 6, 2009; the day that the Palm Pre was released.) While configuring BlackBerry Device Manager 5.0 on my PC, I noticed that there was an OS upgrade for my new Sprint BlackBerry.

Sprint customers who use the BlackBerry Curve 8330 can upgrade from BlackBerry OS 4.5.0.131 to BlackBerry 4.5.0.175. As far as I can tell, the .175 build of BlackBerry OS 4.5 is largely a maintenance release as all of the BlackBerry applications in the package build are still listed as version 4.5.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Facebook for BlackBerry Updated














In case you missed it, the native Facebook client for BlackBerry smartphones was upgraded to version 1.7 over the weekend. Facebook v1.7 is now available for download as a download from BlackBerry App World or via the Check for Upgrade option found in the Facebook application (BlackBerry key > Options).

Facebook v1.7 for BlackBerry introduces the following new features:
  • News Feed Support - The ability to set the News Feed as the landing page
  • News Feed Filters - The ability to toggle between 'News Feed, Status Updates, Photos & Links'
  • Caching Improvements - The application uses the device memory more efficiently.
  • Feed Pre-fetching - The user will not be required to wait while their Facebook Feeds are updated
  • View Profile Menu Option - Clients may easily view their own profile by selecting 'View my Profile' from the menu. "
[Via Crackberry.com...]

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Toffa Discontinues Goosync Free Edition

Toffa International, the company behind the popular GooSync service, has announced that they are discontinuing their free service. Replacing the free service will be a $10USD per year service called GooSync Lite. The free GooSync service will be disabled on October 19, 2009.
"It has always been our goal to provide a professional service to all Free and Premium users. Given the exponential demand for GooSync over the last 12 months, it has become increasingly more difficult to continue this high level of service to both Premium and Free users.

It is therefore, with regret, that we are now discontinuing our Free service. For all of you that have come to love and rely on our free offering, we will be migrating the Free GooSync service into a new product “GooSync Lite”. This new lite version of GooSync will have all the same features as the existing free version.

The Free version will become unavailable and synchronization will be suspended on Monday 19th October. To continue benefiting from all the great features of GooSync you will be able to purchase GooSync Lite for a yearly fee of just £5.99 (approx $10). We are confident that this is priced very competitively and will allow us to continue to offer the professional level of service and support you have come to expect."

If you are a GooSync junkie, and I was while I was carrying a BlackBerry Curve 8330, you can also upgrade the GooSync Premium service which includes more features than the free service or GooSync Lite. The GooSync Premium service has a tiered pricing structure of £19.95 per year, £29.95 for a two year subscription or a lifetime option for £39.95.

GooSync is an over-the-air (OTA) service that allows many popular handheld devices, such as a BlackBerry, iPhone, or Windows Mobile smartphone, to sync with your Google account's calendar, tasks, and contacts. You can learn more about the GooSync service, on the GooSync website.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

OS 5.0.0.216 Leaked for Storm 9500

Hey BlackBerry Storm 9500 addicts, CrackBerry.com has apparently gotten their hands on the latest OS upgrade for the BlackBerry Storm, OS 5.0.0.216.

If you are the type who absolutely must have the latest and greatest software, consequences be damned, then here is your chance to get the new Berry software. If you are the more cautious type, like me, then you may want to skip leaked OS upgrades until a generic upgrade is made available from Research In Motion or one specifically customized for your device by your wireless carrier.

Ready to take the plunge now? Head over to CrackBerry.com for the download link and install directions. Proceed at your own risk!

[Via CrackBerry.com...]

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!














The 4th of July marks the birth of the United States, and Smartphone Fanatics wishes all of our readers a Happy Independence day!

To help celebrate the day, our friends at Astraware, Handmark's games division, has once again posted their free Handmark Fireworks application!

Handmark Fireworks features a selection of patriotic backgrounds including the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the Stars and Stripes, and offers a choice of stirring tunes including the Star Spangled Banner and Stars and Stripes Forever!

Handmark Fireworks is available for Windows Mobile and BlackBerry smartphones and for iPhone and iPod touch. (Sorry BlackBerry owners - this time round you'll have to hum your own marches! This edition of Fireworks for BlackBerry does not include music.)

What better way to celebrate 4th of July than with some Fireworks? Download your copy today - it's available for a limited time only!

Download your free copy of Fireworks by using one of the links below:

Apple iPhone and iPod touch
BlackBerry Smartphones (non-touchscreen, touch screen)
Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen)
Windows Mobile Smartphone (non-touchscreen)

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Astraware Solitaire Comes to BlackBerry














Handmark recently announced the release of Astraware Solitaire - its award-winning solitaire games pack for BlackBerry smartphones.

This highly acclaimed games pack, created by Astraware - the Handmark Game Studio, includes 12 of the most well-known single player card games selected from customer feedback. These games include Klondike, Pyramid, Spider, Clock, and Yukon.

Astraware Solitaire boasts a range of exclusive, must-have features including:
  • Fully customizable game play allowing customers to use their chosen rule set for each game
  • 'Mirror' layout - an essential feature for one-handed use
  • Choice of card face, including an option suitable for those with visual impairments
  • Detailed statistics for players who love to track their wins
  • Golden Trophy Deck reward system which players can unlock as they play

"Of all the mobile Solitaire games I've ever played, Astraware Solitaire delivers the best user experience," said Cassidy Lackey, VP of Handmark Studios. "It has all the card games I love to play and it's the perfect game for those spare moments when I'm waiting at the airport or between meetings."

Astraware Solitaire is available for the BlackBerry Storm smartphone and all BlackBerry smartphones with a trackball. It is immediately available to download at www.handmark.com or www.astraware.com for $9.95 and will soon be available on BlackBerry App World. For more information visit http://www.astraware.com/blackberry/solitaire.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Palm Pre First Impressions

What a day June 6, 2009 has been! Today is the day that the totally new Palm Pre smartphone began shipping. The Pre is truly an amazing phone and it’s heart and soul is Palm webOS.

The Good

I’m not the first to say it and I won’t be the last. Throw everything you know about Palm the company, Palm OS, and the the old non-Windows Mobile Treo smartphones out the window. This is not your father’s Palm, Inc. There is an entirely new management team at Palm and it comes shining through with the Pre and Palm webOS.

The Pre is smaller than the Treo 750/755p, though the most recent Windows Mobile phone from Palm, the Treo Pro, is thinner and taller. The Pre feels great in your hand. I found it much easier to hold than my Apple iPod touch. When compared with my recently deactivated BlackBerry Curve 8330, the Pre is almost the same size when the keyboard is closed. (When the Pre keyboard is open, the Pre is about an inch to an inch and half taller than the Curve 8330.)

I was completely and totally blown away by the phenomenal screen on the Pre. When I picked up the demo unit this morning at the Sprint store I thought that it was one of those plastic display shells...until the Quick Launch bar moved! Even now, some 12 hours later, I’m still amazed by how bright and vivid the screen is! My Saturdays are often filled with lots of family activities and today I found myself outside for most of the afternoon. Direct sun light shouldn’t be a problem for most people. During a t-ball game, I was able to work with my recently imported Google contacts, read email, and review some Word document attachments. All in all, the screen is just fantastic and is every bit as good as the screen found on the iPhone and iPod touch.

The Pre, like some of it’s distant cousins the Tungsten T, T2, and T3, has a slider that reveals a full, hardware, Qwerty keyboard. The keys are very similar to those used on the Treo Pro and Centro smartphones. I found the keys on the Pre to be about equal size across the BlackBerry Curve 8330, Treo 750/755p, and the Treo Pro. I like the Pre’s keyboard because the keys are big enough for me to type on and they jelly-like keys keep your fingers or nails from sliding off the key caps. Some of the early reviews warned of a problem pressing the keys on the outside of the keyboard because of the ridge around the keyboard. I can see why some people have written that about the Pre. After typing out text messages, emails, and updating my address book, I can say that I’m not going to have a big problem with it. Results will vary, obviously. As for the sliders itself, I’m OK with it for now. The jury is going to be out on the slider easily for 6-12 months. The slider is firm and snaps open and closed. But the thirty or so times I opened and closed the slider is no indication on how it will work over the long haul of daily usage. For now, I’m satisfied with the slider and this is coming from someone who is not a fan of sliders.

The 3.0MP camera and speaker phone work well, however, I only played with them for a few minutes. Since I find myself spending at least a quarter of my work week in meetings, I’m glad to see that Palm has kept the ringer switch that has been so popular on the Treo and Centro on the Pre. Folks who like to use their phones as media players should also be happy to learn that the Pre uses a standard 3.5mm headphone jack which is located at the top of the device.

Palm webOS looks great! The graphical elements embody the user interface that Palm OS fans have been demanding for years. The fonts used in Palm webOS are stunning! The fonts are as crisp as you would expect on the printed page. Palm’s web browser is just as good as Safari on the iPhone/iPod touch.

People who have used the iPhone and iPod touch will be able to use the gestures built into Palm webOS with a minimal learning curve. The gestures that you are familiar with in Safari for the most part work the same way in webOS. Transitions from portrait to landscape mode is fluid and responds well.

Palm has paid tribute to Palm OS in webOS. One such way is the inclusion of the Quick Launch bar that I mentioned briefly already. People familiar with Palm’s older Palm OS handhelds and Treo smartphones will quickly realize that the the Quick Launch bar is the digital version of the old hardware keys. Since the Pre only has the center button on the face of the device, Palm felt it was important to customers to have a speedy way to access their most used applications. Like the old hardware buttons, the digital buttons are also customizable by dragging icons out of and into the Quick Launch bar. You are limited to four buttons; the fifth button, the Launcher button, can not be changed out.

There are lots of other cool features in webOS that I haven’t yet really played with including the Backup application, Bluetooth devices, Media Sync with iTunes support, and Palm Desktop data migration. (There is a one-time, one-way migration option for Palm Desktop and Outlook users to push data into their Pre phones. Stay tuned for more on that later on.)

The Not So Good

The Pre is Palm’s most eagerly awaited smartphone. But it is not without things that I find really annoying. First up is the case itself. This is probably the worst Palm phone of all time (at least of all the Palm devices that I’ve owned or used; and that is over 30) for collecting finger prints and other smudges. You will want to find a nice soft cloth to keep at home or in your office so you can clean down the phone’s display area. I’m going to seriously consider getting a screen protector for the Pre when they become available from third-party accessory makers.

The door on the microUSB port used to charge and connect the Pre to your computer as a USB mass storage device is really hard to get open the first few times. Once you do get it open, you will have a hard time getting the door to lay perfectly flush with the right edge of the phone. Pre comes with 8GB of on-board memory, After loading some data and a few apps from Palm’s App Catalog, I have 7.2GB of usable storage space left. There are no memory expansion slots on the Pre. I would have liked to seen the Pre ship either with more built-in memory, say 16GB, or have a microSDHC card slot. Now that we know that Pre will sync with iTunes in a similar manner as the iPhone or iPod, 8GB seems a bit cramped. I can easily fill up my iPod touch’s 16GB of storage space when I’m traveling for work with music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and applications. I think that for the demanding Palm user, 8GB of non-expandable memory is going to be a problem. To get around this, Pre owners should consider streaming their music or videos if possible. (This is an area of the Pre that I haven’t really delved into yet; syncing with iTunes and streaming media to the Pre.)

In Conclusion

To sum up the Pre, I think many Palm fans are going to be happy with it. Yes, Palm webOS is completely different from Palm OS 5 and the Palm Desktop and HotSync Manager software no longer work. I think that once you migrate your data to the Pre, those applications won’t be missed except to the die hard Palm Desktop users.

The Pre’s hardware is organic and modern. It looks and feels great in your hand. Personally, I would have liked it if Palm continued to use the soft touch paint that was used on the Treo 750/755p and the “enhanced” Sprint Centros. I liked the “gripability” of the soft touch paint and it would have helped cut down on the collection of fingerprints and smudges along the side and back of the device.

All-in-all, I think you will be happy with the Pre. If you have never used a smartphone before, you will definitely want to take advantage of Sprint’s in-store training on the device. Seriously, new Palm customers should take the 15 minute class. It is free and well worth your time if you want to get the most out of your new phone.

The Pre is available now from Sprint retail locations and select authorized resellers, including Best Buy. With a new or extended 2-year service agreement with Sprint, the new Palm Pre sells for $299 with a $100 mail-in rebate.

For more information, visit the Palm website.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mark/Space Introduces Missing Sync Business Edition

Mark/Space has just informed us that they have released The Missing Sync Business Edition.

The Missing Sync Business Edition is a premium service being provided by Mark/Space that gives corporate customers some nice perks. Customers who opt to by a Business Edition license will receive:
  • A license to install the Missing Sync desktop software on two computers
  • Software upgrades and updates for the year
  • Access to the software upgrade subscription page
  • Priority email support with a 4-hour response window with priority queuing
I like that Mark/Space has included, along with their other services, a license to install the desktop software on two computers. It is always a dilemma for corporate IT departments and business customers to justify extra software licenses for second computers whether they are a corporate issued desktop and notebook, or company computer and a home computer. With the Business Edition of The Missing Sync, customers and IT shops are able to legally install any of the Missing Sync desktop software editions on two computers.

The Missing Sync desktop software is available for BlackBerry, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Nokia and Symbian smartphones.

The Missing Sync Business Edition is available now and sells for $89.95 and can be purchased from the Mark/Space online store.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Sprint/Nextel Releases MR2 for BlackBerry 8350i


















Late on Friday afternoon, Sprint/Nextel released Maintenance Release 2 (MR2) for the Nextel BlackBerry 8350i.

Shortly after it's initial release, issues where discovered with the long awaited Nextel phone. Sprint and RIM are finally showing 8350i customers some love with MR2. According to a post on Sprint's discussion forums, MR2 addresses the following issues:
  • Echo Issue
  • MMS Improvements
  • 1.) Remove original message when replying*
  • 2.) Cursor now defaults to the message body when replying
* Quiet and Vibrate Profiles will move Nextel Direct Connect calls to handset

Customers that have already upgraded to the 4.6.1.128 (225) software version will be able to complete this upgrade over the air. The upgrade will take approximately 60 minutes.

That's good news. However, a few hours after releasing MR2, Sprint discovered that a service book update after the device software update was still required.
"The one issue we said would be fixed with MR2 that was not immediately fixed was: Remove Original Message when replying to a text message. This fix requires the download of MR2 and a service book push to your device. Sprint conducted some additional testing on the service book push this week and today sent approval to RIM.

When this fix is available RIM will push it to all devices and it will just require you to reset your device to see the change.

We estimate this push to be out by April 10."
So it sounds like Sprint/Nextel customers who have the BlackBerry 8350i should hold off applying the update until at least this coming Friday, April 10th. If you are one of the brave readers who have forged ahead with this update, let us know how you made out by leaving a comment.

BlackBerry Device Software 4.6.1.204 (316) [aka MR2] can be downloaded directly from the Sprint BlackBerry 8350i downloads page. You can also download the latest edition of the BlackBerry Desktop software 4.7 and the older BlackBerry Device Software 4.6.1.128 update [aka MR1] from the same page.

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Rumor: New GSM BlackBerry Devices


In addition to yesterday's Verizon HTC Touch Diamond news, BoyGeniusReport.com operatives also got some dirt on new RIM BlackBerry GMS devices that are under development.
"[O]ne of our ninjas just hit us up with some really interesting BlackBerry info. While the specs of the following codenames are confirmed, releases are not, and as such, this should be used for information sake. Here’s what we got: BlackBerry Onyx, BlackBerry Driftwood, BlackBerry Magnum.

Now, those are three different devices with practically the same rough specs. We’d wager than the BlackBerry Magnum and Driftwood are the same device just meant for different carriers. Possibly the Driftwood for T-Mobile let’s say, and the Magnum for AT&T (who doesn’t offer UMA). Is that the BlackBerry with touch screen and physical QWERTY? Probably."
Head over to BoyGeniusReport.com for the full article including the rumored device specs.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

BlackBerry App World Goes Live











Research In Motion has launched BlackBerry App World; their online vehicle for delivering new applications, both free and paid, directly to customer's Berry.

System Requirements

Before you can use App World on your BlackBerry, you need to meet the following system requirements.

To ensure that your BlackBerry smartphone will support BlackBerry App World, it must have the following system requirements:
  1. BlackBerry Device Software version 4.2 or higher
  2. BlackBerry smartphones with trackballs or SurePress touch screen
  3. BlackBerry App World is only available to customers in US, Canada and UK and may not be available on all networks
  4. To use BlackBerry App World, you require a service plan that includes access to the BlackBerry Browser
You will also need to setup a PayPal account.

Installing App World on Your Berry

If you meet the requirements, use your Berry to surf over to www.blackberry.com/appworld/download to load up the new on-device application to get started. Want to learn more about App World? Check out this spiffy video or visit the App World support site.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Astraware Games Promotion

Our friends at Handmark/Astraware dropped us a line to let us know that they are running a special on some of their popular games for mobile devices. You can snag yourself a copy of Astraware Sudoku, Casino, Boardgames, or Solitaire for $4.95 each!

"From now until midnight on 31st March 2009, our award-winning Astraware Sudoku, Astraware Casino, Astraware Boardgames and Astraware Solitaire are all available for the very special price of just $4.95 each! That's a saving of $5 off the new regular price of $9.95.

To get these special prices, visit www.astraware.com, add the games to your cart and click buy - the discounts are already applied!

Whilst you're in the mood for saving, our colleagues at Handmark are having a site-wide Buy One, Get One Free sale until 29th March. To take advantage, visit www.handmark.com, and use the discount code DEMAND."

My kids and I love playing Astraware Boardgames on my iPod touch. I've played all of the games that are on sale right now and I really enjoy playing them while I'm on the go. For more details, check out the Astraware website.

Related Item: Astraware Casino Review

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Astraware Sudoku for BlackBerry














Astraware, Handmark's Game Studio, has released Astraware Sudoku for BlackBerry smartphones.
Recognised by many as the best mobile Sudoku game for a range of smartphones, Astraware Sudoku includes all the features avid Sudoku players want. The game includes the highly acclaimed OTA Puzzle of the Day that allows players to download a puzzle for each difficulty level from the Sudoku of the Day webserver each day and on completion submit their time to see how they compare to other players worldwide! The BlackBerry and Palm versions of Astraware Sudoku also enable players to download packs of puzzles at multiple difficulty levels as and when required, so players never need worry about running out of puzzles.

Astraware Sudoku includes a wide range of assistance including a Sudoku solver, manual and automatic pencilmarks, a smart hints system to give players helpful guidance without just showing the solution, and hold-and-highlight for locating particular numbers or groups. Players can use these features to learn how to play Sudoku, improve their game and progress to higher difficulty levels!

To coincide with this release, Astraware Sudoku for BlackBerry, Palm OS and Windows Mobile has been reduced to the new regular price of $9.95, but to celebrate the release players can grab a copy for just $4.95 for a limited time from Astraware.com and Handmark.com!

For more information, check out the Astraware website.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Documents To Go for BlackBerry Review







DataViz has recently released Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry (link), version 1.006. I have been working with Documents To Go on my BlackBerry Curve 8330 for about a month now. Documents To Go is my "gotta have it" application for all of my mobile devices and my expectations for the new BlackBerry edition where going to be high.

Most new BlackBerry smartphones will come with Documents To Go Professional preinstalled. Existing BlackBerry customers must be running BlackBerry OS 4.5 or later before they can install and use the software. Sprint customers will have the Professional Edition installed on their Berry when they upgrade to BlackBerry OS 4.5 or later. If you are not sure what version of the BlackBerry OS your device has, please consult your owner’s manual or contact your wireless carrier for assistance. DataViz has posted an article on their blog to help customers download BlackBerry OS updates if they need them.

As with all of the other editions of Documents To Go, you can read, create, and modify Microsoft Office documents created with versions 97-2008 on the Windows or Mac OS X platforms. A list of key features for Documents To Go for BlackBerry can be found on the DataViz website.

If you have used Documents To Go before, say on a Palm OS Centro, you will find yourself at home with the BlackBerry edition.

Word To Go, the application that I use the most in the suite, has a clean interface that allows you to focus on the open document. Pressing the BlackBerry button will conjure up a menu of commands, including one for the online Help system. DataViz’s InTact Technology ensures that your document’s formatting remains the same on your desktop computer after it has been modified on the BlackBerry. Another great feature of Documents To Go for BlackBerry is the ability to email your current document. After selecting “Send via Email” from the application’s pop-up menu, you are presented with a standard email compose screen with your document already included as the attachment. This is a great time saving feature if you email Office documents to customers or coworkers frequently.

DataViz has also done a great job tuning the PDF To Go application. PDF To Go has received a considerable speed boost with this release. My BlackBerry Curve 8330 was able to open my sample PDF file twice as fast when compared to my Palm Treo 750 and 755p. The Curve took 15 seconds to open and render my 6 page document. The same document took 30 seconds on the Treo. If you press the scroll wheel while reading a PDF document, a contextual menu pops open and gives you access to the Zoom, Next, and Previous page commands. If you are reading the document from the top of the page to the bottom, this may not seem like a bid deal. However, when you need to skim though the document, the BlackBerry interface for next page/previous page is nicer than on other platforms.

Slideshow To Go and Sheets To Go also performed well with my sample documents. A 25 page PowerPoint 2007 presentation rendered the way that I expected. Interestingly, the yellow slide title text appeared as black; which to me is only a minor issue. (This may have been an operator error as I’ve only had Office 2007 for about three weeks.) Changing to a new slide and zooming in and out on a slide was fast. Once you have zoomed in on a slide, you use the trackball to scroll around. Slider sorter is a new feature that people who use PowerPoint often will appreciate.

In my tests, Sheets To Go did a good job of handling my parts lists and inventory sample spreadsheets. It did have some trouble with a spreadsheet that was setup as a form. In my test file, I had a number of cells with word wrap turned on in Excel that did not wrap in Sheets To Go. This could be a problem if you are using spreadsheet-based forms on your mobile. When you bring the file back to the desktop computer, the original document formatting is maintained, thanks to the InTact engine.

Customers who are migrating from the Palm OS platform should be aware that the BlackBerry edition of Documents To Go does not have a desktop application for synchronizing documents. If you want to transfer files between your BlackBerry’s storage card and your desktop computer, you will need to use the phone’s drive mode and copy files to and from the card.

In conclusion, DataViz has hit another home run with their new version of Documents To Go for the BlackBerry. The InTact Technology does a superb job of keeping the look and feel of the original document after it has been modified on the mobile device. The application navigation is easy to learn and use. DataViz’s Documents To Go will turn your smartphone into a powerful, work from anywhere solution. Berry addicts are going to gain a lot of utility from this must have application.

Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry can be purchased for $69.99. Upgrades from a previous edition of Documents To Go costs $29.99. For more information about the Documents To Go family of products, visit the DataViz website.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Telus Flips for BlackBerry 8239

According to a post on the Boy Genius Report website today, Canadian cellular carrier, Telus Mobility, is now offering the new BlackBerry Flip 8230 smartphone. BGR writes:
"Starting at $49.99 on a three-year contract and going all the way up to $449.99 contract-free, TELUS is hoping the youth market in Canada will receive the clam shell smartphone with open arms — especially younger females considering TELUS’ nation-wide media campaign featuring the all pink Pearl Flip."

Read the full Boy Genius Report article...

[via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

BlackBerry App World - Coming Soon




Last night's big news from Research In Motion was that their mobile application store front, App World, is "coming soon."
"Coming soon! Find tons of great applications designed for your BlackBerry smartphone in one convenient place - BlackBerry App World. Personalize your BlackBerry smartphone with games, social networks, personal productivity applications and so much more. Message your best friend, track the stock market, or channel your inner rock god. Sign up to receive updates for BlackBerry App World today and discover how to put more of your life on your BlackBerry smartphone."
According to the BlackBerry website, App World will require that you have a Berry that has OS 4.2 or later installed and a device with a trackball or a SurePress touch screen device.

For more details, check out:

http://www.blackberry.com/appworld

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