Although it has been available in a beta version for the past several weeks, BlackBerry Desktop Manager 2.0 for Mac had yet to be given an official release date by maker Research In Motion… that is, until today. RIM has made version 2.0 of its desktop suite for Mac official. The update brings with it Wi-Fi music syncing, a new device switch wizard, and the ability to import and sync both photos and videos with iPhoto and iTunes. Desktop Manager 2.0 clocks in at just north of 40MB and is available as we type. Hit the read link to download the new goodies. More →
Today, Research In Motion announced that it has “opened the BlackBerry App World vendor portal to begin accepting BlackBerry PlayBook apps from developers.” The company has yet to communicate a release date for the highly-anticipated tablet.
“Interest and momentum behind the BlackBerry PlayBook continues to build and we are thrilled with the positive response from both the developer community and our customers,” said Tyler Lessard, RIM’s VP of Global Alliances & Developer Relations. “We are very pleased to be working with developers in advance of the product launch and the opening of BlackBerry App World to accept BlackBerry PlayBook apps is an important next step.”
The press release also noted that developers who “submit a qualifying BlackBerry PlayBook app that is accepted into BlackBerry App World prior to the initial product launch in North America” will receive a free PlayBook for their efforts.
There you have it developers. Submit early, submit often, and stake your claim to a free PlayBook! More →
Today, Research In Motion announced that the cryptographic kernel of its BlackBerry 6 mobile operating system has earned the FIPS 140-2 security certification. FIPS, or Federal Information Processing Standard, is a classification used by the U.S. — and others — to validate the security of a computer system’s cryptographic services. The certification officially green-lights the OS for use by government employees handing “sensitive but unclassified” information. Just another security feather for RIM’s proverbial cap.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday we’re going to rewind time all the way back to 1993 (did you see what we did just there… try and keep up). Let’s take a trip down memory lane to try and get you into the proper frame of mind. In 1993: Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States, the band Ace of Base had a hot new single called The Sign, and Macaulay Culkin was regarded as an up-and-coming young actor… and still sane. In fact, you have a young Mr. Culkin and 20th Century Fox’s Home Alone franchise to thank for this product’s existence. Hit the jump to read more about… the Tiger Talkboy. More →
As you can clearly see, no, we didn’t snag the royal purple BlackBerry Style, but Sprint and RIM were nice enough to hook us up with a steel grey (also known as black) unit, and we’re up and running. After a quick Enterprise Activation, the emails are flowing like wine. But there are no beautiful women instinctively flocking like the salmon of Capistrano — yet. Here are some of our first impressions on the device we exclusively showed the world way back in April:
- It’s not as big as we figured it would be. The BlackBerry Style is a little thick, but not overly hefty, and definitely manageable.
- The keyboard is… not as great as we hoped, and expected, it to be. It’s good, more than usable, but it feels a bit like the Torch’s keyboard — not enough travel tactility. Maybe we’re spoiled by our Bold 9780, but even though the keyboard isn’t as good, it’s most probably better than your current phone’s QWERTY keyboard, so that’s a plus.
- The screen is just what you’d expect; you don’t really notice the fact it’s a lower-than-optimal resolution due to the fact that the screen size is much smaller than on the BlackBerry Torch. Also without a touch layer, the display looks a little thinner and sleeker. Colors look good, crisp, and clear.
- The external display by default when closed is a clock, and when you receive messages, you can simply page through them without having to open the handset, just like on the Pearl Flip. Definitely a nice feature.
- Here is what we’re not in love with in our limited time with the Style… talking on the phone. With the device flipped open, the ear speaker doesn’t fit right against your ear and face. It’s on a diagonal angle because the phone’s hinge sits under the body of the phone. For example, instead of the hinge forming a straight V-shape, the flip part sits under the main part of the phone, and this recessed hinge design doesn’t offer the most comfortable phone talking experience. We’ll let you know if we get used to talking on it more in our review.
- The camera is pretty decent, seems as if it’s the same sensor as the one in the BlackBerry Torch and the BlackBerry Bold 9780.
- There is a non-button in place of the left convenience key button and it’s kind of irritating. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because it looks like a button would work there, and you’re left with only the right convenience key as a result. [Update: it’s the cover for the microSD slot]
All in all, for a $99 (with contract) BlackBerry smartphone rocking 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, a 5 megapixel camera, BlackBerry OS 6, a QWERTY keyboard, and more, it does feel like an improvement over the Curve series in many ways. Especially for the younger, hipper demographic, the BlackBerry Style doesn’t feel too much out of place in that context. We just wish Sprint and RIM would have launched a slightly less expensive BlackBerry data plan (just email and BBM) with the Style — those high schoolers, and their parents, wouldn’t be able to resist the new 9670. It goes on sale October 31st on Sprint.
Back on the 14th of September, Verizon Wireless announced that the BlackBerry Curve 9330 would be available for purchase in the “coming weeks.” After almost a month, it looks like the time has finally come. Today, the Curve 9330 subtle appeared in the Verizon online store in a not-so-subtle fuchsia color. The device, which has 3G, Wi-Fi, and BlackBerry OS 5, will retail for $29.99 with a 2-year contract.
Thanks, Joe! More →
Hey, what do we have here? One of our Verizon sources was kind enough to send us this piece of intel regarding Verizon Wireless and BlackBerry 6. It looks like the company plans of having an “interactive launch” of the BlackBerry 6 operating system on Thursday, October 14. The word interactive makes us think that the actual software bits may not be available, however, at minimum, this indicates a BB6 launch is right around the corner. We’ll keep digging and report what we find.
If you’ve ever used a service like gazelle.com, you’ll be familiar with the new service Verizon Wireless is offering. The company has launched a trade-in program that will allow you to exchange your used (or abused) phone for a VZW gift card. Here’s how the service works: you go to http://www.trade-in.vzw.com and input the type of device you have (it does not have to be a Verizon device), you answer several questions about the devices condition (does it make calls, does the screen work, is the screen cracked), you then get an appraisal of what your device is worth and an option to have a pre-paid box shipped to you. You won’t get much in terms of compensation — a 32 GB black iPhone 4 will net you $212 — but the funds can be used towards your next Verizon Wireless device; there is also an option to donate the phone to charity. If you’re looking to pull the rip-cord on your current wireless provider, and want to jump to Big Red, it isn’t a bad option to have. Although, you probably would still make out a little better at gazelle.com. More →
Today, AT&T announced that they will begin selling the BlackBerry Curve 3G and BlackBerry Pearl 3G in time for the holiday buying season. The Curve 3G (9300) will be available on an unspecified date — before December 25 — and will retail for $99.99 with a new 2-year contract (no mail in rebate required). The Pearl 3G (9100) will be available starting October 17 in stores and online and will retail for $149.99 on-contract (again, no rebate required). The devices will add to AT&T’s BlackBerry lineup which also includes the Bold 9700 and Torch 9800. More →
Well, here is what we have confirmed: the keynote today, delivered by Mike Lazaridis, will focus on the next generation tablet OS platform. It won’t focus or really feature any hardware, unfortunately. Our source said it would be unlikely for RIM to announce the mysterious tablet device during a developer event. We agree. Is it possible there will be a shot of hardware on a slide during the presentation, or even a non-working device somewhere? It’s possible, but again, this will be about the platform, the developers, and software. Don’t count on a device announcement/availability.
Separately: we have heard the tablet OS is a pretty long way away from being completed. Also, the QNX-based OS that is rumored to extend to the traditional BlackBerry lineup is barely even started at this point; since internally it’s not confirmed that it will in fact power BlackBerry smartphones. We have also been told porting all of RIMs advancements like battery optimization, email compression, BES integration, etc. is a very tedious process.
Verizon Wireless is moving right along with its integration of Alltel. As of yesterday, January 16th, Verizon Wireless customers can now call and text message certain Alltel customers for free as part of Verizon’s IN Calling and IN Messaging. To find out if the Alltel number is supported, Verizon customers can go to Verizon’s new Mobile to Mobile web page. Unfortunately, Alltel customers will continue to be billed according to their current plan for calls placed to Verizon customers until the two companies have merged operations. Starting February 15th, Verizon will also drop the “IN” moniker and rename the service as Mobile to Mobile calling and Mobile to Mobile messaging. Say goodbye to all those catchy “IN” slogans!