Oh hello, WES week! This is already shaping up to be one hell of a nice week for BlackBerry users. Not only did RIM launch BES 5.0 this morning, but it also announced that BlackBerry developers who are members of the BlackBerry Alliance Program now have access to a new API intended to serve even more push content to end-users. In a nut shell, devs who utilize the new API will be able to create or update existing apps so that they push new content to users as soon as it becomes available. This basically negates the need for manual or timed polling. Imagine, for example, sitting in a boring meeting when your BlackBerry’s status indicator lights up. Your favorite sports app informs you Roy Halladay has just struck out David Ortiz with the bases loaded to clinch the AL East mere moments after it happens. With the new push API, your BlackBerry will be able to do this in the near future — and that’s a good thing.
You remember Peek, don’t you? Well the company is back and confident yet again that it’s going to take the world by storm with the new Peek Pronto. Retailing for $79.95, the Pronto ups the ante from its past offering by allowing users to manage up to five email accounts with push and support for PDFs, DOCs and pictures on a device with a full-QWERTY keypad, 8MB of internal memory and a 2.5″ QVGA 65,000-color display. As with the original Peek, the Pronto runs contract-free on T-Mobile’s GPRS network for $19.95 per month, which not only includes unlimited email but also unlimited text messages via an email gateway. So will the Pronto take off like its predecessor never did? Who knows, but one thing is for sure — if the new Peek Pronto is named Time Gadget of the Year, we might have to close up shop.
Don’t get us wrong – Android is great. It’s touch-friendly, functional, logical and shows a lot of promise. Truth be told however, it is still in its infancy and has a whole lot of growing up to do. Don’t believe us? Just ask any G1 owner still waiting on “cupcake”. Be that as it may, apps play a huge role in extending the functionality of any OS and a little announcement from SEVEN at MWC spells big news for Android users. SEVEN, creator of the like-named mobile email and PIM solution that is rebranded by countless carriers, has officially announced an Android beta. What does this mean for Android users? Email that doesn’t suck.
- Ultra-simple activation: same easy, two-click activation that’s available today from SEVEN on many devices can also be pre-configured for Android so that end-users only have to enter their email address and password.
- Support for business email: provides mobile subscribers with seamless and secure access to Microsoft Exchange or IBM Lotus Domino corporate email, which represents 80% of the corporate email services in use without installing any software behind the firewall.
- Easy access to popular Internet email: consumers have instant access to multiple accounts from popular providers such as AOL, Gmail, Microsoft Live Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo! and other internet email providers as needed to support local markets.
- Integrated contact management and search: for contacts stored on the device as well as remote contact lists from personal address books and corporate directories.
- Robust calendar support: ability to edit, delete and add appointments from personal or business calendars including Microsoft Exchange.
Having used the S60 version of SEVEN for quite some time, we know it as fast, reliable and always improving. As such, we expect the same out of the Android build and seriously doubt we’ll be disappointed. In terms of when the new beta will become available, look for it sometime in Q2 of this year.
Let’s face it — the Facebook for BlackBerry appication isn’t anything to write home about. Most everything it can do can be achieved through simple SMS commands, so it’s really nothing more than looking at an ugly face through some seriously strong beer goggles. When MySpace for BlackBerry was launched a lot of people were impressed with how much it could do, something that brought up feelings of resentment for how little the Facebook app can do. Thankfully word has reached the net that BlackBerry users will be able to upgrade to a revamped Facebook for BlackBerry, specifically version 1.5, in January 2009. Designed for tighter integration with the address book and calendar of the BlackBerry, users will be able to view and save friends phone numbers, birthdays, and events to their calendars. Pretty neat-o, but it really begs the question as to why this wasn’t implemented long ago.
It took a third-party developer to bring push HTML email support to the world’s most popular smartphone OS. We’re not sure how to feel about that but the bottom line is Dataviz has done what no one else could do to this point with the latest version of its widely-acclaimed Roadsync solution. Roadsync is not the first S60 application to support HTML email – ProfiMail by Lonely Cat Games has supported HTML email for a very long time – however this is certainly the first application to add HTML support to Exchange which is still one of the most popular mobile email / PIM sync facilitators in the world. Also, the native S60 email client kinda sorta attempts to provide a workaround by including the original HTML files it parses as attachments, allowing the user to open them in the S60 web browser. Regardless of whether or not you think that solution is laughable, the native email client doesn’t support Exchange. Nope, that just leaves RoadSync; one of the most popular Exchange solutions available for S60. It provides a direct connection to your Exchange server and supports active email sync, contact sync (with photo support), calendar sync, task sync, access to global address lists and even remote wiping. At $50 for a single user license, Roadsync is certainly not cheap. It does however, come with a more-than-ample 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee on top of that. In other words, you have 60 days to decide if Roadsync is right for you. Fair enough.
Since what some might characterize as disastrous beginnings, Apple has been relatively quiet about the MobileMe service it initially billed as the savior of sync. In fact, short of a leaked email from the Jobsinator to his team we’ve basically heard nothing of interest. Apparently that doesn’t mean Apple hasn’t been hard at work repairing the mess it created however, and details have now emerged that bring Apple’s recent efforts to light. Apple is typically pretty tight-lipped when it comes to change logs but seeing as MobileMe was a bit of a mess, the Cupertino crew has changed its tune a bit. A new support document published on Apple’s site details a pretty extensive list of changes and improvements that supposedly went into effect in late September. Why it waited until the end of October to make these changes known is a bit of a mystery but hey – at least Apple is giving us something. Does this mean MobileMe troubles are now a thing of the past? You tell us – we still won’t touch MobileMe with a 10-foot pole…
[Via Ars Technica]
Good news push addicts, BlackBerry Web Signals has finally launched. First announced October 21 at the BlackBerry Developers Conference, Web Signals delivers customizable push content to BlackBerry handsets from a host of media outlets such as Accuweather, CBC News, FOX News, The New York Times and Reuters. Once signed up for a service, any relevant news is pushed to your device meaning you don’t have to go searching for the latest news thus saving not only time but precious, precious battery life as well.
To sign up for BlackBerry Web Signals visit mobile.blackberry.com on your BlackBerry.
Once again, iPhone developers have been let down as Apple neglects to make good on yet another promise to its development community. This time however, the missed deadline is with regards to the promised push notification system – perhaps the most highly anticipated improvement that developers and users alike have been waiting for. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Apple does not allow apps to run background processes on the iPhone. Apps like IM, Facebook, Last.fm and Pandora are fun and all, but their usefulness almost disappears when you consider they can’t be minimized to the background. In other words, users can’t leave IM running to await new messages or listen to Last.fm in the background while they browse the web. Yes, ridiculous. While the push notification system Apple promised back in June isn’t the answer to all of the issues brought about by lack of background processes, it will alleviate some issues by providing a mechanism to alert users when remote content has changed. Fast forward to just over a week ago, we broke the news that Apple had made version 2.2 beta 1 of the iPhone OS available to developers and the timing was perfect. End of September… Here come push notifications just as SVP of iPhone software Scott Forstal promised! Yeah, not so much. We’re now three days deep into October with a week-old beta OS in the hands of developers and there’s still no sign of notifications. Oh well, maybe IM will be usable some time next month.
Emoze has been a top player in the push email realm for quite a while now. Known for its consistent victories in speed battles with Blackberry, Emoze can likely push new mail to your smartphone faster than any other option on the market. There have been a few drawbacks to the service in the past such as an automatically-added Emoze signature, support for only one email account at a time and handset limitations. The third item mentioned however, has been a point of focus for Emoze in recent history however. Beyond its Symbian support Emoze has added Windows Mobile and even the iPhone to its list of supported devices. As of next month dumb-phone users (sorry guys) will have the ability to push email to their handsets with the speed and efficiency of a smartphone. Made possible with the addition of a java client, Emoze will become one of the most accessible push solutions on the market. The java version will work on a variety of popular handsets from manufacturers like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia (S40) and will accompany several UI enhancements to all Emoze clients such as new graphics and screen rotation.