AT&T intros four new Quick Messaging devices, new low-end device services

By on March 15, 2010 at 6:23 AM.

AT&T intros four new Quick Messaging devices, new low-end device services

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First up is the Samsung Strive. Available March 21st for $19.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate (pricing reflects a limited-time AT&T promotion), the Strive features a sliding full-QWERTY keypad and a 2 megapixel camera. Second is the Samsung Sunburst. Also available on the 21st but for $39.99 after a $50 MIR, the Sunburst is a candybar touchscreen that features widgets which offer one touch access to frequently used services like SMS and social media sites. Other than that, all we know at present is the Sunburst also has GPS capabilities. Although pictures, pricing and specific release dates have not been announced, AT&T also announced two devices from Pantech in the Link and Pursuit. The Link, which will be available in the coming weeks, is described as an “ultra slim and light, full keyboard quick messaging phone” that has a wide range of social media capabilities. As for the Pursuit, it has both a touchscreen and sliding QWERTY keypad and its camera of unknown megapixelage supports facial recognition and geotagging. It will be available this summer. More →

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RIM releases BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0

By on November 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM.

RIM releases BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0

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For us to say that RIM has a good track record when it comes to pushing out desktop software would be something of a lie, but over the past few months things have gotten steadily better (it was only two months ago BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac was finally released). The latest software to be released is an update to BlackBerry Media Sync. Now in its third incarnation, BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0 doesn’t exactly offer much in the way of new features save for one thing that should have been included all along: 2-way synching of photos for PC users. Here’s what else has changed:

PC to BlackBerry sync:
•          Add folders for syncing with option to optimize pictures for device
•          Smart memory management: optimizes photo size, allowing for storage of more pictures on device
BlackBerry to PC Import:
•          Media Sync alerts users when new pictures are available to import when device is connected to PC (via pop-up on the pictures tab)

Highlights of Music sync with BlackBerry Media Sync:
•         Sync Options include specific playlists or random music
•         iTunes & Windows Media Player compatible
•         Supports all media capable BlackBerry smartphones

We’ve been messing around with an advanced copy of the software for the past few days and have only two bite-sized thoughts to share: syncing pictures is incredibly slow, but everything else is noticeably faster.

Want to grab the update? BlackBerry Media Sync 3.0 will be available today at noon EST from http://www.blackberry.com/mediasync. Just make sure that you’re running Windows XP SP2 or OS X 10.5.5 or later.

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webOS 1.3.1 now available

By on November 14, 2009 at 9:52 AM.

webOS 1.3.1 now available

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WebOS junkies on Bell and Sprint should set aside some time this morning for an OS update, as webOS 1.3.1 has gone live. Sitting pretty at 126MB, some very useful changes have been made apart from the usual bug fixes. iTunes is not supported, but Synergy now includes Yahoo! contact and calendar sync while Sprint users now have Yahoo! IM. Forwarding and copying of a single SMS/IM message is now a go as is the ability to set unique ringtones for new messages while videos shot in widescreen are no longer automatically panned and scanned  There’s a bunch more that we’re not even going to bother getting into, so for the few of you that get kicks out of reading change logs, there are some links you might want to check out after the jump.

More →

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BlackBerry BIS 2.8 feature list comes to light

By on August 28, 2009 at 9:20 AM.

BlackBerry BIS 2.8 feature list comes to light

BlackBerry users, rejoice — it appears as though BIS will soon be upgraded to version 2.8 and a couple of long-awaited changes are coming along with it. BerryReview got its hands on an alleged change log for BIS 2.8, an update it says will begin rolling out on or around September 10th, and a few gems are found within:

  • Two-way wireless synchronization with Google Mail Contacts* and the Address Book on the BlackBerry smart phone:
    • Synchronize Google Mail contacts quickly and easily to the BlackBerry smart phone
    • Add or edit Contacts and the Contacts are automatically updated, whether they are updated on the computer or BlackBerry smart phone
    • Note: Two-way wireless Contact synchronization with Google Mail Contacts requires BlackBerry® Device Software 5.0 and configuration through email settings on the BlackBerry smart phone.  Additional requirements and constraints may be found within the BlackBerry Internet Service 2.8 Documentation Kit. This feature is not supported on BlackBerry smart phones with BlackBerry® Connect™ software.
  • Enhancements to email setup and settings:
    • Automatic Login now supports most billing identifiers, which allows new subscribers with wireless service providers that use PIN, IMEI, or ESN as a billing identifier to create BlackBerry Internet Service accounts from the BlackBerry smart phone, without having to create a login user name and password
    • Note: This feature will be available approximately one week after the BlackBerry Internet Service upgrade.
  • Windows Live Hotmail revalidation:
    • With BlackBerry Internet Service 2.8, new Windows Live Hotmail mail integrations will be defaulted to a protocol that is designed so as not to require 90 day reauthorization.
    • Note: Existing BlackBerry smart phone users accessing Windows Live Hotmail using Microsoft MSP will still be required to revalidate their Windows Live Hotmail account every 90 days.

Two-way Gmail contact sync will apparently not be push, but a scheduled sync every four hours. Fair enough — the integrated solution is still preferable over third party solutions. Either way, we’re much more interested in seeing two-way read status sync added across all IMAP accounts but that’s an entirely different post. Last item of note: OS 5.0 will be required for some of the functionality listed above, which could be a pretty solid indication of an imminent roll out.

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Palm releases webOS 1.1, fixes iTunes sync; unofficial change log assembled

By on July 24, 2009 at 9:33 AM.

Palm releases webOS 1.1, fixes iTunes sync; unofficial change log assembled

And so the cat and mouse game continues — Palm found a loop hole that would allow it to provide Pre iTunes syncing out of the box… Apple said it would plug the hole… Palm said go for it, big guy… Apple plugged the hole… Palm found a new hole and re-enabled iTunes syncing with last night’s webOS 1.1 release. Can anyone guess what will happen next? Now worries though, as webOS 1.1 brings with it plenty of new features and functionality beyond iTunes syncing, such as several additions to Exchange support including remote wipe, PIN/password requirements, inactivity timeout, improved certificate handling, and more. Beyond that, a bevy of undocumented changes were outed last night as well. Hit the jump for the full list.

More →

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Syncplicity to withdraw Mac beta; Mac support killed as of July 31st

By on July 18, 2009 at 2:00 PM.

Syncplicity to withdraw Mac beta; Mac support killed as of July 31st

Now this is some news we’re most definitely not happy to report. Back in February we told you about Syncplicity, an awesome sync solution that, in our opinion, is far superior to any competing product. In a nutshell, Syncplicity allows users to mirror any folder on a computer (in two clicks) with an always-in-sync online copy, “in the cloud”. Folders can also by synced across computers and shared with anyone in just a few clicks. Syncplicity had just opened its Mac beta when we covered it and since then it has become a staple on every system that hits BGR HQ. Unfortunately, bad news struck our inbox this past Thursday that will change all that:

Our engineering team has recently completed a ground-up analysis of the Mac beta client and the investigation found some issues which require some major changes in the client. Because of this, we’ve decided to pull back the Mac client beta until which point the engineering team has time to make some major changes. We intend to reassess our engineering schedule early next year.

Unfortunately, this does mean that as of July 31st, you will no longer be able to use Syncplicity with a Mac computer.

We truly strive to have Beta software become Final Release software. In the case, we felt the Mac beta client didn’t meet our standards for quality. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you, and I thank you for participating in the trial period.

If you have any questions or concerns, I invite you to email me at macbeta@syncplicity.com.

The line, “We intend to reassess our engineering schedule early next year” has us particularly worried as it leads us to believe the company won’t even begin serious work on the Mac client until some time in 2010. Ouch. While Syncplicity’s Windows solution will remain alive and well and we’ll continue to use it on our Windows boxes, it looks like Mac is down for the count until some time next year. If you’re a Syncplicity user with a Mac, make sure you have everything in order so you’re not blindsided when the lights go out two weeks from now on July 31st.

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iTunes 8.2.1 kills Palm Pre syncing

By on July 15, 2009 at 2:32 PM.

iTunes 8.2.1 kills Palm Pre syncing

Well Pre fans, at least you knew it was coming. Word is trickling out that Apple has made good on its ‘threat’ and with the release of iTunes 8.2.1, so goes the Pre’s ability to sync. Palm said in its statement that users should consider holding off on upgrading and if you’re a big fan of out-of-the-box iTunes syncing that’s probably a good idea. The question now is whether or not Palm will end up in a cat and mouse game with Apple (finding a way around Apple’s fix, waiting for the new exploit to be plugged, etc) that plenty of devs are familiar with. Don’t take it too hard though, Palm fans, as there are definitely other options when it comes to getting your iTunes library synced up with your Pre.

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Palm responds to Apple's threats regarding the death of unsupported iTunes syncing

By on June 17, 2009 at 2:51 PM.

Palm responds to Apple's threats regarding the death of unsupported iTunes syncing

It was no mystery that when Apple issued a recent statement regarding unsupported third-party devices claiming to support iTunes sync, it had Palm squarely in its sights. Apple’s position on the matter:

Apple is aware that some third-parties claim that their digital media players are able to sync with Apple software. However, Apple does not provide support for, or test for compatibility with, non-Apple digital media players and, because software changes over time, newer versions of Apple’s iTunes software may no longer provide syncing functionality with non-Apple digital media players.

In other words, Apple will likely find a way to kill Palm’s workaround and prevent the Pre from syncing with iTunes. Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox’s response:

Palm’s media sync works with the current version of iTunes. If Apple chooses to disable media sync in a future version of iTunes, it will be a direct blow to their users who will be deprived of a seamless synchronization experience. However, people will have options. They can stay with the iTunes version that works to sync their music on their Pre, they can transfer the music via USB, and there are other third-party applications we could consider.

It looks like Palm isn’t going to publicly state that it’s prepared to play a cat and mouse game with Apple — issuing firmware updates with workarounds each time Apple kills the functionality — but we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what ends up happening. Instead, Palm is going with the Apple hates you unless you buy Apple products argument; a solid position, albeit useless. In any event, don’t start crying on your Pre just yet as there are a few other options when it comes to getting iTunes music on your webOS wonder.

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But, every phone can sync with iTunes…

By on May 30, 2009 at 8:30 AM.

But, every phone can sync with iTunes…

Yesterday, news that the Palm Pre was capable of synchronizing content with iTunes hit just about every tech and gadget blog on the planet. In fact, it even reached mainstream media blogs that typically shy away from little tidbits. Really? Fair enough — it’s pretty cool for Pre proponents to know that their future handsets will sync with iTunes out of the box. The level of excitement over this story got us thinking though… If people are this excited that the Pre can sync with iTunes, does that mean they think many current handsets cannot sync with iTunes?

If the answer is yes, that is most definitely not the case. While it is indeed true that many handsets lack the ability to sync with iTunes out of the box, it’s 2009, people — there’s an app for that. There are many, many solutions for syncing your phone with iTunes in fact; from OEM and Apple-sourced solutions to third party plug-ins and utilities. Here at BGR we have two apps in particular that we are fond of, both developed by third-parties: iTunes Agent for Windows PCs and iTuneMyWalkman for Mac.

Without getting too into the particulars, both of these awesome free applications allow you to sync iTunes with any device capable of connecting as a drive. Smartphones, dumb phones, flash drives or even digital cameras if you’re so inclined — if it has a mass storage mode, you can sync it. Several OEM options are a bit cleaner in terms of appearance and dedicated functionality but none are as universal the aforementioned apps. Since we go through phones like they’re candy, we can’t be bothered with 10 different OEM sync solutions. Even if you only get a new phone every year though, why bother with learning new sync software if you change brands? So, if you’ve been looking for a way to sync your phone with iTunes quickly, easily and even automatically, definitely give our recomendations a shot and let us know what you think.

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BlackBerry Media Sync 2.0 updated to support Windows Media Player

By on March 25, 2009 at 3:10 PM.

BlackBerry Media Sync 2.0 updated to support Windows Media Player

Now that it supports album art, Vista 64-bit and there’s a public beta for Mac users, RIM just let us know that BlackBerry Media Sync 2.0 has been updated to support Windows Media Player and will be available as of 4PM EST. For those of you who have a BlackBerry and have yet to try out BlackBerry Media Sync 2.0, the program allows you to fill your ‘Berry with music via iTunes — and now Windows Media Player — making it unnecessary to manually load MP3 files onto your device like in days of old. If you already have BlackBerry Media Sync 2.0, you will be prompted to upgrade automatically. For everyone else you can hit up www.blackberry.com/mediasync on your desktop.

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Microsoft’s SkyBox site reveals cloud backup service details

By on February 6, 2009 at 9:25 AM.

Microsoft’s SkyBox site reveals cloud backup service details

Well it’s not MWC time yet, and the security exception we encountered on the way to the site suggests it’s not quite ready for prime time, but Microsoft’s SkyBox site has gone live in a very early state. Now branded “My Phone”, the service provides syncing a la MobileMe to ensure that important data is always backed up. Unlike MobileMe, My Phone looks to be a mobile-only service and only affords 200 MB of remote storage. While that might be enough for mobiles it probably wouldn’t last 10 seconds on a PC. This begs the question… Why? Why isn’t Microsoft offering the whole enchilada? Maybe we’ll see a complete sync service offered under a different name but Windows Mobile users hoping SkyBox would be Microsoft’s answer to complete sync / backup competitors are apparently going to be disappointed. The installation and sign up pages are dead for the time being but there’s plenty of info to be had from the Find out more page. Other negative items of note: My Phone will not back up contacts, calendar or tasks if you use Exchange (consider that a confirmation of SkyLine), data on an external card cannot be backed up, documents outside of the My Documents folder won’t be backed up and you must have Windows Mobile 6+ to use the service. On the positive side, it’s free! Hit the jump for the full text from the more info page in case Microsoft pulls the site.

More →

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Syncplicity opens Mac beta, your data rejoices

By on February 2, 2009 at 7:45 AM.

Syncplicity opens Mac beta, your data rejoices

Mac users, rejoice – the cloud storage solution to end all cloud storage solutions is finally ready for public beta on OS X and trust us when we tell you, you’ll want to have a look. The Syncplicity founders might have Microsoft pedigree but that certainly doesn’t mean they can’t bang out a Mac build as full-featured and capable as the Windows client, and that is exactly what the Syncplicity team has done. For those completely unaware of the service, allow us to bring you up to speed. Syncplicity allows you to mirror any folder on your computer with an always-in-sync online copy, “in the cloud”. What’s more, Syncplicity can sync files and folders across multiple computers and folders can even be shared amongst different Syncplicity users. Folders can be designated for remote syncing in just two clicks from your right-click menu and anytime a file is altered in any synced folder, on any computer, the changes will automatically be synced across Syncplicity’s servers along with all other computers where the file is present. Oh, and did we mention you’ll also have access to all of your synced files and folders from any web browser on any computer or mobile phone? Recap: Any folder, anywhere, everywhere, automatically.

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New BES features for BlackBerry OS 5.0 outed

By on December 27, 2008 at 11:53 AM.

New BES features for BlackBerry OS 5.0 outed

It’s been a while since we gave the world its first look at BlackBerry OS 5.0, and now a list of available enhancements for BES users has surfaced. As long as everything is set up properly on the server-side of things, users will finally be able to have some features that they have long desired. In the past, to add, delete or edit a folder, one would have to do so through a computer. With 5.0 however, it will be possible to do this from the device. Users will also be able to store personal contacts separately from business contacts without having to resort to filters. Calendar options will have the option of being forwarded and sharing documents and media will be able to done through the Files application. On the Visual side of things, RIM is apparently working on a way to make emails sent from devices look as they would if they were sent from Outlook. As for when OS 5.0 will be made available, no one really knows but there is speculation that it will be acknowledged during Wireless Enterprise Symposium (WES) in April. Anyone taking bets?

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