Tag Archives: RIM

RIM to offer online video service for BlackBerry handsets?

According to NewTeeVee, RIM may be launching a new service that will allow BlackBerry owners to download TV episodes to their handsets. The service, possibly announced as soon as next week at CTIA, would require a monthly subscription fee and would provide unlimited downloads from a catalog of TV episodes licensed from several broadcast and cable companies. Once an episode is selected, the video content will supposedly be downloaded via Wi-Fi to the handset and stored locally for viewing on the go. Since the service uses Wi-Fi and not the cellular signal to download content, all Verizon Wireless and most Sprint Blackberry owners need not apply. Crazy…

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Peek announces the Pronto as RIM giggles like a schoolgirl

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.

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RIM and Apple gain more smartphone marketshare at Nokia’s expense

Pledge your smartphone loyalty to whatever brand you wish, but the fact of the matter remains that more and more people are leaving the Finnish juggernaut Nokia in favor of devices from RIM and Apple. During Q4 2008, Nokia’s overall market share fell from 50.9 percent to 40.8 percent and smartphone sales dipped a whopping 17 percent to 15.6 million units. As always, one company’s loss is another’s gain and no two companies highlighted this fact more than more than RIM and Apple. Both more or less doubled their smartphone market share, which now stand at 19.5 percent and 10.7 percent respectively. Apart from the big three, sales of HTC devices were up 20 percent while Samsung saw its sales increase by an amazing 138 percent to 1.6 million units. Still, they each only command modest stake in the smartphone market at 4.3 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. We’re hard-pressed to think of a time where there has been such a large shift in market share for any mobile phone segment, but then again this is the first economic meltdown to occur during the age of the smartphone which has in turn meant fewer new models to snap up.

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U2 ditches Apple, joins up with RIM

Apple and pop band U2 have long enjoyed a successful business relationship that proved to the world there is such a thing as an overwhelming display of smugness. It all started back in 2004 with the release of the iPod U2 Special Edition but now it looks like those days are over. RIM has signed on as official tour sponsor of U2’s upcoming “U2 360″ tour which will see U2 play in both Europe and North America. U2’s manager has already hailed this partnership as something that will foster a “shared vision”, but we’re not too sure we even want to know what that could possibly be.

There’s no official word yet on this one, but rumors are already circulating that John Mayer (who left Apple for a free BlackBerry Bold) is desperately trying to fill the void felt in Cupertino by winning back Apple’s heart via the sloppiest seconds the world has ever seen. Seeing as Mayer has no plans for a world tour let alone new album however, we doubt very much that Apple will take him back. Guess he’ll have to keep resorting to creative ways of earning income as the global recession has left his fanbase of pre-teens and pensioners without a penny to spare. Pitty.

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RIM’s app store shamelessly dubbed App World; developer site goes live tonight

It looks like RIM is finally taking a big step toward making its on-device app portal a reality. The developer site, blackberry.com/appworld, is set to go live at 10:00 pm EST and end-users will also be able to sign up for alerts at that time. As for the official name… App World. Yep, it’s fairly obvious that the App Store model works and competitors aren’t even bothering with trying to distinguish their offerings from the godfather. In fact by shamelessly copying the name of Apple’s portal, RIM is likely (and wisely) hoping potential customers immediately make the connection with the successful Apple shop and dive right in. So there you have it folks — the on-device App World portal will likely launch to users fairly soon so get those credit cards ready, recession be damned.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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RIM releases a quad-band 3G Bold… in Japan

Not to rub salt in the wounds of T-Mobile customers who are still crying out for a 3G BlackBerry, but not even the Mighty Magenta could pull off a feat the likes of what Japanese carrier DoCoMo did: convince RIM to add in a fourth band of 3G on the Bold. That’s right, the Japanese Bold that went on sale over the weekend is a quad-band 3G device containing the 2100, 1900, 850 and 800 MHz bands of UMTS/HSDPA. It was wise of RIM to omit this intel from its English press release of course, because it would definitely cause T-Mobile customers to start complaining about the Bold’s lack of of AWS 3G. And just for those of you who are wondering, the 800MHz UMTS/HSDPA band is a part of DoCoMo’s FOMA Plus Area network which is used in rural areas where the low-frequency spectrum is better able to navigate long distances and mountainous terrain. Tell us, T-Mobile 8900 users, are you green with envy that Japan got a special HSDPA band put into the Bold or is UMA enough for you?

Thanks, Jeff!

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RIM dishes the dirt on BIS 2.6

No doubt there were a lot of peeved BIS users the day RIM enabled BES 5, but don’t fret – RIM finally just took the wraps off the latest edition of BIS, albeit in a not-so-public way. Discussed in a Knowledge Base article, RIM highlighted a lot of the new features non-corporate BlackBerry users can look forward to. The bad news? Apart from complimentary one way syncing of Gmail accounts via IMAP instead of POP and the ability to edit signatures via the WAP browser, there is really nothing here to get excited about. Well, unless you’re Dutch. Hit the jump for the whole enchilada.

  • Display of password characters
    • BlackBerry smartphone users have the option to display password characters when configuring email addresses with the BlackBerry Internet Service. This feature makes it easier for BlackBerry smartphone users to integrate third-party email addresses, especially when using a BlackBerry smartphone with the SureType® input method.
  • Improved descriptive support and error messages
    • BlackBerry smartphone users that have integrated a third-party email account using Post Office Protocol (POP) receive a personal identification number (PIN) message that includes instructions on how to leave email messages on the messaging server for successful delivery to the BlackBerry smartphone.
  • Option to change signatures from the BlackBerry smartphone
    • BlackBerry smartphone users that use Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) automatic login can change the signatures for email messages using the BlackBerry smartphone.
  • Improved language support
    • Dutch is now an available language for the BlackBerry Internet Service 2.6.
  • Gmail integration using IMAP
    • BlackBerry Internet Service 2.6 uses Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) to integrate Gmail® webmail accounts. This integration protocol introduces the following benefits:

      • Elimination of sent email messages appearing as received email messages in the message list on the BlackBerry smartphone

      • One-way synchronization of read status, sent items, and deleted items.
    • To use these improvements, BlackBerry smartphone users must remove and reintegrate their Gmail webmail accounts.

Delighted? Disappointed? Think there’s something specific the company omitted? Feel free to hit the comments section and vent.

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RIM’s SurePress wins “Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough” award

It’s no big secret that industry awards are often nothing more than a sham with awards earmarked here and there so that each company can walk away with another excuse for a bad press release. Some of the awards given out this past Tuesday at the Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona however, are making us scratch our heads more than usual. We don’t mean to single out any companies in particular, but when we saw that RIM’s SurePress got the nod for the Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough we were absolutely flabbergasted. Breakthrough in what way? And don’t give us that whole “precision typing and navigation enables a whole [sic] range of applications and features that have not been possible on a touchscreen mobile device” spin that some random PR intern cooked up.

We honestly struggled for a long time to think of a single application for the Storm that is better than any of the alternatives for other touchscreen handsets and we simply couldn’t do it. Now before some of you go off and start whining about how “BGR hates BlackBerry” you should know how untrue that is — there’s room enough in our hearts and on our belts for all phones. If you knew how many BlackBerry devices we’ve owned (and still own) collectively, you’d know how much we love the ‘Berry. The simple fact of the matter is the more time we spend with SurePress the more frustrated we get with it.

We would love for a company to come up with a touchscreen that issued the same sensation one feels when typing on a physical keypad, but until it happens with a capacitive keypad we plain and simply aren’t interested in it. Why? Because technology such as SurePress slows down even the most basic tasks. Typing a quick email on the Storm can be rather frustrating as half of the time typing any text requires that you momentarily pause while the screen “clicks” and resets to its natural position, thus allowing you to type the next character. It’s definitely something that some people can live with, but we bet you would be shocked at the number of times we hear from people who have a Storm along with other touchscreen devices like the Touch Diamond, Omnia or iPhone and say they can no longer stand the Storm because of its keypad.

If only RIM would have set its sights less on trying to outdo Apple (denying the fact that RIM wanted the Storm to be an “iPhone” killer is preposterous) with gimmicky technology. It could easily have selected a pre-existing capacitive touchscreen and created a heavily modified OS to better suit it. Had it chosen to do so, we think RIM would have hit one so hard it might have hit the lighting at Tigers Stadium. But instead RIM wasted time, money and credibility because it tried to do something that it just isn’t ready for or fully-capable of doing. It’s a damn shame too, because we were really rooting for RIM to have a unanimous hit on its hands.

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Hands on with RIM’s BlackBerry Application Suite on the HTC Fuze

Well, it has been rumored forever, caught on video, and we’ve even done our part in sharing the news as well, but we can’t hold out on y’all any longer — we have been toying with the BAS for the greater part of a month. It’s a solid effort on RIM’s part, but will it do anything for them or just waste engineer’s precious time? The answer, friends, is in our review after the break.

Setup:

To install RIM’s BlackBerry Application Suite for Windows Mobile, you just install the program as you would like a normal Windows Mobile app. In our case, it was from a .cab file. Once it’s installed, it adds a BlackBerry icon to the Settings folder (much like BlackBerry Connect did/does) and off you go. Since the BlackBerry operating system is virtualized, it has to boot up like a normal BlackBerry device. There’s two parts to the BlackBerry OS starting. First, TouchFLO 3D has to be disabled for it to run. We’re not sure whether this is to keep memory usage down or for another technical limitation, but it’s really not the end of the world seeing as RIM hopes to keep you on the BlackBerry side as much as possible. The second feature is that you can configure the BlackBerry portion to start at Windows Mobile bootup, effectively telling Microsoft to go jump in a lake — nice. Finally, you just choose your keyboard layout (Touch Pro QWERTY, Fuze QWERTY, or Touch Pro AZERTY) and the application starts.

Features:

It’s remarkable that RIM has been able to pull this off. As much crap as we give them (yeah, whatever), this is impressive. The OS really runs on Windows Mobile! You’ve literally got an entire BlackBerry on here.  Name something you’d use on your actual BlackBerry and we think you would be hard pressed to not find it. Here’s a quick list of what’s included in terms of BlackBerry Applications:

  • Messages
  • BlackBerry Messenger
  • Address Book
  • Browser
  • Memopad
  • Password Keeper
  • Tasks
  • Profiles
  • Clock
  • BlackBerry Maps
  • Media
  • Manage Connections
  • Calculator
  • Search
  • Options

Now, after praises like that, this thing can’t have any flaws, right? Oh so wrong. So, so, wrong. For starters, like we mentioned, it runs the BlackBerry OS of 4.2. Hello. Hi. The year 2005 called and they want their 8700 back. Honestly, RIM. You had this in the bag. You had a viciously serious attack plan to destroy Windows Mobile (like a crack dealer, give them some BlackBerry OS here, little Messenger there, get them to finally switch away to an actual BlackBerry), except you’re giving people an OS from 2005. This is the year of the operating system in case you haven’t noticed. And in case you did, you’ve just blown a magical opportunity to shun your opponents.


Integration
:

In the build we’ve been testing, things like GPS and Bluetooth were integrated seamlessly. We heard the camera might be as well but it wasn’t accessible in this version. When making a call, it’s actually a little weird because it will jump over from the BlackBerry operating system right to Windows Mobile and then back again when you’re done. Wi-Fi also does not work, but 3G works perfectly.

You can even set the BlackBerry side to handle all your SMS/MMS messages.  So the only real reason you’d need to be on the Windows side is to take a flick or make a call. Calls made are actually logged on the BlackBerry side which is very nice because it lets you keep track of all your activity. Profiles are also across the board, so if you’re on Vibrate in BlackBerry, Windows Mobile will be on vibrate as well.

Usability:

There’s no question the BlackBerry Application Suite is usable. Heck, like we said, it really is the actual BlackBerry OS. The question becomes how much simpler does it make your life if you don’t have the flexibility that modern BlackBerrys afford you? Think about all the attachments you can’t view/download, how badly the BlackBerry Browser used to be (still is, but imagine the 8700), how much it sucks not to have HTML email anymore, etc. Would it be easier to just use Windows Mobile? You did actually buy a Windows Device in the first place… Our problem isn’t the usability factor so much as it is the convenience factor.

Navigation:

This is tricky. To make a long story short, you won’t want to use the touch screen for any sort of navigating. The reason is because it’s not finger-friendly. Scroll bars are absolutely tiny and using the stylus itself sometimes won’t even cut it. You’re better off navigating with the 5-way directional pad and using the four arrow keys on the keyboard. Plus all the lovely standard BlackBerry shortcuts work, helping things a bunch. You’re not flicking, gesturing, swiping, or any of that nonsense on here. Oh no, it’s down to basics and we’re kickin’ it old school — physical keys, baby.

Conclusion:

We really have to applaud RIM for making this a reality. They’re about 22 months late (more by the time this is actually released), but they’ve successfully virtualized their BlackBerry OS while practically giving up nothing. Does this mean it rocks? No. But what it does mean is that we have faith there will be many versions to come after this and we have faith RIM will work on updating it to a current 4.6 or 4.7 OS version. Plus don’t forget the fact that there’s a Symbian version coming, something which is huge as well.

The BlackBerry Application Suite for Windows Mobile is much more than a proof of concept. It works, and works extremely well. We’re sure the final shipping version will work even better than it is now; it’s probably more stable than Windows Mobile will ever be. We’re just not sure people are going to want to give up the luxuries they are finally getting in Windows Mobile. As sick as that sounds, people buy Windows Mobile devices for a reason. If it is a consumer, they wanted what they wanted and having to go through the extra step of installing and configuring an operating system just might not be for them. If you’re talking about the corporate user, well, they either have a Windows Mobile device because they wanted one or because they were given one. It’s highly possible their organization doesn’t run a BES in which that case won’t help. So, we’re torn. We love the idea, we even love the execution of it for the most part, we’re just having trouble finding users. Yes, many will download it and try it out. Some will run it tandem with Windows Mobile and flip back and forth to do different tasks, but we think many will just uninstall it after they’ve gotten their rocks off. We look forward to seeing how this evolves, and we’re really excited about the Symbian client, but for those of you who miss your trusty 7290 and can’t forgive yourself for giving it up, this might be the day you’ve been waiting for.

RIM announces BES 5.0

RIM announced on Wednesday the impending release of the latest version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server. BES 5.0 will offers a slew of new features that make the BlackBerry experience for enterprise users that much more pleasurable. Among the user-side benefits discussed:

  • Retrieve corporate documents behind firewalls
  • Add, read, rename and delete folders on the handset and have those changes be applied to the desktop email client
  • Create rules within the inbox to filter email and have those changes be applied to the desktop
  • View attachments in calendar entries and meeting requests
  • Download and store emails and email attachments onto microSD cards

Over-the-air updates will also be easier for both administrators and users alike. We’ve been seeing and hearing about BES 5.0 forever so it’ll be nice to finally see it come to market, albeit about a million years behind schedule. We’ll surely see all of the details ironed out at WES so stay tuned, BES users.

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