Compelling Conversations: North American Carrier Competition, 4G and GSM vs. CDMA, Jul 24

Plato and Aristotle discus their favorite wireless technology

BlackBerry Cool writers have the privilege of being in constant contact with a variety of wireless industry players. Naturally, we often get in heated or hilarious discussions over recent news. We’ve decided to start posting some of the more interesting conversations, in the hopes that it will spur greater debate. Our test run is a hearty debate over the value of a CDMA carrier switching to GSM, how long until 4G becomes anything more than a ‘wet dream’ and myths about call quality. Enjoy, and please post a comment with your thoughts.

Note: My interlocutor was uncomfortable with being identified, so let’s just call him Fake Ted Rogers.

Fake Ted Rogers: Isn’t saying Bell/Telus is going to GSM kinda like saying Verizon should?
Douglas Soltys: Well, different countries mean different biz scenarios.
Fake Ted Rogers: I’d like to see what the subs are for Tel/Bel compared to Rogers. As in the states Verizon has more than AT&T.
Douglas Soltys: Some would say that Verizon is run much better than Tel/Bel.

Continue reading BBCool’s compelling conversation with Fake Ted Rogers

New RIM jobs posted on BlackBerryJobs.com!, Jul 18

Our job board has 7 positions at Research in Motion ready for your perusal. Why not take a look?

10 $50 Amazon Gift Certificates Draw from Zumobi!!, Jul 18

Zumobi is giving away ten $50 Amazon.com gift certificates in promotion of their new mobile widget application for BlackBerry. Enter the draw and you have a chance to win!

BlackBerry Tips: BlackBerry Memory Management Video, Jul 24

BlackBerry memory management tips

As you can tell from our Zumobi hands-on impressions post, the mobile widget application can be quite the memory hog by BlackBerry standards (highly understandable considering what it provides) and has been a little troublesome for members of the BlackBerry Nation rocking, ahem, less-than-new devices. However, our friends at Zumobi aren’t ones to rest in times of need, and have put together a video of handy memory management tips so your BlackBerry is running clean and your Zoomspace is quick.

Check out the video above (compiled partially from tips offered right here on BlackBerry Cool), but make sure to post your own memory management tip in the comments. Special thanks to the lovely Beth for compiling the video!

Watch the BlackBerry memory management video after the jump

Last chance on $50 Amazon gift certificate giveaway!, Jul 24

Zumobi Contest

We’re wrapping up our Zumobi giveaway tonight, so head on over to our contest, drop your name and e-mail in the form, and you could win one of ten $50 gift certificates to Amazon. Haven’t heard of Zumobi? Well, they’re an up-and-coming free widget platform for your BlackBerry. Already running on Windows Mobile, Zumobi promises to bring content-filled tiles to your handheld which you navigate by zooming in and out on a four-by-four grid. Want to give it a shot? Head on over to http://get.zumobi.com/bbcool on your mobile browser to get going.

Desktop Manager 4.6 available from Vodafone Germany, Jul 24

BlackBerry LogoOS 4.6 software is getting fast-tracked in order to prepare for the imminent BlackBerry Bold launch, now with the updated Desktop Manager available from Vodafone Germany. With the 4.6 BlackBerry Java Desktop Environment released just yesterday, it’s hard not to think that some of the issues delaying the launch of the BlackBerry 9000 are getting resolved. If the OS is solid enough that the JDE and Desktop Manager can be offered publicly, I think we can look out for a release real soon. Vodafone was one of the first to throw out some pricing, and was also one of the earliest sources of Bold pictures, so at very least Germans have good reason to get excited. If software’s not enough of an indicator, there’s also a batch of presale German BlackBerry Bolds to be shipped August 6th to get your hopes up…

(via BerryReview)

New carrier coming to Canada?, Jul 24

The excessively long Canadian spectrum auction has finally wound up, and the results not only netted the government a healthy $4.2 billion (about three times more than they were expecting), but also brought some newcomers out to play. As expected, incumbents Rogers, Bell and Telus grabbed bits of the wireless spectrum available for sale, but Globalive, owner of the Yak brand, also picked up $442 million-worth of airwaves. Canadian anti-monopoly laws which force existing carriers to rent out their towers to other providers could favour Globalive in their upcoming service, due as early as next Easter. It sounds like they also understand the current situation with Canadian wireless rates: “Canadians are unhappy about the costs, the complexity of the billing. I can speak for myself as a consumer. I’m confused by my bill.” said CEO Anthony Lacavera. Hopefully these guys will be offering some BlackBerrys when they’re ready to go, but if the latest Koodo Mobile, is any indication, it might take them awhile to ramp up.

(CBC via Engadget)

BlackBerry popular handset for Opera users, Jul 24

Opera logo

Opera’s monthly report for June has taken a look at the popular handsets that folks are using with their mobile browser, and what sites they’re going to. After running down country-by-country top 10 lists, it was pretty interesting to see the stark differences between the Chinese (dominated by Nokia) and the American (which was almost all BlackBerry). The UK also has almost half of their list occupied by BlackBerry, with the 8310 nabbing top spot. Speaking of which, the BlackBerry 8310 holds 5th. place worldwide in the popularity contest among Opera users. This State of the Mobile Web report is a pretty cool idea on Opera’s part, especially if you’ve developed a taste for this kind of thing with Google Trends. If you’re sick of the BlackBerry’s browser, you can get Opera Mini by visiting http://mini.opera.com/ on your mobile.

(Opera via Pinstack)

BlackBerry Kickstart hands-on: pics and specs, Jul 23

Love it or hate it, the flip BlackBerry Kickstart is on the way, and there’s lots to say about it. The Wi-Fi model is currently dubbed the BlackBerry 8220, with the BlackBerry 8210 covering the GPS variant. In terms of construction, the Kickstart is showing off the same recessed trackball and large keys that had been eyeballed back in April. Previous worries about bulky size have been promptly thrown out the window - it’s apparently small enough to fit in your pocket like any other flip, despite the slight additional thickness.

One surprise is the replacement of microUSB taking over the old miniUSB current BlackBerrys have. Rumours of the BlackBerry Javelin getting the same treatment would show an ongoing trend for future BlackBerrys, but does make me wonder why the BlackBerry Bold didn’t start all of that off… As for how this new contender will fit into the larger scheme of things, some comparison shots against other flip phones (rather than other BlackBerrys) do a good job of contextualizing the BlackBerry Kickstart’s market position. Can’t wait for it? Rumour still has it that T-Mobile will be packing the Kickstart in September for $49.95. In any case, we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what OS 4.6 has to offer.

(via CB)

BlackBerry Kickstart features and more pictures behind the jump…

Bell and Telus making the GSM plunge?, Jul 23

A recent paper from UBS Investment Research is claiming that Canadian carriers Telus and Bell may be switching from CDMA to the popular GSM archietecture. It’s a big move that could cost upwards of $480 million, but when you look at the amount of exclusivity Rogers is enjoying with the iPhone, you can bet the competition won’t want to miss the next boat. This is good news for Canadian BlackBerry users, as it could mean no more waiting months on end for the CDMA versions of devices to come out. Where Bell and Telus sit on 4G remains uncertain - it’s entirely possible that they’ll skip the existing 3G HSDPA and go right to LTE.

(CBC via Engadget)

BlackBerry Media Sync launched, Jul 23

Supposedly the BlackBerry/iTunes syncing utility that was making the rounds last month is ready for primetime, and could be popping up for public download from www.blackberry.com/mediasync at some point today. iTunes support certainly makes BlackBerrys more viable as your number one media player - combined with increasing size of memory cards and high quality stereo Bluetooth headsets, it’s hard to go wrong. If you didn’t have time to nab MediaSync when it was available briefly, today could be your big chance, so keep your eyes peeled.

UPDATE: BlackBerry Media Sync is live, so go ahead and check it out!

(via BlackBerry News)

Server upgrades complete, Jul 23

You might have noticed BBCool being a little wonky over the last day or two - it was all a part of a server upgrade that we seem to have settled down from. Sorry for the lapse, but we’re now rocking some new hardware which should let us serve up the latest BlackBerry news lickitty-split from here on in.

Rogers BlackBerry Bold announcement still on for this Friday, Jul 23

As we draw nearer to the rumoured release date of the BlackBerry 9000 in Canada, it turns out we might just be seeing an announcement this Friday. The device proper might not be showing up until as early as the following weekend (August 1st.), or as late as September. It’s all pretty much up in the air at this point, but we would expect nothing less from Rogers. AT&T was supposedly getting the Bold a bit later in August, so it would make sense if Rogers followed suit. I guess we’ll just have to wait until Friday to see what’s up.

(via CB)

BlackBerry JDE 4.6 beta released, Jul 23

BlackBerry LogoWhile the last of the OS 4.5 suite is still in the process of getting outed, a beta version of the BlackBerry Java Desktop Environment for 4.6 is available. New features include being able to integrate with the Messages app, SVG support, additional BlackBerry maps APIs and more. The BlackBerry Bold is coming very soon, and those developers who aren’t RIM partners have probably been in the dark for some time now. It really wasn’t long ago at all that the 4.5 BlackBerry JDE was released, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some developers going right from 4.3 to 4.6. Hopefully with the latest JDE available, we won’t have to worry about too many of our apps borking out after an OS upgrade…

(via Devberry)

BlackBerry Made Simple contest giveaway, Jul 22

CrackBerry’s got a pretty slick contest going on where, just for voting on a poll about instructional videos on your BlackBerry, you get two days free of BlackBerry Made Simple videos. Not only that, you’ve got a shot at some of the big prizes, including a full year of video access, free ebooks, and week-long licenses to the video library. The big question of the poll is about saving the great BlackBerry Made Simple videos to your media card, so you can learn the ropes of the very device you’re watching. While vets might scoff at the notion of needing more training, there are always tricks to learn. As for newer folks, you can get up to snuff in no time with some clean, helpful videos. Just head on over to the forum and drop a ballot for your chance to win!

(via CB)

More BlackBerry Thunder pictures emerge, Jul 22

We’ve got some more shiny pictures of the BlackBerry Thunder in action. Here you can check out how the media player will look while playing music, complete with title, artist and album art. There’s also a better look at the camera functions in both landscape and portrait modes. Flash, zoom, cropping, video and e-mail functions are all built into the main interface and a glimpse at what we can expect from OS 4.7. There are still plenty of pictures of the BlackBerry Thunder’s media player and virtual keypad out there, if you’re looking for more pics to slobber over.

(via BlackBerrySync)

BlackBerry Thunder pictures of the camera UI behind the jump…

Verizon gets mobile banking app, Jul 22

Regions, Wachovia, USAA, America First Credit Union, Regions, SunTrust, Arvest, Bancorp South, South Financial, FirstBank, Synovus and BECU are just some of the banks now signed up for Verizon’s free mobile banking service for BlackBerry. Compatible with the BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl and the BlackBerry World Edition, the app will let you do all the usual banking tasks like checking your balance, pay bills, transfer cash, and look up transaction history. To get going, just hit up the Mobile Banking link from the VZ Start homepage in the Browser.

(via RCRWireless)

BlackBerry Bold coming to Chile, Jul 22

Our few Chilean readers will be happy to hear that Movistar and Claro both have the BlackBerry Bold on the way sometime in August. There’s no word on pricing for the BlackBerry 9000, but right now the best guesses are hovering around the $US 300 mark. We’re still holding out breath for a BlackBerry 9000 release up here in Canada, but only time will tell if Chile and the rest of the world end up getting it before us.

(via Knol.cl, miblackberry)

Hang your BlackBerry with your charger, Jul 22

If you ever find that you’re charging your BlackBerry nowhere near a convenient surface, Driin has come up with a pretty cool and simple solution. It’s a simple plastic holder that loops onto your BlackBerry charger on the wall, and provides a spot for your BlackBerry to sit - that means no more leaving your device sprawled on the floor like so much unwashed laundry. €5.00 ($US 8.00) isn’t a crazy pricetag, either.

(via WindowsMobile Cool)

BlackBerry Bold browser under the microscope, Jul 21

BGR has taken a close look at the BlackBerry Bold’s browsing capabilities, which was notably solid in previous reviews. While not quite completely true to a desktop experience, as you can see from this eBay screenshot, the BlackBerry 9000 manages to render most pages without weird formatting issues. It’s hard for BlackBerry to hold a candle to the iPhone’s browsing power, shown in a few comparison shots, but it’s still a much-needed upgrade on the existing BlackBerry browser.

(via BGR)

UK BlackBerry Bold launch details, Jul 21

3 Mobile and Vodafone in the UK are getting geared up for the BlackBerry Bold launch in the very near future, starting with Vodafone “in the next two weeks”. 3 Mobile will be preloading their BlackBerry Bolds with a Skype client to make use of the integrated WiFi for cheap VoIP calling. We’re still clinging to the hope that Canada will be the first to get the Blackberry 9000 this Friday, but everyone else will be getting it shortly thereafter. On an international scope, it’s looking like the Bold is going to have a very well-coordinated launch.

(via pocket-lint)

Plazmic 4.5 CDK released, Jul 21

The latest version of the Plazmic Content Developer’s Kit has been released, available for free download right over here. The biggest change in this version is that theme developers no longer have to have the BlackBerry Java Desktop Environment installed, which eould make it much more viable for Mac users (who can’t install the JDE) if a Mac version of Plazmic were released. This also seems like convenient timing, what with the highly innovative Crossbar theme just being rereleased last week…

(via BerryReview)

Plazmic CDK 4.5 changelog behind the jump…

New RIM jobs posted on BlackBerryJobs.com!, Jul 18

RIM jobs! Get your RIM jobs! Get ‘em while they’re hot! 7 fresh positions at Research in Motion have been posted on BlackBerryJobs.com, including Mobile Application Architect, Infrastructure Solutions Architect, and Operations Analyst. Exciting titles as they may be, there are no doubt plenty of readers out there who can fill those shoes and wear those hats. If you’re an employer with some holes to fill, go on and post a job! Oh, we’re also selling those shirts for any recruiters in Waterloo…

BlackBerry Bold due in Australia July 29, Jul 18

BlackBerry 9000

Nipping at the heels of the Canadian release on the 25th., Australian carriers Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and 3 Mobile will be offering the BlackBerry 9000 as of July 29th. RIM execs have gone so far to say that Australian BlackBerry growth will nearly double, which will undoubtedly be helped out by a speedy BlackBerry Bold release.

(Australian IT via Pinstack)

1.9% of iPhone shoppers are BlackBerry traitors, Jul 18

A survey by UBS Investment Research of 100-odd US iPhone buyers last weekend revealed that of the five BlackBerry owners there, only two would be making the full switch. That number went up slightly in the UK, to 3.6%. This might be good news for RIM, since they’re clearly not losing customers, but it also goes to show how much of the market Apple is penetrating with their recently-launched iPhone 3G. That being said, it could easily be paving the way for the touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder when it comes out later this year. One way or the other, the RIM stance of a mutually exclusive customer base could turn out to be true after all.

“Although our sample size was limited (relative to the global launch), we believe these results give a decent indication for the market share obtained by the iPhone on Day 1…,” [UBS' Jeffrey Fan] said. “As it relates to RIM, the survey results are consistent with our view that the BlackBerry user base today largely differs from the iPhone user base.”

SameCell updated, now featuring tabs and events, Jul 18

SameCell has a had a significant upgrade today, now packing tabbed browsing, event and location features, and including some extra functions if you happen to have GPS. Of course, the SameCell’s really great if you don’t have GPS, since its location-based services are all based on cell tower recognition. In fact, SameCell was the very first app I saw that use the technique, and since then Google Maps and even the BlackBerry Bold has started doing the same thing. They’ve also got a cool program where you get paid for discovering new cell towers not in their database. The core functionality of being alerted of buddy proximity remains - the only trick is getting your friends to install the app on their BlackBerrys. Go ahead and check out the new features or head on over to www.samecell.com/setup on your Browser to get started.

BES 4.1 Service Pack 6 released, Jul 18

BlackBerry LogoAdmins rejoice! The latest patch for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server is available for download. The device-side software made it out yesterday, and BIS was upgraded a couple of weeks ago, so the circle of upgrading is all completed. Big changes in this service pack include rich content e-mail, support for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Lotus Sametime 8.0, and control RIM value-added applications. On top of that, reconciling permanent message deletion has been improved, and there are also some changes to the BlackBerry Configuration Database schema, the naming of collaboration clients, Mobile Data System conventions and related software. As for that PDF vulnerability, this patch should take care of everything A-O-K. Go ahead and download BES 4.1.6 here, or scope out the update notes here.

(via BerryReview)

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