Digital China and RIM announce distribution agreement

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Digital China and RIM have announced a distribution agreement for BlackBerry smartphones in China. Digital China are the largest IT services provider in China, with regional centers in 19 major cities, and over 8,300 employees. It’s not clear what this will result in sales-wise, but it will definitely help RIM get a more solid footing in the Chinese enterprise market. Through Digital China, RIM will be able to position itself as the smartphone of choice for the IT industry in China.

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BlackBerry Pearl 9100 Stratus available for pre-order

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Mac over at PocketBerry spotted a pre-order BlackBerry Pearl 9100. Generally, pre-release devices will get out to ISVs around 6 weeks before the device actually launches. This gives them enough time to port their software so it will be ready once the device hits the market. That’s about the same time that we start seeing leaks hit the blogs. It’s also around this time that a lot of sites like PureMobile will list the device as available for pre-order, because they might get a few in stock, or they’ll just build up orders for when the device hits the market.

Personally, I wouldn’t go for any of these sites. Just wait until it hits your carrier and you might be able to leverage an upgrade plan to get it cheap.

[Hat tip @simonsage]

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Appboy social network for app developers and users

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Not sure if you guys have heard about AppBoy but it’s a really cool social network for mobile app developers and users. Developers can create their personal appstore, add/upload their apps, socialize with users, receive feedback, and promote their apps and appstore via a personal viral URL.

My favorite part of this social network is that any user can submit their app ideas, and the idea with the most positive votes, are then developed by Appboy. The user who submitted the idea is awarded $250. Users can also create their own personal appstore, where they get paid a 5% commission on any apps sold.

Personally, I’m always thinking “there should be an app for that” whenever I come across a situation I know my BlackBerry can help with. Sometimes I can’t find any software in the BlackBerry Cool store or App World that can help. With AppBoy, I finally have a place where I can pitch these ideas, and maybe even make a few bucks.

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Testing the BlackBerry Storm2 battery life

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UPDATE: The battery fully died at around quarter after 01:00 meaning the total battery life under heavy usage was 14 hours.

UPDATE: It is 21:56, almost 11 hours into the test and the battery is at 15%. In the last 7 hours, I’ve used the device way more than usual. I have been using voice quite a bit which we all know sucks up battery. I’ve also taken a few pictures, used BlackBerry Maps a few times just poking around and I’ve streamed music for about an hour.

UPDATE: As DavidB points out, it’s just over 5 hours into the test and we’re at 85%. This isn’t great considering I haven’t been doing much on the device. I’ve been pretty busy at the office so it’s just taking in data. I checked out App World a few times, downloaded a theme but didn’t install it and listened to music while I went and got a coffee.

When we did the BlackBerry Bold 9700 battery test, we got some really incredible results. The Bold’s battery proved to last 29 hours under some intense usage conditions. With the radio turned off and music playing, it went a whopping 39 hours. Well many of you were interested to see how long the Storm2’s battery would last, so lets check it out.

We’re going to test the BlackBerry Storm2 under similar conditions as the Bold 9700. This means:

  • Voice usage.
  • SMS, Twitter, Email.
  • Google Maps when appropriate.
  • Music (thank you Slacker for white listing my account!).

The official start time is 11:00AM EST. I’ll update this post every few hours so you know how the test is going. Once we’re done, we can compare with other BlackBerry devices.

RIM’s official specs on the battery:

  • Standby time: GSM: 12.7 days (305 hours), UMTS: 11.7 days (280 hours), CDMA: 11.2 days (270 hours)
  • Talk Time: GSM: 5 hours, UMTS: 6 hours, CDMA: 5.5 hours

A note that might affect the test: this BlackBerry Storm2 is running 3G and roaming on the Bell/TELUS network. Also, the device is running OS 5.0.0.320.

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BuddyGuard remotely secure and wipe data in free Beta

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BuddyGuard Beta 1 is a new app that allows you to remotely secure and wipe your device in the event of theft or loss. It reminds me of a lite version of SmrtGuard.

Features include:

  • Wipe: Remotely wipes contacts, email and phone log data from your BlackBerry.
  • Lock: Locks your BlackBerry to prevent unauthorized access. Protects your data without deleting it.
  • Alert: Assists in finding a misplaced phone by playing a tone, even if the phone is in silent or vibrate-only mode.
  • List: Emails a full listing of the data that would be removed by the Wipe command.
  • Help: Remotely receive a listing of the available commands.

The free Beta is available FREE in the BlackBerryCool Store as well as OTA at http://m.terramobility.com/bg.

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Themes category now live in BlackBerry App World

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Well it looks like App World is now live with themes! They have a ton of free and premium themes from people such as Cocky Culture, DreamTheme and Access Lane. There are 9 categories of themes such as Nature, People, Technology, Music, Movies & TV, Sports Themes and Holiday.

Most categories have free themes in them, and prices vary quite a bit. Prices seem to range from just over $3 to around $9 (Halo Theme).

It should be interesting to see how many more themes will hit App World in the coming weeks. Not only will this be great for increasing the number of “apps” in App World, but it should really help introduce the world of themes to more BlackBerry users.

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BOLT Browser updated to version 1.6

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The popular third party browser BOLT has been updated to version 1.6 with some new features and enhancements to increase page loading speeds.

BOLT version 1.6 includes full socket-based connectivity which is said to increase the page rendering speed of BOLT by as much as 15 percent. The latest version also includes a new password manager, allowing usernames and passwords to be saved by the browser for easier and faster logins. Other features include:

  • Streams videos from popular video services such as YouTube.
  • Copy and paste text.
  • Uploads video and photo files directly to websites from browser.
  • Only major WebKit based cloud computing browser.
  • BOLT is available for free download at http://boltbrowser.com.

    Something on everyone’s mind as the latest BOLT version is released, is what will happen to the third party browser market once RIM releases their updated WebKit browser? Will companies like Bitstream stay far enough ahead to remain relevant?

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    Anywhere Abs exercise app by Nickel Buddy

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    Nickel Buddy make some really great apps for the Storm and their latest app is called Anywhere Abs. Anywhere Abs is a fitness app that walks you through an ab exercise program from beginner to advanced. The routines are meant to be quick and efficient, giving you as good of an ab workout as possible in a small time frame.

    Features include:

    • 3 levels of Difficulty.
    • Countdown timer for each exercise.
    • Takes only 6 minutes at the Advanced Level.

    Anywhere Abs is $2.99 and it’s available for the Storm and most trackball devices (except Pearl) running OS 4.5+.

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    Leave your feedback in the BlackBerry App World Test Center

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    You should now notice the BlackBerry App World Test Center category is now live and there are some free apps in it for you to try out.

    The Test Center is a place where you can check out some apps in Beta, and leave your feedback on them. If you find any bugs or would like to request features, this is the place to do it. To leave feedback, just submit a review like you would any app in App World.

    The latest addition to the Test Center is Role Call Reminder Lists. This app is just what it says: an app for setting reminders and taking notes. Let them know what you think.

    Be sure to check out Inside BlackBerry’s post about the App World Test Center.

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    Feature roundup for the week of November 30th

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    We had some great features this week on BlackBerry Cool. Remember to check back each day as the general plan is to get one unique editorial up each day of the week.

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About BlackBerry in China by Owen Wong

    The Three Rounds of the App Store Battle by Terry Hughes - President of Widality

    The BlackBerry Curve 8530 Review

    BlackBerry Holiday Wish: Gift Cards for BlackBerry App World

    Happy reading!

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