The Ultimate BlackBerry Bold Review, Aug 21

BlackBerry Cool BlackBerry Bold Review Header

What, you think we didn’t have one before today? While we’re still not sure when you’ll be able to walk into a Rogers store to actually buy the shiny new device like Simon did, today still marks the official launch of the BlackBerry Bold on Rogers. In honor of this special day, we’ve decided to post our exhaustive review, if only to whet your appetites.

And boy, has this day been a long time coming: three years in development, three months since its official announcement at WES 2008, and three times the hype of any other BlackBerry release. The first in RIM’s next generation lineup of smartphones, the BlackBerry Bold has been labeled everything from an enterprise company’s desperate push into the prosumer space to a true iPhone killer. Most of the BlackBerry faithful are just hoping that it turns out to be a worthy merger and evolution of the BlackBerry 8800 and Curve device lines. This review will settle the debate.

Be forewarned, our review of the BlackBerry Bold is fairly large. However, we’ve broken the review down into specific sections for quick and convenient access to the information you seek. Make sure to post a comment to let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed, anything else you want to know about, and whether or not you feel RIM’s new flagship device meets the hype.

Enough talk! Behold, the BlackBerry Bold.

Click here to read BlackBerry Cool’s Ultimate BlackBerry Bold Review

“Will you buy the Rogers BlackBerry Bold?” (Weekly Contest), Aug 15

Is $400 on a three year contract the right price for the BlackBerry Bold? Post a comment and you could win three free games from Magmic!

Canadian Pricing and Developer Challenges (BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 37), Aug 15

We take some time this week to bitch about Rogers, Bell and Telus, but also touch on some upcoming devices, like the BlackBerry 8350. Take a listen!

BlackBerry Bold week in Canada (BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 38), Aug 22

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 38

The BlackBerry Bold finally launched in Canada this week, but spotty attendance at Rogers outlets and potential 3G coverage issues could rain on the parade. Best Buy and Future Shop are getting their stock imminently, and it may be up to them to salvage the situation in RIM’s home and native land. The BlackBerry 8220 and BlackBerry 8210 that were once known as the Kickstart have begun popping up on a few sites, potentially confirming the mid-September launch date. We go over all these stories and more in this week’s BlackBerry Cool Podcast.

Click here to listen to the BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 38

How to crop, resize and set wallpapers on your BlackBerry, Aug 22

BlackBerry Cool shirt

At the request of Mike, I’ve cooked up a few BlackBerry Cool wallpapers based off our very excellent BBCool t-shirt. We’ve got wallpapers for your Pearl, Curve, 8800-series, Bold, and even Kickstart, Javelin or 9500 if you happen to be packing one. Never changed your BlackBerry’s wallpaper? No problem - we’ll walk you through the steps to give your home screen a nice new look.

If you especially dig BBCool, we’ve also got a few desktop wallpapers to chose from. Want another size? Leave a comment!

BlackBerry Cool wallpapers and instructions behind the jump!

HSPA users hit 50 million from 11 million last year, Aug 22

With RIM’s first HSPA (the BlackBerry Bold’s flavour of 3G) device now available internationally, and so many worries about coverage arising, it’s time to take a look at some subscriber numbers. Last year, 11 million cell phones were running on the 3G technology, but now we’re looking at 50 million handsets cruising on HSPA networks. That substantial increase is supported by 191 service providers and over 740 devices.

“These figures highlight the global success of Mobile Broadband and the fact that we are continuing to see greater and greater economies of scale,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. “This is driving down the cost of devices and equipment and enabling more and more users across the world to enjoy easy access to media-rich services anywhere at anytime.”

This gives us a lot of hope for better connectivity on the BlackBerry Bold and future 3G devices, but by the looks of the BlackBerry Javelin and BlackBerry Kickstart, the 9000 may be the only HSPA BlackBerry until the BlackBerry Thunder in mid-October.

(via cellular-news)

Taiwan Mobile giving away free BlackBerrys to enterprise, Aug 22

In order to rope in a few corporate contracts, Taiwan Mobile now has a promotion to give away the BlackBerry 8120, BlackBerry 8300, BlackBerry 8707 and BlackBerry 8700 to enterprise customers who are willing to sign up for a monthly NT$1,499 ($US 47.70) plan. Taiwan Mobile is aiming to crank up their enterprise activations tenfold before the end of the year, which, while ambitious, could very well happen with a promo this enticing. Australia’s having a similar promotion with the BlackBerry Bold, which will likely see a lot of success. If you’re in an enterprise in the neighbourhood, you can contact Taiwan Mobile here to get started.

(via DigiTimes)

Rogers BlackBerry Bold media launch (video), Aug 21

John Boynton, chief marketing officer from Rogers and RIM’s Patrick Spence introduced the BlackBerry Bold to press in Toronto today, and they went through a brief spiel about the partnership between the two companies, and how awesome the Bold and/or Rogers is. It’s a rocky launch for the BlackBerry 9000 in Canada, for sure, but Best Buy and Future Shop will both start receiving their stock tomorrow.

Rogers BlackBerry Bold Unboxing, Aug 21

Despite much ado, the Canadian BlackBerry 9000 is ready to roll. Getting shipments in has been a bit of an issue for Rogers, considering this Bold, bought at Ottawa’s flagship Rogers Plus, was one of two available…. Still, you can order yours online from Rogers here, and you’ll get it when you get it.

Stay tuned for more pictures of the BlackBerry Bold from Rogers Behind the jump!

Rogers BlackBerry Bold shows up in online store, but not in reality, Aug 21

The BlackBerry Bold is now available for purchase in Canada for a teeth-grinding $399.99 on a 3-year plan. Think that’s bad? As rumored, it’ll be costing $599.99 even on a two-year plan. And if you don’t want a contract? Still $599.99. That’s right, a two-year contract doesn’t knock the price one bit. While you should be able to order one online, your local retailer might not have them in stock just yet - be sure to call ahead! Today was the official launch date, so you’re well within your rights to berate any sales reps who don’t have any info for you. Our few calls around town are revealing that shipments have gotten in yet, so don’t get your hopes up too high. One rep, obviously frustrated by the number of calls he received this morning on the subject, actually told us to check out Best Buy. Sounds like epic fail to me.

UPDATE: Official announcement of the Rogers BlackBerry Bold is right over here.

(via Rogers)

BlackBerry Bold launches in Ecuador and Turkey, Aug 21

BlackBerry Bold

We’ve got two more international BlackBerry 9000 launches for ya - Turkcell will be offering the BlackBerry 9000 with an 18-month unlimited internet package for YTL 99. Check out Turkcell’s online store for more info on the Bold and some interesting umlaut usage (my favourite is “çözünürlüklü”). Movistar Ecuador and Porta will both be carrying the BlackBerry 9000 around the end of the month, but no info on pricing just yet.

(via RIM x 2)

3 Mobile UK launches BlackBerry Bold, Aug 21

It might be a spot behind Orange and T-Mobile, but 3 Mobile UK is now carrying the BlackBerry Bold. This is 3 Mobile’s first BlackBerry - a great way to break onto the stage. Vodafone and the Carphone Warehouse will also be packing the BlackBerry 9000 shortly, so UK customers will have plenty of options to choose from. Keep an eye on 3 Mobile’s online store for more details.

(via PhonesReview)

BlackBerry 9000 specs behind the jump…

Early BlackBerry Bold reports of poor 3G reception, Aug 21

We’ve heard from scattered sources that the BlackBerry Bold isn’t picking up 3G quite as well as it should be. The delayed Rogers and AT&T launch could be possibly be a result of the rough performance.

“We had a few occasional 3G signal dropping troubles at some locations especially on high-rises building streets & on our 34th floor (EDGE picked up immediately but slower internet speeds),” writes [Citigroup analyst Jim Suva].

While Suva’s opinion on the BlackBerry 9000 is generally positive, the 3G issue is still pretty big - we’ve even been hearing that the Hong Kong versions will be incompatible with the 3G networks over there. Did carriers drop the ball on this one, or is it their prerogative to expand their service as they see fit? Did RIM work closely enough with carriers when developing the Bold to make sure they could make the most out of the handset, or are they just taking the long view for when 3G coverage is more widespread? T-Mobile’s 3G rollout is seeing plenty of progress, and it’s entirely possible that your personal BlackBerry Bold experience will dependent on the same kind of forward momentum.

(via Barron’s)

Why can’t Rogers release the BlackBerry Bold? (Updated), Aug 20

Rogers BlackBerry Bold FAIL Picture

UPDATE 2: Just got word from a Rogers store in Ottawa that they’ve now received two Bolds. Yep, two BlackBerry Bolds for launch day. We have no idea if more are coming in later through the day, but we recommend hustling to stores now just in case. Fly, my minions, fly!

UPDATE: While the Bold is now available for purchase via Roger’s online store, it’s unlikely you’ll actually be able to get one today from any brick-and-mortar location. Store employees, clearly tired of taking the brunt of this fiasco, are recommending that you try Best Buy. Jeepers.

Troubling news is coming from Rogers regarding the much-anticipated, highly-overpriced BlackBerry Bold. Today we received notification from our Rogers rep. that late Bold shipments have delayed a full release until the end of August. A quick call to local Rogers stores in our area confirmed that while sales information is in their system, they still have no devices in stock. This news, of course, comes a mere hours before the official launch date of August 21st that Rogers announced earlier this week. Compounding this delay is the fact that as of Sunday, August 17th, Rogers employees were still being told that the Bold would quietly drop on the 19th; upon arriving at work, employees were then informed of the new 21st launch date.

So what is the reason for the delays? Noted BlackBerry insider Jibi points to last-minute OS updates as the culprit, and mentions the 28th as a potential release date, falling in line with what we’ve heard. One would hope that Rogers is taking the time to consider their pricing plan for the Bold, but with Rogers salespeople telling us that the Bold is showing up in their system for $600 on a two year contract (!), I wouldn’t hold your breath.

So what’s the net result of all this confusion? The BlackBerry Bold, RIM’s newest flagship device, may or may not be in a Rogers store near you on the day of its official release. If it is there, you will have to pay far more than most would deem reasonable for it. In other words, FAIL.

All about the BlackBerry Partners Fund (audio interview), Aug 20

BlackBerry Partners Fund

We talked with Rick Segal from the $150 million BlackBerry Partners Fund recently to go over the broad strokes of the venture capital initiative, as well as some of the finer points about the firm’s goals and their partners. Currently, they’re taking applications not just for BlackBerry developers started, but any mobile software projects. With the iPhone and iPod App Store in full tilt, this is a ripe opportunity for entrepreneurs to tap not only the lucrative BlackBerry scene, but all mobile platforms. Any developers out there who really want to catch the the Partners Fund’s eye should check out the competition they’re running at the BlackBerry Developer Conference in October, where winners will get upwards of $150,000 in investment prizes…

Take a listen to our interview with Rick Segal from the BlackBerry Partners Fund and excerpts behind the jump!

BlackBerry Bold disassembly and assembly, Aug 20

A lot of you are probably living somewhere where the BlackBerry 9000 isn’t even available yet, so the very sight of one being busted apart could be a bit of a tear-jerker, but the fine folks at CNN.cn have posted the disassembly process. The LCD and keypad look very similar to other BlackBerrys (like the 8800), and the trackball is exactly the same. Might be time to replace that casing, eh BG?

(via BBWorld)

BlackBerry Bold reassembly video behind the jump!

Singtel launching BlackBerry Bold soon, Aug 20

The BlackBerry 9000 is popping up all over the place, and Singapore is no exception. The Singtel BlackBerry Bold launch party is taking place on August 27th., next Wednesday. Hong Kong kicked things off pretty early, and it’s to be expected that the Bold will be reaching out all around the region. As for a release date, it’s anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to assume it will be available in the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on Singtel’s online store for more info.

(Dereth via BBWorld)

U.S. smartphone sales brutally outpacing standard cell phones, Aug 20

A recent study by NDP Group concluded that American cell phone sales were down 13% this quarter, the third quarter in a row to show a decline. The cost per phone has gone up 14% to $84, but the real kicker is that smartphone sales have doubled since last year, with particular emphasis on the full QWERTY devices out there (like BlackBerrys). The reasoning?

“One explanation might be that there’s a group of consumers that’s holding off, making do with the devices that they have, either because of larger economic concerns or because they don’t see any value yet in the new voice and data services that are driving some of these new handsets,” [said Ross Rubin, NDP's director of industry analysis.]

There’s definitely a grain of truth there, considering how simplistic layouts like the iPhone are winning over a wider audience. The new flip BlackBerry will certainly be tapping into the “I just want a phone” audience by latching onto a recognizable form factor, and potentially be taking an even bigger bite out of the standard cell phone market. It’s just a matter of selling folks on the data services…

(via AP)

myBoxTone Insight keeps an eye on your BlackBerry’s stats, Aug 20

BoxTone just launched a free application for monitoring your BlackBerry’s health, and as someone who needs to count every kilobyte lest he be smoten by the Almighty Rogers Overage Charge, I can say this is a must-have for the heavy-duty BlackBerry user. Graphs show the progress of 24-hour monitoring of vital information like…

• Signal strength
• Battery remaining
• Memory free
• Data sent/received
• Calls made/duration

Solid app, and big ups to BoxTone for making the utility free to all. Hop in on the open beta at my.boxtone.com/insight.

New Saltwater BlackBerry theme makes you swim with fishies, Aug 19

The latest magic out of Bplay is the Saltwater theme, complete swimming fish and rising bubbles! This isn’t the first time they’ve animated a background, but it’s still an impressive trick. Saltwater is packing a bottom-dock Precision style that will be coming on the BlackBerry Bold. This is the perfect theme to have on your BlackBerry’s home screen when you’re in the middle of a stressful meeting - just pretend it’s a real aquarium. Head on over to Bplay to grab the Saltwater theme for BlackBerry!

(Just keep in mind that it’s’s not compatible with the BlackBerry 8830…)

Video of the Saltwater BlackBerry theme after the jump!

BlackBerry Connect for Motorola Q9h updated, Aug 19

BlackBerry Connect is still kicking, doing its best to bring BlackBerry services like push e-mail and PIM synchronization to other devices. Although its future with Nokia looks grim, Windows Mobile just an updated version for the Motorola Q9h. Any Moto Q users in the house can grab the new software from the IM & Chat folder if they’re running Windows Mobile 6.1, or go to www.motorola.com/us/Q9h/BlackBerryConnect on their mobile browser if running WinMo 6.0. Find more info on the latest BlackBerry Connect software over here.

(BGR via Windows Mobile Cool)

BlackBerry Kickstarts pop up on Expansys, featuring PTT!, Aug 19

Those fine folks who gave us the first quasi-official look at the BlackBerry 9500 are now showing the BlackBerry 8220 and BlackBerry 8210 for presale. No word on pricing (we’re holding out for $50 on contract), but they’re showing off red and black versions of the new flip BlackBerry Pearl, along with specs that mostly match up with what we’ve seen before. What’s new, however, is push-to-talk support! The upcoming iDEN BlackBerry 8350 is a solid nod towards the demand for the feature, and if the Kickstart has it too, it’ll be making a lot of people happy. As expected, the BlackBerry 8210 will be covering the GPS end of things and the BlackBerry 8220 will have Wi-Fi. The Rogers slip-up yesterday combined with this makes me think an announcement is going to happen soon - after all, if this new Pearl is due mid-September, the publicity train had better start chuggin’ along.

(via Cellpassion)

Full specifications for the BlackBerry 8220 and BlackBerry 8210 behind the jump!

Rogers giving away BlackBerry Bolds for launch contest, Aug 19

We just got word that Rogers will be running a promo to hype up the official BlackBerry Bold launch on August 21st., this Thursday. Today e-mails will be going out to anyone who signed up for notifications on the Rogers BlackBerry 9000 along with instructions on how to win one of ten free Bolds! Not too bad, but the contest is only eligible to those who were getting updates, so if you haven’t yet, hop-to! The contest will be wrapped up on September 30th., so you’ll have to be willing to wait just a little bit for a free BlackBerry. Hey, beats shelling out $400 and a three-year plan, eh?

Wall Street Journal news reader for BlackBerry, Aug 19

Wall Street Journal for BlackBerry

The Wall Street Journal recently launched a BlackBerry app which lets you peruse the headlines of WSJ.com, MarketWatch.com, Barrons.com and AllThingsD.com. Tabbed navigation lets you quickly switch between sections, address book and social bookmarking integration lets you share articles easily, RSS reading and keyword monitoring let you track the news you care about, and stock info is readily available. Not a bad little, app, but vaguely Viigo-esque, no? (Edit: That would be because it’s actually powered by Freerange.) To give it a go, head on over to the WSJ.com Mobile Reader.

(via CB)

HSBC sticking to BlackBerry, Aug 19

Word has it that HSBC won’t be making that jump to iPhone reported last week. Australian CIO Brenton Hush had made some commentary regarding the possibility of an iPhone rollout, which didn’t really say “no”, but a lot of people took as “maybe”. A few calls to HSBC revealed that “there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell” that the some 200,000-odd BlackBerrys currently deployed internationally would be ousted in favour of the iPhone 3G. Good thing for RIM, because that’s a pretty big contract to lose to the competition.

(Internetnews via Pinstack)

YouTube testing mobile ads, Aug 19

Both mobile advertising and video are both still picking up in popularity, but Google’s willing to put their eggs in that basket now that they’ve begun testing ads on YouTube’s mobile page. It’s tricky enough to get BlackBerry users to enjoy mobile video with so few 3G handsets out there, let alone convince them to click through on ads. Screen real estate is also at a premium, which might work out better for advertisers who can claim a bigger chunk of visibility, but end users may just see full-size banners as obnoxious. Many video providers integrate their ads right with videos, which might be a better way to go about things on mobile, since it they don’t impede the mobile browsing experience and provide richer advertising opportunities.

(via Official Google Mobile Blog)

Rogers accidentally lists BlackBerry 8220 in game deck, Aug 18

If you’re still holding your breath for the new flip BlackBerry Pearl, it’s clear that Rogers is setting the stage for a launch real soon, now that the BlackBerry 8220 is listed on their game deck. The BlackBerry 8220 has been rumored to be out on Rogers sometime in mid-September, which would be backed up by this little slip-up. Whether or not the Kickstart will be subjected to a big push for gaming remains to be seen, but if that BlackBerry multiplayer platform comes to fruition, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

(via MobileSyrup)

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