Monthly Archive for March, 2009Page 2 of 16

What it’s like owning a BlackBerry in Nigeria

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Nigeria mobile carriers

[The following is a letter from a BlackBerry Cool reader in Nigeria, writing about what it's like to own a BlackBerry in that part of the world.]

I couldn’t have written about BB in Nigeria without writing about the history of telecommunications in the country.

About 8 years ago, we only had about one hundred thousand wired lines for all of us. When I say “all of us”, I mean about one hundred and forty million people. In order to use a phone, we often had to wait in lines that could be as long as one thousand people.

Only one service provider, MTEL, which is a subsidiary of the national carrier NITEL, was offering mobile analogue (etac) in about four cities.

In 1999, licenses were given to three GSM operators: MTN Nigeria, V-Mobile and MTEL.The nation was about to witness a phenomenal change in telecommunications. A change in the way we communicate, a permanent change for the rest of our lives.
Continue reading about BlackBerry in Nigeria

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Free Weather watching software for the BlackBerry Storm

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It seems like there are a ton of Weather Apps out there. I’ve been testing Weather Eye Touch Version 1.1.1.6. You can sign up at the website in order to obtain an OTA link. After installation run the application.

Now you can set your preferences for primary city, language, temperature type, and toggle the Home Screen Icon on and off. The Icon for the application is kind of cool; it will show you the current temperature and conditions. My instance I’m sitting in Richmond, VA this week and its cloudy and around 48 degrees.

After you apply your settings the application starts you out on the current conditions. This will give you the wind, pressure, humidity, visibility, ceiling, sunrise, and sunset. However, in my case sunrise and sunset were set to N/A.

Another feature is the Short Term Forecast. It will sort of help you plan out the rest of your day. You can see what the forecast will be for the afternoon, evening and overnight. Maybe you had aspirations of grilling out on the deck, or catching a band out an outdoor pavilion, or possibly catching another band indoors. Pull up the short term forecast and see what Mother Nature has in store for you.
Click through to read more about this app as well as screenshots and a download link

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Skype coming to BlackBerry in May

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It seems Skype is going to make a very aggressive push onto mobile in the coming months. The company will announce tomorrow that it plans to make its free software available immediately for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch and, beginning in May, for various BlackBerry models.

“The carriers are in the business of selling voice minutes. For a long time they saw products like Skype coming along and they were concerned,” said Ben Wood, director of Research at the London-based CCS Insight, a market research firm. “But it turned out a little bit different than they expected.”

Mr. Wood said many carriers had modified their views about so-called voice-over-Internet-protocol, or VoIP, services. In some cases, Skype has proved to be appealing to consumers and a competitive advantage for a carrier over its rivals.

So it seems we’ll be getting cheap VoIP calls after all, unless the carriers put the kibosh on this. Do you see AT&T allowing Skype to reside on their devices?

[Via] (Thanks Nick)

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Free GPS tracking app for BlackBerry

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livetracker

LiveTracker is a free application for BlackBerry that is currently in the BETA stage. The LiveTracker mobile client can be installed on any BlackBerry and sends out location data to the Skylab GPS server. This app could be really useful for anyone interested in a cheap way to get involved in geocaching. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Features:

  • Free Download: LiveTracker Mobile is available for free non-commercial use - download.
  • Background Tracking: Start LiveTracker and it sends the GPS location to our tracking server.
  • Free Tracking Server: For storing tracking data we maintain a tracking server - for free.
  • Share Location: Send EMail, PIN, SMS, MMS message to your location’s map representation.
  • BETA TEST: Due to the early stage of this application please report any bugs to us. Thank you.

Download your free copy of LiveTracker here.

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iHeartradio for the BlackBerry Storm

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Recently, iHeartradio has launched a BETA for the BlackBerry Storm. The user interface looks slick and I just wanted to share some screenshots.

If you’re interested in trying it out, you can download iHeartradio for the BlackBerry Storm here.

Click through to see screenshots of the app on my Storm

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BlackBerry Partner Fund invests in organizational software

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Xobni (”inbox” backwards), has some forward-thinking e-mail management ideas that have attracted the attention of the BlackBerry Partners Fund. The investment is part of a $10-million (U.S.) round of financing for Xobni - which also includes $7-million from Cisco Systems Inc. announced in January - valuing the BlackBerry Partners Fund’s contribution at about $3-million.

Xobni works with Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook and helps users better organize e-mails and other information, such as phone numbers, within the program.

This investment should surely help enterprise BlackBerry users.

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Learn more about your BlackBerry with Verizon workshops

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Verizon held a free BlackBerry workshop at its Troy store in Michigan on Wednesday, April 22. The class is geared toward helping wireless phone users get the most out of their BlackBerry devices by learning about the functions and features. Some of the topics to be covered include text messaging, Internet browsing, using email and the camera, changing ringtones, pairing Bluetooth® devices and setting up the speed dial and address book synchronization functions.

This free, in-store class is open to existing and potential Verizon Wireless customers. Individuals who do not yet have a BlackBerry, but would like to learn more about these integrated devices, are welcome to attend the class.

Although this program has already ran, I would love to see more carriers pick up on this trend. As more people learn about their smartphones, it will help the whole industry and economy, Stay tuned for more workshops.

[Via]

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SmrtGuard BETA users update - new features and upgrade

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the SmrtGuard BETA program. There were a ton of great comments and feedback. In response, SmrtGuard has made several improvements to their product and they have implemented several new features.

What is New:

* Fixed Call Log backup problem
* Add Vondafone (UK/Spain/Australia), Orange UK, T-mobile (Germany) to list of approved BlackBerry Native Emails
* Fixed Personal Guardian Preference freeze issue
* Change Personal Guardian timeout to 8 seconds instead of 5
* Auto prompt for activation when entering the application for the first time
* Other minor fixes

How to Upgrade:

From your BlackBerry’s browser, go here.

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(Rumor) BlackBerry to launch mobile TV episode service

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BlackBerry video

Although not officially confirmed, it seems RIM is going to announce a full-episode television service for BlackBerry. The launch may come at CTIA but we’ve also heard App World will be announced and they may not want to take away the spotlight.

The new service is rumored to feature:

  • Unlimited monthly subscription service for a fee
  • Once a user orders a program, the content will be downloaded in the background over Wi-Fi
  • Multiple broadcast and cable networks have licensed content for the service

If the above comes true, I would be really interested to see what sort of content we can expect. Ideally, the service would start by offering the usual premium content that can be offered for free such as Comedy Central and Comedy Network shows.

Micro-payments can really help this service too. If I could pay $0.99 per episode of Lost or The Office, I would happily do so. Hopefully this service offers some content that really makes it worthwhile.

[Via]

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(Rumor) App World to launch at CTIA April 1st

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RIM is expected to announce App World on April 1st at CTIA. Mike Lazaridis is slated to give a keynote which may contain the announcement.

App World will only be taking a 20% cut from developers whereas Apple takes 30%. App World is also shaping up to be a significant consumer portal and will help RIM secure its new founded growth in the consumer market. Enterprise will also take to the App World and we can expect many small to medium sized businesses picking up applications to help with productivity.

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