ReviewsPage 4 of 54

First Impressions of Android Apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook #BBWC

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The above is a really awesome 3D game called Samurai II that will be available on the PlayBook. Not an Android app but was showcased during the same keynote and got a great crowd response.

Mike Lazaridis took the stage to showcase some Android apps running on the PlayBook and we were simply blown away. For a long time we were asking ourselves how Android apps would run, and we knew that these apps had to feel native in order to be successful. The demo we saw today showed just that: Android apps running on the PlayBook with a completely native look and feel.

Android apps sit on the PlayBook’s homescreen just like any other app. You tap the icon to open the app and it boots up just as you would see it on an Android tablet. What’s incredible about the way RIM has implemented Android apps is the way they’ve replaced the standard Android Home, Back and Menu buttons with the PlayBook’s swipe gestures. For example, rather than press an Options button, Android apps use the bezel swipe from the top, making the apps, in some ways, better on the PlayBook than on an Android tablet. RIM’s approach to Android apps brings the PlayBook’s unique user experience, which can be described as “swipes” versus other tablets which are more “pokes”.
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BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 First Impressions #BBWC11

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For more impromtu pics from #BBWC11, follow me @kylemcinnes

The BlackBerry Bold Touch has been unveiled here at BlackBerry World 2011. Even though the device isn’t finished and is still technically in beta, we thought we would write down some initial impressions to give you an idea of what to expect.

First of all, the thing everyone will love about this device is the “Liquid Graphics”. Liquid Graphics is the marketing term RIM is using to descripe the pixel density and Java code behind the homescreen and OS. The Liquid Graphics goes a long way to improving the user experience and makes the whole thing very snappy. I believe RIM said the homescreen is running at 60fps (frames per second). Scrolling between app screens is incredibly smooth and switching screens from icon to app is a very elegant process. This, probably above all features, is going to be the best part of the Bold Touch, simply because it makes using the device so pleasant. When we review the device, something we’re going to be looking for is how well that user experience is maintained after you’ve loaded around 20 apps on the device. If the device can handle a lot of apps, and still gives you that smooth experience, RIM is going to see a lot of satisfied customers.
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Beta Review: Facebook for BlackBerry 2.0

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facebook version 2

Facebook for BlackBerry has gone version 2.0 and there are a lot of users are dying to get their hands on this update. For some reason the Blackberry platform seems to be one of the last to get any major update to the most popular apps and Facebook for BlackBerry is no exception. Without reservation I must say that finally RIM is giving their Facebook app some love with a totally overhauled Facebook 2.0 social media application.

What does this mean for Facebook for Blackberry users? There are great new features built into this application including a brand new look with a completely overhauled User Interface that looks pretty much like the Facebook App for the iPhone with icons placed in a smokey gray backgroud.
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Lost Device and Backup Service Head-to-Head: SmrtGuard Versus BlackBerry Protect

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When RIM announced BlackBerry Protect, the first thing on our mind was “what will that do to SmrtGuard?”. SmrtGuard has been providing BlackBerry users with a similar service for a long time before RIM decided they wanted to eat their lunch and now that the Protect app is out of Beta, it’s a good time to compare the two apps/services. Protect is a great move on RIM’s part because it offers a great backup/lost device service for free, which adds a lot of value to the whole platform. SmrtGuard also has a free version, allowing users to dip their feet in the SmrtGuard pool before taking the plunge to the full featured version. So which offers more value?
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Review of Angry Farm: The Angry Birds Clone for BlackBerry

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angry farm

Angry Farm has been generating a lot of buzz lately, mostly because BlackBerry users have been craving their own version of one of the most popular mobile games ever made. The game’s addictive and fun gameplay, as well as its creative use of a touchscreen, put it a notch above the rest. A lot of users are probably curious about what it’s like, especially considering the $4.99 pricetag with no trial.

Some of the App World reviews of Angry Farm are pretty harsh, comparing it to the iOS version in terms of physics and responsiveness. While I have played Angry Birds for the iPhone, I played a polished version and can’t speak to the very first version they launched. It’s important to remember that in the app business, it’s not uncommon to launch first, churn and update your product until it’s totally polished. It’s a Guy Kawasaki approach to app development and while it may bother some users, I think it’s more important to rush a product to market so you have the dollars to improve it. We know the guys at Smarter Apps and they’re good at what they do. They’ll surely keep an eye on this product and update. Also, they have explicitly promised “free upgrades to all existing customers forever.”
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Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for BlackBerry by EA Review

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Currently, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 by Electronic Ats is being featured in the App World carousel and considering how much of a huge success the franchise has been in gaming history, it was hard to avoid paying the $2.99 to give it a try. While UMK3 has a pretty wide range of device support, the Torch was used for this review.

When you boot up the app, be sure to be in landscape mode. UMK3 doesn’t support portrait mode, due to the way the game is played. As you can see from the below screenshot, the controls use a virtual joystick and two buttons (one for regular attack and the other for a special). Fighting is done with a basic combination of ‘down+special’ or ‘back+attack’. As with most mobile games, you’re seriously limited by what you can do with the device, and the cramped key space means that developers have to get creative with how you play the game.
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