ReviewsPage 5 of 55

5 Must-Have Applications for Your BlackBerry PlayBook

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playbook favorites

The PlayBook is coming along nicely. Lately, we’ve seen an upgrade to the Facebook application, as well as support for in-app purchases and charging improvements. The major updates that the general public are waiting for, such as local PIM applications, should be coming sometime this summer, and we think it’s really going to improve the overall PlayBook experience. As cool as the Bridge idea is, it’s sort of a pain to constantly connect your BlackBerry, and the Bridge Browser is pretty shoddy. For those of you who have a PlayBook, here are some apps we think you must have on your tablet (in no particular order):

1. Blaq – If you’re looking for a solid Twitter client for the PlayBook, we recommend Blaq. The app is a fun tablet experience because it’s a full featured Twitter client that takes advantage of the larger screen. Instead of having to click links and head to the browser, you can preview link content from within the Blaq application. Blaq also comes at a more than reasonable price of $1.99. Grab your copy of Blaq from App World.

2. GeeReader – While the BlackBerry News app is a great app, the fact that it doesn’t come with Google Reader sync makes it a dead-in-the-water product. Avid online readers have spent years cultivating their Google Reader feeds and it’s great to see a free app that syncs with your Reader account. The GeeReader app is fast, easy to setup, and will import hundreds of feeds nearly instantly. Grab GeeReader for FREE in App World.
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Contacts Cleaner Review: A Must-Have Application for Anyone with Lots of Contacts

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before contact cleanerafter contact cleaner
Before and after

When I first heard of Contacts Cleaner over a year ago, the app was decent but it really wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I found that even after initializing the app and letting it clean my contacts, I still had many duplicates. Yesterday, I decided to give the app another try, grabbing it for $0.99 in App World and it was one of the best app purchases I have ever made. Considering what the app did for me, I’m still shocked at the incredibly low price point. In my address book, Contacts Cleaner found over 35,000 entries and 15,000 duplicates. These duplicates were ruining my Address Book and stem from the fact that I have around 15 Google Apps accounts connected to my device and downloading contacts. Having this many duplicates makes the Universal Search useless for contacts, because you have to still search through your Address Book and figure out which contact is the right one. I also have Xobni installed and while Xobni works great when you’re in your email, making telephone calls from inside the Phone App doesn’t access Xobni. You still need to have your contacts cleaned so that you can make quick calls from inside the Phone App.
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First Impressions of Android Apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook #BBWC

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Samurai II PlayBook game
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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blackberry protect

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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