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RIM offers more WES 2007 deets

With the countdown to WES 2007 now sitting at a little more than a week left, RIM is picking up the pace with the details and has released full event details. What’s perhaps most exciting (even more exciting than this) is news that Canada’s own Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink” and “The Tipping Point”, will be a keynote speaker this year. A big sports fan, the BBCool staff can’t wait to ask him about the Raptors chances this year.

For full WES 2007 deets, check out RIM’s fancy schmancy e-brouchure or read their track listing after the jump.


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U.S. Prosecutors investigate RIM, BlackBerry faithful nervously play with collar

Whew, this is not the kind of news RIM stock-holders are looking to hear. According to Reuters, RIM is now the subject of an investigation by U.S. prosecutors about problems with their stock option grants. This investigation is in addition to the one being conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Apparently, RIM has been in contact with the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York after learning it was reviewing the company’s option grants and added that it “intends to co-operate” with any requests for information the U.S. attorney’s office may have.

Only time will tell whether this is a mere formality or something more dire for the house that BlackBerry built. We’ll keep you informed.

RIM had two-hour notice of blackout, shrugs helplessly

RIMThere’s been some muttering that RIM knew about the blackout last week a solid two hours before it hit. A few folks reckon that BlackBerry users should have been able to get a heads up on the outage, but that might not be the case. Now, I’m no technician (they keep me around BBCool for my good looks and charm), but how easy do you guys think it is to determine that there’s nothing you can do in a case like that? If a doctor has two hours to save a patient’s life, would you rather he spend that time fighting a possibly avoidable death, or use it trying to figure out how to tell the family? There’s no doubt that behind RIM’s cool, tight-lipped PR façade was a gaggle of headless chickens trying figure out what the hell went wrong, and I’d way rather they do that than focus on spin-doctoring, trying to cover the company’s ass for the screw-up.

Of course, I’m not saying that a warning of some service interruptions wouldn’t have been appreciated. Even if it was just before the crash happened, anything would have stopped a lot of customers from harassing tech support about something AT&T et al. couldn’t fix. But outside of telling people what they would have figured out eventually anyway, how much difference would early warning have really made? Post a comment and let us know what you think.

RIM, Apple attacking different markets… unless they’re not

It’s always interesting when financial analysts move out of their comfort zone (”Buy? Sell?”) and start predicting the future. In this case, Seeking Alpha’s Sramana Mitra jumps head-first into that oh so sexy topic of BlackBerry vs. iPhone, but maybe should have looked before she leaped.

Now, it’s one thing to say that the BlackBerry and iPhone cater to two different markets (in fact, this statement has a lot of support from people in the know). However, muddling transitioning your argument to then say that Apple’s consumer-friendly device is actually a laptop replacement that could become the uber-converged device enterprise users secretly want begs the question: is the iPhone a direct competitor to BlackBerry?

Of course, we recommend reading the article and formulating your own opinion, dear readers, but we can at least say that Dell probably won’t be buying RIM any time soon (ahem).

Market Reacts to Virtual BlackBerry Network

hostile-takeover.jpg

With the big news from RIM yesterday, it was a given that the market would react with their well-worn two cents. Here’s what the boys and girls in finance are saying about RIM’s newest attempt to take over the mobile space.

MarketWatch:

One analyst says the move amounts to a “slap in the face” of software giant Microsoft, which has become a major force in the wireless world with Windows Mobile.
“This is RIM saying to Microsoft, ‘We think our interface is better than yours,’ and I don’t doubt that [the BlackBerry software] is pretty competitive with what Microsoft provides,” said Todd Kart, a wireless-industry analyst with Gartner Inc.


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Why RIM’s network crashed

RIM LogoAfter far too long sitting and wondering without any word of the reasons for the BlackBerry Breakdown earlier in the week, RIM has finally released official word as to why the entire North American BlackBerry network went down.

The tumbleweed of destruction was caused by “the introduction of a new, non-critical system routine” designed to optimize the system cache that handles email. Apparently, the new routine was insufficiently tested (duh), and let to a critical failure. And what about the backup?

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company also said the process designed to maintain service in the event of a failure “did not fully perform to RIM’s expectations,” causing a longer delay before service was restored.

Nice. RIM, we love what you do, but next time make sure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s before you roll out the ole’ upgrade, k?

BREAKING NEWS: BlackBerry Network Down

Big, big news, folks. It seems as though, since 8pm EST tonight, the BlackBerry infrastructure has suffered a massive failure and has yet to come back up. This is apparently affecting the entire Western Hemisphere.

Right now, it seems as though BIS users are not affected, but most if not all BES servers are down. Certain BlackBerry Cool staffers had noticed something wonky happening with web browsing using the BlackBerry Browser earlier, but thought it was a simple matter of device failure.

Update: WNBC is reporting that…

Officials with RIM said they are trying to reset the system and told NewsChannel4 that they are concerned that the backlog of data, which will rush through when it comes back on line, could cause a bigger problem.

When the error is corrected, RIM officials said a message would be sent in stages so the system does not crash.

Obviously this is a major problem that will not only hurt RIM, but possibly US and Canadian governments, who rely heavily upon their BlackBerrys. BBCool will stay with this late breaking news through the evening and let you know what develops.

RIM gets high-tech, uses LEGOs

LEGO Machine

Here’s a little fun Friday goodness for you. We were tipped off to an article today about Matthias Wandel, an engineer at RIM who came up with an inventive low-tech solution to a high-tech problem back in the day.

It seems as though Matthias was testing the 900MHz reception of the old RIM 950 (we’re talking pre-BlackBerry here, folks), which varies by angle and orientation. The Solution? Build a LEGO machine to do the work for you.


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RIM wants more application developers

There’s an interesting little article up on Cellular-News about the steps handset makers are taking to attract new application developers. It cites RIM’s push into the consumer space as the reason for the need: essentially, the BlackBerry maker needs a wide variety of consumer-based applications to differentiate the BlackBerry Pearl or future devices from, say, the Samsung BlackJack.

“(RIM and its competitors) have to keep coming up with reasons for people to pay $300 or more for a phone,” said analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.


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New patent up, RIM exploring new UI options?

This is coming by way of Russel Shaw over at ZDnet, who always loves to troll for the most recent RIM patents. The patent in question seems to relate to improved UI options for BlackBerrys, specifically in providing users with more information about what functions are associated with their keypad keys. The most obvious example is a visual display of which keypad you have people in your address book mapped to for speed-dial, but the possibilities for this are endless. Not a big deal, but pretty cool nonetheless.

You can go here to read the full report, but it’s an awkward combo of legalese and tech mumbo jumbo, so I’d advise against it.

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