Indian BlackBerrys safe from ban, Mar 14

IndiaThe worst case scenario stemming from last week’s security concers has been averted, as top Indian officials have ruled out the possibility of a BlackBerry ban.

“There is no question of banning at this point,” Telecoms Secretary Siddhartha Behura told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference. “We are not interested that we say BlackBerry will not used in this country,” he said, adding the telecoms department was “very keen” the services should continue.

The goal at this point is simply to get carriers, namely Reliance and Bharti Airtel, to pressure RIM into providing some key security information to government officials. It’s certainly a sign of good faith that the department is still enthusiastic about BlackBerry service, but the fact remains that if RIM wants to play nice, they’ll comply and fork over the codes.

Weekly Contest: Busted Berrys, Mar 14

Do you feel lucky? Maybe it’s time to trade in the shamrock for an OtterBox… just tell us your grizzliest story of BlackBerry-bashing.

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 20, Mar 07

The Exhibitor Spotlight for the week of March 3rd. shines on BoxTone and WorldMate live. We also go over the tragic loss of rich text e-mail, tensions in India, and BlackBerry’s involvement in Dipdive.com.

Exhibitor Spotlight: ISEC7, Mar 14

BNatorISEC7 will be bringing out a help desk tool called B*Nator, which allows staff to remotely control BlackBerrys to solve technical problems. This is just their most recent addition to a monitoring suite which also features module-based application support for Mobile Admin and other enterprise utilities. You can check out some screenshots from CeBIT here, and sign up for a live demo here.

Weekly Contest: Busted Berrys, Mar 14

Busted BlackBerrySt. Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, which means your BlackBerry might be getting into some rowdy situations over the booziest holiday of the year. After getting my mitts on the latest addition to the OtterBox lineup, I got to think thinking about all the rough situations that BlackBerrys must go through (and no, not just the ones made up by overenthusiastic accessory reviewers). It’s tough to pry a BlackBerry from your average user’s steely thumbs, so that means they really do go everywhere. Maybe it’s high time we hear some war stories about the toughest situations your BlackBerry’s been through… nevermind if the thing survived the ordeal, be it defenestration, long falls, killer temperatures, or fun times with oncoming highway traffic. Just post your best tale of BlackBerry battery and get your pick of super-tough cases from OtterBox.

Last week’s winner behind the jump!

Exhibitor Spotlight: Vox Mobile, Mar 14

Vox Mobile logoVox Mobile splits their offerings into three broad categories: Mobile Technology Management, Wireless Expense Management, and Professional Services. The first gets, configures, and deploys mobile devices — including, of course, the BlackBerry. The second fine tunes an existing setup, by managing bandwidth and other areas to reduce costs and increase service. Vox states that many businesses are overpaying in this area by as much 30%. Finally, their Professional Services offers to support and implement server platforms, including BES. Kind of a one-stop shop for enterprises. Their offerings at WES should be well worth checking out.

Security firm publishes whitepaper on BlackBerry Trojan, Mar 14

A real trojan horseThe folks at Tech2 posted about a white paper published on BlackBerry security, namely what is lawfully interceptible, and how to avoid hacking. Part of the paper is based on a prototype trojan that could be delivered to a BlackBerry on BES and leave the company’s server unguarded. It was developed by an information security company, who released the information to RIM before taking it public. The trojan, called BBProxy, works by allowing a hacker to essentially piggyback on any connections made to BES. Once installed on a BlackBerry, the hacker can connect to it via computer and have complete access to everything the BlackBerry connects to. The article does include some simple steps administrators can take to prevent it from working, but fair warning: it is heavy on IT-speak. Earlier security reports acknowledged the threat of Trojans on BlackBerry, but we’ve yet to see an instance in the wild…

WICKSoft announces Novell Teaming + Conferencing support, Mar 14

WICKSoft logoWICKSoft announced yesterday that they now support Novell Teaming + Conferencing in their mobile document access (MDA) software. Teaming + Conferencing is a new enterprise level social networking tool which allows groups of users around the globe to quickly and easily share documents, calendars, files, and discussion forums, and as we all know, enterprise social networking is getting awfully popular. WICKSoft Mobile Documents already gives access to Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, and many other document types.

Telus launches SpinVox service, Mar 13

TelusA bit behind Rogers maybe, but Telus is now offering a visual voicemail service via SpinVox. This will let Canadians on the CDMA network of choice to read transcribed voicemail messages right on their BlackBerry, in a way similar to SimulSays. If it’s anything like Rogers’ offering, you can expect it to cost around 15$/month.

8820 available from T-Mobile on the 24th?, Mar 13

It was rumored in early February that T-Mobile would be releasing the Wi-Fi equipped, Hotspot@Home compatible 8820 on March 5th. They obviously missed that date, putting an ominous looking TBD as the availability date. Thankfully, Engadget noticed that they’ve apparently settled on a March 24th release.

AT&T launches BlackBerry 8120 to enterprise, Mar 13

ATT8120Word has it that the Wi-Fi BlackBerry Pearl which has been long-absent in North America will be hitting up AT&T corporate sales. Suncom is the only shop in town that has had the BlackBerry 8120 to date, so it’s high time one of the big boys picked this thing up. Those in the market will be looking at $200 with a two year plan or $350 without, and for everyone outside of enterprise, you can be sure this will be available publicly soon enough.

UPDATE: We’ve got an official announcement, confirming the price on a two-year plan, but only if it includes unlimited data and $39.99 on voice.

Mike Lazaridis speaks about outages and more, Mar 13

Mike LazaridisThe team at SearchMobileComputer had a chance to sit down and talk with Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO of RIM. Lazaridis talked about the recent outages, pointing out that, while the outages are lamentable, the company still has a 99.85% uptime and is gunning for four straight nines. The company came under a little fire for not getting word out as to the reason for the outage, but he dismissed this by saying that they were vastly more concerned with getting the systems back up ASAP than with reporting the cause. The article goes on to talk about Lazaridis’ thoughts on the iPhone, the advantages of RIM’s business model and their staying power in the industry.

Exhibitor Spotlight: Viigo, Mar 13

ViigoIf you missed the video on Viigo, you’ll get another chance to see them in May. They offer a full-featured RSS reader with a ton of pre-compiled feeds. If the defaults aren’t enough, you can select from hundreds of feeds in their database (including your truly), or add your own in a variety of different formats. Best of all, it’s free, so go ahead and give it a shot. If that doesn’t sound enticing enough, it’s a fair bet that we’ll finally be able to learn some details on the mysterious Project Tango at WES. Tango will add a new audio feature, with podcasts being the most likely suspect, but who knows what else the new channel will be used for…

BlackBerry passes security accreditation in record time, Mar 12

PadlockAustralia’s Department of Defence has put BlackBerry and Windows Mobile through the hoops, and they’ve both made it through the common criteria accreditation process faster than any others on record. The key? Working closely with government IT to fix flaws, and undergo rigorous testing before applying.

“Security flaws slow down evaluation because the product solutions have to be sent back to be fixed,” [Defence Signals Directorate assistant secretary for information security Robert Campbell] said. “[Vendors] should work as closely as possible with the DSD and the laboratories assessing the product to get accreditation as soon as possible.”

Getting cleared with the government has proven to be a hassle pretty much everywhere else for BlackBerry, so getting through quickly is a welcome change of pace. As for Australia’s Common Criteria security standards, they’re working on nailing down biometrics, another element which we’re already seeing glimpses of in BlackBerry land.

Viigo video run-down, Mar 12

If you haven’t checked out Viigo yet, maybe CNET’s latest First Look can sell you on it.

Hey, is that BBCool to Go they’re using? Well, waddayaknow.

New video streaming for BlackBerry, Mar 12

ReelLogoVision’s Movidity has recently announced the launch of their streaming video options for BlackBerry. Aside from their standard YouTube-style site, LogoVision has its crosshairs on enterprise mobile video, streaming video from cameraphones, as well as “large-scale live MultiFeed surveillance”. The streaming video from your BlackBerry sounds awesome, especially after seeing Qik in action. You can grab more information on all of the above over here.

Exhibitor Spotlight: TrueContext, Mar 12

ProntoForms logoForms are becoming a bigger and bigger market for BlackBerry, and TrueContext is no slouch in that department. They’ll be showcasing ProntoForms at WES this year. The software allows users to create inspections, timesheets, surveys, and other forms quickly and without the need for programming savvy or special skills. The forms, once completed, can be emailed on-the-fly as PDF documents, or exported as CSV files for quick entry to spreadsheets or databases. They’ll also be announcing some product and customer news, so you can look forward to that in May. If you’re interested, we hosted a Weekly Contest with ProntoForms which showed off some of the things the platform could do, and there’s a free demo, too.

AT&T dropping Pearl 8100 from stores?, Mar 12

An AT&T-branded PearlA new post on Engadget suggests that AT&T might be dropping the Pearl 8100 from their stores. It’s rumored that the 8100 will be replaced with the GPS-enabled 8110 sometime in April, which wouldn’t be the first time an old BlackBerry got bumped out by a new one. They’ll also, apparently, be dropping the aging Motorola RAZR V3 from stores, but that hardly comes as a surprise to anyone.

Puretracks Mobile Edition: DRM-free music, Mar 12

Puretracks logoThere’s a new music store coming from Puretracks on April 1st. called Puretracks Mobile Edition, which will offer 64kbs AAC music without any DRM whatsoever. The AAC format they’re using gets roughly twice the quality at half the size of MP3, so the music will be approximately the equivalent of a 128kbs MP3. Not enough for audiophiles, perhaps, but probably good enough for the rest of us. There’s no indication of pricing yet, but they did say they’ll be releasing Wi-Fi capability for the service later on.

Review: StudentBerry, Mar 11

StudentBerryThe time-management app for students got a little upgrade awhile back, which was our cue to take a look. StudentBerry is a mishmash of calendar, tasks and contact management geared specifically towards the student lifestyle. Balancing my time back in university was a definite challenge, but hopefully those still deep in the mines of academia hacking out papers and assignments will find a bit of use in this app.

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Exhibitor Spotlight: OtterBox, Mar 11

OtterBoxInterviewed in a recent podcast, the folks at OtterBox offer a wide range of rugged cases for all sorts of devices, including the Pearl 2. Last year was OtterBox’s first run at WES, and this year they’ll be showing off their new Defender Series lineup, which provides three layers of protection for your BlackBerry: a thin plastic cover for your screen and keyboard, a hard polycarbonate case surrounding the frame, and finally a shock-absorbent silicone skin. We’ve had a chance to try these out first-hand, and they offer some great protection.

CDMA Curve gets pricetag?, Mar 11

Telus 8330There have been rumblings of a BlackBerry 8330 coming from Telus before, and now there’s a little screenshot supposedly nabbed from the Telus online store suggesting a $199.99 pricetag with a 3-year ball and chain, $479.99 without. No sign of the CDMA Curve in the store anymore, but we’ve heard from other sources that a launch is imminent, so keep your eyes peeled.

Oracle launches social CRM on BlackBerry, Mar 11

OracleThere’s some new customer relationship management software available for BlackBerry from the fine folks at Oracle dubbed Mobile Sales Assistant, offering collaboration tools, sales and call reporting, as well as extensive contact information. Oracle’s home turf is in databases, so it’s a safe bet you can trust this package. Their big pitch, though, is in supporting social CRM, where social networking becomes a key part of the sales process. Looks like Jim-dawg’s comments on enterprise social networking are on the money. For anyone interested, Oracle’s Mobile Sales Assistant will be available for $30/month per user.

Exhibitor Spotlight: iEnterprises, Mar 11

iEnterprises logoSmall and medium businesses will get the chance to check out out Mobile Edge from iEnterprises at WES. Mobile Edge Express is a new suite of CRM software that can be downloaded, installed, and set up in under 10 minutes, without the need for any IT staff. It works with SugarCRM, IBM Lotus Notes, NetSuite CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, giving you access to account information, sales, and more. It differs from their regular Mobile Edge software in that it’s easier to set up, offers a web-based interface, it’s subscription-based and requires no large upfront expenditure.

State and federal databases at your thumbtips, Mar 11

A police officer holding a BlackBerryBIO-key has announced the release of version 3.5 of PocketCop, which gives law enforcement officers access to state and federal databases, including motor vehicle information. Using the app, police and other staff can quickly and easily check to see if a given person is wanted or if a car was reported stolen. Version 3.5 adds support for CAD systems, allowing officers to receive dispatch information.

OS 4.5 due out end of April?, Mar 10

BBCoolThe rumour from CeBIT has been floated out that carriers will be getting their hands on OS 4.5 by the end of March and customers should have access to it by the end of April, but the BlackBerry 8707 won’t be supporting it. On top of that, the BlackBerry 9000 will be packing OS 4.6, so you can expect a few new goodies with its launch, which should be good to go for WES. Seems a little fishy to launch one OS just a few weeks before another…

AAA Mobile available for 8830 and 8130, Mar 10

A user on the Pinstack forums noted that AAA has made AAA Mobile available for the BlackBerry 8830 and BlackBerry Pearl 8130. The software allows subscribers to receive directions and locate points of interest. It also has a database of 100,000 locations where AAA members can get discounts, although you don’t need to be a member to use it. So far it seems that it’s only available for Sprint customers, but there’s a wealth of other options if you’re on a different carrier.

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