BES 4.1 service pack 5 released, Apr 17

BlackBerry LogoAfter much ado, the latest BlackBerry Enterprise Server service pack is available, complete with free/busy lookup and monitoring tools. Rich e-mail viewing was cut from the feature list not too long ago, to the dejected sighs of suits everywhere. On top of that, the release seems to be only for Exchange and Domino, so MDS and Groupwise users will have to play the waiting game.

UPDATE: Heard from a little birdie that the rich text e-mail feature is actually in this service pack, just locked away. Even if you flipped the switch with an SQL command, the handhelds on your BES would need the corresponding handheld software to enjoy the long-awaited feature.

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 26, Apr 18

Just a quick update on the week’s news, like the potential for a video camera on the upcoming BlackBerry 9000.

Weekly Contest: The Post-9000 Wishlist, Apr 18

The BlackBerry 9000 is rumored to be packed to the rafters with features. What can they jam in there for future models? Maybe front-facing video camera for the 9100? Give your wishlist, and win Bplay’s latest release, Texas Hold ‘Em King 3.

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 26, Apr 18

BBCoolAfter some scheduling mishaps, the BBCool podcast for the third week of April is without guests. Too bad, so sad, but you can still get a quick ten-minute update on the week’s big news, such as rumors of a front-facing video camera on the BlackBerry 9000, the latest BES service pack, more drama in India, and a few tips on device releases. As always, you can get your iTunes on, your MP3, and even your XML on.

Weekly Contest: The Post-9000 Wishlist, Apr 18

BlackBerry 9000With the potential of a front-facing video camera, and the confirmation of a 9100 model in the wings, you gotta wonder what iterations will follow the newest generation of BlackBerry. Wi-Fi, GPS and 3G defined the progression of the 8000 series across its three tracks (Pearl, Curve and 8800), but if the rumored features stick, all of those will be included in the base model. This leaves the question: what features will come after launch? Is a video camera going to be held out for the 9100, or will the old designations stick, resulting in a SureType device like the Pearl? Will CDMA get any more love with this series, perhaps with a few more dual-mode models? You might even want to check out one of our older contests for some inspiration… Let’s hear what you guys want to see in the coming months from the 9000 series, and win Bplay’s recently-launched Texas Hold’Em King 3, along with two other games of your choice, and three BlackBerry skins from DecalGirl.

Last week’s winner behind the jump!

RIM’s patent lawyers charge too much, Apr 18

CashmoneyAfter winding down from the UK win against Visto, a High Court judge has deemed the £5.18m bill from RIM’s lawyers far too high. “For these sums of money, one would be entitled to expect each of them to be able to recite all the documents in the case by heart,” said Justice Floyd. Allen & Overy handled the case, rebuking “The reality is that the legal costs were a tiny fraction of the value of RIM’s business, which was put at risk through this litigation. A&O’s efforts also benefited RIM and the industry by removing Visto’s ability to pursue disproportionate financial gain from the patent.” This actually worked out in Visto’s favour, as they were ordered to pay two thirds of RIM’s reduced legal costs, which totalled £1.6m.

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: DataViz, Apr 18

DataViz logoDataViz specializes in document compatibility. Their Documents to Go software is being bundles with OS 4.5 when it’s released, and will allow BlackBerry users to edit Word, Excel, Powerpoint and other document types right from their phone. So far, Documents to Go is the only BlackBerry software they offer (well, plan on offering) so we’ll surely get to see it in action at WES.

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: Garmin, Apr 18

Garmin offers a variety of GPS-based hardware, for everything from your daily drive to deep sea fishing to flying. Frankly, they probably have a GPS solution available if you happen to find yourself walking the surface of Mars. They also have a software division, which can include a GPS dongle if your BlackBerry doesn’t come with GPS. Of course, GPS is being included across all kinds of phones more and more often, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think we might see some of their hardware converted to a software version that will run on other devices. Regardless, they should have some cool demos at WES.

Autonomous data collation, Apr 18

Autonomy logoA new business concept pertaining to legal is issues is starting to pop up. It’s called information governance, and it’s a way to collect and organize data relevant to any legal proceedings your company is involved in. Of course, this is nothing new at all, and businesses have been doing it for years. The problem is that most data is “human-friendly, computer-hostile.” Emails and voice mails, data which computers don’t really understand, pile up and up and trying to sift through them to find relevant data — which is very important and even legally required in the case of litigation — can be incredibly difficult. Autonomy Information Governance essentially allows computers to read that data from employees’ files and collate it. The software can be expanded to include BlackBerrys in its search, which is likely to become increasingly important as they and other smartphones do more and more.

Right on Track: Developing Enterprise Applications, Apr 17

WESContinuing on with our run-through of the currently-scheduled WES Breakout Sessions, we’re taking a look at the developer track. “Developing Enterprise Applications” will be a great opportunity for programmers to check out the latest tools, tricks, and strategies for pumping out great products for the BlackBerry.

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Rogers 8120 coming this summer?, Apr 17

BlackBerry 8110Our buddies over at QuicklyBored just got wind that the Wi-Fi Pearl will be coming to Canadian customers this summer with an accompanying UMA (calls over Wi-Fi) service similar to T-Mobile’s Hotspot @Home. We had heard hopeful whispers of a Christmas release, but alas, no dice. Also, QB’s editor, Kyle, just picked up a BlackBerry 8330, and is looking to pimp it out. Any suggestions?

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: Webraska, Apr 17

Webraska logoWebraska is another supplier of GPS products and LBS apps. We haven’t heard much from them since they joined the ISV almost two years ago. At the time, they had just released Webraska Navigation version 6 on the BlackBerry. The software offers the usual bevy of GPS services like maps, points of interest, and on-screen and audio directions. Unfortunately, the latest update to the app is only available on Windows Mobile phones, however their appearance at WES is a pretty good indicator of things to come, so keep an eye out.

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: Terratial Technologies, Apr 17

Terratial Technologies logoYou can’t go wrong with a company that Handango dubbed developer of the year. Terratial Technologies has a number of applications for both business and consumer use. Their DocHawk software provides email attachment reading for over 50 file types, including PDF, Microsoft Office documents and RTF documents, at multiple zoom levels. HollerID, a more consumer-oriented product, announces the first name of an incoming caller. Over 1,700 names are recognized, and there are 15 voices to choose from. There are too many products to list here, so suffice to say they’ll be worth checking out at WES.

The SCO Group updates HipCheck, Apr 17

The SCO Group logoHipCheck, from The SCO Group, allows IT administrators to monitor their UNIX and Windows servers for errors. Users can set triggers for certain event alerts, and respond to them by changing parameters or executing commands right from their phone. The update adds a new Audit Trail feature, which lets you view past event logs, including actions taken, from a selectable number of days. The logs can be sorted by user name, the name of the server, or activity type. Other features include an updated UI, support for additional UNIX variants, better executable command support, and more.

New WES Track: Wireless Solutions Up Close, Apr 16

WESWhile checking out the developer track for our next Right on Track, I noticed the new Wireless Solutions Up Close track, featuring none other than our buddies at Viigo. It looks like this track will be the prime venue for in-depth product demos, and honestly, it’s good to have those kinds of presentations separate from the others. Neverfail and Cortado will also be showing off the goods on this track, but that’s it. There’s a ton more room for developers to strut their stuff, so keep your eyes peeled on this track for fresh entries in the next 3 weeks.

Indian Minister limits BlackBerry service, Apr 16

IndiaThe Minister of State for Home Affairs, Sriprakash Jaiswal, has imposed upon all Indian carriers offering BlackBerry service to block any messaging directly between BlackBerrys while a method of legal interception is determined. That’s half-way to a ban that the government said wasn’t going to happen… The carriers’ response has been that the issue is between RIM and the Department of Telecom, and their services should not have to suffer because of it. Of course, the government feels otherwise:

“Our license agreement is with the Indian cellular operators and not with RIM. If any of the clause is flaunted we have to deal with the operators and not the Blackberry service provider,” DoT officials said.

This whole mess started back when a smaller carrier, Tata Teleservices, tried getting the credentials for BlackBerry service, and the government noticed a security gap. It’s tricky to see how this will all end, but if RIM can provide the information the government needs before the feds start to seriously hound carriers, this could all conclude peaceably.

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: REXwireless, Apr 16

REXWireless logoideaMatrix from REXwireless got top marks when we reviewed it just over a year ago. The software allows you to collect your numerous ideas in a central location, as well as categorize and sort them based on whatever criteria you want. todoMatrix works similarly, except with your important tasks and objectives, and with those of the team under you. For companies, they’ve got software like referenceMatrix and knowledgeMatrix, which allow you to distribute and keep track of important materials. A little something for everyone, and definitely something to check out at WES.

BlackBerry lands in Serbia, Apr 16

SerbiaMobile Telephony of Serbia customers will now be able to get their hands on the BlackBerry Pearl 8100, BlackBerry Curve 8300, and BlackBerry 8800. Mobile Telephony of Serbia, otherwise known as mt:s, is offering the phones with the help of Alcatel-Lucent, who have participated in the setup of many of RIM’s expansions. All three phones were already available in the area through a partnership between VIP and Vodafone, but choices are always good.

Verizon offers unlimited data without voice, Apr 16

PhoneScoop posted about some new data-only plans from Verizon. The BlackBerry and PDA plans are $54.99/month and offer unlimited text, IM, picture and video messaging, email, web browsing, and data usage, with a $0.25/minute charge for calls. The “Consumer Devices” plan is exactly the same, except it doesn’t offer email and charges $0.40/minute for voice features. Of course, Version’s definition of “unlimited” is a little odd, so keep an eye on the fine print. That said, unlimited everything plans are starting to pop up elsewhere, so hopefully we’ll see this sort of thing with other big names.

Beta sign-up for Tango announced, Apr 15

TangoIf those first looks weren’t enough to whet your palette, you should check out this new trailer with speakers turned up nice and loud. Viigo’s big update for WES is coming closer to light, and promises weather, sports, blogs, flights, hotels, local points of interest, and podcasts, alongside the great RSS service we’ve already come to enjoy on your BlackBerry. If you haven’t tried out Viigo yet, grab it - you won’t be disappointed. As for a release, we’re looking at something about a month after WES, but you can sign up for the mid-May beta right now! We’re really excited for Viigo and all the new services they’ll be introducing to your BlackBerry, and we’ve been promised that what we’ll be seeing soon is just the beginning. You should check out our last podcast for a closer look at Viigo’s angle on Tango.

BlackBerry 9000 to have front-facing video camera?, Apr 15

9000Hoo-ah. A Spanish blogger by the name of Luis Rodríguez has been playing around with a 9000 and let slip that the as-yet-unreleased device will have a front-facing video camera. Up until now, the BlackBerry 9000 has generated some ho-hum reactions, boasting an amalgam of features peppered across the BlackBerry lineup (3G, camera, Wi-Fi, GPS), but nothing new outside of the higher-res screen. It hasn’t been stated that this new camera will be in addition to the rear-facing still camera, or if it will be a subsequent 9000 model touting the video camera. In either case, file this one under rumor for the time being. If RIM can deliver reliable video call capabilities over HSDPA, the BlackBerry 9000 could really make a splash. Thanks Josep!

TCS and RIM reach legal stalemate, Apr 15

GavelTeleCommunication Systems filed a patent lawsuit against RIM back in December over the use of some e-mail technologies, but so far proceedings are going nowhere. As a result, they’re calling it quits for now while both parties reassess their strategies. Round 2 should get going around June 12th., after which point we’ll see if TCS actually has a leg to stand on.

AT&T offers BlackBerry Professional Software, Apr 15

Never one to be out-done, AT&T is now offering BlackBerry Professional Software as part of a series of new deals for small business owners. The software comes with the usual array of synchronization and security features, and has recently gotten a small price drop. $499 will buy you a 5-user license and $849 will snag you a 10-user license, up to a maximum of 30 users. You can hit up AT&T at 1-888-296-4561 or via their small business website to get started.

T-Mobile releases 8120, Apr 15

A celebrating PearlHey, they actually did it. After being pushed back almost two months, the BlackBerry Pearl 8120 is now available through T-Mobile’s store. The phone’s equipped with Wi-Fi, a 2 megapixel camera and Bluetooth, as per usual. As with T-Mobile’s 8820, you’ll be able to use Hotspot @Home to make calls over your local Wi-Fi network. So far, it seems like it’s only available in a rather boring grey, so hopefully we’ll see some new colors come out soon. The 8820 got the color treatment, and a rare one at that, so fingers crossed… Failing that, you can always grab a skin and do the coloring yourself.

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: Bplay, Apr 15

Bplay logoYou might be wondering what Bplay, a game and theme publisher, is doing at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium, but hey, suits like games too. The most recent addition to their catalog is, of course, Guitar Hero, but they’ve also got games like Leisure Suit Larry: Love For Sail, Surviving Hollywood, Star Wars: Battle Above Coruscant, Caesar, and the upcoming Texas Hold ‘em King 3. Bplay is the primary outlet for Magmic’s games, but another portal, Winplay, offers their Windows Mobile ports. Outside of games, Bplay offers themes in droves, of course. As a gamer myself, I can’t wait to see what they have on offer at WES.

Weekly Contest: Lifesaver, Apr 14

A lot of us use BlackBerrys to pretty mundane ends: daily e-mails, maybe check some news, fart around on a game while waiting for the bus, call home and see what’s for supper, the usual - but every once in awhile something comes up, and you thank every god you can think of that you’ve got your BlackBerry handy. Both Dave and Jeff had some extraordinary experiences with their devices, and there are sure to be plenty of other stories out there. So go on, tell us when you were most thankful to have your BlackBerry handy. Maybe you were able to grab a split-second picture of a robber with your Curve, maybe some speedy mobile browsing found a new restaurant just in time to save a date gone south, maybe your integrated GPS helped some tourists find their way to the hotel late at night… Whatever your story is, let’s hear it, and the best one will get an OtterBox of choice to make sure your BlackBerry’s working when you need it most.

Last week’s winner behind the jump!

WES Exhibitor Spotlight: Vlingo, Apr 14

Vlingo logoVlingo’s speech recognition technology is behind the recent release of Yahoo! oneSearch. They also offer their own search app called Vlingo FIND, which searches locally and includes maps. They’re developing an app that will add speech recognition to pretty much every aspect of the BlackBerry: calling, emailing, text messages, memos to self, and more. WES, of course, would make a perfect venue for release…

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