Review: OtterBox Roundup, Sep 20

OtterBoxOtterBox has become synonymous with ruggedized electronics since they got started back in ‘96, so we’re really glad to finally have the chance to check out their goods. On our plate we have the OtterBox 1930, fitting on the BlackBerry 8700, the OtterBox 1933 for the BlackBerry 8800, the OtterBox 1600 which is lovingly cradling our Garmin GPS puck, and the OtterBox 2500 to keep our SideWinder toasty warm. If you’re into the rough-and-tumble lifestyle and you’re checking out this site, you’ll want to see what’s behind the jump.

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BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 7, Sep 17

BBCool’s Simon Sage teams up with BrokeIt’s Karl Susman to bring you the week’s big news, along with some juicy bits about the upcoming Desktop Media Manager. Take a listen!

Weekly Contest: What does open access mean for BlackBerry?, Sep 14

By January, the FCC will be opening up some of the spectrum for anyone to use. What can RIM do with it? Tell us your ideas and win 3 themes from Bplay.

RIM’s testing partner expands facilities, Sep 21

Metrico has recently announced that they have expanded their testing facilities sixfold, and are ready to continue doing testing for not only BlackBerrys, but for Samsung, AT&T and T-Mobile’s devices as well. Wireless testing is no small endeavor - these guys create simulated human skulls, complete with fluids, to test their effects on transmission quality. Some of Metrico’s dummies use $20,000 ears that mimic human characteristics. Yow, testing really is no joke for these guys.

RIM’s Q2 results available October 4th., Sep 21

RIMMark your calenders, ladies and gents, because in two weeks’ time RIM will be releasing their quarterly results. From the information dished out Thursday October 4th., 5:00 PM ET, we’ll get a clear view on how much the iPhone has slowed RIM’s momentum, if it has at all. The results will also set the bar for the upcoming fall. We’ve seen a lot of BlackBerrys in the last few weeks, which can only be ramping up to the big Christmas push. If you’re looking to listen in on the live webcast, you can check it out here.

Technical Difficulties, Sep 20

You might have noticed a few issues over the last day or two here at BBCool. Our readership has grown significantly and managed to exceed our server capacity before we had a chance to find something a little more our size. After some frantic shuffling, we’ve miraculously survived and found a new home for BBCool where she’s settling in nicely. Thanks a ton for your patience and continued patronage, guys. It’s actually kind of bittersweet having your site crash because so many people wanna check it out.

AT&T’s BlackBerry 8820 ready to roll, Sep 19

Blackberry 8820AT&T’s BlackBerry 8820 has been officially announced today, packing both GPS and Wi-Fi under the hood and hitting store shelves tomorrow. The 8820 will also be coming bundled with AT&T’s Mobile Music, which gives access to XM Satellite Radio, among other music services. You’ll have to fork over $299.99 on a two-year contract for this beauty. This wasn’t exactly the soft launch we were thinking of, but quietly getting the devices into stores for a nearly day-of announcement is a pretty good way of building up hype. After all, which announcement gets you more excited: “It’s coming next week”, or “It’s coming tomorrow”?

Full press release and specs after the jump.

AT&T retiring @mycingular.blackberry.net, Sep 19

CingularEven though AT&T might be paying homage to Cingular with a change to orange for their logo, they certainly don’t want anything more to do with the Cingular name. BlackBerry e-mail addresses under the mycingular.blackberry.net domain are about to be kindly booted over to att.blackeberry.net, according to Russ. The switches will be happening throughout October and November, although anything from your old Cingular e-mail will be forwarded to the AT&T one up until March 1st.

T-Mobile BlackBerry 8320 available for pre-order, Sep 19

T-MobileBrokeIt sounds like they’re getting some hints on T-Mobile’s BlackBerry 8320 pricing, and as usual enterprise customers are getting first dibs. The purported $199.99 pricetag puts the Wi-Fi-enabled 8320 dead-on with the now-defunct BlackBerry 8300. You can make your pre-orders now, and count on the September 24th. release date to get your hands on the new device.

2007 Ms. BlackBerry Pageant, Sep 19

Robb found this yesterday. It’s totally worth your time.

T-Mobile acquires SunCom, Sep 18

T-MobileT-Mobile, on the verge of releasing the BlackBerry 8320, has acquired SunCom for a cool $1.6 billion, thus increasing their customer base by 1.1 million. This should increase T-Mobile’s coverage in the southeastern U.S. after the whole deal is finalized, but will also give T-Mobile some service in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. SunCom shareholders will make off with $27 per share as a result of the deal, which ain’t too shabby at all.

Dynoplex BIS prices dropping, Sep 18

DynoplexJosep at Miblackberry just let us in on some price drops and changes that will be coming to Dynoplex soon. These guys do office applications for your BlackBerry, but they’re looking to appeal to individual BIS customers a little more. Their eOffice suite, which lets you view and edit a bunch of document types, is getting its three packages folded into one nice and tidy $100 package. MasterDoc, which is sitting at $79.95 is getting cut to $49.95. That app reads various file formats and lets you fax from your BlackBerry. Finally, their spell checker, eSpell, will be available for a cool $19.95, and offers SMS, IM, Calendar spell checking, in addition to the standard e-mail.

T-Mobile BlackBerry 8320 documents leaked, Sep 18

Our buddy Karl will be getting his hands on T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry 8320 this week, but if you’re looking for some cold, hard numbers before our next podcast, the fine folks at Pinstack have revealed an internal product service guide for your perusal. The comparison chart confirms that the 8320’s Wi-Fi will work with Hotspot @Home, but we’ve got a lot more to say about the subject elsewhere. The battery life seems to be about on par with the BlackBerry 8700, with 4 hours of talk time and 7 hours on standby. For anyone looking to pick one up on T-Mobile, word has it that the device will be available in grey and gold on September 24th.

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 7, Sep 17

Simon Sage takes his maiden voyage on the BlackBerry Cool Podcast, talking with Karl Susman from BrokeIt.com about the week’s big news, as well as a few juicy new tidbits. Last Friday’s BIS blackout and RIM’s site updates are on the plate, along with some of Karl’s inside info on T-Mobile’s upcoming BlackBerry 8320. After that, we go over Sprint’s BlackBerry 8130 and the future of streaming video on BlackBerry. Then we take a turn to location-based services, talking about SameCell, the free proximity detection service. To cap it all off, we get a full run-down of the upcoming Desktop Media Manager and new multimedia sharing functions. Take a listen! You know you wanna.

Related links:
The New Media Expo
Tech Podcast Network
Avalon Podcasting

BBCool feature returns from the grave, Sep 17

Since the site reskin, we lost a few of our old features, such as our ever-popular Wallpaper Generator. Well, we’ve got it back, along with a few new pages. If you’re a BlackBerry professional (or you’re looking for BlackBerry professionals), be sure to check out our revamped Job Board. For those looking for something a little more light-hearted, we have new Free Software and Free Themes pages, which will be updated regularly as we stumble upon new stuff. Find something that should be up there? Drop us a line at info AT blackberry cool dot com with your suggestions! Finally, our Wallpaper Generator is purring like a kitten after much trouble. If you’ve got an image that you want to see on your BlackBerry minus all the fuss of Photoshop, pop it into the generator, and you’ll get it custom fit for your BlackBerry. We’re working hard to get the old Software and Hardware Guides back up, so keep your eyes peeled!

Patent office stomps Visto objections, Sep 17

Visto’s been legally nagging at RIM for awhile now, but now the second of their four patent objections has been dismissed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the grounds that one patent regarding secure network file transfer has been in use by Lotus Notes since the 90s. This is just a preliminary rejection mind you, meaning Visto now has the opportunity to revise their complaint in scope or logic before it officially goes to court next July. Now, what the patent office says may have no ultimate bearing on the case proper, considering RIM had that much going for them in the NTP case, and we all know how that one ended up.

BlackBerry 8310 coming in titanium and… red?, Sep 17

The superspy Boy Genius has gone off and acquired secret documents again, this time pertaining to new BlackBerry 8310 colours and a launch date for AT&T. We’ve already seen what the titanium looks like on an 8300 frame, but the GPS-toting 8310 will be getting one colour we haven’t seen on a Curve yet: red. The 8300 line is shaping up to follow the Pearl’s multicoloured precedent, to the jubilation of mobile fashionistas everywhere. Red’s a surprise, but it’s better than gold. We’ve also got a release date set for October 4th., but as ever, rumors are rumors. The doc also confirms earlier speculation that the BlackBerry 8310 will be phasing out the original Curve, just as the 8820 will be doing for the 8800.

Idokorro changes name to something sensible, Sep 17

Local Ottawa company, Idokorro, have finally come to the grim realization that their name is downright silly, and have announced a change to the considerably sleeker Rove. At least they’ve got a sense of humor about it, eh? For anyone unfamiliar with Rove, they do a whole range of office utility applications for your BlackBerry. Mobile Admin lets you manage your network servers while on the move; Mobile Citrix Client gives you access from your BlackBerry to applications published on your Citrix Presentation Server; Mobile SSH gives you an SSH and Telnet client so you can create terminal sessions on Unix and Linux servers, among others; Mobile File Manager hooks you up with file access on your remote computers and networks; and finally, Mobile Desktop gives you remote access to your computer, be it Windows, Mac, Linux or just about anything else, so you can view the desktop and control the mouse and keyboard from your BlackBerry. For more info, check out their new site at www.rovemobile.com.

Microsoft Visual Studio plug-in released, Sep 17

The BlackBerry development plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio we noticed around WES-time is now available for download for those coders among us. What can you look forward to with this addition, you ask?

Key benefits for developers include:
* Familiar development experience — Plugs into an existing Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment, providing a familiar experience for .NET developers to create rich client applications for the BlackBerry platform.
* Seamless wireless connectivity — Leverages the inherent security and managed wireless connectivity of the BlackBerry® Enterprise Solution, allowing developers to seamlessly connect to back-end enterprise systems using .NET Web Services.
* Simplified BlackBerry development — Provides a framework of re-useable BlackBerry application components that simplifies user interface design, data management and wireless connectivity of rich-client applications.
* Enterprise-class security and manageability — Applications developed using the BlackBerry Plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio will leverage the same secure, push-based technology and scalable architecture of BlackBerry® Enterprise Server. IT departments also benefit from simplified management and centralized control of their wireless deployments.

Cheers, Robb!

Virtual BlackBerry software landing within the next month, Sep 17

We’ve heard some rumblings of Virtual BlackBerry software coming for Windows Mobile 6 devices on Telstra within the next month. Keep in mind, this isn’t BlackBerry Connect, which just gets you push e-mail on something other than a BlackBerry. Virtual BlackBerry includes that, but lets you load up BlackBerry applications (calendar, address book, tasks, memos, browser, instant messaging, etc.) on Windows Mobile. Progress the Virtual BlackBerry service has been pretty quiet since the announcement last April - here’s hoping Australians won’t be the only ones getting it soon.

Thanks, miblackberry!

BlackBerry 8310 pops up on rebate chart, Sep 17

The Boy Genius spotted the GPS-toting BlackBerry 8310 on an AT&T rebate form recently. These rebates are to be doled out for sales between September 16th. and November 3rd., which would keep earlier rumors of a September 24th. release within the realm of possibility. If the BlackBerry 8800 is in fact getting phased out in favour of the 8820, we can expect the same treatment for the BlackBerry 8300 and the BlackBerry 8310. Sad, but true. Our little Curves… they grow up so fast…

RIM to enable wireless media sharing, Sep 15

I just had a great talk with Karl from BrokeIt, and man, has he got some dirt. Contained in documentation for the new Desktop Media Manager:

“Sharing pictures across the internet - The Media LiveShare feature allows you to use the Internet to share pictures with others outside of your home network. Your friends can view and download your pictures on their computers, Internet enabled phones, or Blackberry smartphones. Choose the album you want to share and then invite your friends to view it. Your friends receive an e-mail message with small thumbnail-sized pictures of a few of the shared files, plus a link to a LiveShare folder on your computer. When they click the link, they view a web page containing thumbnails of all the shared files. They can view the pictures or download them to their computers or Blackberry smartphones.”

Reminiscent of the .Mac Web Gallery, eh? Some of the other new juicy features which Karl and I talk about in the BlackBerryCool Podcast Episode 7, airing this Monday, confirm earlier reports regarding RIM’s plans for wireless multimedia and file transfer. Stay tuned!

BIS 2.4 coming this Saturday?, Sep 14

RIMWe know some of you have been giggling in anticipation of BIS 2.4. Well, MiBlackberry has spotted a rumor that 2.4 is coming out tomorrow, September 15th. We’ve been over the supposed features, most notably vCard, MP3, PDF and RTF support, improved Yahoo! mail sync, delivery and read receipts, and wireless message deletion. Also, it looks like you’ll automatically be logged into your BIS from your handheld - no need to muck around with usernames and passwords, unless you’re looking to do anything from your computer. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled on our BIS to see if this

Nokia supporting new memory standard, Sep 14

Nokia, Samsung and a handful of other manufacturers announced yesterday that they’re looking to bring all devices together into one happy family known as Universal Flash Storage. One of the primary drivers of this new standard is to do away with the need for size adapters, which is a worthwhile cause in my books. Nokia’s setting the bar pretty high for UFS: “Today, users experience a three-minute access time for a 90-minute (4 Gigabyte) high-definition movie; with the new standard, this would be reduced to a few seconds.” Ultimately, the standard will encompass both internal and external memory across a wide range of devices. As flash storage users, BlackBerrys could very well get in on this action, at least once the standard is finalized in 2009.

BlackBerry 8320 and OS 4.2.2 comparison charts leaked, Sep 14

Karl over at Brokeit has dug up some awfully official looking material regarding the upcoming BlackBerry 8820’s versus the BlackBerry 8100, BlackBerry 8800 and BlackBerry 8700. There’s not much in the way of new information, but gives the broad strokes of the 8320’s features. Karl also confirms that T-Mobile’s Hotspot @Home service should work dandy with the 8820’s WiFi, translating to the voice handoff service folks have been wondering about. As for OS 4.2.2, you’ll be getting the expected spell-checker alongside some home screen folder management, new camera effects (such as low-light compensation, sepia, black and white), and two phone updates. For one, address book entries will now pop up when receiving a call, and RIM’s introducing an Alternate Line Service, which lets you put more than one phone number on your SIM. Pretty awesome for those FMC junkies out there.

Weekly Contest: What does open access mean for BlackBerry?, Sep 14

We haven’t talked much about the whole open access frequency thing since the implications on BlackBerrys and RIM in particular haven’t been made completely clear yet. Regulations on the bidding process are still being finalized, but what’s been established so far can be found here. Suppose Block C, which will have to remain publicly available by the winning bidder, gets bought up. RIM already manages to offer some services, like BlackBerry Maps and BlackBerry Messenger of their own accord. This week’s contest asks you, BBCool readers: what would you like to see RIM do with its share of open spectrum? It’s not much, and there’s bound to be plenty of limitations on what can be used over the frequency, but let’s say there’s just a little bit of network that BlackBerrys would be able to use regardless of carrier. That opens up some very interesting possibilities not only for RIM, but for third-party developers too. Google and Skype are both pushing hard for the open access; Google and RIM are already pretty tight… what can we hope to see from The Big G? The one to leave the most compelling application for Block C on BlackBerrys will get 3 free themes from Bplay.

The extra-long contest we mentioned earlier is going to be postponed until next week. Sit tight!

Check behind the jump for last week’s winner!

Verizon to sue FCC over open access, Sep 14

VerizonIf you’ve been following wireless news, you’ll have heard about FCC’s push to designate a chunk of the wireless spectrum as open access, meaning there would be some airspace that isn’t tied down to a particular carrier. Progress has been pretty steady on opening some of the 700mhz range up for bid in January, but Verizon has finally piped up and called the whole thing “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.“, whatever that really means. Skype and Google have been all for the change, but Verizon’s litigation will likely slow this whole thing down.