Review Opera Mini and win an all-inclusive trip to Sweden!

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Win a 7-day all-inclusive trip to Scandinavia this summer!

A common criticism of BlackBerry devices is that the web browsing experience needs to be closer to that of the desktop browser. Opera Mini has been filling that need with a truer desktop experience.

From the beginning, Opera have been helped by communities such as BlackBerry Cool spreading the word about the browser and sending in valuable feedback. Because of their involvement, Opera Mini has become one of the most downloaded applications for BlackBerry.

Now, the company wants to give back to the community. This summer, one lucky reader from the BlackBerry Cool community will get to visit Oslo, Norway and visit the Opera headquarters. He or she will be accompanied by a correspondent from BlackBerry Cool, who will be writing about the experience. You’ll even get to visit Linkoping, Sweden where Opera Mini is made.
Click through to read how to enter and win from a long list of prizes including this amazing trip

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BlackBerry Tour 9630 uncovered in Telus website

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blackberry_tour_9630

You can’t hide from the Internet! A CB forums member went digging around the Telus site and by adjusting file link names, the user uncovered a picture of the BlackBerry Tour 9630. The size of the image suggests that the pic will be used for the devices page, where we’ll soon see specs and pricing associated with the device.

Rumor has it that the launch date is June 22nd, which jives with the launch of the U2 360 tour, sponsored by BlackBerry. The U2 360 tour kicks off June 30th.

[Via]

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Free X-Men Gambit theme for the BlackBerry Bold 9000

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NinjaThemes have created a free theme for your BlackBerry Bold 9000 featuring Gambit from X-Men. The theme features some dark cartoons accentuated by a pink energy flare. It looks nice and is sure to be a hit with superhero lovers.

Download your free Gambit Theme for the Blackberry Bold 9000.

If you download the theme, make sure to tell your friends you just picked up a free Remy LeBeau theme for your Bold. It’s incredibly geeky but they’ll think it’s some fashion designer from Paris.

Download the BlackBerry Cool App Store.

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Device margins get smaller in competitive smartphone market

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BlackBerry Storm

On Thursday, RIM will be reporting results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 after the close of the market. We’re expecting some good news from RIM in light of the current competitive smartphone pricing environment.

With the $99 iPhone and the Palm Pre launch, the smartphone wars have become much more intense. This is forcing RIM and other smartphone manufacturers, who wish to capture more of the consumer market, to lower their prices to increase sales. We have recently seen the Bold and the Curve 8900 drop around $50, and this, along with other carrier promotions, have helped sales tremendously.

Last quarter, RIM managed to beat expectations with sales increasing 84 percent to $3.46 billion compared to the same period a year ago. But gross margin was down to 40 percent from 51.4 percent a year ago, and 45.6 percent sequentially.

The issue therefore, is margins. By reducing device prices, you can increase sales, but profit margins are becoming increasingly slim in this environment.

The BlackBerry Bold costs around $169.41 to manufacture but this price does not include IP and a variety of other costs the carrier needs to pay. This means margins must be tight if AT&T sells the Bold for $199.99. By comparison, the BlackBerry Storm 9530 which carries a combined materials and manufacturing cost of $202.89, sells for $49.99 on Amazon.

RIM has a brilliant team of economists on board so while I’m sure they have assured the profitability of these devices, one can only hope that price wars don’t drive down profits enough to affect R&D and device improvements.

[Via]

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Uncle Sam wants your BlackBerry - new taxes could affect usage

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uncle-sam-wants-your-blackberry

The line between corporate user and consumer is becoming increasingly gray. For example, an application such as Gwabbit, that automatically adds email signatures to contacts, is geared towards enterprise, but it’s equally useful for consumers.

The IRS has become aware of this trend and is now weighing a proposal to deem one-quarter of employees’ use of work cell phones as personal use and therefore subject to tax as a fringe benefit.

Although this would only translate to around $100 per year for most users, it’s still harsh to arbitrarily assign the 1/4 value as personal use. Many users don’t have the IT permission to download apps and do the fun personal things they’d like to do with their device, and yet they’ll still have to pay this tax.

Calculate your added taxes under this proposal:

[Yearly BlackBerry bills x Marginal Rate (eg 20%) x 25% for personal use]

How much are you paying under this proposal?

[Via]

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BlackBerry Curve 8310 OS 4.5.0.163 officially released

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8310_163

How have you been liking your BlackBerry Curve 8310? It must be hard living without 3G or WiFi but at least you’re working with a sweet keyboard. You can’t go wrong with the classic 83xx QWERTY.

Upgrade your BlackBerry Curve 8310 with an official OS update to version 4.5.0.163 which is now available from 02 UK.

Worried about updating? It’s so easy. You can read a How To or just follow these simple steps:

  • Download the OS file.
  • Run the file.
  • Connect your BlackBerry.
  • Run Desktop Manager.
  • Search for updates and install.

Download OS 4.5.0.163 for your BlackBerry Curve 8310 from O2 UK.

[Via]

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T-Mobile BlackBerry Gemini 8520 spotted in ultra low rez

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blackberry gemini

Simon found a pic of the BlackBerry Gemini that is incredibly frustrating in its poor quality. If you’re sitting there looking at an unreleased device, here are a few tips:

  • Steady hands - Yes, it’s a sweet BlackBerry device that isn’t on the market, but shaking hands makes a blurry photo.
  • Megapixels please - At least 5 of them.
  • Angles - We need to see the front, back, side and top.

I have to give it to Kevin, he’s done the best job to date giving us some high rez images of the 8520. From that review, we see that the Gemini 8520 features rubber side keys, top-mounted media controls, and an optical pad replacing the classic trackball.

We’re expecting this to be an introductory smartphone device with a fairly low price point. Release dates aren’t exactly set yet, but we’re likely looking at an early August launch. Looking forward T-Mobile users?
More of those high rez BlackBerry Gemini 8520 images after the jump

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The new Blackberry Messenger leaked and previewed

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I use BlackBerry messenger often to keep in touch with both friends and coworkers. The messenger is useful but really boring in its lack of features and functionality. The coming update to BlackBerry Messenger will come with some incredible features and changes.

The upcoming BlackBerry Messenger includes:

* Avatar support — set your own avatar using the Camera or saved photo on your device (this is displayed locally as well as shown next to your Messenger name on your friend’s buddy list)
* GPS location integration — you can now set permissions so friends can always see your location, have to request it each time, or never can see it
* Proximity sensor — we’re guessing this will let you know if you’re within a certain distance of friends (pending, of course, you’re both set to share locations freely with each other)
* Set conversation subjects — this will allow you to organize your convos on the main Messenger screen and label them with subjects to keep track of all your conversations
* Homescreen support — you can pin/sticky actual Messenger contacts directly to the homescreen for easy access!

No word on launch dates yet but it will likely come with OS 5.0. Don’t expect to be able to pick up a leaked OS 5.0 and use this though, it’s still in beta and very much a guarded secret.

Click through for more screenshots showing all the features of the new BlackBerry Messenger

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BlackBerry Desktop Manager 5.0.0.8 leaked

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BlackBerry Desktop Manager

The upcoming version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager has been leaked on rapidshare. Desktop Manager 5.0.0.8 is a fairly large file at over 300MB, and it has been split into 3 parts.

Download part 1 of BlackBerry Desktop Manager 5.0.0.8

Download part 2 of BlackBerry Desktop Manager 5.0.0.8

Download part 3 of BlackBerry Desktop Manager 5.0.0.8

[Via]

UPDATE: Sorry folks, the file has been removed. You have to catch these things immediately.

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Verizon CEO says Tour and Storm 2 coming soon

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The CEO of Verizon, Lowell McAdam, loves to tease us with news of upcoming devices. A couple weeks ago, he said that “over the next six months or so you will see devices like Palm Pre and a second generation Storm.”

Well he’s recently elaborated on that statement at the Barclays Capital conference in New York.

“Over the next six months or so,” he said, “you will see devices like the Palm Pre and the Cousin on our network from Palm. You will see a second-generation [BlackBerry] Storm. You will see a new device we call the Tour from BlackBerry as well. That is an upscale of any other QWERTY-based devices that we have from BlackBerry today.”

It’s hard to extract anything tangible from his comments which have clearly been well-rehearsed. In general, you can expect a CEO to use a longer release schedule to avoid concerns that the company cannot make a deadline. The under-promise-over-deliver factor here could put the Tour release this August and the Storm 2 around September/October.

[Via]

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