BlackBerry 8110 lands in Hong Kong, Feb 15

While there hasn’t been much news lately on China Mobile’s launch of the BlackBerry 8700, Hong Kong is still getting all the latest goodies, including the BlackBerry 8110. 3Hong Kong and CSL will be carrying the device, complemented by Simplified Chinese Pinyin and 5 Strokes character input. Any Chinese looking to pick one up will have to hold out for Traditional Chinese support. 3’s store hasn’t been updated yet, but you can check out CSL’s BlackBerry 8110 going for $3388.

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 17, Feb 15

BBCool welcomes Joe Pawlikowski to the podcast to run down the news for the week of February 11th., and we also have a chat with Ahmed Datoo about Monday’s outage.

Weekly Contest: What’s the big deal?, Feb 15

The newest toy to RIM’s lineup promises to wirelessly stream music from your BlackBerry to your stereo. Is it worth getting one, or going for a less expensive wired solution? Drop your comment and win three games from Bplay!

BlackBerry Cool Podcast: Episode 17, Feb 15

Simon Sage and Joe Pawlikowski from BBGeeks run down the news for the week of February 11th., including the first look at the CDMA Curve, examining the possibilities of the Stereo Gateway, Viigo’s plans for WES, a bunch of BlackBerry 8110 launches, and more. After that, we talk with Ahmed Datoo from Zenprise on Monday’s North America-wide outage. You can get your direct-download groove on right over here, access our XML feed here, and if your the iTunesin’ sort, check out our feed here.

Thanks again to Joe and the BBGeeks crew for coming on the show!

Weekly Contest: What’s the big deal?, Feb 15

Since the Remote Stereo Gateway peeped out its head at CES, and gained more visibility as the FCC filings went through, the thing’s been gathering quite a bit of popularity. But as Ronen will never let me forget, why not just get a wired solution that’s been available for ages and for a fraction of the cost? On the other hand, you’re lacking a certain amount of mobility that way, not to mention missing the remote control novelty. This week we’re asking: is the Remote Stereo Gateway a big deal? If so, in what ways? Does this herald the first in a series of BlackBerry Bluetooth receivers to be scattered around the home, or is it a novelty item that won’t fly? Can we count on it connecting reliably and easily? Most of all, will you be getting one? Whoever can make the best case for RIM’s newest toy will win 3 games of choice from BPlay!

Last week’s winner behind the jump…

GPS Pearl lands in India, Feb 15

Quickly following the Hong Kong launch of the BlackBerry 8110 is Airtel’s offering for Rs 24,990. The 8120 landed there last November, so Airtel’s lineup is looking pretty solid at this point. There have been rumors of RIM setting up a manufacturing facility in India soon, which is a pretty good idea, not only for keeping up with demands, but also to cut down on transportation costs. Seriously, those BlackBerrys have a long way to go to get from factory floor to the stores. Thanks Stefano!

121 BlackBerry Tips, Feb 15

Thumbs UpInsideCRM has just busted out a great list of resources spanning the whole BlackBerry community, and covering topics from simple keyboard shortcuts to highly recommended software. There are a lot of layers of functionality to a BlackBerry, and this list of links is a great tool to help you dig through ‘em. One new tidbit I found out was how to dial letter numbers like 1-800-GOOG-411 by holding down the ALT key. There was also a guide on there for installing BlackBerry apps through Mac OS X, which I’m sure some Mac users out there would appreciate. I’m a little sad not to see Viigo on that list, though… Thanks Amy!

New releases from Bplay, Feb 15

Bplay has announced the release of two new games and two new themes. First up is Star Wars: Battle Above Coruscant, a shoot-’em-up that puts players in charge of Anakin Skywalker as he fights his way through some of the battles from the first three movies in the series. Next is Caesar, a city management sim set in ancient Rome. Based on the PC series of the same name, the game allows players to take the role of a Roman governor and keep their city’s inhabitants clean, safe, and happy. Continue to manage bigger and bigger cities until eventually becoming Caesar. The two new themes, Woven and Black Satin, both feature monochromatic gray tones.

New Palm ads poke fun at RIM, Feb 15

Palm has created a new set of advertisements that poke fun at the recent outages for BlackBerry users, reports PDA Blast. The new ads, which appear on Palm’s home page and in full-page spreads in many newspapers, say: “Palm smartphones include voice, e-mail, text, Web, calendar and contacts. And most importantly, uptime. Connect to your Microsoft Exchange Server. No third-party servers and no nationwide blackouts.” Kind of a cheap shot if you ask me. I wonder if RIM will fight back?

Balsillie gives a nod to enterprise social networking, Feb 14

Jim-dogA gem out of Barcelona is a comment from RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie endorsing social networking for enterprise, as it could seriously benefit carriers’ data revenue.

And change is afoot elsewhere too, according to Balsillie, who said a B2B [business to business] social-networking revolution is coming that will bring networking benefits to the enterprise and also help drive data usage. “Once social networking becomes a B2B phenomenon — not unlike IM and texting — I believe every single social-networking user will want a data plan,” he told the Mobile World Congress audience.

The Facebook application was obviously a nod to the current social network of choice, but no doubt a business-oriented one like Plaxo that is fully accessible on BlackBerry would be a boon to RIM’s massive enterprise customer base. Maybe there’s something in the works…? Thanks Stefano!

Viigo teases with project Tango, featuring audio, Feb 14

Hrmmm… Viigo’s launched a teaser site for WES, with a very interesting graphic… What’s under that red veil, just beneath the WES 2008 channel… does that say Audio? Audio. For real? Are we talking podcasts, here? Could those clever dudes at Viigo have figured out a way to get files bigger than 5 megs to our BlackBerrys? Or maybe they’ve been in cahoots with RIM and are going to be capitalizing on much-rumored streaming audio support… It’s exciting stuff, but we’ll have to wait until WES to find out. Just below it looks like a stocks/finance channel, and beneath that travel, maybe? If Viigo’s staying free, it’s going to be an more killer app than it already is. It really isn’t just about RSS anymore. If you haven’t check it out, download the latest version for free over here.

European data rates threaten to get capped, Feb 14

European service providers are set for a bit of a kick in the pants after an EU official made some bold statements regarding handheld data rates at GSMA this week.

[Viviane Reding, European Commission’s information minister] said: “Sending text messages or downloading data via a mobile phone while in another EU country should not be substantially more expensive for a consumer than sending text messages or downloading data at home. This is the logic of the borderless single market which we in Europe agreed to create already 50 years ago. Higher retail charges abroad must be justified by additional cost of operators, or they will have to disappear.”

To back up the talk, Reding is threatening to impose a cap on wireless data prices that European wireless carriers are allowed to charge, unless they voluntarily drop the rates by July 1st. Bad news for carriers, good news for consumers.

Alcatel-Lucent to develop prepaid tracking app, Feb 14

Alcatel-Lucent has announced that they are developing an application that will track voice and data usage for prepaid users. The app compares current usage to the amount remaining, which will hopefully keep the number of overage charges to a minimum. The company will integrate the application with the networks of operators where the application will be used. The aim for the partnership is to increase BlackBerry use in developing markets. This isn’t the first time RIM and Alcatel-Lucent has joined forces, and their ongoing partnership has already increased usage in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

BluFlo launches SCADA solution for BlackBerry, Feb 14

BluFlo has announced the release of a SCADA application for BlackBerry. SCADA is a system for measuring and controlling large-scale industrial systems, by bringing data from a bunch of monitoring stations to one central computer. BluFlo’s solution works with any SCADA setup that uses the Modbus protocol. All data is sent via secure connection to BluFlo’s servers where it can be viewed over the web, or the data can be sent to an internal server if the user prefers. The application also features user defined registers, archive definitions, control limits, and alarms. Combined with something like the OtterBox, this could come to be a must-have for industrial engineers.

BlackBerry Unite! launch imminent?, Feb 13

Word from the Mobile World Conference points to an impending BlackBerry Unite! launch on Telefonica in Spain. Telefonica was the first in line to get it when Unite! was announced over the Fall, but there’s still been no sign of it outside of a few leaked shots. If something were to come out, it’s long overdue, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if the whole thing was held off until WES in May. Whenever it does launch, BlackBerry Unite! software will offer small group BlackBerry administration, including security, monitoring, document and multimedia sharing for up to 5 BlackBerrys. One morcel from the news states that it will allow for push e-mail to the users running under the software. More info on Unite! at RIM’s minisite. Thanks Hayden!

nuTsie music service coming to BlackBerry, Feb 13

Melodeo has announced that their music service nuTsie will be coming to BlackBerry in the spring. nuTsie allows users to upload their iTunes playlists — not the songs themselves, just the metadata associated with them — to nuTsie and then stream the music to their phone or PC. The songs are streamed from the nuTsie servers rather than the user’s PC so the music is always guaranteed to be available. The obvious downside is, of course, that all the music in your library might not be present. nuTsie also offers features like sharing playlists with friends, lists of similar artists, and even a partnership with LyricFind to browse song lyrics. The project has been in beta for a while now and it’s nice to see the light at the end of tunnel.

Bbmnation: social networking for BlackBerry users, Feb 13

Some faces floating in mid-airIf you like BlackBerrys and social networking, Bbmnation might be just right for you. Designed by a night club promoter named Steven Ojo and his partner Alex Trumpower, the site launched just a couple days ago. Signing up requires inputting your name, email address and BlackBerry PIN. Adding another user as a friend allows you to view their PIN. The site isn’t entirely finished — there is some broken HTML and picture viewing isn’t fully implemented — but it’s usable for basic purposes. There are lots of social networking applications and services available for BlackBerry, but this is the only site I know of that is exclusive to BlackBerry. As a bonus, 75% of its user base so far seems to be attractive college students.

Remote Gateway gets pricetag, Feb 12

A sharp-eyed reader has spotted the recently-announced BlackBerry Remote Gateway for sale at $79.99. Looks like it was wrong to assume the accessory would be priced along the same lines of other Bluetooth adapters… In any case, the oldest compatible BlackBerry is the 8100, so anyone packing something older will be missing out on the stereo streaming action. We hear it’s not in stock yet, but obviously a widespread retail launch is imminent. Thanks Mike!

BBCool gets ready to Pownce, Feb 12

Since using Flock, I’ve been getting into the web 2.0 stuff, and Pownce is a great new way to get all of it together. The big thing about Pownce is that it ties a lot of great services together, like our Facebook fan page, our Flickr page which will be seeing some more action around WES-time, our YouTube profile featuring all of our video reviews, and lots of other stuff. Pownce is still really new, so there’s no RSS feeds available in the posting area, but we’re sure it’s on the way. As soon as it hits, you’ll be able to get the quick-and-dirty version of BBCool right on our Pownce profile. Oh, and they’ve got a mobile site available at, if you’re looking for access right from your BlackBerry.

BlackBerry 8110 comes to Holland, Feb 12

Dutch carrier KPN has announced the release of the GPS Pearl in blue. The BlackBerry 8110 features all the goodies you expect with the most recent models: 3.5mm headphone jack, externally-acessible microSD memory card slot, SureType keypad and 2 megapixel camera. Now all it needs is a wooden clog-style holster and you’re set. For more info, check out KPN’s online store. Thanks Stefano!

RIM launches worst ad campaign ever, Feb 12

No, seriously. AdRants ripped into the new ad campaign from RIM and T-Mobile with good reason. The ads feature an improv comedy team in Chicago and another in New York telling jokes to each other over the phone. Unfortunately, the jokes are some of the most stilted, unfunny pieces of garbage I’ve ever had the misfortune of listening to. Highlights include off-key singing, a “joke” which consists of one performer completely flubbing the opening line, and one performer listing various accidents like “I bit my tongue” and “I bumped myself in the head” for no discernible reason. Even the audience didn’t laugh most of the time. Opinions differ on RIM’s usual marketing prowess, but there’s no doubt they can do better than this.

Remote Stereo Gateway due by end of month?, Feb 12

We’re getting word from the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona that we could be seeing the Remote Stereo Gateway before the end of February. If you missed the news frenzy about this, the Gateway hooks up to a stereo system and then allows you to wirelessly stream music from your BlackBerry to the stereo. There’s nothing official from RIM yet or any pricing information, so this is just a rumor at the moment. Also keep in mind that it’s a leap year, so RIM has a whole extra day before February ends.

Thanks Josep!

North American outage reported, Feb 11

AngerIs it just me, or are these happening a little more often than usual? Our buddies at Zenprise have given us the extent of the damage so far.

The issue was first reported at 12:20 p.m. PT. Zenprise diagnosed and tested issues on various networks to determine the cause of the outage. At 12:23 p.m. PT, Zenprise sent an email notification to its customers that BlackBerry service is down and the issue is with the BlackBerry network. Note: At about 12:30 p.m. PT, AT&T first learned there was a problem.

And straight from RIM…

* BlackBerry subscribers may be unable to send or receive messages. Subscribers may also be unable to register their device, roam in another location, or use other services such as Internet browsing.
* BlackBerry Internet Service subscribers may be unable to use the BlackBerry Internet Service web site or perform activities such as creating new accounts, accessing their internet mailbox, integrating third-party email accounts, or viewing email attachments.
* Devices may not receive new service books. BlackBerry Connect and BlackBerry-enabled devices that require a new PIN may be unable to receive the PIN.
* BlackBerry Enterprise Servers may be unable to connect to the BlackBerry Infrastructure.
* Wireless service providers and device resellers may be unable to use BlackBerry administration web sites or perform activities such as creating subscriber accounts or provisioning services for subscribers.

UPDATE: Judging by the deluge of delayed e-mails blinking away on my BlackBerry from last night, the problem looks resolved. Based on other reports, things started kicking back into gear between 7 and 8 PM last night. As for the reason, Jim Balsillie has stated that the outage was a result of a system upgrade.

Two free BlackBerry themes, Feb 11

ScribbleWhen I saw Ronen’s post on the two new free themes on for anything running OS 4.2, I was a bit surprised not to see the sketchy Scribble theme or the slick Today Plus, but still stuck with the old Sunday Funnies comic book theme. There might be some technical issues that need to be fixed before we can access these themes up in Canada (or maybe my BlackBerry’s just acting up), but until the site updates, there’s always themes at bPlay to peruse.

Ziplorer offers access to compressed files, Feb 11

ZiplorerRecently-launched from S4BB is Ziplorer, the software that lets you handle PKZIP and GZIP files on your BlackBerry. Bandwidth is at a premium on EDGE devices, so dealing with compressed files is a smart move if speed and data use are an issue. If it’s something you’re interested in, you can pick up Ziplorer right over here at 15% off until Feb 21st.

BlackBerry 8330 to have GPS, Feb 11

BlackBerry 8330It looks like those rumors of a CDMA Curve coming in the near future were well-founded. A nice little surprise at our first look with the BlackBerry 8330 reveals that this version of the Curve will be featuring GPS, just like its BlackBerry 8130 and 8830 brothers. No more word on release date, so we’ll sit on the “before WES” ballpark for now. Considering we’re seeing clear shots of a finished product, that doesn’t seem entirely out of the question. This is the last of the three BlackBerry tracks to hit CDMA carriers, so really the only thing that subscribers on that boat are waiting for are Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerrys. Of course, we’re also left to think of what the BlackBerry 9030 will have in store when it hits shelves down the road…

RIM to set up shop in India?, Feb 11

RIMAccording to RIM’s Asia-Pacific VP Norm Lo, “India is a very important market for us and we have a long-term view of it. Our growth in India and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole is making us explore the possibilities of setting up a manufacturing hub in this part of the world.” China was also on the plate to join the ranks of Canadian, Mexican and Latin American manufacturing centres, but it’s more than just factories set to go up. India’s workforce also shows a lot of promise for an R&D centre there, too. Nothing’s set in stone just yet, but it’s clear that some expansion into Asia-Pacific is on RIM’s mind.

Save with the BBCool
Affiliate Network:

Decal Girl - BlackBerry Skins