Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MyBlackBerry Set To Launch

Are you one of those who thought that we were in need of another website that allows BlackBerry users to talk about their handsets, well you will be pleased to learn that there is now a new RIM-operated community forum called MyBlackBerry.

This new forum allows BlackBerry users to talk about their beloved RIM handsets; the website was officially launched at midnight. New and future BlackBerry users can discuss tips, review apps, stories, or just have a chat.

BGR have spent a few weeks with the MyBlackBerry and explains that in time and with enough user content, this will be able to become a decent forum for BlackBerry users. The new forum has now been up and running for a few hours now, let us know your first thoughts.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

New BlackBerry Tour minimal turnout - many prefer it over touchscreen devices

One users said the excitement of a new RIM device is diminished by growing monthly fees

Fifteen people waited outside a suburban Boston Verizon Wireless for up to two hours early Sunday morning to buy a new BlackBerry Tour smartphone.
Several of those waiting for the 10 a.m. opening said the Tour model is attractive because it has a physical QWERTY keyboard, and is made by a well-known company -- Research in Motion Ltd.

The Tour, considered by many to be a slight upgrade from the RIM's BlackBerry Curve or the Bold models, went on sale for $200 with a two-year agreement from Verizon or Sprint Nextel Inc. and a rebate.

At the Verizon Wireless store, Al Ferrer proudly showed his new Tour side-by-side with an older BlackBerry Bold, which he uses with AT&T's network. "The Tour is a little smaller, see? It's little. Cute, eh?"

Ferrer, a nuclear and mechanical engineer, qualifies as a power user of smartphones, and demonstrated that he is familiar with many of them. A Wellesley, Mass., resident, he travels often all over the globe for work, and considers his smartphone use "critical" to his day-to-day chores of making calls and monitoring e-mail.

The heavy number crunching and PowerPoint and Excel tasks he must do are almost all handled on a Dell laptop, which Ferrer said he still needs on longer trips. But he is looking to reduce the number of handheld devices he has to carry.

Ferrer's Tour will replace an older Motorola Razr. He will keep his Bold smartphone, which uses the AT&T network, to make sure he doesn't miss out on a call or a data connection. "With both, I'm pretty sure not to miss anything," he said.

Ferrer and his son, Andrew Ferrer, who also purchased a new Tours yesterday, smirked at the idea of buying a BlackBerry Storm or Apple Inc. iPhone, which have touchscreens. "A touchscreen phone is a nice idea, but they haven't perfected it," Al Ferrer said. "I have small hands and big fingers, and it's hard to use it for typing."

Andrew Ferrer, an attorney, added, "Getting a physical keyboard was critical for me."
Both men also own the Apple iPod Touch, but don't like how it responds to their touch, they said.
Several other customers agreed with the Ferrers' sentiment about the touch sreen.

Lacey Cumming, a student at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., who was one of the first to arrive at the store to make sure she could get a new Tour to replace her Curve. She said she had tried a Storm for two weeks and returned it.

"I didn't like the Storm," Cumming said. "It was too slow and didn't react to my touch well." Cumming has had eight different phones in her 19 years, she said, but still relies on an HP laptop required by her school for most of her intense browsing and school chores, she said. The Tour will be a convenient way to text friends and do casual browsing, she added.

She showed off her accessories, including a screen protector and a bright pink protective skin that was the only color that would do compared to the only other choices -- blue and clear.
If anything, the Sunday customers at the Verizon store showed how intensely personal a smartphone can be, right up there with precious jewelry.

David Peters, also of Wellesley, said he bought the Tour to support his marketing and sales job as he travels globally. He was a former Curve customer on the T-Mobile USA network, and first got on T-Mobile because its network reach had been so good in other countries. "But I am transferring to Verizon because T-Mobile service sucks here," he said. T-Mobile USA's parent is Deutsche Telekom AG, which explains its reliability abroad, he reasoned.

Peters also avoided the Storm "because my colleagues said it was hard to use the touchscreen and difficult to use the buttons."

Sharon Decker, manager of the Verizon store in Natick, Mass., said while the early turnout of 15 people for the Tour was robust, it was about one-fourth the number that showed up in November for the BlackBerry Storm debut at a nearby Verizon store where she managed at the time. And hundreds of people at lined up outside the downtown Boston Apple store for the debuts of each of the last two iPhone models, showing there are obviously still many touchscreen enthusiasts.

For the Ferrers, the purchase of two Tours was a chance to reflect on the future cost of monthly cellular services. Today, Al Ferrer said he puts himself and three other family members on the same Verizon account for about $350 a month for the phones and AT&T's service. He is reimbursed his business costs of about $150 a month, he said.

But down the road, he hopes to contain his costs and said he is in the process of eliminating the land line phone at his home to help out. He is a realist, though, and recognizes that subscription fees will keep going up.

"I could handle some increases in monthly charges, but $500 would be too much," he said. Maybe the carriers could find a way to offer free tethering of his smartphone to his laptop so he could eliminate the cost of a broadband laptop card, which can be more than $60 a month. "Something has to give," he said.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

BlackBerry Tour Now Available from Sprint and Verizon

As promised, both Verizon and Sprint launched the BlackBerry Tour today. The newest smartphone from RIM offers support for both CDMA and GSM networks -- including EV-DO and HSDPA -- allowing it to be used around the world.

An Overview of the BlackBerry TourRIM is positioning this as a crossover device, good for both business and personal communication.

Its personal capabilities include access to social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr, and MySpace. It also allows users to share pictures and videos via MMS, and instant message on popular services or BlackBerry Messenger.

For business users, the Tour provides access to RIM's push email service, which offers messages with attachments, calendar, contacts, business applications, and location-based services.
The HardwareThe BlackBerry Tour has a tablet shape, with an HVGA (480 x 360) display, trackball, and full-QWERTY keyboard.

It includes a 3.2 MPx camera (with variable zoom, auto focus, flash and image stabilization), GPS receiver, and Bluetooth, while users are able to store up to 16 GB of data with a microSD/SDHC card (sold separately).

This BlackBerry operates on Verizon's or Sprint’s mobile broadband (EV-DO Rev. A) network, and can also roam on other high-speed 3G wireless networks around the globe for voice and email service. When roaming, it offers 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE as well as support for 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA networks.

The outer casing is 4.4 in. by 2.4 in. by 0.6 in. (112 mm x 62 mm x 14.2 mm), and its weight is 4.6 oz. (130 g).

Pricing & AvailabilityThe BlackBerry Tour 9630 is available from Verizon for $200 with a two-year service agreement. It can be ordered now at
Sprint is charging that same price after a $100 mail-in rebate, and with a two-year service contract. The Tour can be found on this carrier's site:

For more information on this smartphone, visit

Source: Verizon, Sprint

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Google's CEO Is Using a BLACKBERRY?!

Here's a photo of Google CEO Eric Schmidt snapping a pic—with a BLACKBERRY.
I know drug dealers are advised not to get high on their supply, but for the rest of the world, I believe it's strongly encouraged.

BusinessInsider posted the incriminating AP pic of the Silicon Valley exec on a busisness retreat out in Idaho. I mean, he didn't even try to hide the Blackberry logo.

I know Android isn't designed around enterprise, and that Schmidt is a big shot businessman and needs a Blackberry for RIM's push email, and scheduling, and collaborations, and synergizing with other execs. But this is FRIKKIN GOOGLE we're talking about. I'd sooner expect him carrying an iPhone—he is, after all, on the board.

You're telling me that the CEO can't get his code monkeys to create some custom Android software that connects to a special server and does everything a BlackBerry can? And it doesn't seem like a one night stand either—the ratty Google sticker on the back of the phone (presumably a Curve 8900) seems to indicate the thing gets some serious usage.

Could you imagine El Jobso (or Phil Schiller, for that matter), toting around an HTC Touch Pro 2? And I'll give you one guess what Roger McNamee and Jon Rubinstein are using (three letters...starts with P, ends with E). Tsk, tsk. Do better, Mr. Schmidt.
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BlackBerry Has Apple Envy Issues

So, we've known for a while that U2's latest world tour was going to be sponsored by RIM, makers of the BlackBerry. And we've known that this was slightly odd because U2 lead singer Bono is a founder of Elevation Partners (which, yes, was named after a U2 song). The same Elevation Partners that owns a huge stake in Palm, makers of the Pre. But good for Bono, apparently not mixing work and, well, other work. But perhaps even odder is the BlackBerry commercial now in circulation.

Until the very end when the word "BlackBerry" appears, I was sure this was an Apple ad. As a commenter noted on YouTube, this looks almost exactly like a cross between this U2 iPod ad from back in the day, plus a more recent Coldplay iTunes ad. Watch them below.

Plus This
Equals This

Much was made of Apple's relationship with U2 when it signed the BlackBerry deal. After all, the BlackBerry is now a chief rival of Apple since the iPhone launched. And, of course, U2 used to have close dealings with Apple, even getting its own special version of the iPod. Ads like this won't silence that talk. But it's not like BlackBerry hasn't had Apple envy before.

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RIM attempts to get its mojo back with the BlackBerry Tour

The summer of the smartphone is heating up as Research In Motion is set to introduce on Sunday its latest BlackBerry device, called the Tour. But will it be enough to keep RIM king of the smartphone market?

The BlackBerry Tour is hitting store shelves at an important time for RIM, which has been reportedly taking a sales hit as carriers promote exclusive phones, such as the Palm Pre on Sprint Nextel's network and the Apple iPhone 3GS on AT&T's network, according to Michael Walkley of Piper Jaffray.

Walkley said in a research note published this week that BlackBerry sales declined in June at AT&T and Sprint as these carriers focused marketing dollars and sales attention on iPhone and Pre over older BlackBerry handsets. Sales of BlackBerry devices remained solid at T-Mobile USA, but they were slightly down at Verizon Wireless, after the carrier ended its "buy one, get one" promotion, Walkley also reported.

But now it looks like RIM has a new device to excite its base of business users and consumers, especially those looking for a smartphone they can take overseas.

Unlike its smartphone competitors, the BlackBerry Tour is not offered exclusively on a single carrier network. Instead it will be available on two carrier networks: Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. Each carrier is set to launch the device on Sunday. Making its phone available on multiple carrier networks is not unusual for RIM, which sells its products on all four major carrier networks. But typically carriers don't make the devices available on the same day. In some ways, the non-exclusive arrangement could help RIM sell more devices because it greatly increases the potential sales base. But it might also hurt, if carriers focus more marketing attention and budget on promoting their exclusive phones.

It's yet to be seen how popular the new BlackBerry Tour will be. But at this point any new device from BlackBerry is likely better than none.

"Sales of the Tour are key in our opinion, as our checks indicated RIM may need strong July and August sales to meet its guidance," Walkley said in his research note.

The new phone, which sports Bluetooth, GPS, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a full QWERTY keypad, and a high-resolution screen offers everything that BlackBerry lovers have come to expect. And it also comes equipped with a Quad-band radio that allows the phone to be used internationally on both CDMA and GSM networks. The addition of the 800MHz and 1900MHz radio for CDMA is particularly important for users traveling to Latin America and parts of Asia where CDMA is available on these frequencies.

The device is likely to appeal mostly to business customers, particularly those who travel, and existing BlackBerry users. While Sprint Nextel also plans to market the phone to consumers, the carrier plans to target these customers first.

"Clearly there is already a strong base of BlackBerry customers, and many of them are business users," said Tim Donahue, vice president of business marketing for Sprint. "And we want to make sure they have access to the latest and greatest BlackBerry device out there."

Targeting BlackBerry base
Going after the business or enterprise customer is a smart move for Sprint. Business customers account for about half the subscribers on the Sprint network. But Sprint has also been pushing the Palm Pre as a business-friendly device. Donahue explained that there is room for multiple products to address the same market.

"There is no silver bullet when it comes to devices in this industry," he said. "It's more of a cadence and it's about building a portfolio."

For Verizon Wireless, the Tour is its major smartphone launch of the summer. The company hasn't made much noise about the Windows Mobile smartphones it has recently launched. And its last big smarpthone campaign was the exclusive deal for the BlackBerry Storm, RIM's only touch-screen phone.

The BlackBerry Curve and the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition phones have been big sellers for Verizon. But the BlackBerry Bold, which is only available on AT&T's network in the U.S., is considered by many BlackBerry aficionados to be RIM's most desirable BlackBerry. The Bold, which gets its name from its screen, has a high-resolution screen that has been described as eye-popping by CNET reviewer Bonnie Cha.

The BlackBerry Storm uses similar screen technology. But now with the BlackBerry Tour, Verizon is able to offer a device with a high resolution screen and a QWERTY keypad.

"If you take the keyboard and international reach of the BlackBerry 8830 and the screen quality of the Storm and combine them, you have the Tour," said Dan Mock, director of marketing for Verizon Wireless.

Walkley believes that the pent up demand for a BlackBerry Bold-like experience on Verizon's network will help make this a popular device for existing Verizon customers.

"We expect the Tour will sell very well to Verizon's installed BlackBerry subscriber base, as this is Verizon's first product that is competitive with the Bold at AT&T," he said in his note.

While the device will certainly be an important cornerstone of Verizon's smartphone line up, it's not an exclusive deal. So it's unlikely that the device will attract many new customers to Verizon. But Mock said that doesn't matter.

"It's never been our stance to go out and base our business on one iconic device," he said. "It's always been about the network for us. Still, I'd say we also have a strong portfolio of smartphones and mobile devices on our network."

For RIM the real question is whether the Tour can get enough momentum in the market to boost sales in July and August to reach its sales targets. The launch of so many other hot smartphones at one time presents a challenge for the company as it tries to push the Tour to the forefront of customers' minds.

And the pressure could continue to intensify as T-Mobile USA still launches its next Google Android phone, the MyTouch, in early August. T-Mobile has made the MyTouch its flagship smartphone, and the company is throwing a lot of money and marketing muscle behind the device. And even though carriers, such as AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile all claim that their sales reps are just as happy to sell a BlackBerry as they are any of these exclusive devices, it's hard to argue that these big marketing campaigns do not have an effect on sales of other devices, such as RIM's BlackBerrys.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

RIM's App World Has 2,000 BlackBerry Apps

In just over 4 months, Research in Motion managed to get double their applications on their App World store for the BlackBerry in hopes to get more Apple users on their side. This will be pretty hard to achieve, seeing that the iPhone App Store now has about 50,000 applications up and running.

Although they're not even close, RIM is pretty happy with the number of apps, saying that "it doesn't matter whether it's 40,000 or 2,000, you've still got a broad range of choice".

This month, RIM's 2,000 BlackBerry apps will be available to users in France, Italy, Germany and Spain, with Brazil and India to follow in the coming months

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