Microsoft and Nokia wanted to jointly bid to buy RIM

File this under the rumors/whispers tag but given the source it may very well be true. According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, Microsoft and Nokia were thinking of a joint bid to acquire Research In Motion (RIM) a few months ago. Interestingly Amazon was also in talks to buy the Canadian company around the same time according to Reuters’ sources. The fact that Microsoft and Nokia were thinking of doing this reinforces the feeling that the Finnish mobile giant is definitely more than a simple Windows Phone OEM.

RIM is apparently in such a harsh situation that they have also approached HTC, Samsung and other OEMs to license their OS in hopes to gain back some traction in the smartphone market. As of right now nothing as drastic has happened and all talks are still taking places behind closed doors and thick curtains. RIM is now apparently trying to get itself out of the hole all by itself but the recent announcement of the BlackBerry 10 devices delay (end of 2012) isn’t really reassuring.

Continue reading Microsoft and Nokia wanted to jointly bid to buy RIM →

Bing to be default search engine and mapping on Blackberry devices

Steve Ballmer took everybody by surprised a few minutes ago when he appeared on stage next to Rim’s CEO Mike Lizaridis during the BlackBerry World 2011 conference keynote. What was he there for? To announce that Bing will be the default search engine and on all future BlackBerry devices alongside Bing Maps which will be the default mapping services on the Canadian company’s handsets Update: and the PlayBook tablet. Microsoft’s services will be tightly integrated into the Blackberry OS according to Ballmer. The war for mobile search and locations services has just begun.

Continue reading Bing to be default search engine and mapping on Blackberry devices →

Super Impressive BlackBerry PlayBook video demonstration

I usually don’t post about RIM’s products but their upcoming PlayBook tablet is shaping up to be an awesome piece of hardware. The video you’ll see below is probably one of the most impressive thing to come out of this year’s CES. You will see RIM’s CO-CEO Mike Lazaridis giving the press a quick demo of the PlayBook’s video, 3D and multi-tasking capabilty. The PlayBook is powered by a Texas Instrument OMAP4430 SoC which is made of a Dual Core Cortex-A9 CPU clocked at 1Ghz + a PowerVR SGX540 GPU (similar to the Galaxy S but higher clocked) powering their newly acquired QNX OS . The whole thing is capable of encoded/decoding 1080P video and even 720P 3D Stereoscopic video (yes it’s a beast which is more powerful than the Tegra 2). So check out the video below and see how it can play 1080P, run Quake 3 & several PowerVR 3D samples and browse the web all at the same time:

Continue reading Super Impressive BlackBerry PlayBook video demonstration →

Google Voice search finally available in French, German, Italian and Spanish

One of the best features of Android is undoubtedly its voice search functionality. Unfortunately as I have reported in my HTC Desire review the feature only worked in English (US and UK) so everybody else was sadly left out of the party. But you can know wipe your tears thanks to today’s announcement that French, German, Italian and Spanish are finally supported on Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices:

Voice has always been the most natural way to interact with a phone — speaking is typically faster and easier than typing. We first developed Search by voice for English, and then for Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. Today we’re excited to welcome speakers of French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

microphone icon to start a voice-powered search. iPhone and BlackBerry users who already have Google Mobile App installed can enable voice search by selecting the new languages from the settings panel within the app.

If you have Android 1.6 or 2.1 (Donut or Eclair), and you have already installed the Search by voice application, starting later today voice search will return recognition results for French, German, Italian or Spanish if your phone has one of those languages chosen in ‘Language and keyboard’ settings. If you do not have the Search by voice application, you can install it from Android Market on your phone – search for ‘voice search‘. This application is only available in the Android Markets for France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Source: Google

Adobe confirms Flash for Windows Phone 7


It a recent blog disucssing the company’s officially abondon of Apple’s iPhone OS, Adobe’s Principal Product Manager Mike Chambers slipped whar may be one of the first official confirms by Adobe that Flash (and AIR?) is coming to Windows Phone 7 (previously on Microsoft commented on this subject):

I am excited about Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 and all of the opportunities that they will make available to Flash developers across multiple platforms (desktop, Android, Palm, Windows Phone 7, RIM, etc…).

This also confirms that the developement of Flash 10.1 for Windows Mobile 6.X was indeed halted two months ago. From the looks of it, Adobe is going to try ride on the relative success and buzz of the Android platform and heavely invest in it. I don’t expect to see Flash on WP7 before H1 2011.

Fortunately, the iPhone isn’t the only game in town. Android based phones have been doing well behind the success of the Motorola Droid and Nexus One, and there are a number of Android based tablets slated to be released this year. We are working closely with Google to bring both Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0 to these devices, and thus far, the results have been very promising.

Source: Adobe Mike Chambers

Flash coming to BlackBerry, Android and WebOS in H2 2010


Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen has recently announced during a television interview with Fox Business that Flash 10.1 will finally be available on Android, BlackBerry and WebOS handsets in the second half of this year (H2 2010). Regarding Android everybody should also be made aware that only CortexA8 based handsets (TI OMAP 3x and SnapDragon etc..) will be able to run Flash 10.1. It also seems like Adobe has indeed decided to scrap the Windows Mobile 6.x plugin as it was state back in February (they are curently working on flash for Windows Phone 7 instead). Developers can also sign-up now to be notified of the release of Flash 10.1 and AIR for Android (they’ve entered private-beta).

Source: Fox Business & Adobe via engadget

Opera Mobile 10 & Opera Mini 5 final available now for all mobile platforms


Opera announced today the official availibility of the final version of Opera Mobile 10 and Opera Mini 5 on Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian & Blackberry.

Today, Opera Software released the final versions of the world’s most popular mobile Web browsers, Opera Mini 5 and Opera Mobile 10. Now, nearly any mobile phone can support an Opera-driven Web experience, complete with unmatched speed, style and cost savings. Simply go to m.opera.com/ to download it directly to your phone today.

Today’s release puts the finishing touches on the Opera mobile-browsing duo. The focus is on delivering the best Internet experience on nearly any mobile phone, along with a unified look and feel and innovative favorite features, such as Speed Dial, password manager and tabbed browsing.

“Keeping in mind the needs and wants of our 50+ million users, we have emphasized speed, desktop-like functionality and data savings in our mobile browsers. Today, we have made it even easier for everyone to surf, search and socialize on the Web,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software.

Grab it here or by pointing you phone’s browser to http://m.opera.com/

Microsoft finally enforces Bing search deal with Verizon

Bing-BlackBerry-Options
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Microsoft and Verizon‘s relationship and how Google sneaked in a managed to accomplish what Redmond was planning to do especially in regards to the search deal that was signed one year ago. Well, it looks like Microsoft is finally getting serious. As of today Verizon has dropped Google search from their BlackBerry smartphone and left only Bing.

“The default to our BlackBerry devices is now bing!” and that if you’d like to use another search provider, you can “go to web – bookmark, make favorite, download. Also – you can to Appworld and download Google quicksearch client for free and move it from the Downloads folder to have a link on the home screen.”

Source: BGR

OpenGL ES coming to BlackBerry OS 5.0, Need For Speed demo on the Storm2

Two days ago RIM announced a couple of new BlackBerry OS 5.0 features during the BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco among them is OpenGL ES support. To demonstrted this Rim showed the new Need For Speed: Shift racing game running on the Storm2:

Here’ are the new OS 5.0 features that were announced:

- BlackBerry devices running OS 5.0 and higher will be able to benefit from OpenGL ES support, the 3D platform used by many of the world’s high-power smartphones for delivering killer games. There’s a beta of the SDK already, so let’s get cracking, everyone — we need some first-person shooters that totally negate BlackBerry’s ultra-productive image.
- A new plugin for the Eclipse development environment should make building BlackBerry app GUIs easier than ever, which should hopefully lead to prettier apps; it’ll be available in mid-2010.

- BlackBerry Theme Studio is now available, simplifying theme creation with support for changing the home screen layout, fonts, icons, colors, cursors, and more; it supports BlackBerry OS 4.2.2 and higher, which means that virtually every BlackBerry in a pocket (or holster) today should be able to take advantage. The timing’s perfect on this one, because RIM has also announced that themes can now be submitted to App World.

- BlackBerry Payment Service has been announced for mid-2010 availability, bringing in-app payments, subscription support, and a variety of billing options, which all sounds far more robust than the PayPal-only setup they’ve got going today.

- The Push Service made available to Alliance Program members earlier this year will be made available to all comers in “early 2010,” making it easy to push bite-sized chunks of “time-sensitive alerts” to phones quickly and easily.

- BlackBerry Advertising Service has been announced for 1H 2010 availability, bringing a unified ad platform for developers with a variety of existing ad networks on board. If this means more free apps in App World, we’re all for it.

- Expanding on the Flash partnership previously announced, RIM has teamed up with Adobe yet again to unveil tight integration with Creative Suite 5 with direct file exports for BlackBerry-optimized formats and the creation BlackBerry-specific web layouts. End users will also be able to pull files directly off their BlackBerrys into consumer offerings like Photoshop Elements. This particular news seems pretty fluffy since Adobe products are already capable of opening and saving media formats that the phones can use — but as with many of the other announcements here, we’re on board as long as it means better-looking apps.

Source: YouTube & BlackBerry

Migrating to Exchange 2010, an opportunity to dump BlackBerry

Exchange
Here’s an interesting article about a company, Global Crossing, who is migrating from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 and using this as an opportunity to switch their mobile fleet from Blackberry to Windows Mobile 6.5 phones:

“RIM requires that you pay for a license for the BlackBerry servers,” says Steven Schafer, Director of Network Services at Global Crossing. “You pay a license for every BlackBerry user that you have connected, and then you also pay for support and maintenance for the servers and users.”

But Is WinMo 6.5 Good Enough?

Despite the cost savings Global Crossing could reap by ditching BlackBerry servers and licenses, Windows Mobile 6.5 has faced some harsh criticism since it launched a month ago. It was mostly panned by critics and, based on recent studies, it has fallen way behind in the smartphone race.

Most of the gripes about Windows Mobile 6.5 are that it is a stopgap before the arrival of Windows Mobile 7, with underwhelming interface and touchscreen features. But even though WinMo 6.5 is not being hailed as a great mobile OS for consumers, critics admit that it’s a solid enterprise mobile OS given how well it integrates with Exchange.

Schafer is counting on such a smooth integration with Exchange 2010 and Office Communications Server. It’s what sets WinMo 6.5 apart, despite its lackluster reviews, he says, adding that he expects more enhancements with the arrival of Windows Mobile 7 in the second half of next year.

Read the rest here

Source: SFGate via wmpoweruser

BlackBerry Storm2 finally available on Verizon

Verizon Storm2

Looks like there was a one week lag between the official announcement and the retail availibilty, but today is the day. Verizon is selling the Storm2 for 179.99 with a 2 year contract if you’re inlove with this device…or you can just wait for the Motorola Droid (official announcement in a few hours).

Source: Verizon thanks for the tip Marco

BlackBerry Storm OS 5.0 upgrade coming today

BlackBerry Storm
In a move that I wish every OEM would do RIM is going to give BlackBerry Storm users the chance to upgrade their one year old device to the new OS 5.0 in a few hours. The update will fix a load of bugs and add some new features. Here’s the change log :

-Significant improvements in rotation detection and screen painting have been introduced in this software.
-Device displayed a white bar at the bottom of the screen after a rotation event.
-When setting a custom SMS tone for a single contact, this tone may playback unexpectedly for SMS’ received from other contacts.
-When swiping down the virtual keyboard in an MMS message the send and save draft icons did not appear as expected.
-When viewing an SMS there was no simple way to call the current user. Now the user can select the number from the Callback Number field or from the message body and call that number from the pop up menu.
-The delete prior function has the unwanted side-effect of triggering the compose email screen.
-The user cannot configure their profile settings to increase the number of alerts when being notified of an event such as incoming SMS or email.
-Previous software versions did not allow the user to increase the count of notifications (i.e. Beep 5 times when when I get an email and beep 3 times when I get an sms). In this software, this is now allowed with counts from 1-10.
-When trying to set a home screen background of a certain resolution (more specifically a resolution matching either the width or the height of the native resolution of the LCD) it may have appeared as a black screen.
-When trying to edit/create a folder, the virtual keyboard did not render to allow the user to enter the names of said folders.
-Intermittently, when streaming a video while doing a handover to 2G on a 3G network the video would stop playing.
-If you paused a video recording and then resumed, the icon state may not have reflected the current recording state.
-After recoding a video of a certain size (7M) the saved video may be corrupted and unplayable.
-During manual network selection, the radio buttons associated with the networks did not render as expected.
-When moving out of coverage your device display for no coverage may have been inconsistent.
-During voice calls, your device may have reset on a rare occasion.
-After viewing and accepting the End User Licensing Agreement of the App World application the application doesn’t startup (fixes introduced in the latest version of App World).
-On some rare occasions, the device may reset on its own during a voice call or while idle.
-During an MTP side load of 16GB of music, the device would leak memory and stop the transfer at ~75%.
-During device full boot-up, the progress bar skips from 0% complete to ~66% complete instead of showing a gradual progression (Note: from 66% to 100% it does show a gradual progression).

You’ll be able to grab it here

Source: BBrocks

BlackBerry Storm vs Storm2 video

Pocketnow has just posted a fairly good video comparaison of the BlackBerry Storm and Storm2.

They’ve also posted a hardware tour of the Storm2:

As I said earlier it looks like the devices is too little too late compared to phones like the HTC HD2 and Motorola Droid. Maybe RIM should stick to non-touchscreen devices…

Source: Pocketnow

BlackBerry Bold 9700 (Onyx) is officially announced

rim-blackberry-bold-9700-onyx
After months of leaks, YouTube videos & early reviews the BlackBerry Bold 9700 (onyx) is now officially announced. The phone runs on the new BlackBerry OS5.0, features a optical treckpad, 360×480 screen, Wifi, 3.2Mpx camera etc.. Several carriers have announced that they are going ot offer the phone worldiwde as soon as November.
T-Mobile announcement with Voice Calling over Wi-Fi : here
AT&T’s announcement: here
The official product site: here
Source: Enagdget

Quick BlackBerry Storm2 hands-on

Here’s a short hands-on video of the newly (and finally) announced BlackBerry Storm2 done by IntoMobile. The device definitely looks snappier than the original Storm:

Source: Vimeo

First BlackBerry Storm2 review, too little too late?

blackberry_storm_9520_right_base_angle
The CrackBerry junkies are the first to post a full blown review of RIM‘s second touchscreen smrttphone, the Storm2 and frankly it doesn’t look that exciting to me. What I get after reading the review is that RIM fiannly fixed all the major bugs/problem of the original Storm (mainly the sluggyness of the software and the new SurePress screen). The browser still doesn’t support tabed browsing, no Multi-Touch in their as well even though the hardware supports it etc…You can hatethe iPhone as much as you but it’s kind of sad when one of the most exciting feature of the Storm2 is the proximity sensor…(which Apple introduced on the Original iPhone in 2007).

The BlackBerry Storm2′s enhanced SurePress technology addresses the issues of the BlackBerry Storm’s original SurePress design:

•Consistent Pressure – Because the screen is now sitting on four evenly spaced ‘buttons’ (for lack of a better word), the amount of pressure required to create a click is consistent regardless of where you press.

•Multi-press capabilities – The improved SurePress hardware allows you to click on more than one part of the screen at a time. Taking advantage of this, RIM has allowed the software to now register two inputs on the keyboard. This is extremely beneficial when typing on the full qwerty keyboard in landscape. When typing letters across the keyboard from each (you are alternating between your left and right thumbs), you can now execute these letters more quickly as you can press the next letter without waiting for the screen to finish rebounding from the previous letter. It’s more like typing on a physical full qwerty smartphone.

•Smoother Rebound – Clicking in and out on the BlackBerry Storm2′s display is simply much smoother now, thanks again to the four electric button design. Use it side by side with the Storm and you’ll immediately feel the difference.

Face Detection feature! – Last, but certainly not least, the BlackBerry Storm2 features a proximity sensor that powers down the display when the phone is next to your ear on a call. Earlier hardware/software versions we have seen of the Storm2 never possessed this feature, but this review unit certainly does. Simply start talking with the BlackBerry Storm2 against your ear and the screen powers down – no more ear typing! As soon as you pull the phone away from your ear the screen powers on and you can enable calling features (mute, speakerphone, etc.). Finally!!

All in all the Storm2 is a solid device and truly what the original Storm should have been.

Read the full review here

BlackBerry Storm2 up for pre-order at Vodafone, full specs released


It’s now official, RIM’s second touchscreen smartphone is now partially out in the wild. Vodafone just announced that the BlackBerry Storm2 is up for pre-order. I’m personaly really intesrested in the new piezoelectric screen featured on the device, hopefully hands-on reviews are going to start to pop-up soon.
Here’s the Press Release:

New SurePress Technology

The BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone introduces a new SurePress™ technology based on an electronic system that provides the user with tactile feedback when the touch-screen is pressed. The new system responds equally to gentle pressure applied anywhere on the surface of the screen and makes clicking the display practically effortless. Typing on the smartphone’s virtual keyboards is easier, more comfortable and more accurate. The new SurePress technology also allows the user to type a letter with one thumb even while their other thumb may still be touching or resting on another letter, enabling faster typing and multi-key actions such as Shift or Alt -key combinations.

Hardware Features

  • Smooth design and premium finish with sloped edges, chrome accents, glass lens and stainless steel backplate
  • Large (3.25”), dazzling, high resolution 360 x 480 display at 184 ppi
  • Capacitive touch-screen with integrated functions (Send, End, Menu, Escape) and new SurePress technology that makes clicking the display practically effortless
  • Global connectivity support: UMTS/HSPA (2100Mhz), quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM and Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g) networks
  • 3.2 MP camera with variable zoom, autofocus, flash and video recording
  • 256 MB of Flash memory
  • 2 GB of onboard memory storage and a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 16 GB cards today and is expected to support 32 GB cards when available
  • Premium and easy-to-access phone features, background noise suppression technology, loud distortion-free speakerphone and face detection (proximity sensor) that prevents accidental clicks and blanks the screen while the user is on the phone
  • Media player for videos, pictures and music, plus BlackBerry® Desktop Manager for both PCs and Macs, and BlackBerry® Media Sync for easily syncing iTunes® and Windows Media® Player music with the smartphone*
  • Vodafone’s music client pre-installed, giving access to an extensive catalogue of artists
  • •A 3.5 mm stereo headset jack and dedicated volume controls
  • Bluetooth® (2.1) with support for Secure Simple Pairing, hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals
  • Built-in GPS for maps and other location-based applications, as well as photo geotagging
  • Access to BlackBerry App World™, featuring a broad and growing catalog of mobile applications developed specifically for BlackBerry smartphones. Categories include games, entertainment, IM and social networking, news, weather, productivity and more. Applications developed for the original BlackBerry Storm are fully compatible with the BlackBerry Storm2
  • BlackBerry® Internet Service and BlackBerry® Enterprise Server support
  • Removable, rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery that provides approximately 6 hours of talk time on 3G networks and 280 hours of standby time

BlackBerry OS 5

  • More responsive experience and includes usability and visual enhancements such as inertial scrolling, spin boxes that make it easier to set dates and times, gradient shading on buttons and more use of animation
  • Typing accuracy and selection have been significantly refined
  • BlackBerry® Browser improved with faster JavaScript and CSS processing as well as support for Gears and BlackBerry Widgets
  • Customers running BlackBerry® Enterprise Server 5 will gain the ability to:
    • Set follow-up Flags on the handset like they can in Microsoft® Office Outlook®
    • Manage Microsoft Exchange email folders (Add, Rename, Move, Delete) on the handset
    • Access remote files shares (Windows Shares); Save, View, Edit, and Email documents from remote file shares
    • Forward appointments and view calendar attachments on the handset
    • Benefit from wireless sync improvements for Contacts, including sync for multiple contact folders, personal Distribution Lists and contacts in Public/Shared folders

* Certain music files may not be supported, including files that contain digital rights management technologies.

Pricing

Pricing will be announced by the individual in-country operating companies. As an indication, Vodafone UK will be offering the BlackBerry Storm2 free from £35 per month on a 24-month contract that includes 600 minutes talk-time, unlimited BlackBerry Internet Service, unlimited text messaging, as well as unlimited access to VMI (Vodafone Mobile Internet) and broadband.

For more information please visit www.blackberry.com/storm

RIM also has a comparaison page between the Original Storm and Storm 2 (according to them the Storm didn’t have a color screen! amazing :p).

Source: Vodafone here & here via Engadget

BlackBerry Storm 2 announcement this week ?

Storm2a
The New York Times is featuring a article today about RIM’s future strategy. Several topics are disccused, among them is the release of the new BlackBerry Storm 2 touchscreen device:

This week, Verizon and R.I.M. are trying again with a Storm do-over, the Storm 2. Among its many improvements, the new phone gives the user the sensation of pushing a physical button when pressing a number on the glass touch screen.

Word is that the announceement can come as soon as today. So stay tuned for more.

Source: NY Times

BlackBerry Storm 2 (9550) hands-on video

Salomondrin just posted a 10minutes long hands-on video of BlackBerry‘s soon to be announced (and launched on Verizon) touchscreen device, the Storm 2. He notes that the device he currently has in hand is probably the latest hardware revision (same for the firmware) and that all major bugs he encountered before seem to be fixed now. Can’t wait to see how the piezoelectic screen compares to a capcitive panel.

Source: Salomondarin