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Weekly Contest: What does open access mean for BlackBerry?

FCCWe 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!

Hooah, it was a busy contest last week. 3G, memory capacity, camera upgrades and video were all popular threads of thought. (Honourable mention goes to the psychic BlackBerry suggestion.) Lewis had some pretty cool ideas about location-awareness and social networking that he’d like to see integrated into BlackBerrys. Shayne had an impressive 20-entry-long list of fantastic features he’d like to see, ranging from baby monitors to video projectors to self defense mechanisms.

By and large, most folks are calling out for more bandwidth, but one member really hit it on the head why 3G is going to be big for BlackBerry: high speed data transfer will unlock a whole range of new features, rather than just being an isolated upgrade, like streaming video or improved camera. For that reason, we’re giving Orlando the win for this contest. We’ll be getting in touch with you soon to get your 3 games from Bplay! You guys all had incredible entries this week, and we’re all looking forward to seeing more! Thanks for submitting, and keep on reading!


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Verizon to sue FCC over open access

If 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.


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Allstream launches BlackBerry 8830

Manitobano idea.”>If we’ve got any readers out in the Prairies, they’ll be happy to know that MTS Allstream is now packing the BlackBerry 8830 in Manitoba for $299.99 on a 3-year plan. To sweeten the deal, Allstream will cut your monthly costs in half for the first six months. if you sign up to any of their Talk, Email & Surf plans. C’mon you guys are into the free-range roaming, how about some wireless roaming between CDMA and GSM? Pretty much the same thing, right?

MTS Allstream Introduces Manitobans to BlackBerry® 8830 World Edition Smartphone

RIM’s World Edition Smartphone works nationwide on CDMA networks and roams globally on GSM/GPRS networks

WINNIPEG, MBSeptember 13, 2007 – MTS Allstream Inc. (“MTS Allstream”) is proud to be bringing the latest in telecommunications technology to Manitobans, with the launch of the new BlackBerry® 8830. The BlackBerry 8830 is a stylish, full QWERTY, industry-leading smartphone that has all the features of a wireless phone with e-mail, instant messaging, organizer, and Web browser with media-rich music and video playback capabilities.

Working on the high speed mobile networks in Canada and partnering with other wireless carriers in over 170 countries around the world, the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition Smartphone combines the features of a wireless phone with email – all in one sleek, stylish handset. It also allows you to roam internationally, with just one number with our International Roaming Service.

“Research In Motion Limited has come up with the most exquisite way to combine business with pleasure,” said Stan Kurtas, Vice-President Marketing, Consumer Markets, MTS Allstream. “The BlackBerry 8830 has all the tools for efficiency and productivity that the BlackBerry is known for, with the media-playing capabilities that today’s wireless users have come to expect. Combined with its international roaming capabilities, the BlackBerry 8830 is truly in a league of its own.”

Additional features of the BlackBerry 8830 include removable memory, voice-activated dialing, a bright energy-efficient colour display with auto backlight sensor, high-capacity battery, wireless modem, and hands-free calling (speakerphone and Bluetooth™ 2.0 technology). Despite these many features, the device is incredibly compact and slim.

The BlackBerry 8830 World Edition Smartphone can also easily tether to a laptop computer to double as a wireless modem operating on the MTS Mobility high speed EVDO wireless network. Customers can also subscribe to MTS Connection Manager, a service that delivers seamless connectivity across multiple wired and wireless networks, including Ethernet, personal and business WiFi gateways, and MTS Mobility cellular 1xEVDO networks.

The BlackBerry 8830 can be purchased at MTS Connect stores and authorized dealers throughout Manitoba. With the Talk, Email & Surf plan available as low as $45.00 per month, the BlackBerry 8830 is now available for $299.99 with a 36-month contract. Sign up on any Talk, Email & Surf plan and receive a 50% discount on your monthly rate plan for the first six months. For more information on this and other exciting wireless devices offered by MTS Allstream, please visit: www.mts.ca/wireless.

About MTS Allstream

MTS Allstream Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Manitoba Telecom Services Inc., and is one of Canada’s leading national communication solutions providers, delivering innovative products and services through the Enterprise Solutions and Consumer Markets divisions. The Enterprise Solutions division, which operates under the Allstream brand nationally and under the MTS brand in Manitoba, is a leading competitor in the national business and wholesale markets. This division offers customers a portfolio of solutions tailored to the needs of medium and large businesses looking for success in a world of rapidly evolving technology – Internet protocol-based communications, unified communications, voice and data connectivity services. The Consumer Markets division leads every telecommunications market segment in Manitoba, delivering a full suite of next generation wireless, high-speed Internet and data, digital television and wireline voice services under the MTS brand, as well as security and alarm monitoring services through AAA Alarm Systems Ltd., an affiliate of MTS Allstream which also operates in other western provinces. MTS Allstream’s extensive national broadband fibre optic network spans more than 24,300 kilometres, and provides international connections through strategic alliances and interconnection agreements with other international service providers. Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.’s common shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange (trading symbol: MBT). For more information, please visit: www.mtsallstream.com.

For more information, please contact:

Greg Burch
Manager Corporate Communications
(204) 941-8576
media.relations@mtsallstream.com


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Official BlackBerry site gets a do-over

New BlackBerry.comRobb noticed that the official BlackBerry site has received a significant graphical overhaul. Paired up with yesterday’s Owners Lounge launch, RIM’s seriously cranking up their web presence, which in and of itself is good for their publicity, and for end-users looking for easily-accessible information. It does leave the lingering feeling that they’re ramping up to something bigger, though, even if it’s just a shiny new ad campaign.


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Get Monopoly Tycoon for free!

Monopoly TycoonWho can say no to a free BlackBerry game? Well, we give ‘em away just about every week here at BBCool, but this way requires quite a bit less effort. They’ve also got Texas Hold ‘Em King 2 and Sudoku for free download. So what does it take? All you got to do is sign up to RIM’s new BlackBerry Owners Lounge, and be one of the first 10,000 to do it. Now, the game alone might be enough to sell you, but the Owners Lounge is actually pretty slick. They’ve got some BlackBerry tips there, downloads, useful links, the whole nine yards. So far it’s looking to be a great BlackBerry web portal. Now when are they going to put a Blogs section on there?


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RIMM target price raised

MoneybagsRIM’s stock has hit an all-time high of $88.23 yesterday after a Canaccord Adams analyst bumped up their target price to $120 and reiterated their “Buy” rating. This came hot on the heels of a handset survey putting BlackBerrys in a favourable light. On the market, RIM hasn’t lost any steam since the 3-to-1 stock split, even in the light of iPhone hype. Right now, RIMM is sitting at $86.97, up $1.49 (1.74%).


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The Big Kahuna of HTML mail viewing

BBSmartAfter using Empower HTML Mail viewer for awhile, I decided to give BBSmart a shot. It didn’t take long to see why it’s so popular. The image loading in e-mails is quick, the links are well-formatted, and you’ve got some great options for saving templates and turning e-mails into calendar entries or tasks. It’s carrying a beefier pricetag at $24.99, but you certainly get what you pay for. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper and lightweight, Empower is still a solid option.


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AT&T’s BlackBerry 8820 taken off of Amazon

You might remember that hint earlier about picking up the BlackBerry 8820 from Amazon before it was fully unloaded on AT&T stores. Well, it looks like the device is nary to be found on Amazon’s catalog anymore. Did anyone manage to get their hands on one before it was pulled down? And what would prompt the retraction? Simply a stock issue? It couldn’t have been pressure from AT&T, considering they were getting a pretty sweet deal out of it all, unless of course AT&T is trying to capitalize on their own launch. Has anyone actually seen a BlackBerry 8820 in an AT&T store yet?


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Qualcomm squeezes out of import ban

BoxingQualcomm has managed to slip out of Broadcom’s legal death-grip a bit, now circumventing the ITC’s ban on phones containing disputed technology by getting permission for carriers to do the importing. Qualcomm still isn’t allowed to bring in phones using their chips, but at least it will be back to business as usual for the carriers. The patent battle has been raging, going mostly in Broadcom’s favour these days. Nobody likes a one-sided fight, so it’s good to see Qualcomm swinging back.

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals recognized the undeserved harm to parties who were not named in the lawsuit, and that our customers will continue to be able to introduce new products into the U.S. marketplace during the appeals process,” said Alex H. Rogers, Qualcomm’s senior vice president and legal counsel.

How do you guys think this will all pan out? Will the two giants just keep doing the legal dance, or will Broadcom eventually get their way? Qualcomm seems way too big to put that much of a roadblock on.


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T-Mobile standee confirms second BlackBerry 8320 colour

Grey T-Mobile BlackBerry 8320Along with the previously reported gold BlackBerry 8320, some ads at a T-Mobile store confirm the second colour for the device will be a dark steely grey akin to Rogers’ upcoming BlackBerry 8310 (although not quite as dark). The release date for the Wi-Fi-enabled Curve on T-Mobile sits comfortably at September 24th., a scant week and a half away. Cheers to Pinstacker diamondschwin for the sharp eye.


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Reminder: Check out our Weekly Contest

BBCoolIf you haven’t noticed the Weekly Contest over in the spotlight, you should check it out before Friday rolls around. There’s some great suggestions this week about what the next big thing for BlackBerry should be. The leader in terms of straight-up numbers right now is 3G, but there’s lots of talk about video support, touchscreens, memory capacity, streaming data, and all sorts of stuff that folks are looking forward to after Wi-Fi and GPS have really settled into BlackBerrys. It’s a really great read so far, even if you don’t feel like entering. We’ve got an extended two-week contest lined up for this Friday, so stay tuned!


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SameCell offers free proximity detection between BlackBerry users

SameCellMiblackberry just spotted a pretty sweet service by the name of SameCell, which recognizes which cellular tower you’re using, and identifies whether specified friends (pulled from your existing address book) are on the same one. If they are, you get a quick e-mail alert to let you know that your contact is nearby. Stuff like this is great, since it breaks the mould of location-based services equating to GPS hardware. Given, you won’t get the same precision as GPS, SameCell is completely free while it’s running its noble beta course. Sometimes just knowing your buddies are in the neighbourhood is good enough. Right now the software is only for BlackBerry, but compatibility for Windows Mobile and other smartphones is in the works.


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