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BBCool shirks labour on Labour Day

If Labour Day celebrates labour, shouldn’t we be laboring more today? Despite that logic, BBCool HQ totally disagrees and has taken the day off. We’ll be back tomorrow for your regularly-scheduled BlackBerry coverage. Hope you guys are all enjoying your holiday, too!


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BlackBerry 8830 comes to Alltel

AlltelAlltel announced yesterday their release of the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. The 8830? Really? If you’re going to be this late to the party, why not pick up something a little more recent? Even Trinidad has the BlackBerry 8300. Besides, corporate customers are probably a-o-k with the BlackBerry 8703e that Alltel is already offering. To be fair, they do have a focus on roaming, and that’s what the BlackBerry 8830 is all about. Available for $249.99 with mail-in rebate.

Alltel Introduces the Sleek New BlackBerry 8830 World Edition Smartphone

Little Rock, AR –

Alltel Wireless, America’s largest network, giving you coverage across the country, today announced the BlackBerry® 8830 World Edition smartphone will now be available to customers. Developed by Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM), the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition is the first BlackBerry smartphone to combine technologies that allow it to connect to both CDMA and GSM/GPRS networks.

The sleek and stylish BlackBerry 8830 will satisfy the most demanding user needs. It is equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard as well as industry-leading e-mail and messaging capabilities. Additionally, the BlackBerry 8830 has an intuitive trackball navigation system, GPS capabilities with TeleNav GPS Navigator™ service and BlackBerry® Maps, and a microSD expandable memory slot. With an enhanced media player for music, pictures and videos, this is the first smartphone to include Alltel Jump Music capabilities.

The BlackBerry 8830 from Alltel operates in the United States on Alltel’s CDMA network and comes with an unlocked SIM card slot for international roaming on GSM/GPRS networks. Alltel customers can also choose to arrange international voice and data support through WorldCell TravelComm, whose third-party SIM card solution makes it easy to talk internationally in over 160 countries and access BlackBerry data services in 78 countries.

“Since today’s economy operates on a global scale, our customers require a smartphone with international capabilities,” said Wade McGill, senior vice president of wireless products and services for Alltel Wireless. “The BlackBerry 8830 World Edition is an innovative handset that will give our customers the connectivity they need with the reliability they have come to expect.”

“The BlackBerry 8830 World Edition is a powerful and stylish smartphone that combines an industry-leading mobile communications experience with enhanced multimedia capabilities and built-in GPS,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “It’s also the first BlackBerry smartphone to combine CDMA and GSM connectivity, making it easy for Alltel customers to stay connected in the United States and abroad.”

The new BlackBerry 8830 World Edition from Alltel includes:

*
Stereo headset jack and media player with Jump Music capabilities, able to play MP3 and AAC music files, and MPEG4 and H.263 video files
*
Innovative light-sensing technology that automatically optimizes the screen, trackball and keyboard lighting for indoor, outdoor and dark environments
*
An intuitive user interface with menus that makes navigation instinctive and fast
*
Robust call management features such as smart dialing, speed dialing, and call forwarding
*
High performance HTML browser for visiting web sites while on the go
*
BlackBerry® Internet Service support – allows access to up to 10 supported personal and corporate email accounts, including most popular ISP email accounts
*
BlackBerry® Enterprise Server support – integrates with IBM Lotus® Domino®, Microsoft® Exchange and Novell GroupWise® environments and features IT policy controls for managing smartphone features and usage
*
Support for polyphonic, MP3 and MIDI ring tones
*
An ultra-bright, high resolution (320 x 240) landscape display – images appear vivid and crisp
*
A removable, high-capacity battery
*
Other voice features including noise cancellation for enhanced audio performance, speaker independent voice recognition for voice activated dialing, dedicated ’send’, ‘end’, and ‘mute’ keys, low-distortion speakerphone, and Bluetooth® suppor

Accessories for BlackBerry handsets, including an automotive charger and Bluetooth® headsets, are available online at www.shopalltel.com and through retail outlets.

About Alltel
Alltel (NYSE: AT) is owner and operator of the nation’s largest wireless network and has over 12 million customers. For more information about Alltel, please visit www.alltel.com.

The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited. RIM, Research In Motion and BlackBerry are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be pending or registered in other countries. All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners.


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Yet another RIM acquisition rumor

Word’s floating around about Microsoft acquiring RIM, but c’mon, we’ve heard all this talk before. Does it ever happen? No. BBCool’s set their stance on Microsoft in particular buying RIM, and especially rumors of RIM acquisitions in general. RIM’s stock showed a little blip as a result of the prospect, but it’ll pass. No doubt Microsoft is interested, but until talks are actually underway, let’s all just calm down a bit.


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Weekly Contest: Should RIM follow Nokia’s lead?

NokiaAnyone who’s been listening to the other blogs knows that Nokia has had a pretty busy week, unloading a music store and a reinvigorated gaming platform, both under their new Ovi internet services umbrella. Combine that with their announcement earlier this month about discontinuing some of their chipset production, Nokia’s game is changing significantly. Some would go so far to say that they’re following Apple’s manufacturer-first lead; Nokia is no longer “providing a white label service for operators to use but … placing its own brand ahead of theirs”. We’ve had our fair share of OEM sovereignty issues lately, which is why Nokia’s progress this week is especially noteworthy. Palm has certainly provided an example of what RIM shouldn’t be doing, but Nokia leads the way, and could teach BlackBerry a thing or two. So, BBCool readers, based on Nokia’s goings-on lately, is RIM in a position to take any tips? Should they stay the course and keep doing what they’ve done best, or is there room for them to branch out? BlackBerry Connect is about the most they’ve ventured into alternative service territory, and it could be considered a little less than successful. Regardless, to remain competitive, RIM has to keep changing; will their next big step be similar to Nokia’s?

The reader who can nail down why RIM should go after consumers independent of carriers (or stick to their current carrier-centric strategy) will win three ringtones from Bplay.

Wow, great turnout last week. Either the subject struck a chord with folks, or everyone just wants a ShowMate. Regardless of who won, RIM has a lot of great feedback from you guys, and we’re sure it’s all getting heard. We dug R.T. Fitch’s post for being personal and well-written, as well as pushing for the streaming services. Matt Hess also gets props for fighting for the open source movement which is being embraced by Palm lately. However, keeping with Engadget’s hardlined tone of “this needs to get fixed”, we’re going to give the Impatica ShowMate prize to d_fisher. With so many new products coming out, a lack of standardization is going to make life a hell of a lot harder for IT workers to deal with, and those are the people you want to be making nice with. Keep an eye on your inbox, d_fisher, we’ll be contacting you soon! As for everyone else, thanks a ton for your input, and we hope to see you again this week!


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Handmark unleashes a bundle of BlackBerry games

Pillow fightI-play has just inked a deal with Handmark to distribute their top titles, such as a Fast and the Furious racing game, a puzzler by the name of Jewel Quest and 3D Pool: High Roller. I-play’s site lists most of these as compatible with only BlackBerry 8100’s, probably since their primary interest lies with mainstream cellphones, but I’ve received word from Handmark that the games will be working with all BlackBerrys. The most eye-catching of their titles is Pillowfight, where you “join an elite and sexy crew of hot women in the exclusive world of competitive pillow fighting”. Damn. Sign me up.


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Handmark unleashes a bundle of BlackBerry 8100 games

Pillow fightI-play has just inked a deal with Handmark to distribute their top titles, such as a Fast and the Furious racing game, a puzzler by the name of Jewel Quest and 3D Pool: High Roller. I-play’s site lists most of these as compatible with only BlackBerry 8100’s, probably since their primary interest lies with mainstream cellphones. If that’s not bad enough, the biggest downer is the exclusion of Pillowfight, where you “join an elite and sexy crew of hot women in the exclusive world of competitive pillow fighting”, from any BlackBerrys whatsoever. C’mon, I-play, are you telling me BlackBerry-toting business execs wouldn’t get a kick out of that one?


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Opera Mini 4 goes into second round of beta

OperaMini4The granddaddy of mobile web browsing has cleaned up a bunch of bugs from their Opera Mini 4 Beta, and released a new beta 2 version available for free download. Beta 1 actually didn’t work at all on my BlackBerry 8800, so it was nice to get it running and have a go at Opera Mini. The low-res image loading is a good way of keeping data traffic down, but the virtual mouse scrolling is a little chunky. Keypad scrolling goes quicker, but I’d like to do most of my browsing with the scrollball, so a higher sensitivity option would be nice. Outside of that, Opera’s added a few BlackBerry-specific features, such as native menus and “lots of optimizations”. Viewing web pages in their native format is nice, but really slows down actual browsing, and let’s be fair, it’s a bit of a joke compared to the iPhone’s Safari. Regardless, it’s still great to have a free, full-featured web browser available for other mobiles.

* Now you can add the search engine of your choice to the start page, just like in the Opera desktop browser. Hey, now you could put Google Search on the start page.
* Shortcut keys
* Browse in landscape mode — view the Web on a wider screen (Shortcut key: ‘#’ and ‘*’)
* Native menu for BlackBerry phones
* Lots of optimizations for BlackBerry phones
* Content folding – Collapses long menu lists (like those found on sidebars of webpages), so you don’t need to scroll through them to get to the page content. Note: This only works in “Fit to width” mode, not desktop.
* Supports secure connections for banks, eBay, etc.
* Small fonts have been enabled
* Simplified setup process
* Improved image quality
* Improved cookie support
* Ability to edit the current URL
* Added ‘Full screen’ mode
* Dialogs now use web 2.0-ish look and feel
* Added support for more phones
* Fixed a ton of bugs


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BES version 5 en route, maybe with HTML e-mail handling?

Russ over at the BlackBerry Beat has pointed us towards a hint that version 5.0 of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server software is in the works, with 4.1.5 coming out in a not-too-distant November. Features will include:

BES 4.1.5 – scheduled November 2007
Intelligent HTML & TRF E-Mail handling
Free/Busy lookup during meeting request creation
Remote Email search and retrieval

BES 5.0 Argon Q2 2008
Brand new Admin UI
A full suite of APIs
Enhanced SW Configurations
Integration with AD
Custom Admin and User Roles
Hierarchal IT Polices
Primary – standby architecture
Automated failover option
Manual failover for maintenance


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MMS and Buy lets your camera do the ringtone shopping

The digital record label Craze has announced their new service called MMS and Buy, which lets you send an MMS picture of a record label to their number which replies with a link to their site with ringtones of the music on that album. Anyone who’s into the mobile music shopping has probably looked at Walkman’s TrackID with a bit of envy. MMS and Buy might not be quite as versatile as audio recognition, but it’s a start. Right now, the service is only available in the UK, but they’re hoping to expand into other merchandise, like posters and concert tickets.


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AT&T BlackBerry 8310 launching September 24th.

We’ve heard that AT&T’s GPS-ified BlackBerry 8310 is set for launch on September 24th, which would line up well with a their Pearl 2 debut mid-September. The talk about BlackBerry 8800s getting phased out to make room for the 8820 gets you wondering about how long it will be before the BlackBerry 8300 gets the same treatment. If there’s no significant price difference, is there a reason someone wouldn’t go for the 8310 over the 8300? Hell, if the BlackBerry 8310 is going to be in black, it’s a done deal – anyone who hadn’t gotten around to picking up a Curve will just grab the newer model. All these new devices are fun and all, but should RIM be spacing out their product releases a bit more to give them time to sell?


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How to pair your expensive car to your expensive phone

JaguarBerryReview just pointed us to a handy application from RIM for an incredibly small sect of BlackBerry users: those who own a Land Rover LR2, Volvo S80 and V70 or Jaguar XK. This application, the Bluetooth Pairing Helper, supposedly eases the Bluetooth pairing process with your car as outlined in RIM’s knowledgebase. Outside of working with a microphone built into the car for voice calls, what other applications are there for Bluetooth in your ride? Music? Maybe some diagnostics?


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New BlackBerry 88XX OtterBox available

OtterBox 1933OtterBox, ever the heavy-duty case providers, have just announced their OtterBox 1933 which fits the BlackBerry 8800, BlackBerry 8820 and BlackBerry 8830. As an 8800 user, this case looks like something I wouldn’t mind using on a daily basis. Most of the OtterBox products for BlackBerry turn your handheld into a little microcomputing tank, which for novelty’s sake is awesome, but impractical for nonindustrial use. We’ve got a review cooking for their 1930 model (fitting the BlackBerry 8700), and hope to get our hands on the 1933 real soon. Keep an eye out for this in the $49.99 range in both classic black and yellow.

How Tough is Your Skin? A Revolutionary New BlackBerry Case from OtterBox
Photo
Smart Multimedia GalleryView full gallery
Click here to see downloadable versions The fully-interactive, sleek OtterBox 1933 protects BlackBerry® 8800 Series smartphones in style! (Photo: Business Wire)

FORT COLLINS, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Introducing the OtterBox 1933, the first semi-rugged, fully-interactive case from Otter Products, LLC., with a sleek, slim fit design to protect BlackBerry® 8800 Series smartphones from Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM).

As the first case of its kind, the OtterBox 1933 fits BlackBerry® 8800, BlackBerry® 8820 and BlackBerry® 8830 (World Edition) smartphones with three distinct layers of protection:

* Layer 1: Slide on the thermal formed protective clear membrane to safeguard screen and keyboard against scratching as well as dust and dirt1 (layer optional depending on the level of ruggedization desired)
* Layer 2: Snap together the hi-impact polycarbonate shell
* Layer 3: Wrap the silicone skin over the device to absorb bump and shock (silicone includes innovative retaining features to hold it in place)

The OtterBox 1933 allows complete usability of the trackball and offers durable bump, scratch and drop protection.

“Since the introduction of our first case for BlackBerry smartphones, we’ve heard requests for something a bit smaller, but something that still offered our recognized protection against the elements,” said Curt Richardson, CEO of Otter Products, LLC. “The 1933 provides a stylish case with complete interaction as well as semi-rugged protection, ideal for business travelers and people on-the-go.”

Other 1933 features include a Donaldson Acoustic Vent which covers and protects the headset speaker while still allowing clear sound transmission through the case. The sync/charge jack is also accessible through a silicone plug and the belt clip offers convenient carrying. BlackBerry smartphones feature a magnet proximity sensor to automatically shut off the screen to maximize battery life when stored and this feature is supported with the OtterBox 1933.

“I really like the OtterBox 1933, it’s smaller and less bulky than other BlackBerry cases, yet still tough. I have even dropped it purposely several times without issue. The case has a sturdy feel in ones hand and its contour shape offers great grip. There also wasn’t a difference in quality or user ability when placing or receiving phones calls,” said Pat Ariail, Remote Computing Specialist at Sutherland Asbill Brennan (SAB). “I even let my boss use it over the weekend; he will be a good tester because he is so hard on devices. His first reaction was very positive. This case has a great price point and is a must have for adding protection.”

“BlackBerry smartphones are being used with many field applications and accessories such as the OtterBox 1933 can provide added protection for users working in harsher environments,” said Tyler Lessard, Director, ISV Alliances at Research In Motion.

Cases available in yellow/black or black.

Environmental Protection:

Drop and Shock
— MIL 810F, 36″ to plywood on concrete
Water Protection
— This case is not fully protected against water (not intended
for protecting against damage caused by water).
Dust Intrusion
— Added protection against solid objects greater than 1mm

Dimensions:
— 4.75″ X 2.9″ X .85″

Weight (Case Only):
— 1.9 oz

About Otter Products:

Founded in 1996, Otter Products, LLC. is highly respected and inspired in the design and production of rugged and now semi-rugged cases to safeguard technology and other valuables.

Built upon fundamentals of hard work, creativity, and perseverance, Otter Products is a powerhouse of innovation, manufacturing quality cases with a 100 percent lifetime guarantee.

For more information visit www.otterbox.com or call 888-695-8820.

OtterBox, never out of its element!

Notes:

1Case NOT fully protected against water. Will provide some added protection against drop, bump and dust. NOT intended for protection against water intrusion.

The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited. RIM assumes no liability and makes no representation, warranty or guarantee in relation to third party products or services.

Contacts

OtterBox
Kristin Golliher, 970-493-8446
kristin.golliher@otterbox.com


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