- Review: Simple to Use BlackBerry Music Gateway With NFC
- EA PlayBook Games 50% Off for 4th of July & Canada Day
- RIM Paid ~$100 Million for Paratek Multi-Band Radio Acquisition
- Heins Promises that BlackBerry 10 Hardware Will Be Competitive at Launch
- Thorsten Heins Says Some Carriers Prefer BlackBerry 10 Q1 2013 Launch
- BlackBerry PlayBook 4G Coming Shortly & 16GB Wi-Fi Model Sold Out
- ScoreMobile FC Adds French, German and Portuguese editions for EURO Finals
- Rumor: RIM Board Being Pressured Into Microsoft or Network Sale Deal
- Google’s Design Chief Wants to Work with RIM on Android QWERTY Phones
- Pinbook for BlackBerry Beta Gets Updated Graphics and Performance
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 02:30 PM PDT
RIM's latest addition to the BlackBerry accessory line is the BlackBerry Music Gateway. The device is fairly small and lightweight which makes it convenient if you want to play your media using the Music Gateway either on your car stereo, or home media center or audio instruments equipped with auxiliary input. The Music Gateway is easy to setup and works good with both BlackBerry devices and the BlackBerry PlayBook.
What you get:
The package includes the Music Gateway, one two way 3.5mm audio cable, one 3.5mm to RCA, and a micro USB wall charger.
Connect Blackberry Music Gateway to:
Setting up the device is simple, the center of the device has the BlackBerry logo and it is also the button that allows you to pair the device. Simply holding the button for a few seconds and the blue and red light starts to flash letting you know is ready to pair. Search for the Music Gateway on you tablet or smartphone and pair.
The music gateway offers a simple and affordable way to stream music to entertainment systems through Bluetooth. It is easy to setup with either of the two cables included in the package and makes it even easier to use with the NFC enabled devices. The Music Gateway is not necessarily limited to BlackBerry devices and works with other Bluetooth enabled devices but owning a BlackBerry is definitely a plus. The devices delivers great sound and doesn't take away from the music experience. The BlackBerry or your PlayBook is your remote control so you simply play the music you want and skip those songs you don't feel listening to.
Playing music stored in your devices is easy, or make it even easier by streaming music from apps including Pandora, Slacker, or internet radio streams. I like to stream Pandora, or slacker all the time when I am home, and allowing me to stream my music to the home stereo from either of my devices makes for an awesome experience.
One of the nuisance with the Gateway is that it requires the device to be hooked up to the charger to pair it, and play; that means if you are not near the charger your out of luck if your not near charger. The device does not have a rechargeable battery which makes sense the size but it also makes it less portable.
Final thoughts on the device is that it offers a competitive alternative to streaming music to your car or home stereo at a decent price. I've used similar products but do not offer the features such as NFC and compatibility with a wide range of devices.
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 10:57 AM PDT
EA launched a new promotion on App World this week for their PlayBook games. It looks like it will be running for most of next week offering 50% off their PlayBook games in celebration of Canada Day and the 4th of July. There are some hot titles included in the sale such as:
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 10:20 AM PDT
While rereading RIM's Q1 Fiscal 2013 statement again I noticed that RIM mentioned their latest acquisition. The only acquisition RIM made in Q1 Fiscal 2013 was Paratek at the beginning of the quarter on April 8th, 2012. In RIM's Q1 results statement they specified that:
I am really curious to see what comes out of RIM's Paratek acquisition since it came in pretty late in the BlackBerry 10 game. My guess is that it has something to do with hardware and will hopefully let RIM lead the multi-band pack in 2013. This is especially crucial since carriers are all over the place when it comes to LTE frequencies.
As we mentioned earlier, Paratek joins RIM's string of acquisitions since their purchase of QNX on April 9th, 2012. Since then then have acquired Cellmania, Documents to Go assets, The Astonishing Tribe, Gist, TinyHippos, Tungle.me, Scoreloop, Ubitexx, Jaycut, and NewBay with Paratek rounding it out.
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 09:03 AM PDT
One of the analysts from Goldman asked a question that immediately came to mind when RIM announced that BlackBerry 10 was launching in calendar (not fiscal!) Q1 2013. She said that chipset roadmaps, displays, hardware, and more are on a constant upgrade cycle. What was relevant for BlackBerry 10 launching in the 2nd half of 2012 will no longer be competitive in Q1 2013. In short she asked if RIM was going to ship BlackBerry 10 with 6 month old hardware. Great question right?
Thorsten Heins said he was actually glad they asked this question. He said that when RIM designed BlackBerry 10 it was designed as a platform not a phone with hard specifications. He said he could not go into specifics on the call but he was "very confident" that "BlackBerry 10 devices would deliver both performance and an exciting experience." He also said that the draw of BlackBerry 10 is not the hardware specifications but the experience targeted at BlackBerry users who value productivity along with exciting features on the software layer. He promised that BlackBerry 10 device hardware will be "more than competitive" but stressed that hardware was not BlackBerry 10's competitive advantage.
That is very reassuring to hear that RIM is planning on being "more than competitive" with hardware and software. Now if only they could start bringing that timetable in since they are in desperate need to ship BlackBerry 10 ASAP.
PS: If you want to check out the answer Heins gave verbatim just go to 42 minutes or so into the earnings call.
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 07:38 AM PDT
One of the most provoking statements I heard during the investors call yesterday was made by Thorsten Heins. He was talking about the unfortunate but necessary BlackBerry 10 launch delay and that RIM no longer thought it could make the back to school and holiday season. This difficult decision during their platform transition was due to the unexpected complexity of combining the vast amounts of code from all directions for BlackBerry 10 features. He insisted that this is not because of the lack of quality of the features but the fact that they are relentlessly focused on quality and reliability and Heins "refuses to ship anything less than an outstanding BlackBerry 10 Platform."
He then made the statement that really had me scratching my head. At about 9 minutes into the call he said that when discussing their new rollout plan with carriers globally they found that some actually preferred the Q1 2013 launch date. He said this was because that fits with their global LTE launches which should come online then. I am really curious to learn who these carriers are especially because carriers in the US are going whole hog on LTE even before their networks are even fully live. Still it is an angle that I did not think of before.
Thorsten also confirmed that the initial BlackBerry 10 launch portfolio will be focused on the premium portfolio of Touch and Full QWERTY devices with the lower and mid markets covered by BlackBerry 7. They will then phase out BlackBerry 7 as they bring the full BlackBerry 10 family to market.
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 07:02 AM PDT
Thorsten Heins dropped a few notable items about the BlackBerry PlayBook during the BlackBerry investors call. First of all he confirmed that the 4G BlackBerry PlayBook is in the final stages of being released and should be available in the near future though not definite timetable was set. He also mentioned that RIM has sold out their stock of the 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook in favor of only carrying the 32GB and 64GB models. He also noted that shipments of the PlayBook came in at 260,000 for the past quarter with thousands of new BlackBerry PlayBook apps in App World with more to come.
It should be interesting to see when the 4G BlackBerry PlayBook launches since it supposedly brings BBM support which many PlayBook users would welcome along with other improvements.
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 07:02 AM PDT
ScoreMobile updated their popular ScoreMObile FC Football/Soccer app along with a big announcement. They announced that they are rolling out French, German and Portuguese editions of their BlackBerry app. According to their announcement this is just in time for the EURO 2012 soccer championship heading to its semi finals.
ScoreMobile FC features include:
Check out ScoreMobile FC free in App World
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 06:49 AM PDT
There have been rumors swirling around about this for awhile now but according to Reuters the pressure on RIM's board has been increased as of late. Essentially the naysayers are trying to force RIM to admit that they cannot continue with their strategy of simply focusing on BlackBerry 10 and may need to accept what Reuters calls "unpalatable options." One of the options Reuters said is on the table is that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has approached RIM "in recent months" to sign a deal similar to what they did with Nokia. That would have RIM developing Windows phones and Microsoft buying a stake in RIM and funding marketing and other cash subsidies. The other option has the possibility of RIM selling their network or NOC to a private equity or tech company.
Personally I think that these options are just as difficult for RIM to swallow as they were a few months ago. I am truly hoping that RIM's board can withstand the unbelievable pressure they will be facing in the next 6-9 months to not sacrifice the promise of BlackBerry 10 or the network that differentiates it. Still it will be a long painful journey for them to do so which seems to mean the board will have to make concessions somewhere. The big question now seems to be what they will have to sacrifice to keep the BlackBerry 10 dream alive. They have already put some serious cost cutting measures in place but Thorsten Heins admitted that more will have to come.
What do you think would be an acceptable solution for the Board to be able to satiate investors until BlackBerry 10 is a reality? I personally think licensing the BlackBerry keyboard and BBM might be possible options.
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 06:10 AM PDT
Rumors are swirling around RIM as they try to make sense of the details RIM revealed during their Q1 fiscal 2013 financials and investors call. The latest comes from ABC News which has Google's Director of Android User Experience, Matias Duarte, lamenting the fact that Android has not been able to create a solid device with a portrait keyboard. Duarte comes from Palm where he headed up software design and when he heard about RIM's announcement yesterday he told ABC News that:
Duarte is one of the leads on Google's Android Nexus devices and his sentiment seems to follow from his time at Palm. He told ABC News that:
RIM is no stranger to licensing their keyboard design to other vendors but no one has been able to do it the way RIM does. Maybe part of RIM's strategic direction could be partnering with vendors for hardware keyboards and RIM's iconic smile shaped fretted keyboard. On the other hand this may weaken one of the strengths they need to bring to market with BlackBerry 10.
What do you think?
Posted: 29 Jun 2012 05:43 AM PDT
S4BB let us know that they have updated their BBM matchmaking app Pinbook this week. This new version 1.8.4 that landed in App World includes some much needed bug fixes and performance improvements along with a little graphical reworking. As before you can still use Pinbook to find new BBM friends based on searches or shared interests/location. The in app BBM chat function lets you chat to new friends without having to add them in BBM which helps.
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