Category Archives: Software

BlackBerry Pearl: it is official

Pearl Logo

After months of speculations, this is now official. The new BlackBerry Pearl will be available with T-Mobile beginning Tuesday, September 12. RIM even launched a dedicated site for the event,

Front and Back view of new Pearl

Front and Back view of new Pearl
Side view of new Pearl

Side view of new Pearl

The Pearl specifications are listed below:

• BlackBerry Internet Serviceâ„¢ – allows access to up to 10 personal and corporate email accounts, including most popular ISP email accounts

• Popular instant messaging clients: AOL®, Yahoo!® MSN® and ICQ®
• 1.3 megapixel camera with 3 zoom levels (up to 5X) and built-in flash
• Multimedia player with stereo headset jack for MP3 and AAC music files, as well as MPEG4 and H.263 video formats
• High performance HTML browser for visiting your favorite web sites while on the go
• A newly enhanced version of RIM’s popular SureType™ keyboard technology that makes typing email quick and easy
• An incredibly intuitive user interface with an easy-to-use trackball, dedicated ‘menu’ and ‘escape’ keys, and context-sensitive menus that make navigation feel instinctive and fast
• Intuitive call management features such as smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing, and call forwarding
• First-rate phone features with Speaker Independent Voice Recognition (SIVR) for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), dedicated ’send’, ‘end’, and ‘mute’ keys, speakerphone, and Bluetooth® support for hands-free use with headsets, car kits and Bluetooth peripherals
• Quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE network support for international roaming

• BlackBerry Maps – a new application which adds mapping and location based services to the BlackBerry Pearl. BlackBerry Maps works together with other BlackBerry applications enabling users to send maps via email and launch maps from other applications, including contacts in your address book
• Support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ring tones
• A large, ultra-bright 240×260 color display that brings images to life
• An innovative light-sensing technology that automatically optimizes the screen, trackball and keyboard lighting for indoor, outdoor and dark environments
• 64MB built-in flash memory, expandable via MicroSD expansion slot
• BlackBerry Enterprise Server™ support – integrates with Microsoft® Exchange, IBM Lotus® Domino® and Novell GroupWise® environments and features a new set of IT policy controls for IT departments to administer camera and expansion memory settings.

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Review: Ascendo Photos

Ascendo Photos is a nifty little application that lets you load photos from your PC to your BlackBerry using the same data cable that you probably already use for synchronization. The software has two parts: the photo viewer on the BlackBerry, and the Photos Desktop, which loads the pictures onto the device.

I downloaded the trial version, unzipped it, and installed it in a snap using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. Then I launched the Ascendo Photos Desktop on my PC, browsed over to MyPictures, and uploaded some pictures to my BlackBerry. Very easy, very quick. And now pictures of my family were staring at me from my 7100. Very cool.

The Ascendo Photos Desktop was a breeze to use. It has some intuitive controls to pan and zoom your picture, allowing you to frame it just right for display on the device. It automatically detects the device type and uses an appropriate emulator for your screen size, so you can see what the picture will look like after you transfer it. This level of control is really usefull for getting the most from your BlackBerry screen size.

Ascendo Photos Desktop

Ascendo Photos Desktop

After you have uploaded your pictures, you use the Ascendo Photos on the BlackBerry to create galleries and organize your photos. You can run through a slideshow of your images, selecting different types of transition effects and time intervals between pictures. The photo viewer also functions as a screen saver, automatically displaying a rotating display of photos after a specified time.

Ascendo Photos Galleries

Ascendo Photos Gallery Menu

I was very pleased with this application. It was easy to install and intuitive to use. There is a User’s Manual that downloaded with the application, but I never needed to use it. The desktop portion of the application that lets me preview how the image will look on my device before loading is tremendously useful. I also like the fact that I can load the image directly over my sync cable. One minor nit is that the minimum time between slides in a slideshow is 4 seconds. I’d prefer an even shorter interval. Don’t really like to dawdle when I show off pictures.

Ascendo Photos Options

Ascendo Photos Slideshow Options

I particularly like this application for when I travel. I alway take a few family pictures along with me when I’m away on business, but because most of my pictures are digital, I’m stuck with the few prints I had made for Christmas cards last year. Now I can just upload the most recent photos to a gallery and they are at my fingertips whenever I want to bore my seatmate on the airplane with pictures of my kids.

Ascendo Photos is a well put-together application that is an essential addition to any BlackBerry. It retails for $29.95 here.

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—Externally added:
We do also recommend the BlackBerry Wallpaper Generator to easily generate Wallpapers for your BlackBerry.

Installing 3rd Party Applications

There’s a whole exciting world of applications for your BlackBerry out there. Installing those applications is a pretty straightforward process, though there are occasional issues that crop up. If you do encounter problem, there’s usually an easy solution. This article will talk about the steps to install a new application, and then discuss the most common problems that people encounter.

There are two ways of installing applications to your BlackBerry. You can download the software over the air (OTA) using the web browser on your device, or you can install an application from your PC using the RIM Desktop Manager.

To install OTA, you must have a URL for the sofware you want to install. The URL will point to a JAD file somewhere on the Internet. After entering the URL into the browser on your BlackBerry, it will prompt you to verify that you want to install the application. Say yes, and if all goes well it will install on your BlackBerry.


Downloading Google Maps


The second method of installation uses the RIM Desktop Manager. Applications meant to be installed from the Desktop Manager come with two files: an ALX file and a COD file. First, connect your BlackBerry to your PC using a data cable. Once the device is attached, launch the RIM Desktop Manager. Then launch the Application Loader from inside the Desktop Manager.

Desktop Manager

BlackBerry Desktop Manager

Click the “Add…� button in the Application Loader and specify an Application Loader File(.alx). The application should now appear in the list of items to install. Follow the instructions from there to finish the installation and it should appear on your Blackberry.

Piece o cake. Unless it didn’t work. If you hit a problem fear not. There are things you can do.


“No System Software was found for your handheld.�

Application Loader

No System Software Found

Lucky you. You’ve either upgraded your handheld OS, or gotten a new BlackBerry for your birthday. Either way, your Desktop Manager doesn’t know how to talk to your BlackBerry. It is lacking the device software for your model of BlackBerry.

You’ll have to download and install the latest device software and service packs from your carrier. To see which device software you have installed on your computer, go to the Desktop Manager Help–>About and click the Device Software tab.

“No additional applications for your handheld were found�

No Additional Apps Error

No Additional Applications

First, make sure the .alx file and the .cod file are in the same directory. The Application Loader uses both files to install to your BlackBerry. If that isn’t the problem, then upgrading the Desktop Manager might help. You can download the latest version from your carrier or directly from RIM:

Invalid Digital Signature

If you are running a BES BlackBerry, there is a setting in the BES that doesn’t allow the installation of 3rd party applications unless they have been signed. You will have to contact your BES administrator to change this setting.

A fatal error has occurred while updating your handheld’s software. Please try again. Unspecified error encountered [J:0×0000000A]

That (most helpful) error message appears because the application you are loading requires a more recent version of the handheld operating system than you have. You will need to go to your carrier’s website and download a more recent version of the OS.

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Berry Pix Review

I love putting pictures on my BlackBerry. It’s a great way to take photographs of my family along when I’m on the road. I’ve recently reviewed Ascendo Photos for BlackBerry and I was very pleased with its capabilities. So when I got a chance to review Berry Pix, I was very excited to give it a try.

Berry Pix by Collaborative Network Technologies is software for loading and viewing pictures on your BlackBerry. It comes with a PC component that integrates with the RIM Desktop Manager to load new pictures onto your device using your data cable. The desktop component lets you stretch, rotate, mirror and crop your photos before loading them to the handheld.

Installing Berry Pix is a multi-step process; there is the BlackBerry application, the desktop application, and an integration step to link the desktop component to the RIM Desktop Manager. The software comes with a PDF User’s Manual that walks you through the steps. While installation isn’t difficult, reading the manual is a must to insure that the desktop component is properly configured with the RIM Desktop Manager. Fortunately, the manual is well written with plenty of screenshots to keep you on track.

The desktop component is easy to use. After you import a picture from your hard drive, you can preview what it will look like on the device before you load it. You can click and drag your mouse on the picture to crop it, and there are a few image manipulation functions for rotating and mirroring. After you’ve loaded several pictures, close the desktop application and the pictures are synchronized with your device.

Berry Pix Desktop Component

Berry Pix Desktop Picture Loader

You can load up multiple pictures to send to your BlackBerry, but only the most recent is displayed. I couldn’t find a reference to previous pictures that I had imported during that session. But after closing the app, all the pictures I had loaded were sent over. Once you know this, it isn’t a big deal, but I’d prefer to see a list of everything that I’ve sent or am about to send for that session.

The crop feature on the desktop component was a little slow to respond. If I clicked and dragged to select an area of the picture, it would only work if I did it slowly. If I dragged too quickly, it would get confused about the area I was trying to select. But again, once you understand how it works, it’s easy to use, and very useful. Because the BlackBerry screen size is so small, it’s often necessary to crop your pictures to get a meaningful image.

On the BlackBerry, Berry Pix looks very stylish. After launching the application, you will see thumbnails of the images you have loaded in a neat little grid layout. This makes it easy to browse and find particular pictures. There are settings to control the transition effects and time interval between pictures in a slide show. You can choose between 5 and 60 seconds for a time interval and any one of the 6 transition effects, which really look great. I set mine to random so I could see them all. You can also control the time delay for the screen saver, or turn it off entirely.

Berry Pix on BlackBerry

Berry Pix on a BlackBerry
Berry Pix BlackBerry Settings

Handheld Settings

Berry Pix is a solid application with a reasonable price tag and I’m happy to have it on my BlackBerry. It retails for $19.95 here.

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No wifi, no hotspot? Get Internet connection on your Laptop using your BlackBerry

I recently upgraded my 7290 to a brand new BlackBerry 8700, keeping Cingular as my wireless carrier. I was thrilled when I got EDGE instead of GRPS: getting emails, browsing web sites, everything is much faster on the EDGE network. Then it got me thinking; what if I could connect my 8700 to my laptop and benefit from the fast Internet connection wherever I am? No need to pay $10 to $20 a day to get Internet access when I stay in a Hotel? Only a few airports provide free hotspots, wouldn’t it be great if I could stay connected for free? After all, I am always traveling with both my laptop and my BlackBerry and I am already paying for unlimited data connection.

Well, the good news: it can be done. The bad news? It took me a few days, many hours on the phone, tweaking settings to get it to finally work. Hopefully the steps below will save you a lot of time. 


Laptop and BlackBerry 8700


So how do you start? The first thing is to get your device connected to your laptop using the USB cable. Your phone came with a cable and a CD from RIM. Start by installing the “Desktop Manager” software if you haven’t done so yet. Once installed, not only your BlackBerry is recognized by your laptop but a new modem has been installed under Windows. You need to verify this modem has been correctly installed and is working properly:

– Open the Control Panel
– Click on “Phone and Modem Options”

– Then select the “Modem” tab
– In the list, you should see an entry named “Standard Modem COM6″. This is the internal modem of your BlackBerry. So far, so good!


Screenshot 1


 – Select this modem and click on “Properties” then “Diagnostics” tab.
– Click on “Query Modem” to verify it works properly.

You should get something like:

AT+GMM – BlackBerry IPmodem

ATI1 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem
ATI2 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem
ATI3 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem
ATI4 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem
ATI5 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem

ATI6 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem
ATI7 – Research In Motion / BlackBerry IPmodem

Now, we need to add a special command to configure this modem. In the same Window, click on the “Advanced” tab and add +cgdcont=1,”IP”,”ISP.CINGULAR” in the command field.


Screenshot 2


You can now close all the windows from the modem configuration; we are done with this part. Our next step is to create a new Internet Connection on your Laptop.

Again, open your Control Panel and select “Network Connections”. Then click on “Create new connection”. Windows will take you thru a wizard to help you create the connection. Follow the screenshots below:


Screenshot 3


Screenshot 4


Screenshot 4


Screenshot 4


Screenshot 4


Screenshot 4


Screenshot 4


Screenshot 4


– For the phone number, enter *99#

– Password is: CINGULAR1

Click finish!

Getting tired? Don’t worry, we are almost there

The last step is to make sure to disable IP Header Compression.

1. Start Menu->Network Connections->”BlackBerry Modem”
2. Click Properties Button
3. Click Networking Tab
4. Select “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)”

5. Click Properties Button
6. Click Advanced Button
7. Disable “Use IP header compression” checkbox

At this point, you should be ready to surf the Internet!

Open your new network connection and you should be all set. Please note that these settings only work when using Cingular. The settings will be different for other carriers unfortunately.

Some additional information about this topic can be found at BlackBerryForums

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Easy GMail Setup for your BlackBerry

Millions of users now rely on Gmail for their personal email needs, in some cases even in a professional context. Gmail has been in beta for quite a while now but don’t worry, this is a rock solid service. Great web based access, over 2gig of free storage, all the features you might need such as spell checker, html body, auto draft backup…


Gmail Logo


 There are 2 ways to setup Gmail for your BlackBerry:
– Pop access
– Forward.

I’ve been using Gmail for many months and Forward is definitely your best bet. For a start, Pop is slower than Forward. Your BlackBerry web service checks for new pop emails at regular intervals but it can take up to 10 minutes to get your email. When forwarding, as soon as Gmail gets a new email, this is forwarded to your BlackBerry and you get it instantly. Pop is not always reliable; I had to reset my settings a few times when it stopped working for no reasons.

Setting up Forward on Gmail is simple, follow the steps below:

1. Go to Gmail web site, login and select “Settings�
2. Select the Tab “Filters�
3. Then click on “create a new filter�
4. In the field “Has the words�, enter “in:inbox�. This will prevent forwarding Spam emails and only forward the ones who end up in your inbox


Gmail Setup 1


5. Click on “Next Step�

6. Check “Forward it to� and enter your BlackBerry email address. It is usually something like where aaa is your username and bbb is your service provider.


Gmail Setup 2


This is all it takes! You will now receive all incoming Gmail emails to your BlackBerry.

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Signal Bars

The signal strength of your BlackBerry is pretty easy to see from the number of bars displayed. It’s an intuitive way to measure the strength of the wireless network in your location. However, there is a question when you dig deeper. What do the signal strength bars mean in technical or physical terms?


Signal Bars Screenshot


There is an actual number associated with the signal strength of your BlackBerry. To see what it is, go to the home screen and type Alt-N,M,L,L. If you are on a BlackBerry with Sure Type keyboard like the 7100 series, you
will have to type Alt-B,B,M,L,L.

After typing the sequence, you should see your signal strength meter change from bars to a number. To change it back, just retype the sequence of keys.

The higher the number, the worse your reception. The number of bars is determined by the following chart:

5 bars -40 to -77
4 bars -78 to -86
3 bars -87 to -92
2 bars -93 to -101
1 bar -102 to -120

The minus sign isn’t displayed on your BlackBerry, but the number refers to dBm, which is decibels relative to 1 milliwatt. So just take the number displayed on your BlackBerry signal straighten indicator and put a minuse ( – ) sign in front of it and then you it.

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If you want to save energy, then you should try to stay in a area with good wireless network coverage. In fact a low signal strength can severely impact the time between two recharge cycles of your BlackBerry. Luckily there are some tools to help you save energy in areas witch bad reception:

SmartWiFi remembers locations where there is access to a WiFi hotspot. SmartWiFi then deactivates WiFi whenever you are to far away from a WiFi location. Pretty smart.

Another sweet toy to save energy on the BlackBerry is BatteryBooster, which switches off certain functions on your BlackBerry when they are useless. This app is a good answer to the dreaded empty battery alert. However, with BatteryBooster you still have to charge your BlackBerry’s battery. Just the time between two recharge cycles is increased.

The latest gizmo to get a better reception is SignalBooster. If you permanently live or work in an area with low celltower coverage, it might be worth a try.

Ring2 audio-conferencing solution with BlackBerry remote control

Ring2 Logo





If you work in a large corporation, chances are you probably spend a lot of your time reading emails on your BlackBerry and in conference calls using speaker phones like this very nice one from Polycom.




Now, I’d much rather sit in on a conference call than fly across the country to attend a meeting in person any day. But you have to admit, conference calling can also be a pain. First, you need to schedule the time of the call, tell everybody which number to call and give them a participant code. Once the call begins, so does the confusion. Who is on the call? Is anybody late? You have to ask everybody if you can start and make sure no one is missing. And maybe it’s just my company, but it seems like there’s always somebody (Bob!) who joins the conference call from his cell phone, huffing and puffing down the street past honking cars and screaming people.

Enter Ring2. Imagine you have a remote control where you can see and control everything that is going on with your speaker phone. Now imagine that remote control is always with you anyway, because it’s as close as your BlackBerry.


Ring2 Screenshot 1


Ring2 Screenshot3


Using the Ring2 Conference Controller on your BlackBerry, you get a real time display of all the participants in the call. Even better, the participant list is linked to your address book, so each participant is displayed by name instead of number. But most importantly, you are in full control as the leader of the conference call. Remember that guy calling from his cell phone? You can mute him with one simple wheel click. Someone forgot to join? You simply click on your address book and one click later, the new participant is dynamically added to the call. Is that cool or what?

The Ring2 Conference Controller includes all the standard features you would find in a traditional conferencing solution such as a dial in toll free number, and reservationless virtual conference rooms. Other fun features include the ability to send conference call invitations (pre-filled with all the relevant call information) using your BlackBerry email, the ability to record a call, and the ability to assign billing codes to a call in case your accounting department requires it or you need to bill the call to a customer (if you are a consultant or a lawyer for example).


Ring2 Screenshot 4


Ring2 Conference Controller installed very smoothly on our 8700. Fully integrated with the BES, the deployment for an enterprise is simple. It is fully hosted, so you won’t even need to install new servers in your office. The user interface is intuitive and powerful; we were making calls within minutes of installation.

This is a really innovative product and no doubt it is going to be a success within the BlackBerry world. Now that we’ve used it here at, we’re going to have to keep it! :)

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Incoming Missle Warning on your BlackBerry

Israeli start-up Cellact, a developer of cellular messaging technology, has begun marketing a system to kibbutzim (collective communities), towns and factories in northern Israel that enables the issue of warnings of missile attacks. The system, which will be available to subscribers of all cellular companies, will issue a warning of a missile or bomb attack, shooting, or other emergency announcements.

I hope your life is you 0.20 NIS (== $0.045) worth 😉


The BlackBerry – your Crisis Assistent

Created especially for the BlackBerry platform, WIC allows business and public safety officials to update emergency response plans, create forms and check lists, view images, monitor camera feeds, locate personnel and retain legally mandated records.

Sounds interesting, I hope many people gets help in crisis situations.

Source: BlackBerrys Assist in Crisis Preparation

But there is more, than just waiting for the next alert. You can and should look ahead and prepare for the next crisis. There are a number of manuals, that can help you survive longer in any dangerous situation. First of all I want to mention the US Army survival guide, which is a really worth reading. It’s not to long so you can get through it in a few hours and then you definitely know how to react if there is a war happening.

Another similar tool to get notified about natural disasters is the DisasterAlert app for your BlackBerry. DisasterAlert shows you natural threats on a map so you can quickly react should anything happen nearby.

Please share your tips on how to prepare for any disasters or crisis situations in the comments below.