Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Citrix Receiver Coming to BlackBerry PlayBook

In a community blog post yesterday afternoon, Citrix Vice President of Community and Solutions Development, Chris Fleck, stated that the Citrix Receiver application is headed for Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook.
“The planned Citrix Receiver for PlayBook will provide a great user experience while making all the company virtual apps and desktops available on-demand anywhere.” He also notes, “PlayBook users will get the freedom to get work done from anywhere with access to any business app they need.”
Mr. Fleck also writes:
"No doubt the PlayBook will do a good job with email and the browser will work well for browsing, but with the 7" HD display, business users will also want access to all their business apps or even their full Windows 7 work environment. One way to enable that will be the Citrix Receiver for PlayBook, just as 100 million users use Citrix everyday to get virtual apps and desktops delivered to their PC, Mac, thin client or smartphone. The highly regarded Receiver for iPad for example is now one of the top app store business downloads and is used by professionals everywhere to be more productive without the chore of lugging a laptop."

Alan's Comments

Having Citrix standing behind your product will no doubt put corporate buyer's minds at ease because Citrix is recognized as a secure way to deploy applications to a mobile workforce.  With the PlayBook's connection to RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server and Citrix's secure application delivery platform, it looks like they are ready for their play date.

You can read the full post on the Citrix Community blog.

RIM Unveils the BlackBerry PlayBook

New Professional-Grade Tablet Delivers Unmatched Power and Web Performance

San Francisco, CA – BlackBerry DEVCON 2010 - Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today redefined the possibilities for mobile computing with the unveiling of its new professional-grade BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet and BlackBerry® Tablet OS.
Perfect for either large organizations or an “army of one”, the BlackBerry PlayBook is designed to give users what they want, including uncompromised web browsing, true multitasking and high performance multimedia, while also providing advanced security features, out-of-the-box enterprise support and a breakthrough development platform for IT departments and developers. The incredibly powerful and innovative BlackBerry PlayBook is truly a game-changing product in the growing tablet marketplace.

“RIM set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry with cutting-edge hardware features and one of the world's most robust and flexible operating systems,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. “The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia.”


The BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to be available in retail outlets and other channels in the United States in early 2011 with rollouts in other international markets beginning in (calendar) Q2.
RIM will begin working with developers and select corporate customers next month to begin development and early testing efforts.

For more information, visit www.blackberry.com/playbook.

BlackBerry PlayBook pictures and specs after the break...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

BlackPad To Be Announced This Week?

Tomorrow is the kick-off of Research In Motion's BlackBerry DevCon in San Francisco, California.  During the keynote session, BlackBerry fanatics are expecting the unveiling of a new device, the BlackPad.
"The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 22 that RIM will unveil the BlackPad at its 2010 BlackBerry Developer Conference, which runs from Sept. 27 through Sept. 30 in San Francisco.

While RIM did not comment on the report or the tablet number for eWEEK, the Journal said the 7-inch-screen BlackPad, which will sport two cameras, including one for video conferencing, will feature a new platform built by QNX Software Systems." (eWeek.com...)
With the Apple iPad very much a consumer product, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab clearly leaning in the same direction, we have to wonder if the BlackPad will have the features to get enterprise customers excited.  iOS and Android have proven to be very flexible mobile operating systems and we've seen what developers can do with them.  However, the QNX-based operating system rumored to power the BlackPad will be completely untested, as far as we know, and I for one, will be looking to see if application developer will be willing to adopt yet another OS to write applications for.

We'll cover be covering all of the goodies that are unveiled this week from RIM.

[Graphic via PCWorld.com...]

Rumor: BlackBerry Storm 9570 Coming to Verizon

Looks like we know why Verizon is EOL'ing (end of life) the BlackBerry Storm2 - a new Storm is a comin'.

BBLeaks.com managed to snap a few pictures of the unreleased Storm2 refresh.  The new Storm, we're still not sure if it will be called Storm2.5, Storm3, or something else, bumps up the specs of the current model Storm allowing it to run RIM's new BlackBerry 6 operating system.  With just 256MB of storage space on the Storm2, there just isn't enough space to squeeze in BlackBerry OS 6 and still have a well performing phone.

CrackBerry.com wrote the following about the still unreleased BlackBerry:
"As noted, the overall look of the device is just that of a BlackBerry Storm2. No physical design changes will be found here and it's certainly not thinner in any way. All changes come internally with the memory upgrade and processor being the most significant. Between the minimal RAM and the slower processor of the original, this refresh was needed in order for the Storm2 form factor and SurePress to remain alive."
There are more photos of the BlackBerry Storm 9570 on BBLeaks.com.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Studio Execs: Are You Sure Apple Doesn't Have It Right? I Think They Do.

Earlier this month, Apple introduced the second generation Apple TV.  At about a quarter of the size of the first generation model, the new Apple TV emphasizes steaming content over having to sync and manage content from iTunes running on your Mac or Windows PC.

Along side the introduction of the new Apple TV, Steve Jobs introduced a new 99 cent TV show rental model.  The idea that you would rent your favorite TV shows and movies rather than watching them on TV (does any one actually watch TV shows when they "air" anymore?), your DVR (I honestly don't have a DVR), or a DVD from your local BlockBuster, library, etc.

Over the last few days, we've started hearing studio execs talking about the "value" of their content and that it is worth more than 99 cents.  For example, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was quoted as saying "The 99-cent rental is not a good price point," and that "[I]t doesn't work for us." (AppleInsider.com...)

We're all entitled to our opinions.  When I look around at some of the shows that are on TV today, I'm hard pressed to see the "value" in a lot of whats on.  I absolutely refuse to watch a so called reality TV show; regardless of whether it's American Idol, Survivor, Kate Plus 8, Jersey Shore...the list goes on, and on, regrettably.  I do like watching scripted dramas, but I tend to watch more and more TV on my MacBook.  But I degrees.

I think that the 99 cent price point does makes sense.  Depending on what show, and whether it's standard def or high def, to purchase a show, it will cost you $1.99 - $2.99 an episode.  If the rental price is low enough, I'm more inclined to "impulse rent."  If I have to think about whether or not to rent the show, I'll start thinking about the various options: the studio's own website, Hulu, Netflix, a local library, or an app on my iPad or mobile phone.  I can also go rent a DVD for about $5.00 which will include four episodes.

The definition of "value" aside, I still think that the studios stand to make some money from Apple's 99 cent plan.  There are free TV options out there, but I'm willing to pay a fee to watch TV on my Mac or Apple TV if I'm getting entertainment value, as well as an ease of use or convenience value out of it.  Sure, 99 cents sounds reasonable for a 22-45 minute TV show.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A first hand account of why RIM's tablet could be end up being RIM's Foleo

[Editor's Note: The following article was written by Mr. Geddes, Editor, GadgetsOnTheGo.net.]

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that RIM could be announcing their answer to the iPad at a developer's conference next week. The code named "BlackPad" will not run RIM's just released BlackBerry OS 6, instead it will run an OS that was created by a company that RIM recently purchased. The tablet is expected to ship in Q4 of this year, feature a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, broadband connections, AND will need a BlackBerry to access cellular networks.

The last feature, or lack thereof, is reminiscent of Palm's Foleo, and that's not a good thing.

It's been 3 years since I and 74 other people tested the Foleo for Palm. The picture above is the Foleo on my kitchen table (complete with the box Palm was going to ship the Foleo in). The Foleo had a lot of potential (it was the original netbook). It was instant on (no bootup), it was slim, light, good battery life, had a comfortable keyboard that you could easily type on, had both Bluetooth and WiFi on board, ran a Linux OS, Opera web browser, Documents To Go, and the nail in the coffin of what would kill the Foleo.

You needed a Palm Treo in order to use the email application on the Foleo (I was able to get a few non-Palm Windows Mobile smartphones to work with the Foleo, but it wasn't going to be supported out of the box). The email application on the Foleo synced with the email app on your Treo. It wasn't a "real" mail app. No Treo, no mail. You could easily use the built in Opera web browser connected via WiFi to get to web mail (.Mac in my case), but why negate potential Foleo buyers because of its dependence on Palm's golden child, the Treo? I was very vocal with Palm about this issue, it made no sense. The Foleo was very capable and did not need to rely on a Treo for one of--if not the most-- important functions people use on mobile devices, email. It was created to work that way to insure that for every Foleo sold a Treo had to be part of the equation. In my opinion, as well as those of other testers, this wouldn't fly with consumers.

At that time Palm had many Treo users, just like RIM does now with BlackBerry smartphones. I said it to Palm then and have the same feeling about RIM's tablet, it shouldn't be dependent on a BlackBerry to function (if it turns out RIM is really going to go down that road). I give Palm a lot of credit that they listened to us testers and ultimately decided it was better to shelve the Foleo than release it half-baked. Hopefully RIM will realize that crippling a device in order to keep BlackBerry smartphones in the equation just doesn't add up. Ask Palm...

Alan's Comments

I have also used a Palm Foleo, and agree with Mr. Geddes' views and opinions about RIM's upcoming BlackBerry tablet.  Even if RIM doesn't require users to own a BlackBerry for email and Internet access from the "BlackPad", RIM will also have another potential risk that Palm also had: Having to support multiple operating systems; BlackBerry OS and the BlackPad OS.

Since the two operating systems won't be compatible with each other, RIM will have the added expenses needed to keep separate OS development teams in house to upgrade and maintain the software.  Likewise, third-party application developers will have to do the same and support two operating systems.  And lastly, customers will have to purchase separate versions of potentially the same applications.  (eg: Documents To Go for BlackBerry and Documents To Go for "BlackPad.")

[Editor's Note: Documents To Go and most of DataViz's assets has recently been acquired by RIM.]

The similarities between Palm's Foleo and RIM's "BlackPad" are striking.  Let's hope RIM doesn't make the same mistakes that Palm did when developing the Foleo.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo.net...]

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sprint Launches 4G Service in Orlando

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 20, 2010 - Sprint (NYSE:S) officially launched 4G in Orlando today. The next generation in wireless service provides speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G service1 and it is now available to customers in Orlando.

Sprint offers a growing portfolio of 4G-enabled devices, including HTC EVO™ 4G, the nation’s first 4G-capable handset, and the newly launched Samsung Epic 4G. Both operate on the Android™ platform. These products are part of a large selection of 4G-capable modems, mobile hotspots and routers that enable 4G advantages of rapid mobile downloads of large files, high-quality streaming video and high-speed Web browsing.

“Orlando is the third city in Florida to receive 4G service,” said Matt Carter, president of Sprint 4G. “We are continuing to deliver on our commitment to serve our customers by rolling out 4G in more cities in 2010. Customers in Florida are hungry for the power and speed that 4G provides and today they have it.”

You can read the full version of today's press release on the Sprint website.  For more information about Sprint's 4G services, point your browser at: http://www.sprint.com/4g.

Click the Read more link to see the current list of cities covered by Sprint's 4G service.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Palm Pixi Free on Sprint (Online Only)

The other day I reported that the original, non-plused Palm Pixi would be free on Sprint after a $100 mail in rebate.  I was on the Sprint website and noticed that there is an online only offer to receive the Pixi free.

To get the Pixi free, you must order the phone online with an accompanying new line of service or qualifying service agreement upgrade (read: extension).

If you are looking to make the jump to a webOS powered Pixi, now is the time to do it.  For more details, visit the Sprint website.

Astraware Releases Casino, Police Range for webOS

 Astraware has released another pair of their popular games for webOS this past week.  Joining Suduku and OddBlob is Astraware Casino and Police Range.

Astraware® is excited to announce the release of 2 new titles for the Palm® Pre™ and Pre Plus.  Astraware Casino and Police Range follow hot on the heels of Astraware’s debut webOS™ releases, Astraware Sudoku and OddBlob, which received an excellent reception from the webOS community on their release.

“It’s great to be launching these extra titles for the Pre,” said David Oakley, CTO of Astraware, “and the great feedback and interest we’ve had from the webOS community makes it exciting to be so connected with our userbase and their requests.”

Astraware Casino, already Astraware’s best-seller across a range of smartphone platforms, features 11 of the most popular casino games in 1 easy-to-use pack including Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, Craps, Roulette, Slots, and Blackjack.  The game includes instructions on how to play each game and has a fun awards system – the Souvenir Suitcase - with awards unlockable in each of the games!

Police Range is a fun target practice range where players can put their skill and accuracy to the test as they train on 2 different types of police practice range – Crime Alley and Target Practice. Online high score leaderboards add to the challenge as players compete against their friends and other players worldwide.

Both games, built using Palm’s PDK, require the 1.4.5 webOS upgrade to be able to run. Astraware Casino and Police Range are available now, priced $2.99, from Palm’s App Catalog on device. For more information and screenshots, visit: http://www.astraware.com/webos.

No CDMA Windows 7 Phones Until 2011

While I was off vacationing, it appears that Microsoft has stated that there will be no Windows 7 smartphones released for Verizon or Sprint in 2010.
“For the worldwide market, the vast majority of phones are GSM phones, so we focused on GSM first and then plan to deliver an update that will have great CDMA support in the first half of 2011. That’s device availability in the first half and we’re very confident of that. That’s probably a conservative estimate," said Microsoft senior product manager, Greg Sullivan.
After Microsoft's disaster with the Kin, I'm all for letting them test out their new mobile operating system in "the worldwide market" before it comes to Verizon or Sprint.  The silver lining is that customers on AT&T and T-Mobile have a chance of getting their hands on a Windows 7 phone before anyone else her in the States.

[Via BoyGeniusReport.com...]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

With New Line of Service Sprint Pre Drops to $49; Pixi Free

It is expected that Sprint will be dropping the prices for the original Palm Pre and Palm Pixi today.

The Sprint edition Palm Pre, complete with center button, will drop from $149 to just $49.  The Sprint edition Palm Pixi, you know, the one without Wi-Fi, will be free, zero, nada dollars.  Both new prices reflect the final price after a mail-in rebate.

If you are off contract and want to upgrade your phone without having to extend your service commitment, you will be able to purchase the Palm Pre for $349 and Palm Pixi for $299.

[Via PreCentral.net...]

Friday, September 10, 2010

On Vacation

The Labor Day picnics are over and the kids are heading back to school, but as device manufactures who are releasing devices "this summer" love to point out, summer ain't really over until September 21.

So with that in mind, I'll be taking my "summer" vacation this week.  Posts will be light for the next few days while I take some time for a well deserved rest.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Confirmed: RIM Acquires Some DataViz Assets

Digital Daily blogger John Paczkowski has confirmed that RIM did indeed acquire portions of DataViz last week.

Mr. Paczkowski writes:
Confirming an earlier report at CrackBerry.com, RIM (RIMM) said it had snapped up the developer of Documents To Go–one of Apple’s best selling apps of 2009–along with much of the talent that developed it. “RIM has acquired some of the assets of DataViz and hired the majority of its employees to focus on supporting the BlackBerry platform,” the company said in a statement given to Digital Daily. “Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the transaction was not material to RIM in the context of RIM’s financial results.” 
 You can read the full post on the All Things Digital: Digital Daily blog.

[Via Digital Daily.com...]

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day from Smartphone Fanatics!  Now get outside and enjoy the ceremonial close to the summer season with one last cookout!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

NYT: Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime

A recent New York Times article suggests what I already know: We need to unplug from the "digital age" more often and for longer periods.
"Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation.

The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas."
 Basically, the modern workforce gets a double whammy in that we are completely addicted to our computers and mobile gadgets and we are becoming workaholics.  Ok, the "we" can very easily be replaced with "I" here.  (Hey, there is a reason why this blog is called Smartphone Fanatics!)

You can read the full article on the New York Times website.

Thanks to Geri for the tip!

Friday, September 3, 2010

DataViz: No Documents To Go for webOS, Acquired by Research In Motion

Today, DataViz, the makers of Documents To Go, has officially announced that they will not be developing a version of Palm's webOS platform.

Announced on Facebook, and posted on the DataViz website, the company claims that creating a version of Documents To Go for webOS would be a much larger job than they expected and that the performance of such an application would not be an optimal solution.

"We regret to announce that we have made the difficult decision to not produce a Web OS version of Documents To Go. We understand that our delay in this area has caused much disappointment to our current and very loyal user base. We would like to explain in more detail the reasoning behind our decisions thus far.

Our intention had been to replace the Palm Viewers, which were based on the Documents To Go technology, with a full editing, aftermarket version of Documents To Go. In order to do this in a way that we felt would be most intuitive to users, we wanted to have the full version seamlessly replace the built in viewers. To do this, we needed some technical help from Palm. Because Palm was focusing on other areas at the time (including their very survival), and there was no official information available allowing developers to help ourselves, i.e., an SDK, there was a delay in getting us this information. Rather than do a substantially larger project that would result in a "sub-optimal" user experience, we decided to wait. This wait was much longer than anyone at DataViz expected. During this wait, we focused our efforts on other smartphone platforms, not because we were not loyal to Palm, but because it made "business sense" to do so. We have now come to the realization that it is not in DataViz' nor our users' best interests to continue the wait and produce the full version. We understand that another developer has chosen to create an editing Office product for webOS and we wish them the best. Again, we apologize to our users for taking this long to reach, what is for DataViz and many of our users, a disappointing conclusion."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Apple Launches iTunes 10, Unveils New iPods, AppleTV, iOS 4.1 Update

It has been a busy day for Apple fanatics customers today.

New iPods, Apple TV

At today's annual September media event, Apple took the wraps off a new iPod nano and iPod touch.  The iPod shuffle got it's click-wheel back.  Apple TV received an extreme makeover, and we were told that iOS 4.1 will arrive next week (9/8/10) to fix the proximity sensor and Bluetooth issues on iPhone 4 and performance issues on the iPhone 3GS.  Owners of current iPod touch models will also be getting the iOS 4.1 treatment next week.  iPad owners, like me, will have to wait until November for the iOS 4.2 update to be released.  Ugh!

The good news for those of us not eager to shell out a few hundred more dollars for the latest shinny Apple gizmo is that we can get our hands on iTunes 10 today.

Once you get past the hoopla over the redesigned logo, Apple dumped the CD to focus on the music note, you'll see the new features that have been added to the popular jukebox software.  Click the read link for the new iTunes 10 features and more photos of Apple's latest gear.