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Yes, my friends, November 4th marks one year since it was announced that John Chen would be taking over as CEO of BlackBerry and what a year it’s been.

So, to celebrate, we’ve managed to grab for you THE most sought after device on the market right now – a beautiful unlocked Passport (which means it will work pretty much anywhere) for you to win – right here.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this article, it’s as simple as that and we’ll announce the winner (who will be chosen at random) on the anniversary of John’s appointment. Seems rather fitting, don’t you think?

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Today was a big day for the BlackBerry Passport. AT&T actually pushed out an update OTA!
IMG_20141030_172018

Exciting, right? Absolutely! We know they are far behind the curve when it comes to releasing OS updates, so when the above appeared in my Notifications, my world came to a grinding halt! Continue Reading

Trick or Treat...

Trick or Treat…

Trick or Treat?

Halloween comes to life on BBM with this spookily themed sticker pack by Meemo. Meemo is a studio that specializes in the creative design of stickers, emoticons, and Emoji to enhance the way you message. This pack will run you 99 cents.

...smell my feet.

…smell my feet.

It’s time to trick and treat with Mickey and the gang. You can now add Mickey, Donald, and the rest of your Disney favorites to your spooktacular BBM conversations. Mickey’s Halloween will run you $1.99.

It looks like its all treats for us BBM users!

Enjoy and happy Halloween!

Great Feedly client!

Great Feedly client!

When it comes to finding apps that I use on my Android tablet and finding them in BlackBerry World, can be kinda tricky. That’s why I was excited when I found gNewsReader for BlackBerry 10!

gNewsReader, by Yogeshwar, is a native Feedly/NewsBlur client for BlackBerry.

I subscribe to all my favorite news feeds, and share them to my Facebook, twitter and BBM groups. I can even save articles from gNewsReader so I can read later.

The update brings the app version from 2.9.1.2 to 2.9.5.3 and with it brings:

Passport support, small bug fixes, and a new setting for list image size (big/small).

If you want to give this 4 1/2 star (and .99) app a try, just click on the link to the BlackBerry World.

Protect your investments

Protect your investments

Hot off the heels of the last update, Stocks, by Alex Garipian, gets another small one today.

Going from 1.5.1.1 to 1.5.2.1, Stocks for BlackBerry 10 gets some bug fixes… always welcomed.

Enjoy!

crashed learner driver

On Monday this week the (American media) world was astounded (and a little put out) to discover that Kim Kardashian West LOVES BlackBerry.

Yes, Kim appeared at Recode and put the cat amongst the pigeons by refusing to bow down to the iPhonian Gods – she avowed her loyalty to the one platform that can’t splatter her private photographs across the internet. Of course, this is NOT to be tolerated.

In reporting this the New York Post predictably used the word ‘beleagured’…

The reality-TV star and wife of rapper Kanye West said she’s so addicted to her old-school Blackberry’s keyboard that she owns three versions of the classic phone in case they break down.

“It’s my heart and soul, I love it and I’ll never get rid of it,” Kardashian said at a tech conference on Monday night.

Kardashian — who even joked about buying the beleaguered Toronto-based smartphone maker — said she trolls eBay looking for used ones to buy.
“They don’t have them in stores anymore,” she told Re/code founder Kara Swisher. “I buy them on eBay.”

And then came Page Six. Who were so outraged that Kim could be avoiding letting them easily access every part of her life that they insisted on making total iTools of themselves:

Kim Kardashian’s love for Blackberry might be fake

Kim Kardashian made headlines Monday after an appearance at the Code/Mobile tech conference, where she told Re/code’s Kara Swisher that she loves her Blackberry so much that she owns three models in case one breaks down.

But an analysis of the reality TV star’s recent tweets shows that even though the social media darling may be careful to be seen carrying her Blackberry around, she never uses it for tweeting.

Of her latest 200 tweets, which stretch back to March of this year, none were sent using a Blackberry.

The majority of Kardashian’s tweets during this time – 136 of them – came from Instagram, which is not available on Blackberry. She told Swisher on Monday that she uses her iPhone mostly for taking pictures.

The rest were tweeted from the Web (28 times), using Twitter for iPhone (nine times), using Tweetdeck (10 times) or using an application called Echofon (17 times). There’s no Echofon app for Blackberry devices.

When Kardashian, 34, was asked if she’d ever talked to Blackberry about becoming the company’s spokeswoman, she said: “I feel like I should. I’m going to make a call after this.”

Is Kim playing coy? It seems like somebody already made that call – and didn’t do it from a Blackberry.

Of course not! How silly of us all! Kim has never owned a BlackBerry, never used a BlackBerry, she’s made the whole thing up.

ANYWAY – how could she?

How DARE she even WANT a BlackBerry?

It’s a disgrace, I tell you.

No, what’s more of a disgrace is that uninformed reporting like this has meant that poor old Kim Kardashian can’t find a BlackBerry 10 device in store.

If she could, and could find a sales rep who didn’t believe the sort of drivel spouted here by Page Six, then she would be freely enjoying Instagram (whether the original or iGrann, which many find better), Echofan (which I tested earlier) or pretty much any other app these people care to name.

Never mind the fact that she, of course, would be zipping away on THE most advanced OS on the planet. With no bending and no need to rush for a plug socket more times than the bathroom.

After 10 pints of water.

Yes, this news must be dismissed and buried as quickly as possible. Kim must NEVER be allowed a BlackBerry 10 phone and none of you must ever be tempted by one either.

And you know why?

Because if she got one there’d be no need for the iPhone anymore.

And then we really would see the likes of Page Six heading in the opposite direction.

Get a Passport Kim…

They’re all the rage right now!

boredom poster

Let’s be fair, Android is boring.

Once seen as the new kid rebel on the block, the platform is getting more stale than a loaf of week old rock hard bread. A constant procession of ‘me too’ devices, each as similar as the last but with some zoomy card thingy or the weather poking out at your from a 1980’s dot matrix back cover – the Android manufacturers have struggled more and more to differentiate themselves in an ever crowded market.

Lollipop offers no relief, even if your current device is capable of handling it (which is doubtful).

And then there’s the lag… creeping up on you, unnoticed until after 6 months you think ‘I’m sure this thing wasn’t virtually unusable before?’

Never mind the Malware – but let’s not get into that.

And then along comes the Passport. Something new, something FRESH – and with those rubbish old physical keys – you know, the ones that you probably got addicted to in the first place. But not just that, it LOOKS different, it FEELS different – after all, isn’t that why you became an Androidian in the first place?

To Be Different?

No surprise then to see that we have had a number of current Androidians enter our Passport competition (your entries by the way are currently being assembled by our crack technical team via the method of printing on paper to be assembled in a hat of some sort and one drawn out – and that’s ONE PER PERSON BLANE SO STOP ENTERING) and the message they have given is simple.

They’re bored of Android. One way or another the Passport will be their next device.

Of course, we still have some old misconceptions to dispel, some people love the idea of the hardware but, of course, have a bit of a way to go to get the fact that BlackBerry 10 is a superior OS like Dusan Belic of IntoMobile

Android vendors, please make a BlackBerry Passport-like device

BlackBerry Passport will most likely be my next phone. Sure, I hate the lack of key apps and the way Android apps work on Passport’s square display, but that physical keyboard is a deal-maker for me. I type a lot on the phone and while virtual keyboards are getting better with the day, they’re still “not there.” So I’m willing to accept few compromises in order to get more things done while on the go.

That being said, I gotta wonder why some Android handset makers don’t create similar devices? And by similar I mean phones that have physical QWERTY keyboard beneath a large screen. I’m not talking about sliders, though.

The Passport is really unique devices and it’s obviously selling well. Right now, the Canadian company has a nice problem to keep up with the demand. The fact that they haven’t ordered millions of units has lot to do with this, but still – I’m sure that the likes of HTC and Sony wouldn’t mind having the same problem.

Said two vendors are not alone struggling to keep up with Samsung and the growing number of Chinese vendors. So why not experiment with novel form factors? Or at very least, create a Typo keyboard case for your products, as I’ve mentioned before.

What do you think? Would you be interested in an Android device that looks like BlackBerry Passport?

If the Passport is Dusac’s next phone he is in for something of a pleasant surprise, of course. Rather than apparently being built from the water vapour that bonds clouds together (that gives most Android devices that deliciously cheap ‘floaty’ feel) he’ll have a slab of quality in his hand.

And then he’ll have to get over the shock that the 10.3 OS is already far advanced of anything in the Android world.

But that’s fine. We understand. There’s a lot of it about. Due to all the malicious rubbish spouted about BlackBerry over the last 2 years he really wouldn’t be alone.

There’s an AWFUL lot of people having their eyes opened to the fact they’ve been lied to about BlackBerry.

And, as he says, the buzz around the Passport is something many Android manufacturers would die for right now. I suppose, in this situation, where none of them are making any money from it, you would wonder why they are bothering at all.

Still, who cares?

Here at UTB anyone coming #BackToBlack is MORE than welcome.

Nice to have you home guys…

Any questions, please ask.

MockIt_09092014103155_edit

 

I’m still not convinced whether ‘Wearables‘ are a fad or something more akin to niche’ marketing. A wearable is something you wear on your wrist and has some level of connectivity to a smartphone. Wearing something on ones’ wrist is almost a novel idea now – I’m sure there are some statistics around linking the advent of the mobile phone to a decrease in wristwatch sales along with pagers, electronic personal assistants (ex: Palm), portable cameras, etc..

Pebble Watch

Pebble Watch

It all started with the introduction of the Pebble in 2011.  Now we have Microsoft announcing a new wearable that will be out in time for Christmas beating the Apple Watch to market. In addition, BlackBerry may be testing the waters based on some recent patent filings. I’ll most likely use my wife as a beta tester (guinea pig just doesn’t sound good) and buy her one for Christmas. Due to the timing I may only have two real choices Fitbit or Microsoft – will have to do some research and make a decision.

 

Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

 

 

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

 

 

Fitbit

Fitbit

 

In my previous blog there were comments about including NFC in the watch so you could conduct transactions by swiping your wrist instead of your phone. There was also an interesting comment concerning ‘Proximity Watches‘ that have some basic functionality.

 

Citizen's Proximity Watch

Citizen’s Proximity Watch

 

As with most items there are many choices available with varying degree of functionality.  I’ll check back in after the first of the year to review the wearable I chose, how it’s performing, and why I chose it.

BBM For Windows Phone Updated!!

BBM For Windows Phone Updated!!

If you’re a Windows Phone user and are currently using BBM, there is an update waiting for you.   Version 1.2.0.10 brings improved notifications and more.

If you’re not using BBM, head over to the Windows Phone store and download it now.

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It was brought to my attention that some iPhone users have been calling the BlackBerry Passport’s durability in to question. In light of Bendgate, I’m surprised any iPhone user could possibly attempt to make any sort of complaint against any other phone. But sadly, they are.

BlackBerry users know just how sturdy our phones are. It’s one of the many reasons I’ve stuck with BlackBerry through the years. You see, I’m extremely rough with my phones. Not on purpose of course, I’m really just kind of klutzy. But I can honestly say that I have yet to own a BlackBerry device that I haven’t seen bounce off the floor-pavement-concrete etc. And while it makes my heart stop for a second, I’ve never had any more issues than scratches around the edges. I actually watched as a BlackBerry Torch 9810 came flying out of a pocket from the top of a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, I even reached out for it, and thought I came very close to catching it, but no, we saw it fall all the way down, hit the concrete, and explode. Well, we thought it exploded. At the end of the night, when the staff brings all the broken cell phones back to the recovery area, the Torch was handed back to us, along with the pieces of the case that was holding it. Surprisingly, it was the case that exploded. The phone’s slider mechanism was jammed open, but other than not being able to close it, it worked perfectly. The glass wasn’t even broke. And that’s the only time I’ve had to send a BlackBerry back for replacement.

But of course the iPhone users that that are making the accusations about the Passport’s durability  would probably accuse me of making that story up. They’re rather rude that way. And as much as I hate to quote people that are so unpleasant, we should look at their accusations. The following was taken from a fairly popular iPhone forum.

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Freedom-Copy

There seem to be a few frightened people out there trying to give the BlackBerry Passport a bad review. I say frightened because that’s the way they seem. There is no logical or rational reason for what they are saying. Things like “too big”, “need two hands “, “awkward ” These are all generalizations and depend on context.

I will give you my experience with the passport after four weeks of use.

My initial impression was how well put together it was, that thing is solid. I’m not going to go on about how I abused it etc. I take care of my devices.

I’m also not going to tell you all the features, that information is readily available.

What I will tell you is how much freedom this device has given me. I use it for virtually everything. No longer do I need to carry my laptop to work, the Passport has it covered, I do all my records on it, all my reports. Emails and all other communication is a breeze and of the highest quality, if I need to add a picture, the quality there is unmatched as well. When I put my Passport in my pocket, any pocket, I know I don’t need to worry about damaging it. All my files go into my pocket along with it, up to 160gb if needed.

 

So it’s easy to see why these people are frightened, this one device takes the place of a smartphone, tablet, laptop even a PC and a digital camera without any compromises. How can these people continue to justify the purchase of all the unnecessary devices to their spouse? Lol