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There’s two things that I have to have in my life in order to function properly: movies and music. BlackBerry 10 has music covered fairly well, but our movie offerings has been more of a work in progress. It began with sideloading particular files converted from APK to BAR format, then we earned the gift of installing APK files directly on our devices. That’s well and all, but there were still some apps that eluded the BlackBerry camp. One of those apps was Redbox.

If anyone has experimented with Android apps since OS 10.2.1 (the revision that gave us amazing Android app compatibility), you’ll know that Redbox flat out refused to be installed no matter how hard you tried. Thankfully, the Redbox Instant by Verizon app filled the gap and was functional but ugly. It lacked the experience of being in front of the Redbox machine (which is not recommended as some people make a lunch break out of looking for a movie) and wasn’t accurate about what machines had which movies. Redbox Instant also continuously tried to lure you into a subscription service every time you used the app which is only good for Verizon FIOS customers. For the rest of us, we needed a basic app that cut to the chase. Today I bring good news: the official regular Redbox app finally works on the newly released BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3, and I could not be any happier with it. I also could not delete Redbox Instant fast enough!

I have tested the latest Redbox app (using the Snap app to obtain it) on 10.3 and it seems to run very well. It will ask for Google Services, but that can be overridden by tapping outside of the notification box. I was able to login to my Redbox account, search for a particular movie (Spiderman 2 on Blu-Ray) in my area, add it to the cart, and reserve it. What does this mean? BlackBerry 10 just became a movie rental on-the-go service. I have become the hero of my household again. No more needing a PC to find a movie at the Redbox machine, no more struggling with a mobile browser, and no more disappointment not finding the movie I want at a machine in person or waiting 30 minutes to get a turn.

If you have the new 10.3 OS release, it’s Redbox time!

 

World's Best Mobile OS

World’s Best Mobile OS

 

India’s widest-circulation technology publication Digit recently concluded that BlackBerry 10 (specifically, 10.2.1 was the version tested) is the best mobile operating system in the world.

And this was not just some random blogger posting a personal opinion, they claimed to have spent 400 man-hours extensively testing the latest release versions of BlackBerry 10, iOS, Android and Windows Phone in a variety of categories and published this as their August 2014 cover story.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, also-rans!

 

From the BlackBerry Press Release:

 Digit staff conducted a performance test of the BlackBerry 10.2 OS, Android 4.4, iOS 7.1.2 and Windows Phone 8.1 operating systems. The BlackBerry 10.2 OS won the overall test with a rating of 56.91 – the highest amongst all of the latest major operating systems that are available in the market today. The BlackBerry 10.2 OS was also judged to be the best OS for email, contact management, calling, photography, search and video.

“This was by far the most comprehensive test we have ever done, as the Digit Test Centre spent over 400 man-hours, meticulously checking over a thousand individual parameters for each OS, in order to arrive at a true and unbiased answer to the question, ‘What’s the World’s best mobile OS out of the box?’ By winning five of the ten aspects we tested for, BlackBerry OS 10.2 is a deserved winner of the title,” said Robert Sovereign-Smith, Executive Editor, Digit.

The month-long comparison test was based on various OS capabilities including browsing, e-mail, messaging, settings and customization, managing contacts and calling, photography, notifications, lock screen capability, search and video capture.*

“We are extremely excited with the results of the test, as it is a testament to our commitment to provide the best experience to our consumers, without compromise,” said Sunil Lalvani, Managing Director, BlackBerry India. BlackBerry 10.2 OS is built on a solid foundation, providing consumers with a host of innovative features like the powerful BlackBerry Hub, to help them be as productive as possible at work and on-the-go.”

 

 

One of our favorite apps

One of our favorite apps

UTB blogs has reviewed this app before and it continues to be an app that holds a covenant spot on my phone.

So I was happy to see that an update came through that was related to the 10.3 OS that is coming out soon. I like forward progress from my favorite apps.

This update is on the small side (1.2.0.1206 to 1.2.1.1210) but it fixes a bug (cancel button not showing up) that users on 10.3 were seeing.

I just recently made my new BBM and twitter avatar with this app, and the Dev continues to pump new features into it. This is a great app and still worth checking out in the app store by clicking on the link.

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A new exploit was discovered by a team of researchers at the University of California Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering. The team believes that this exploit, tested on an Android phone, will also be effective against Windows Phone and iOS.

As is always the case, hack works by getting the user to download some seemingly benign app, something common of which there are many. Perhaps a wallpaper app, perhaps a funny picture app, perhaps an app of daily sayings? And underneath this app which will provide a couple hours of entertainment before it is forgotten, the malware is working away at this newly found exploit with an astonishing success rate.

How does the malware work? By using ‘public side channels’. Shared memory between apps. Shared memory is commonly used in operating systems to keep things moving quick and smooth. Or to try to in the case of Android. And it was believed that one app could not see what another app was doing in this shared memory. It turns out that this is not the case at all. This shared memory can be accessed without any privileges and is in actuality, an open book.

The researchers tested this hack and had a success rate between 82 and 92 percent. The apps which they tested their attack against and their success rates follow.

  • Gmail- 92% success
  • H&R Block- 92% success
  • Newegg- 86% success
  • WebMD0- 85% success
  • CHASE Bank- 93% success
  • Hotels.com- 83% success
  • Amazon- 48% success

Interestingly enough, it is stated that the reason Amazon is more difficult to hack is because “it allows one activity to transition to almost any other activity, increasing the difficulty of guessing which activity it is currently in” although, I like to think it’s because Amazon is friendly with BlackBerry now. Just makes more sense right?

The above video is one of three examples that they researchers created. See all three here.

Another day, another hack. When is the Passport getting here again?

source

surprise

I don’t know about you but many of us here at UTB are getting the funny feeling that there’s something we ALL don’t know.

BlackBerry have been absolutely superb at keeping the details of the Passport under wraps. To date there have pretty much been no demo devices, only days now before launch. Those that have been allowed to handle the device (outside of BlackBerry) have only been allowed to touch it whilst a BlackBerry employee holds it for them (literally – I’m not kidding!) and it has been whipped away once they’ve played with the screen and the keyboard a bit.

You can see how little they get to learn in this ‘errrmmm…’ video from Phone Arena – tip – the left hand isn’t his!

So, what do we know?

We know the keyboard is TRULY ground breaking. You can use it as a trackpad, a word flicker, a mouse, oh, and also a keyboard.
We know the screen is very high resolution
We know the battery is absolutely HUGE – the biggest on the market
We know the specs are GREAT
We know it will still be thin though
We know it will run 10.3

We also have a sneaking suspicion that the model that HAS been leaked in videos in good old fuzzy vision isn’t quite what will be going out there. Why? Because BlackBerry (unlike RIM of old) are showing that they really aren’t stupid. Do you really think that they’d go to all this trouble and let a few get out in the wild knowing full well SOMEONE wouldn’t be able to help themselves?

No.

They are very carefully and VERY skilfully just letting enough out there to whet the appetite.

There’s something we don’t know yet, something they are keeping back.

What could it be?

Less than 45 days to find out…

passport_white_xray

No, that’s not a Rev Grim selfie…

Over at Seeking Alpha the odd desperate iPhonian is still trying to keep the lid on Pandora’s Box by claiming that there really is no killer application for the Passport and by that they mean that they can’t see any situation it could be applied to.

So, with perfect timing, Inside BlackBerry have just knocked them, and their chums, clean out of the park.

The image you see above is a chest x-ray, obviously. Not just in amazing clarity but it is also viewable in 3D. Here’s what Inside BlackBerry have to say:

The above image portrays an x-ray of a lung viewed on the large square touchscreen found only on the BlackBerry Passport. In situations where you need a greater view of documents, medical imagery or technical schematics – screen size really does matter.

The 4.5-inch screen on the BlackBerry Passport is 1,440 x 1,440 pixels providing unique clarity and dimensions for a smartphone. Images like the one above, when viewed on other smartphones, can appear not only smaller, but less clear – opening the door to missed information. I’m no doctor, but I suspect having a clear view of the situation is key in reaching the correct diagnosis. In fields, where decisions can be a matter of health or safety, seeing the whole picture in detail is invaluable.

The BlackBerry Passport is purpose built with these situations in mind and more. With an innovative touch-enabled keyboard that allows you to communicate clearly and precisely, a battery large enough to power through your day, and the apps to get serious work done – the Passport is built for professionals like you and me.

Which is great but look a little further and you start to get the real meat on the bones (if you pardon the pun). Remember when BlackBerry pointed out that with the touch-enabled keyboard it would allow you to move around a screen without getting your fingers in the way like on a touchscreen? I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite get that bit, until now.

Put that in the medical or engineering field and you might just be getting the idea…

The app shown on screen is Nil by Claron Technology.

Key Features

• Diagnostic viewer with advanced capabilities
• 2D, multi-planar reformatting (MPR)
• 3D and echocardiology with full cine.
• Window/level, zoom, pan, rotate and related features enable comprehensive image manipulation
• Integrate with DICOM network or EMR/EHR systems

Here’s why it’s designed to look amazing on the BlackBerry Passport:

• Interactive viewing of 2D/3D imaging records easier on larger, high pixel-density screen
• Touch-enabled keyboard makes image manipulation fast, easy, and accurate
• Maximizes productivity/collaboration among care team
• High capacity battery designed to last all-day

So there you are as a doctor, you can look at an x-ray or scan, easily zoom in and out or move the image around (even in 3D) without ever touching the screen and, of course, use the power of BB10 to quickly share pictures and documents (yes, even as email or BBM attachments iPhonians!) securely and confidentially.

You could, of course, even access your files on your PC in your office all from your Passport using Link or Blend without missing a beat.

No killer applications?

You’d only say that if you either don’t know or haven’t even bothered looking.

Or your so blinded by Apple you’d rather be left behind.

We’re moving on, thanks.

You stay right there in 2012.

Facebook for BB10 Updated in the Beta Zone

Facebook for BB10 Updated in the Beta Zone

Are you a BB10 user that has a Facebook profile and likes to beta test apps?  If so, you’re in luck as Facebook for BB10 has just been updated in the Beta Zone.

Today’s updates are:

  • The ability to rename Photo Albums
  • Active frames now scroll through the top 5 feeds while in minimized state + show new notification count
  • Ability to Poke back directly from the notification

Although it is not an extensive list, these are neat updates and I’m looking forward to trying them out.

If you’re not a Beta Zone member, you can go here for the online version, or download the app from BlackBerry World here; depending of course on availability for your geographic location.

Happy beta testing!

quote-about-friendship

Anyone who has been frequenting United Through BlackBerry for a while knows that we have a mission of combating uninformed anti-BlackBerry media bias with our weapon of choice…FACTS.

Most of us informed BlackBerry fans are disgusted with the brainwashed masses in the media who believe that BlackBerry is an inferior smartphone platform and a failing or failed company, and wish us all to believe that. I know I am: Turning Good News into Bad

When it comes to this unique company, ignorance abounds, and intentional slander and lies against this company occur pretty much daily by short investors or those with large investments in other platforms.

Lately I’ve been seeing some factual informative BlackBerry articles that are highlighted in the Google financial page without the spin. Not negative not positive, just the facts without an agenda. As it turns out, when you strip away the agenda and spin BlackBerry news is always positive!

Bibey

Curious, I went to The Bibey Post and did a search for BlackBerry and learned that Chris has been doing this for quite some time and that there are countless factual informative non agenda driven articles about BlackBerry. Be sure to drop by and read:

Bibeyblackberry

So here is a standing ovation from UTB to Chris Bibey at the Bibey post! I know he is reading because I contacted him to let him know this is coming. From all of us at UTB a round of applause and a huge THANK YOU! Keep up the good work Chris and we hope to see you drop by once in a while. You will be more than welcomed by our community. And we will do the same, knowing where to find the truth about BlackBerry … the Bibey Post!

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Portable, quality, BBRY branded audio for music and telephony.

Many BlackBerry fans go for BBRY branded accessories whenever possible. Several months ago, I bought a BlackBerry “Mini Bluetooth Stereo Speaker” online and thought you might enjoy hearing about it.

For those who like to get to the bottom line quickly; I love the device and think it’s worth the $80.00 purchase price. Why? Because: 1) it is so small and portable, 2) offers great sound for such a small form factor, 3) is multifunctional (provides three functions), 4) has a neat design feature allowing it to be attached to a seat belt or the strap for a book bag, and 5) is BBRY branded.

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Size and Portability:
The device is pretty small and fits into the palm of your hand, as you can see from the pic above. The Mini Speaker is not intended to compete with much larger devices like the Jawbone Bluetooth speakers, instead, it’s intended to be portable enough to bring almost anywhere and have with you all the time. It’s small and very lightweight.

Sound:
The Mini Speaker offers great sound in a small form factor. It has two speakers with separate channels and thus is stereo, but the speakers are close enough together that they won’t give you the experience you might get from wearing headphones. However, for such a small package, the Mini Speaker puts out. Although I don’t have a decibel rating, many of you have heard Z30s and I would say it is noticeably louder and deeper in sound than the Z30. In any event, it’s fairly loud for such a little device and offers ample sound considering how portable it is.

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Not much bigger than my keys.

Three Functions:
The Mini Speaker does three things: 1) acts as a Bluetooth speaker you can connect to your device to listen to media, 2) works as a Bluetooth speaker you can use with your telephone for hands free phone calls, 3) works as a Bluetooth streaming media input into your stereo allowing you to walk around playing music from your device through the Mini Speaker, over your home stereo or car stereo via the 3.5mm audio out jack. I’ve had the Speaker for about 5 months now and have used it for all three purposes and found it performs well. Maybe I “drink too much of the cool aide,” but this is part of what I expect from a BBRY branded device, that is, I expect it to do what it claims.

#1 As a Bluetooth speaker, this device performs admirably. It’s very convenient to have around for when you want to watch a YouTube video with some nice sound. Of course, it’s also great to pull out to play music on when you’re having a cigar and a beer on the deck outside in the summer and want a little sound. Clearly, if you’re an audiophile, you will want a more robust solution, but I don’t think you’ll find a better one with such a small footprint.

#2 As a Bluetooth speaker for phone calls, the device performs well, as you would expect. It adds some volume to your call should you want to set your phone down on the middle of a table surrounded by several people on a conference call. I have used it for this purpose and gotten feedback that the call quality was solid, meaning, I sounded good to the caller. My BBRY phones are business tools that I’m somewhat cautious with and I would freely use the Mini Speaker for any important calls.

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The small hole on the lower right is the mic for use as speakerphone.

#3 As a Bluetooth streaming device to play music over a stereo, the Mini Speaker works great. I can walk around my apartment up and down the steps and around corners and into rooms with my Q10 in my pocket and never have interruptions of my music. The music sounds good and all the features of my phone work well over it.

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There is the 3.5mm audio out jack on the right.

Design Feature:
As you can see from the pic below, this device is designed to fit snugly onto the strap of your book bag or seat belt so it can be used on the go. I have not tested this feature much, although it’s fairly self-explanatory. I can say it does fit onto those types of straps, but I’ve never carried it around like that during the day. One point about this feature is you have to be very careful how much tension you apply to the device; it is not intended to open more than a few millimeters. I can see this would function nicely as a hands free Bluetooth speaker for your car. You could just stick it onto your seat belt.

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Slot for attaching to straps. Middle button is held down for Bluetooth pairing.

Specifications:
This is not the exhaustive list; just a few that I think are pertinent. The battery is 1100 mAh, takes 2 & 1/2 hours to charge, and is good for 40 days of standby, 16 hours of talk, and an impressive 14 hours of streaming time. It’s a class 2 Bluetooth device with a range of about 33 feet.

The Best News:
I’ve saved the best news for last, and that is, as Brad indicated earlier here, through the end of August, all BBRY accessories are on sale on shopblackberry.com so you can get the BlackBerry Bluetooth Mini Stereo Speaker for $55.99! Check it out!

 

 

 

(source android-link.com)

(source android-link.com)

With the roll out of BlackBerry OS 10.3.1 Adobe Air (Adobe Integrated Runtime) will no longer be supported (support for devices running 10.3.0 or below will continue). Adobe Air is a system for mobile devices or desktops that helps to facilitate the running of Flash, Javascript, and HTML. To help with the transition BlackBerry will be hosting a webcast on 04 Sept to assist developers in moving their Air app over to Amazon. As with most changes there are pluses and minuses.

Pluses include:

  • an improved Android Run-Time,
  • less lag when running programs,
  • Bluetooth LE in android, and
  • developers can port their apps over to WebWorks or Android

The downside:

  • it’s difficult to anticipate how many developers will actually put in the additional time and effort to port over their apps

So in preparation, we at UTB thought it might be a good idea to compile a listing of apps that utilize Adobe Air so users would have time to reach out to the developers or to search for their Android counterparts, assuming one existed. To get things started here’s one app you may be familiar with -

(source squareengine.blackswangames.it

(source squareengine.blackswangames.it

Speed Tester. Feel free to add others in the comments so we can provide a running list.

Thanks in advance for your participation – that’s what a Community is all about!