We’re changing things up in light of WES this week. Our morning post will be News From The Wire, and we’ll have a feature-y post headed up later. This is the heavier news from WES. During the week we covered a lot of application related stuff. Now it’s onto the juicy stuff. It’s a bit disappointing, honestly, because we didn’t get two of the more anticipated announcements.
Storm 2 could drop in June, July
For some reason, I assumed that RIM’s follow-up to the BlackBerry Storm would come out about a year after its predecessor. Perhaps it’s the once-a-year scheme Apple has employed with the iPhone, but it just feels natural. It won’t be so with the Storm. Rumors circulated this week that Verizon employees have been instructed to complete training on the device by the end of this month, signaling a June or July release for the Storm 2. It will have Wi-Fi, an important addition. BGR came in with rumors about the touch screen, which figures to be more like a “traditional capacitive touch screen panel” than the SurePress click style. Later they got confirmation that the Storm 2 is near, possibly for early July (though they rightfully doubt it). Apparently RIM won’t leave original Storm owners in the dust, as the new OS update (18.104.22.168) is currently being tested. Also, the cool kids at Engadget got their hands on a Storm 2, so make sure to check that out.
How has RIM done in reaching the consumer market?
One of RIM’s stated goals is to create products which cater to the consumer market, moving somewhat away from the enterprise market which they’ve dominated for so long. That’s why they introduced the Pearl flip in October. So how is RIM faring? Tricia Duryee of mocoNews.net takes a look at RIM’s success in targeting consumers. While the Pearl flip tanked, or at least relatively to other BlackBerry models, devices like the Curve and the second-genreration Pearl continue to sell well. Money quote: “if RIM makes good products, whether they are aimed at the enterprise or not, consumers will find them.” That couldn’t be more true. As said in the article, the Curve wasn’t necessarily targeted for consumers, just a less formal enterprise market. It took off, though, and was the top-selling smartphone in the first quarter of 2009. With the Tour and Storm 2 around the bend, RIM could make further inroads to the consumer market while still delivering interesting devices for its enterprise base.
AT&T gets Curve 8900 out for Memorial Day
Ah, Memorial Day weekend. Memories of the Jersey Shore appear as if they happened yesterday. AT&T is celebrating Memorial Day a different way: with the BlackBerry Curve 8900. They’ve announced the device for this Friday the 22nd, and it has appeared on the company website. The price is what we had heard before: $199 after mail-in rebate and the signing of a two-year contract. Yes, it has Wi-Fi, and yes, you can use it at all AT&T hotspots nationwide. Rogers also announced the Curve 8900 earlier this week.
RIM to stick with current form factor, no netbooks expected
The new industry trend seems to be netbooks, those mini-laptops which are mainly geared towards Internet access. A number of phone manufacturers are giving them a go, but don’t expect that from RIM. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie extolled the virtues of the current form factor, saying RIM will continue to manufacture devices which “you can hold up to your ear and clip onto your belt.” They also want all-day battery life, which is pretty impossible with a netbook. With devices like the Storm 2, the Tour, and a possible touchscreen Bold/Tour rumored for the future, it seems like RIM has a plan and they’re sticking to it.
Skype commences closed beta
Just days after Kyle at BBCool wondered whether the Blackberry Skype client was still on schedule for May, we got some information on the testing process. The client is in a closed beta test, though that’s all we know right now. It could be soon, it could be far. One thing’s for sure: the answer to Kyle’s question is no, we won’t see it in May. How long thereafter is something we’ll have to learn later. When will then be now? Soon.
Balsillie in court to win NHL franchise
Since the Phoenix Coyotes entered bankruptcy, Jim Balsillie has been trying to buy him. The latest on that front is that the two sides have been in court, with the league trying to block Balsillie’s fronts. They’ve done so before, as he’s had bids rejected to purchase two franchises, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators. Now he wants to buy the Coyotes and move them to Hamilton, Ontario. But the league doesn’t want that because of its proximity to Toronto. I honestly hope he gets them. Why is there such a desire to keep NHL teams in America when there’s clearly more interest up north?
No more Yahoo! Mobile for Blackberry
To be honest, we were getting a little excited about Yahoo!’s latest mobile portal. We liked Go, and Yahoo! Mobile looked to be a good successor. Alas, it will not be. The company is focusing efforts on their browser and iPhone experiences. Looks like BlackBerry users will have to use one of the other thousand portals out there.
Storm clone leaves out the best parts
To wrap up the news today, we bring you the Cool9500, a Storm ripoff. These phones pop up all the time, and each one seems to be more ridiculous than the last. This one features gold trim — bling bling — and a TV tuner. Do they make up for the lack of SurePress and the limited software capabilities? Depends on how you roll, I suppose.
Find sent messages on your BlackBerry. RIM doesn’t make them easy to find, but you can browse through your sent messages with a user-defined shortcut. Use Auto On/Off to conserve battery life. We’re kind of obsessed with battery efficiency. Here’s another tip to help you keep your battery alive. Mobile applications made easy with Magmito. This is a service that was demoed for me at CTIA. It’s pretty cool, as it lets you create menu-based applications, including an easy means of distribution. Replacing your battery every 18 months. Too bad U.S. Cellular are the only ones doing it, but it’s still a great idea. Just take your dead battery to them, and get a fresh one for phones 18 months old or younger. Theme Review Wednesdays. Taking a look at some themes from the cinema. Audible application available for BlackBerry. All you book nerds can get your fill of audiobooks directly on your BlackBerry with the new Audible application.