StarBucks, the Seattle based coffeehouse has announced the release of its new StarBucks Card application for Blackberry phones. This is the second mobile platform for which a mobile app is released by the company. Last September, the company announced its first iPhone app by the same name.
The app works similar to a pre-paid card and can be downloaded free of cost. While it does not cost anything to download, users will however need to refill their app with money in order to begin using the app as an alternative to paper money while visiting a StarBucks joint. Besides offering an alternate payment channel, the StarBucks Card app also lets users locate nearby StarBucks joints, check for rewards, etc.
The app may be downloaded on your Bold, Curve, Tour or Storm by texting GO to 70845. Download the app offer your feedback in the comments section below.
The Blackberry Torch comes with a 624MHz processor and quite evidently, this is not in the same league as the 1GB and above processor speeds that you find on many other modern day smartphones from HTC and Samsung. However, users are noticing performance levels on the Blackberry Torch is much worse than what you can expect. Several users on the Blackberry Support forums are noticing lags, random hanging and freezing on their handset.
“I’m also experiencing this. I have made sure to close every application that could be closed on the phone, and I have seen that opening things like the options, or trying to hit the end button the exit messages is very slow. Also just trying to open an application like test messages takes forever sometimes. Not all the time, but it’s very sporadic. My BB Bold 9700 was super fast all the time. I’m a little frustrated with this lag all the time. I even did a battery pull to try and fix it, but that didn’t do anything.”
No words of acknowledgement from Blackberry so far, but the issue does not seem to be occuring on all the Torch handsets either. So, we are assuming this to be an isolated glitch, for now.
Are you having trouble sending email over the Blackberry Enterprise Server? AT&T’s business tech support group has been offering video-based how-to support over YouTube for sometime now and the team has this week posted a good video tutorial on how to go about troubleshooting your problem.
The solutions offered include basic troubleshooting options like checking out whether terms like GPRS, EDGE and 3G are entered in the appropriate upper-case format and also teaches you how to enable enterprise activation. It’s a short video that will give you a brief of the basic steps involved. Of course, if these steps do not help you out, you could go ahead and call the AT&T tech support.
Nevertheless, check the video out for the “first-aid” steps. Is there any other troubleshooting step you would add?
TringMe, the popular VoIP calling service provider is now available on Blackberry. The new Blackberry app will let users make VoIP calls over a Wi-Fi network to contacts around the world. To download the application, Blackberry users may visit bb.tringme.com and install the application.
To make calls, users may simply surf through their contacts list as they would do with a regular call and choose to call through TringMe using the options. Unlike a few other VoIP clients that require users to call a local number for the call to be connected to the destination, TringMe claims to save on those cellular minutes by routing it through a Wi-Fi network. Of course, if you are not in a Wi-Fi area, you may choose to instead use local minutes to call your contacts from across the globe. Additionally, if both the caller and receiver are TringMe users, the service becomes free to use. Besides calling, Blackberry users may also send text messages using the TringMe VoIP client.
A new patent from Research in Motion has made its way to the public domain that shows the company’s development work on a new Blackberry phone that comes with a separate numeric keypad and a QWERTY keyboard. The form factor of this device is difficult to explain. The engineers who have filed the patent explain that this model of the phone is to offer an easy way to use the keyboard and keypad in both the landscape and portrait formats. They write,
“In a first aspect, a handheld electronic device, such as a smartphone, has a first device member and a second device member that are connected via a connector. The second device member is rotatable about a rotation axis that is canted relative to an axis of the second device member. As a result, when the second device member is rotated between a first position and a second position, its orientation changes. This may facilitate, for example, switching the handheld electronic device between a text entry mode and a telephone mode. “
Here are a few images from the patent application that could give you an idea of what the device will actually look like.
This does not effectively mean a new Blackberry phone with such a form factor is coming soon since the patent application was filed early last year.
No? Then you must be one very lucky soul. Several hundreds of users on Blackberry forums have been complaining for quite a while now about an issue with loss in connectivity to BIS when they leave a Wi-Fi network. To quote a user who’s facing the issue,
“I’ve been without BIS for over 3 hours now since i’ve left my house this morning. It happens everyday and is getting worse. Sometimes I lose it for 5 minutes, but 3 hours is ridiculous! I’m still connected to 3G. I can talk on the phone and I can use the browser for internet. But i can’t get my work emails and my apps don’t work. I tried resending my service books…nothing. I turned on and off all my services on the phone…nothing. I run the connection diagnostics and it says Blackberry Registration: No. I updated to the latest leak .161 and that didn’t help. This is so frustrating!!!!”
The issue is with a lot of Blackberry Torch 9800 handsets and so simply exchanging your handset for a new device will not help. Now while AT&T and RIM have apparently acknowledged the issue, there is still no official resolution on offer.
But from what users have noticed, the issue appears to be specific to those users who have upgraded from an older 9700 handset to the new 9800 Torch. The bug is apparently a compatibility issue between Blackberry OS 5 and OS 6.
If you are facing a similar issue, one workaround will be to initiate a master reset. Even if you are doing this, remember that while you restore your content, DO NOT restore any permissions and instead only copy your text and email messages. The idea is basically to set up your Wi-Fi networks anew and not import them from your older device.
It appears to be working for some users. Do try it out and let us know in the comments about your experience.
Research In Motion’s Blackberry Torch may not have made the kind of ripples that the company may have wanted to in terms of the sale numbers. But when we were just being happy about the fact that users at least did not have to go through the kind of agony iPhone 4 users had to, we are getting to hear about an issue with the notification bar. But yes, this is a pretty minor bug that RIM should be fixing in their next OS upgrade.
There are several related issues. Some users have been noticing that their notification bar has suddenly stopped updating altogether. Others have noticed that the notification bar continues to show email and other notifications as unread even though the user has already gone through them. But the more common problem appears to be with the Facebook calendar event notification. Users have been seeing a deluge of calendar events clogging up their notification bar all of a sudden.
It appears to be a common bug that is behind all these petty issues. If you are facing a similar issue, what you must be doing is shutting off your Facebook and calendar notification feature. Once done, switch off the Torch and remove the battery and hold it out for a minute or so before reinserting it. Turning on the Blackberry Torch should ideally resolve the issues.
Research in Motion has released a new Blackberry App that is now available in the Blackberry App World that will allow users to check on local traffic conditions, locate road closures, determine an estimate time of arrival as well as share these details to colleagues in case of unexpected traffic rush.
In the application description, RIM explains the app as follows,
“Thanks to BlackBerry Traffic, you can easily plan to be where you need to be—on time.1 Get your estimated time of arrival (ETA), find out if a road is closed, or decide to take an alternate route, all ahead of time. Heading to a friend’s place? Simply grab their address from your BlackBerry contact list, get your ETA, then email or text it along with a preset message to avoid keeping them waiting and wondering when you’re going to arrive. Making – and keeping – plans just got a whole lot easier.”
The app is presently in its beta version and so do not expect it to be flawless. Nevertheless, if you are game, just go ahead and download the app to your handset.
Rogers Canada has announced a number of new voice plans for their Blackberry customers that brings attractive pay as you go options to the subscribers. There are now two new pay by the month plans that require subscribers to pay $40 or $55 a month. The two plans are not too different but for the fact that the $40 plan allows subscribers unlimited local voice calling between 3PM and 6PM; whereas the $55 plan makes the same offer between 6PM and 7AM on weekdays and for the entire duration of the weekend. You can also choose the Social plans that offer unlimited social networking on websites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
The new plans are significantly higher than the older plans since charges are close to $25 more here on an average. But what’s interesting is that the new plans does not tie the subscriber to a three year contract. So you are free to sign out when you wish to.
Looks like the planetary positions for Research In Motion have all gone awry. Nothing seems to be going their way and if the recent announcement from Amazon is any indication, their latest gadget is not selling all that well. Amazon has announced that Blackberry Torch – the new slider phone that comes installed with the exciting Blackberry OS 6 can now be got for half the earlier price – at $99. That’s a $100 drop from the earlier price of $199.
Of course, you will still have to sign up for a two year contract with AT&T and Ma Bell is still selling it at the orginal price in her stores, but now with Amazon blinking, expect the prices to come down elsewhere as well.