Can BBM Aid RIM’s War Against The iPhone?

bbm groups 1 225x300 Can BBM Aid RIMs War Against The iPhone?With the Blackberry Torch behind them and the Playbook tablet ahead of them, RIM’s attempts at thwarting Apple’s rise looked pathetic at best (especially when one considers the size of their app store).

However, RIM might be able to slow the bleeding by including one of their greatest assets within the Blackberry OS.

With the BBM Social Platform, developers will be able to tap into their social interactions in BBM to enable real-time, peer-to-peer interactions across their applications. Specifically, developers can leverage the BBM platform to access BBM contacts, user profiles, and groups to build more engaging applications. Furthermore, the BBM APIs will also enable developers to support embedded chats, content sharing, and real-time data sharing between two users of an application. (Blackberry Developers Blog)

Although this is more of a “me too” feature (as it looks very similar to Apple’s Game Center), it should convince a few Blackberry fans to avoid jumping ship upon the iPhone or (worse) an Android device.

Despite the potential of BBM, RIM needs to do a better job of attracting more developers on their platform, and (more importantly) a higher quality of apps available across various Blackberry devices.

Gmail Submits To Haters, Unveils “De-Conversations” Option

nogmailthreads 490x245 Gmail Submits To Haters, Unveils De Conversations Option

In an attempt to appeal to the masses, Google is giving users who loathe Gmail’s conversational threading feature the option to disable it within their account without having to apply various hacks.

And just as an outspoken minority has banded together in unison to declare their distaste of one of nature’s most delicious herbs, some of you have been very vocal about your dislike of conversation threading. So just like you can order your baja fish tacos without cilantro, you can now get Gmail served up sans conversation view. Go to the main Settings page, look for the “Conversation View” section, select the option to turn it off, and save changes. If you change your mind, you can always go back. (Official Gmail Blog)

In my honest opinion threaded conversations is one of the reasons why I love Gmail so much as it saves me from hunting down replies and forwards (as not every email program pastes previous conversations underneath).

Along with priority inbox and Google Voice integration, I personally find threaded conversations a must have feature, and is one of the main reasons why I avoid using rival services like Yahoo! or Hotmail.

Truthfully though this option should make Gmail much more appealing to the “anti-threaders” (what I affectionately call my friends who hate Gmail’s conversations), and may give users one more reason to switch to Gmail.

Skype Plus Facebook Equals Death To Google Voice?

skypefacebook 490x206 Skype Plus Facebook Equals Death To Google Voice?

With the search engine giant ramping up Google Voice to challenge Skype’s VoIP supremacy, it looks like Skype is looking to align itself with the search king’s nemesis who despises all things Google.

Actually, according to sources close to the situation, Facebook and Skype are poised to announce a significant and wide-ranging partnership that will include integration of SMS, voice chat and Facebook Connect. [...]

Facebook’s goal, according to sources: To mesh communications and community more tightly together and add more tools to allow users to do so.

Since it was not going to create an Internet telephony service of its own–kind of like not creating a mobile operating system–Facebook has apparently turned to the Web’s Internet telephony leader. (All Things Digital)

Unless Skype can somehow integrate its video chat service within Facebook chat, I’m highly skeptical whether this deal will help Skype compete against Google Voice’s (as users do not have to pay to own a phone number unlike Skype).

Facebook on the other hand could benefit from this alliance as it would give users a reason to utilize the chat service, especially if they integrate Skype within Facebook’s web interface.

According to All Things Digital Skype’s Facebook feature will be accessible in version 5.0 which is only available for Windows users (sorry Mac fans), although the company is working on a version for iFans in the not-too-distant future.

(Image Credit: All Things Digital)

iChange: Why Apple Needs Google Voice (And Google Too)

googlevoice 300x225 iChange: Why Apple Needs Google Voice (And Google Too)Not too long ago Apple created a ruckus by banning Google Voice from the iPhone with the pathetic excuse that the app duplicated functionality  (despite the fact that other apps like Skype did and were permitted).

Now TechCrunch (who was recently acquired by AOL) is reporting that Apple is now allowing the official app to join the iOS universe after previously approving third party Google Voice apps.

The App Store review office at 1 Infinite Loop has officially frozen over: we’ve gotten word that the official Google Voice application is on its way to the iPhone in the next few weeks. In fact, we’ve heard from a source close to Google that it’s already been approved — Google just needs to revamp the application to work with the iPhone 4 and iOS’s multitasking capabilities. If you’re a Google Voice user and you’re on an iPhone, this is great news. (TechCrunch)

It may sound strange as to why Apple is having a change of heart, but the answer probably has more to do with the fact that despite Cupertino’s distaste for Android, Apple needs Google more than Google needs Apple. [Read more...]

Out: Blackpad. In: Playbook? (RIM Tablet)

After showcasing their Blackberry Torch, it looks like the smartphone giant has decided against calling their tablet “blackpad” (which was a stupid name truthfully) and has instead embraced Playbook. Yes, seriously.

The tablet thus far seems eerily familiar to the iPad, although unlike Steve Jobs greatest creation the Playbook can view flash websites which should make up for RIM’s anemic app store.

It also boasts a 3 MP front facing camera (note: iPad 2.0 will probably receive this as well), as well as a 5 MP rear camera which should help give the Playbook some distinction in the tablet wars.

Unlike the iPad however, I’m seeing no mention of a built in 3G service, although they do say you will need a Blackberry smartphone if you want to surf the net outside of WiFi.

Either way it’s smart that RIM is debuting the Playbook now before the world goes ga-ga over the iPad this holiday season.

Note: Unfortunately for HP, Playbook’s debut makes it all the harder for them to make a webOS comeback with PalmPad (although their HP Slate should keep the company relevant through 2011).

Virus Attacks Google On Orkut

orkutlogo 490x219 Virus Attacks Google On Orkut

Unless you live in India, Brazil or the geekosphere, you probably have never heard of orkut, which is Google’s official social network which (sadly) never became popular in the US.

Anyways it seems as if a new virus has hit the service, which isn’t good news (especially with Facebook attempting to dethrone orkut in the nation of a billion minds).

Anyway, as for the Bom Sabado worm, it is a JavaScript based worm that spreads itself through Orkut scraps (the Orkut equivalent of a Facebook wall scribble). The worm is an auto generated message which might look like just another scrap from your buddy. The scrap actually embeds a malicious JavaScript code which infects the profile of the person as soon as he opens the scrap page. Soon after this, the code is executed and it will make the user join bot communities automatically. The worm then starts posting similar scraps to the user’s friends using his name, thereby spreading itself. The worm also steals browser cookies. (TechTree)

While orkut is not a stranger to these types of attacks (after all, even Facebook gets hit with these every once in a while), Google may want to consider curbing the spread of this attack by temporarily freezing accounts affected.

Although orkut will probably have everyone’s scrapbook cleaned up within a few days (or a week at the latest), users should be careful whenever receiving strange links from friends online, and if suspicious should probably pick up the phone and call to verify whether the hyper link is safe.

Verizon iPad Or Sprint iPhone?

verizonipad 490x284 Verizon iPad Or Sprint iPhone?

After rumors began surfacing over a Verizon iPhone, CEO Ivan Seidenberg decided to shatter the dreams of millions of iGeeks by dismissing the possibility of a Verizon iPhone in the near future.

Seidenberg, talking to investors at the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. conference in New York, said until Apple introduces a long term evolution (LTE) supported device, it will not be bringing any of the Cupertino based company’s phones to its network. Verizon said it’s excited about the build up of its LTE network, which will support fourth generation technology. Additionally, it said the company has done just fine with Google Android phones. (International Business Times) [Read more...]

Why A Facebook Phone Is A Bad Idea

facebook phone Why A Facebook Phone Is A Bad Idea

After rumors of a “Facebook phone” surfaced, the blogosphere (this author included) went crazy over the thought of a social network launching its own personalized mobile device.

Although more details have emerged regarding the makeup of a phone (including the fact that Android will be used to power the device), Facebook should probably avoid branding its name on the device, and discourage others (media included) from calling it a Facebook phone as well. [Read more...]

Would You Buy An HP Slate Over An iPad? (Video)

Despite the fact that HP is already working on perfecting the PalmPad (HP’s “iPad Killer”), the company is (surprisingly) also launching a Windows 7 Tablet as well.

There is still no word on when HP will be unveiling this device (and for how much), but if HP is able to price this below $1,000 they could potentially slow down sales of the iPad (or at the very least help bring some life to the HP brand.

It could also help Microsoft compete against its ancient the upcoming Google Pad (or would one call it gPad?) which will reportedly be powered by Google Chrome OS.

While full fledged tablet computers have yet to gain popularity among the masses (who are currently obsessed with iDevices and Droids), launching the HP slate early could help the company gain needed market share (especially if Apple decides to enter the market with a Mac OSX tablet of their own).

(via BGR)

Google News To World: Today’s My Birthday

googlenewslogo Google News To World: Todays My BirthdayAfter making publisher friendly changes to their News site, The boys and girls at Google are celebrating the birth of Google News which was ironically unveiled around the same time of the infamous terrorist attacks that rocked America.

Today we celebrate the eighth birthday of Google News. Not long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we started building and testing Google News with the aim of helping you find current events from a wide variety of global and political perspectives. On September 22, 2002, Google News rolled out to all English-language readers, with a dedicated News tab on Google.com.

Over the years we’ve made thousands of changes to deliver more news to more users—faster, and with enhanced customization, sharing and serendipity. We’ve added video, local news, custom sections, scanned newspaper archives and a redesigned homepage. We’ve grown from 4,000 sources to more than 50,000, and from one English edition to 72 editions in 30 languages. (Google News Blog)

Despite the fact that Google News still pales in comparison to rivals like Yahoo! News, Google has (for the most part) been the center of attention by the publishing industry (who seem to view Google as their personal ATM).

Controversy aside, Google News has for the most part made finding relevant news easier for the masses, and it will be interesting to see how Google further develops the site (which shows no sign on slowing down).