RIM Announces BlackBerry 10 Launch for January 30, 2013

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

It’s been a torrid 16+ months for RIM to say the least. The Waterloo, ON-based tech giant has taken its share of blows in 2012, including a huge executive shift (with a new CEO, Thorsten Heins, being appointed at the beginning of the year), a stock price at an all-time low, loss of market share, and, most of all, seemingly the most painful as well, a loss of confidence from some of their most devoted fans.

As I mentioned before, 2012 was less about negativity and more a year of transition.

However, after much delay – and seemingly out of the blue – RIM made an announcement on Monday morning that surprised everyone: BlackBerry 10 will officially launch on January 30th, 2013, with two new devices, one touch screen-only and one full QWERTY, both coming shortly after the “global release.” It has already been announced that BlackBerry 10 devices are in “carrier-lab” testing mode, meaning carrier technicians (Rogers, Bell and TELUS) are currently field testing the devices in and around the GTA for LTE speeds and battery endurance – these tests generally carry a 60-90 day turnaround depending on the carrier.

So, being a diehard BlackBerry devotee, what can you expect from BlackBerry 10, and will it blow you away as much as RIM is hyping it to?

Some pundits have claimed that the live tile/widget combination makes BlackBerry 10 a hybrid between Windows Phone and Android. Among the many new features included in the long awaited, much anticipated, from the ground-up OS include a new and improved camera, Peek (quick sidebar notifications that “peek” from the side and give the option to see a preview without leaving what you’re doing), BlackBerry Flow and BlackBerry Hub, and, of course, the BlackBerry Keyboard – the one that has been spoken about the most, with its ability to predict what you’re saying and allow you to “push” words into the sentence as they’re typed.

All in all, the aforementioned announcement – and features – is a breath of fresh air for those holding on for dear life to the BlackBerry brand; those who look at the BlackBerry as more than just push email and BBM, those who haven’t succumbed to the allure of iOS and Android, and most of all, those who needed some sort of confirmation that it was worth their time to hold on to their now defunct BlackBerry 7 and beyond devices.

January 30th is looking to be one of the most important days in RIM’s celebrated history, and frankly can’t come soon enough.

Stay tuned.

 

ContactMonkey Launches Email Tracking Plugin

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

It’s 7:30am, your coffee piping hot, computer fired up and ready to help you start your day. Before you get into your day of kicking butt and taking names, what’s the first thing on your agenda? Tracking the whereabouts of that new iPhone 5 you bought on Friday afternoon? Bingo. You take the tracking number, paste it into the respective delivery service’s site and continuously press F5 until the joyous moment when the delivery person shows up asking for your John Hancock.

So, being the driven professional that you are, what would you do if you found out that there was a service that could track your emails as you sent them? I am not talking about the standard read/receipt that already exists, I am talking real-time tracking; being able to know the where, when, and what for every email that goes out.

Toronto-based startup ContactMonkey thinks they have the solution for this query and they call it “Bridge.” Bridge is like the MailChimp for Gmail and Outlook, bringing mass-email marketing functionality right to the individual user

So how does Bridge work? Once you have downloaded and installed the plugin in Gmail or Outlook, Bridge embeds an invisible image with a unique address to track each message sent out. When your recipient opens a tracked e-mail, Bridge identifies how many times it was opened, on what device and in which city. Then, in real time, it pushes this data back to you, subtly accessible at any time in your sent mail folder.

I’ve been using Bridge for a few weeks now and find my inner Dick Tracey eyeing the side ticker like it’s part of my job.

As for pricing, Bridge comes with a 14-day free trial, then has a $4.99/month subscription fee attached; for every one person you refer to the service, you get one free month.

You can learn more or try it out via ContactMonkey’s website here.