Both the Blog and Twitter-spheres are buzzing today with talk of Orwellian conspiracies coming off the back of a recent upgrade to Etisalat’s BlackBerry subscription service. This “routine upgrade” left countless customers with quick draining batteries and even quicker draining patience yesterday.
The upgrade has since been pulled and Etisalat are investigating the matter – allegedly contacting customers who have experienced this problem. Stuff was luckily unaffected (probably due to our Ultra Update Laser Defense System™) but found it odd that an upgrade for network performance would not be handled on the Phone Carrier side, so in doing our research we stumbled across this interesting piece on popular local blog Fake Plastic Souks that goes into some detail about the update possibly being cover for the implementation of a monitoring application by security company SS8.
Are Etisalat attempting to screen our text messages? Nothing is substantiated at this point in time but it did make us think about breaking out the tin foil hats.
UPDATE (15/07/09): It seems that a user created removal for the battery draining registration update has been created and posted (by user tibilsoft ) on the Blackberry Support Forums with the following instructions:
Download attached zip file. Unzip it. Connect your device to the computer. Run “Remove Registration.bat” file
This small batch file removes the malicious registration update from the device, however as of this writing it is still unconfirmed if it works in all cases or whether it fixes the widespread battery draining problems people have been experiencing.
ONCE AGAIN: We have not tested this and in no way recommend you go out and try it unless you know what you are doing or are some kind of space-maverick. Stuff accepts no responsibility for whatever kind of silly buggers you decide to play on your phone.
UPDATE: In our ever endeavouring quest to get to the bottom of this we have sent emails to both Etisalat & RIM asking for their side to the story and are eagerly awaiting a reply. Stuff has also spent a good portion of the day trying to get a local SS8 representative to answer our phone calls but sadly to no avail. We will keep you posted on any developments.
UPDATE: For those interested in the tech side of this whole debacle (and we know you are) we recommend checking out this post on the official BlackBerry forums, it dives head first into what was contained in the ominous registration.jar update file.
UPDATE: Several users on twitter have come up with unconfirmed quick fixes for the problem including @reuven_p who suggests deleting the update. He sure is brave. We have no way of knowing whether this actually works and certainly don’t recommend you mess around with your phone’s settings.
A mysterious invite appeared in the Stuff mailbag yesterday. Du says it is launching two ‘special’ and ‘new’ products on Sunday. What are they? ‘Black is a mysterious colour,’ says the UAE telecoms company. We’re going to be pretty disappointed if it’s not an iPhone or BlackBerry (with prices to duke it up with Etisalat’s tariffs). Course, if it’s the T-Mobile G1, we’re going to be ecstatic. G2? Now we’re dreaming.
Posted in mobiles
Tagged android, blackberry, du, etisalat, G1, G2, HTC, iphone, Magic, T-Mobile, Vodafone
Having ripped-off made its own version of a touchscreen QWERTY slider (the Touch Pro II looks very similiar to Nokia’s N97) HTC is looking to move into BlackBerry territory with the Snap. Now what does it remind us of? The Snap has a full QWERTY, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and has track ball navigation. It’s also got a few dedicated email, internet and search buttons exposed. HTC says it will be consumer friendly (read: cheaper than the competition) which is great news for wallet-watching BlackBerry fans. While HTC’s design team hasn’t been the most innovative with these models, we have to hand it to them. They’ve produced mobiles sure to entice, packing more features for less money (for example, the Snap has 3G while the Bold does not) and stuck to its Windows Mobile guns. More when we get our hands on one, soon.
[via Akihabara News]
Posted in mobiles
Tagged 3G, blackberry, BlackBerry Bold, HTC, HTC Snap, HTC Touch Pro II, mobile phones, nokia, Nokia N97, QWERTY, Windows Mobile 6.1
Today sees the launch of the BlackBerry App World for the US, UK and Canadian markets. The online app market is accessible to BlackBerrys with a rollerball or touchscreen* (via Wi-Fi and mobile networks). Although frustrating for anyone based outside the three launch countries, BlackBerry’s App World definitely looks the part and might well be worth the wait (update on UAE launch date to follow). Visually very similar to Apple’s App Store, BlackBerry’s version comes with quite a healthy selection of launch apps including Facebook, MySpace, Pandora, Windows Live Messenger and even UNO (which has us a little excited – is that sad?). According to its press announcement, RIM expects over 1,000 fresh apps to be added this week and like Apple they have sent a plea out to app designers everywhere to get busy developing.
BlackBerry App World site
* OS 4.2 or higher
Posted in 1, mobiles
Tagged App, App Store, apple, blackberry, BlackBerry App World, Facebook, MySpace, Pandora, Pearl, RIM, UNO, Windows Live Messenger
Skype is getting jiggy with the iPhone (tomorrow, reportedly) and BlackBerry (in May). Sadly, it looks like the iPhone VoIP software won’t work over 3G and BlackBerrys are still slugging along on EDGE. Surely, the hacking community will be all over this, though. If you could talk for ‘free’ over 3G, would you? Etisalat’s not very cheap iPhone could yet become the sale of the century.
UPDATE: According to Engadget, you can call out over 3G after all.
The latest addition to Etisalat’s sturdy Blackberry portfolio comes in the form of RIM’s turbulent entry into the touchscreen smartphone market. Tepid reviews for the device aside, it’s good to see that it has finally hit our shores. Well nearly, the official Etisalat page still marks it as coming soon with nary a confirmed release date to be found but it does give you the option to register for a chance to win yourself a handset. Whether anyone actually wants one is a whole other story.
We’ll keep you posted on any concrete changes.
UPDATE: We’re not officially allowed to say anything yet, but we’ve just had notice of a joint press conference between RIM and Etisalat on Monday, April 6. For some reason it makes us think of that Ed Harcourt song: The Storm is Coming. And, no, we are not in any doubt.