As Sian and I finished up our last exams of our university degrees RIM held a contest called #BBMUglySweater. To enter the contest you needed to download the BBM Avatar Maker app to your BlackBerry, create an avatar of yourself wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, and tweet it to @BlackBerry on Twitter.
As luck would have it, Sian and I both won the contest and were offered the opportunity to attend a BlackBerry party in New York City with four friends, and we would receive new BlackBerry Bold 9900s at the party. An offer we could not refuse!
After finishing our last exams in Ottawa, we drove to Toronto to pick up our friends. With the five of us squeezed into my tiny Saturn we set out for New York City at 4am the day of the party. As we crossed the border, we left the border guards amused that we were driving so far in such a small car for a single night in New York. The drive proved uneventful, though we did get to sample a number of American McDonalds locations as we made our way to New York. BlackBerry Traffic led us through the Lincoln Tunnel, and into my first experience driving in New York traffic.
We squeezed in some brief sightseeing before heading to the Aspen Social Club for the #BBMUglySweater party. There was a line out front when we arrived, though it went quick since it was an invite-only event. In the club there were a few big HDTVs with PlayBooks attached to showcase some of the latest PlayBook games (such as Angry Birds which Rovio released that day). They also had the new BlackBerry 7 smartphones on display and were demonstrating some of the latest apps such as BBM Music.
The party was a great time and we met some interesting people there. This event also helped switch Sian away from her broken down iPhone to a new BlackBerry Bold 9900. Though we did not get a sneak peak at the PlayBook 2.0 OS at the party, from talking to the RIM employees at the party who all had 2.0 on their PlayBooks, it sounds like PlayBook owners are in for a real treat when that launches in February.
Also not on display at the party was Porsche Design BlackBerry P’9981 smartphone (an awesome twist on the typical BlackBerry design in my opinion). However it makes sense they would not have it there since it is not yet on sale in the US or Canada. Perhaps sometime soon there will be another Fan Night event for the P’9981 when it officially launches in North America. RIM/Edelman: feel free to invite me ;-)
The #BBMUglySweater event was a great chance to see the latest BlackBerry devices in action and it was interesting talking to some of the team behind these products. My friend from New York even got some technical support on a problem his BlackBerry had from one of the BB7 Product Managers in attendance.
At the end of the event we picked up our swag bags and new Bold 9900s, and set off for a night in New York City. Our trip was brief and hectic, but definitely worth it!
Here are Sian and my winning #BBMUglySweater avatars: