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What is so great about BlackBerry service anyway?

March 17, 2009

blackberry_logo__black

Posting a question like this is basically asking for trouble. Before you prepare to start shooting me with comments. Please allow me elaborate further. I started off using Palm OS many years back and have since migrated over to Windows Mobile. The migration is a whole new story by itself fit for another post, another time. Along the years, I have also tried using Apple OS, Symbian OS, Android OS and even the Linux OS on the Motorola PDA phones.

One thing missing for the list above was the BlackBerry OS.

For some strange reasons, I was never attracted to BlackBerry phones. Although in my line of work, I usually get to test many different kind of phones but BlackBerry was never one of them. Maybe this is because in Malaysia, you can’t just go and buy a BlackBerry phone from a retail shop (nowadays you can, just like Apple iPhone). You have to buy it from our local telco Maxis or Celcom which comes with all kinds of different data packages and commitment. I just had to try it out myself. I need to know why are there 14 Million users worldwide using this device. Is their push email really that great?

So I went and gotten myself a BlackBerry Bold.

First Impression of BlackBerry OS

The OS version is 4.6.0.126 and setting up the BlackBerry for the first time was pretty easy. Then when I wanted to setup my regular IMAP/POP3 work account and was SHOCK to find that BlackBerry do not even offer the choice of POP3 or IMAP (OK, I really didn’t know this!). My feeling at that moment was like, buying a car and later found out that I have to use NGV gas as fuel instead of regular RON91 or RON95 petrol. How stupid of me to think that all PDA are created equal.

Without much choice, I called up Maxis and inquire about their BlackBerry packages. I was offered the below WITHOUT any contract commitment.

Entry Standard Unlimited
Monthly Commitment RM45 RM55 RM120
Data Usage 5MB 10MB Unlimited

I chose the RM120 plan because I already had the RM99 data unlimited plan. I just have to add RM21 to get the BlackBerry service up and running  in 2 hours! I was given a website address (BlackBerry Internet Service) to create my email account and also to link my BlackBerry Bold to the service.

http://maxis.blackberry.com

Inside the BIS page, I have to key-in the PIN and IMEI number of my device. Once that is done, I received the below message in my BlackBerry Bold.

“Your handheld has been registered with the wireless network”

Then I proceed to create the couple of email accounts and in 2 hours as promised, emails started pouring in. Easy!

The good stuff!

Setting up of the BlackBerry after keying in the details in BIS is SIMPLE! My BlackBerry Bold is automatically pre-loaded with a few software after the service is activated. Mind you, all these are automatic without me doing anything. Maxis installed the following.

  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Yahoo! Search
  • Yahoo! Messenger
  • Google Talk
  • BlackBerry Help!
  • Facebook
  • Weather Setup
  • myMaxis Mobile Portal
  • Created individual icon for each Email account

If I ever have any problem, I just need to login to BIS and click on the “Send Service Books”, restart my BlackBerry and everything goes back to normal. Troubleshooting a BlackBerry is so much simpler.

Battery Life

Battery life is amazingly long on the BlackBerry Bold (More review will be done on the individual BlackBerry devices).

Push Email

The core of BlackBerry is the Push Email and without a doubt, it does it job very well. I like the fact that I can setup different POP account inside the BIS to push all my emails. Unfortunately, this also pushed lots of Junk email to my phone as well. However, I can choose to delete the emails from my server and mobile, therefore when I download the email on my laptop, the unwanted email will be deleted already.

Responsiveness

Using the BlackBerry reminds me of the good ol’ Palm days. Everything is quick and simple. Menu is plain and very much text based. Getting things done requires just a few clicks unlike Windows Mobile. Hopefully this will change in Windows Mobile 6.5.

The Nagging Problems.

After couple of days using it, I realized that I had to use the “Send Service Books” button more often than I thought. It will work on perfectly the whole day and the next day, email just stop coming in. Although a simple resend of Service Book fixed the problem, it was still pretty frustrating.

Browser

I use the browser almost daily for work and leisure. I realize that BlackBerry’s browser is slow and quite inaccurate in rendering webpages. There are webpage which I visit daily failed to show up properly in the BlackBerry Browser. The Opera version of the BlackBerry Bold is not available yet so I cannot test it.

Freeze

For some strange reason, the BlackBerry hung twice in the 7 days of usage. This didn’t happen when I was using my HTC Touch Pro.

Email Sync

Although BlackBerry offer push email, it doesn’t offer email synchronization. Meaning, if I sent an email from my BlackBerry, it will not appear in the sent folder on my laptop.

Additional Software

Unlike Windows Mobile devices, there isn’t really many software to try and download for a BlackBerry phone.

Conclusion

Push Email works great on BlackBerry but it is nothing new to me. I have used Microsoft Exchanged and Google Mail’s IMAP services which works great if not better. Maybe there are tons of hidden potential which I am ignorant about.

Maybe you can share with me?

If you are not already using BlackBerry, will you switch over because of Push Email or because Victoria Beckham, Mary-Kate Olsen, Madonna and Anna Kournikova is using?

Anyway, a quick and simple summary of different Email services.

Functions BlackBerry Windows Exchange Google Sync
Push Email Yes Yes Yes (via IMAP)
Number of email which can be configured to push Push up to 10 different email 1 Email per Exchange 1 E-mail per Google Sync
Synchronize Email No Yes Yes
Synchronize Contacts No Yes Yes
Synchronize Appointments No Yes Yes
Cost of setting up and using it Low High FREE

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4 comments

  1. I’ll stick to my iPhone and thank God, it’s not from Maxis. Muahahahaha!


  2. Been looking for a post like (especialy from M’sia)

    I am also keen to know more about Blackberry platform.

    Reasons:

    1. I would like to know what seems to be unique/special/advantage of the Blackberry platform (especially today as we have no many other SmartPhones eg Nokia E71, iPhone)

    2. Is it due to Blackberry platform’s Push Email?

    3. I have Nokia phone-shop guy telling i can actually perform all things a Blackberry can do on a Nokia E series (like Push Email, Instant Messaging) without neeeding to pay for the Blackberry license.

    I bit confused.

    forrest


  3. Forrest,

    The only benefit of Blackberry (which I can see so far) is the PUSH email, encryption and ease of use. You are absolutely right, most smartphones like HTC, E71 have push email function as well. (Provided you subscribe for the service) Only difference is BlackBerry provide email encryption and therefore is usually favourable by the big corporation or top management.

    Unless you have lots of friends in the US who are already using BB, i would recommend using a Windows Mobile/iPhone or even a Symbian phone.


  4. Thanks Kenneth,

    Current still researching (between iPhone and BB)



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