Archive for the ‘Blackberry’ Category

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Updated: Fresh Gear PDA Flyers – 2009 May Version

May 26, 2009

 

Fresh Gear PDA Flyers - May 2009

Fresh Gear PDA Flyers - May 2009

 Our PDA Flyer for May 2009 is out. Click on it to enlarge / download.

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Review: BlackBerry Bold 9000

May 3, 2009

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Price: RM2,399

Available Date: May 2008

Fresh Gear Rating: 7/10

Specification:

  • 624 MHz Marvell Tavor PXA930 processor
  • 1GB On-board + 128 MB Flash
  • 114 X 66 X 15 mm  – 136 gram
  • HSDPA – QUAD band
  • Internal GPS antenna
  • Bluetooth + WiFi
  • 2.0 megapixel color camera
  • Battery 1100 mAh with Up to 4.5 hours for GSM and 13.5 days Standby Time

Unboxing the BlackBerry Storm

BlackBerry Bold - Content

BlackBerry Bold - Content

Comes with the following accessories.

  • Leather Pouch
  • Wired Headset
  • USB Cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Manual + CD

The unit comes with an un-interesting packaging. A black box with a BlackBerry Logo on top and the device name located at the side with font size 8 or something! All 3 BlackBerry Storm, Bold and Curve comes with the same box, same size and font. So, it can be quite confusing and mistakenly taken the wrong box.

BlackBerry Bold Headset

BlackBerry Bold Headset

The bundled headset/handsfree is actually very nice! The BlackBerry logo is clearly seen and the quality is pretty good too.

First Impression

BlackBerry - Pouch

BlackBerry - Pouch

The provided leather pouch holds the device firmly but exposing the top indicator light so that users can easily take a look at the notification light. The pouch is so tight that when you are trying to remove the phone from it, it will turn on the Bold “automatically”. 

Using the BlackBerry Bold

One of the few distinct feature of Blackberrys are their keypad and trackball; and I totally agree! The QWERTY/QWERTZ keyboard is fantastic to type on and the trackball is super easy to navigate around!

Getting the BlackBerry up and running with all my contacts was SIMPLE! Since I am using Google account, a simple Google Sync setup synchronized all my contacts and appointment over to the new device; effortless! 

BlackBerry Bold - Main Screen

BlackBerry Bold - Main Screen

When there is an incoming new Email, a red flashing indicator light will appear near the top right side of the phone. The main screen of the BlackBerry is very plain and simple with only 6 icons appearing. 

Each Email account which you associate with your BlackBerry Server appears as an individual icon. Therefore you can easily identify which Email of yours has a new mail. All these located at the front screen shows how much emphasis BlackBerry put on (push) Email.

BlackBerry Bold - Email

BlackBerry Bold - Email

On top of the screen shows how many new Emails are received. Attachment are clearly indicated and Bold is able to easily open most of the popular attachment like Excel, Word, Powerpoint, pictures…

 

BlackBerry Bold - Email Options

BlackBerry Bold - Email Options

Some of the options you get with Email screen.

 

BlackBerry Bold - Contacts

BlackBerry Bold - Contacts

BlackBerry Bold - Add New Contact

BlackBerry Bold - Add New Contact

 

BlackBerry Bold - Calendar

BlackBerry Bold - Calendar

Appointments are indicated with a small tiny dot. Longer appointments are indicated with a line instead.

 

BlackBerry Bold - Menu

BlackBerry Bold - Menu

Click on the “BlackBerry” logo and you will be greeted  with host of other functions. Below are some self-explanitary  screen shots.

 

BlackBerry Bold - Application Screen

BlackBerry Bold - Application Screen

 

BlackBerry Bold - Wireless

BlackBerry Bold - Wireless

You can manage all your wireless connection settings from this menu.

BlackBerry Bold - Weather Forecast

BlackBerry Bold - Weather Forecast

BlackBerry Bold - SMS

BlackBerry Bold - SMS

Threaded SMS on the BlackBerry Bold.

BlackBerry Bold - Setup

BlackBerry Bold - Setup

BlackBerry Bold - Profile Selction

BlackBerry Bold - Profile Selction

BlackBerry Bold - Options

BlackBerry Bold - Options

The BlackBerry button acts like a “right click” where you can access more options when in a particular menu.

BlackBerry Bold - Media

BlackBerry Bold - Media

The movie player in the Blackberry Bold is surprising powerful. Right out of the box, I was able to play most of the file format including DivX and MPEG!

BlackBerry Bold - Map

BlackBerry Bold - Map

I don’t like the built-in BlackBerry Maps and I have not figured if it is possible to install other third party maps onto BlackBerry like Mapking, Garmin or Papago maps? Anyone want to share your experience on the mapping software on Blackberry?

BlackBerry Bold - Games

BlackBerry Bold - Games

Some of the popular pre-installed games. Better than Windows Mobile pre-installed games! 🙂

 

BlackBerry Bold - Facebook App

BlackBerry Bold - Facebook App

A pretty nice built-in Facebook app which allow you to view, upload and update status on Facebook!  

 

BlackBerry Bold - Download

BlackBerry Bold - Download

This is the screen where you can manage all the application you have installed. 

 

BlackBerry Bold - Browser

BlackBerry Bold - Browser

The browser on the BlackBerry Bold is quite slow if compared to other browser on other platform like Safari (iPhone) or Opera (Windows Mobile). Nothing to shout about in this department.

 

 

BlackBerry Bold - Auto Lock

BlackBerry Bold - Auto Lock

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Robust Email System
  • I absolutely love the trackball
  • Blackberry system is responsive, reminds me of the good old Palm OS days

Cons:

  • Lack of 3G Video Camera
  • Lack of Auto-focus function
  • Built-in browser could be better
  • Limited 3rd Party Apps
  • Interface is rather boring. It’s a business phone.

Available at Fresh Gear Online Store. All major credit cards and Paypal accepted.

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What is so great about BlackBerry service anyway?

March 17, 2009

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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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