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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Blackberry Bold: First Impressions

It's been a little more than 6 months since the official release date for the Blackberry Bold, but I finally have my first hands on impression of one. This was after 2+ great reliable years from my Blackberry 8800 -- until it finally started failing a couple of weeks ago. First it was the USB connection -- it started getting loose and having unpredictable charging connections. Then it was the ringer -- started having intermittent ringing problems where it would work one day and then not work the next. Those problems, not to mention important missed calls meant it was time for a new Blackberry.

So, you might be wondering -- why not and iPhone or Android device for my next phone? The simple answer is corporate connectivity, support, and security. While the iPhone and Android may continue to have better support and security; they are still not recognized by most corporations as viable devices either from an integration or security perspective.

With Blackberry being the really only option -- and focusing on the larger form factor devices which I prefer versus the Pearl and Curve -- and being on the AT&T (Cingular) network, I had only two options. Either the updated 8800 series offering of the 8820 or the Blackberry Bold -- which given that the 8820 is just a "refresh" of the 8800 I easily choose the Bold 9000.

Blackberry Bold 9000 Series - First impressions

Once it arrived, I was pretty happy with how easily the change-over to the new device occurred. No SIM card swapping or configurations -- just calling the in box provided 800 number, enter my cell phone number and the Bold was activated.

Soon there after, the Enterprise Activation for the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) kicked in and I experienced something that had not occurred since I "hacked" my Blackberry 8800 about 8 months ago -- true wireless synchronization. When I dropped the V4.5 operating system on my 8800, I traded great wireless synchronization for phone and application stability and performance. Now with the Bold, I had both again along with the familiar yet enhanced keyboard that made typing even faster than on the 8800.

Here are my first impressions from my earlier experience with the Blackberry Bold:

  • The first call I was on, while listening on my Bluetooth wireless headset, I noticed an inbound message came in. What a welcome surprise...the Blackberry Bold 9000 can do voice AND data on the 3G network at the same time. Updated meeting invites and notes, important emails, and more can be worked while you are on a call.
  • Camera -- great to finally have one, now I can take some decent pictures and upload them directly to Facebook or TwitPic.
  • I had to pull out the quick start manual a couple of times. The interface and feature set is different enough that I had to get used to the new layouts and behaviors. Here less than a week later -- I am caught up and comfortable. The one thing that I still need to figure out is that when the phone goes to "sleep" the clock comes up on the screen. If you hit the trackball, it starts to change the alarm settings. Not really the behavior I want...what if I accidently enable that alarm for 4:00am?
  • WiFi support is when I arrive home in the evenings, I operate off of the WiFi signal instead of the 3G network. Quicker, more reliable access to the Internet and email. I wonder if it can be used via Bluetooth or USB to connect a desktop or laptop to a WiFi connection....
  • The updated browser is great -- No more of the 400 errors for objects too large or not able to connect messages. Most sites are now usable -- but still Bank of America says that Mobile Banking is not supported on my device / browser. Bummer.
  • Battery life is poor, at leat in my brief usage. I would expect the WiFi to chew up a little more battery life -- but with it turned off, going much more than 24-36 hours just in normal business usage would be an stretch. Especially if you charge via USB -- which appears to charge much more slowly than via the wall plug-in charger.
  • Blackberry App store -- similar to the Apple store, but many of the basic apps I have used in the past are not there like Opera, TwitterBerry and TrekBuddy. Still, I was able to find WeatherBug and a couple of other apps -- still greatly disappointing -- mainline offerings like Gmail, Google Mobile Maps, etc are all missing.

All-in-all, a great few days with the Blackberry Bold -- looking forward to getting to used to it. A great upgrade from my Blackberry 8800 series!

Here are the features of the Blackberry Bold:

Email and Messaging

  • BlackBerry Enterprise Server® for corporate email
  • BlackBerry Internet Service for personal email (included with every BlackBerry data service plan)
  • Multimedia Messaging—send/receive messages, pictures, and short videos*
  • Mobile Instant Messaging—send/receive messages in real time using AOL® Instant Messenger, Windows Live™ Messenger, or Yahoo!®*
  • Text Messaging—send/receive short messages*

Software and Connectivity

  • Free Wi-Fi** use at 17,000 AT&T Hotspots with BlackBerry® data rate plan
  • Bluetooth® 2.0 with stereo A2DP support
  • USB port
  • MicroSD™ expansion side-loading slot
  • Laptop mobility/tethering support
  • BlackBerry Desktop Manager Software with Roxio Media Manager in box
  • Works with BlackBerry Enterprise Server—supported by: Version 2.1 or higher for
  • Microsoft® Exchange, Version 2.0 with Service Pack 2 or higher for IBM® Lotus® Domino®, Version 4.0 or higher for Novell® GroupWise®

Camera and Video

  • 2 megapixel camera with up to 3x zoom and built-in flash
  • Video recorder

Personalization and Entertainment

  • Cellular Video (CV)—watch streaming video on your device*
  • Media Player (music and video)
  • Supported audio formats: .3gp, MP3, WMA9 (.wma/.asf), WMA9 Pro/WMA 10, MIDI, AMR-NB, Professional AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
  • Supported video formats: DivX 4, DivX 5/6 partially
  • Ringtones, preloaded games, and graphics
  • Vibrate mode


Bougieintheghetto said...

I've had the Bold for 6 months and I love it!!Google Mobile Maps is not in the App World, but you can just browse to the link through your browser and download. Also I downloaded the Bank of America app, but you have to use the Media Net browser so it will recognize that the phone is a Blackberry. My preferred browser is IE, but the settings don't work with all sites. If I want to view YouTube videos or I get error messages I switch to the Media Net browser and it usually works. Haave fun!!