When I’m on the road, I usually have my work laptop with built-in 3G with me. I also carry a Nokia 3270 Classic for phone calls (robust, great keyboard, fantastic battery life) and an iPod Nano for podcasts and music (the iPod Touch is a lot more fun, but crap for in-car usage).
My work phone does not have a data plan, so I have to use the Laptop for Twitter and emails. As the &%$%§ Vista machine needs 10 minutes to wake up from standby, this is not exactly perfect. I have a dual SIM for my data card (it’s my personal SIM), so I decided to get a cheap device with QWERTZ keyboard for email and Twitter.
I quickly found a Blackberry 7290 in mint condition on eBay for EUR 50 – not bad for a start!
Now, the problem is that you usually need to buy Blackberry Service from your operator to use data services, which I did not want to do. So the first step was to update to OS 4.1, which allows you to simply enter a GPRS APN that apps can use.
Then of course the BB still refuses to let you use the built-in browser to download apps. In order for the browser to even appear, you usually (again) need to subscribe to BB service, then your operator will push something calles a “Service Book” to your device, which unhides the browser.
It’s a good thing there are smart people out there, so please got to “Blackberry without BIS” where you can simply download a service book and install it through the BB desktop software.
Then use the browser to download some apps – unfortunately not all will work with OS 4.1.
What I got:
- The GMail Client which even works with my Google Apps account, and will flash the LED when new mail arrives. This is as good as push for me, without requiring the BIS service.
- Opera Mini for browsing
- GoTalkMobile for GTalk
- BlackBird as a Twitter client (not great, but haven’t found a better one yet)
All in all, a decent experience with minimum spending. It’s an incredibly robust device with USB charging, outstanding battery life and a great keyboard. Recommended.