in Mobitopia

Crackberry’d

In my new life as a roadwarrior (I’m on site with customers most of the time), I’m slowly coming to grips with my toolset. This entry is about the Blackberry 7230, I’ll write about the rest of my gadgets another time.

Visiting my local technology supermarket, I saw a pile of RIM Blackberry 7230 at 99 Euros. I always wanted to try one, and I thought I might always be able to get 99 Euros back on eBay later, so I picked one up.

The reason I was interested at all is the keyboard. Honestly – all those Smartphones do an excellent job at a lot of stuff, but the fun stops rapidly when it comes to text entry. And no, T9 is not a solution, it’s just another problem.

I also quite like the form factor of the 7230. It reminds me of my Tungsten C. Another good thing is that you can use it as a phone without the headset, and without looking awkward.

The other features are also good – long battery life, good colour display, enough memory, lots of accessories (cradle, cables, holster), so it should be more than adequate.

The fact that it syncs and charges over a plain Jane mini-USB cable also comes as a huge plus.

I had to learn a few things:

– the built-in email app only works with the push service. To be able to do POP3 or IMAP, you need to get a different client.

– at least with my T-Mobile version, the browser did only appear after I activated the push service (which came at a perfect time – T-Mobile Germany started a new offer for free testing until end of May, 5 MB data included!)

There’s still lots of open questions (like, why am I getting errors when I try to install JADs OTA?), but I like the thingy already.

Syncing with Outlook works fine (some version of Intellisync is included with the RIM Desktop software). I was surprised to see that the Blackberry only supports one address field, but mapping the other one to a user defined field works as a kludge. Firmware Version 4, which is supposed to arrive real soon now, will take care of that supposedly.

The next question was where to pull my email from. Considering GPRS pricing in germany, the amount of SPAM would not only be a nuisance but would actually cost me money if it got to the Blackberry. My provider won’t let me filter on the server, so this is not an option.

I decided to create a forwarding rule to put a copy of every mail on GMAIL. GMAIL is pretty good at sorting out SPAM. That will also allow me to drain the flow to the Blackberry while I’m on vacation or out of the country, where receiving push email would be too expensive.

On GMAIL, I created another set of filters to throw mailing lists and other stuff out of my Inbox on arrival, so it wouldn’t get pushed to the Blackberry. I also cleaned up all those newsletter subscriptions – you certainly get more conscious about email when there’s a price tag to every single one.

The funny thing about GMAIL is that mails that you reply to get put into the thread in the Inbox, so you’ll receive those on the Blackberry as well. Not bad at all, as this allows you to have the full thread on the Blackberry.

All in all – great stuff. I’ll update this when I have some more hands-on experience.

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