Traveler's Review: BlackBerry Curve - wednesday 2008-07-09 0511 last modified 2008-07-09 0511
Categories: Nerdy, Road
TrackBacks Sent: None

I currently use a BlackBerry Curve because, at the time of purchase, it was $250 less than an iPhone and had a GPS tracker built in - features I appreciate - along with Bluetooth support and, so I thought, the ability to run as a tethered modem through it. Skip paying for Telenav on a monthly basis, unless you adore live traffic reports. Yahoo! provides a free version of the same.

Both of my previous Sony cell phones had a tethering feature. They cover about four years, so I figured RIM's line, heart of the US government and beloved of roving businessmen everywhere, would be just as up to date and featureful.

It is not. BlackBerry's are abhorrent at Bluetooth. They also play poorly with Macs. Nobody seems to talk about this, so I'd like to increase the volume on the subject. The BlackBerry is the wrong choice if you're a road warrior with a Mac. It doesn't work with iSync, can't sync over Bluetooth, can't easily do file transfer over Bluetooth, doesn't come with "it just works" level software to compensate, and, let's face it, the interface for a BlackBerry is as hard to look at as its spiritual brother, Windows. Aside from the user interface, even my two previous Sony phones did all of that perfectly. I have stepped back four years in simplicity of use for email anywhere and a tiny web browser. This not an easy trade-off to accept.

Nevertheless, I have forced some things to work. In paying extra per month during this trip, I'm allowed by AT&T to use tethering, an expense not found in other providers who sensibly allow you to use your unlimited data plan in unlimited ways, like as a modem. I've forced tethering to work by running Windows XP on VMWare Fusion and physically hooking up the phone by USB, then sharing the internet connection from the guest operating system back to the Mac OS. On the rare occasion the DNS and routing are actually working properly, and when I have a signal, this gives me the net speeds I was accustomed to ten years ago.

Just works, right? But beggars can't be choosers, and so I'll deal for a bit longer. When I have the chance, I think I'm going to downgrade to something more like a phone and less like a Windows forcing function.



the Treo can be similarly annoying, though it isn't quite as bad... Have you tried mark/space's missingsync product? Isn't quite as good as I want it to be, but I use it for my palm.

Ideally, someone would just make these devices sync to caldav (and perhaps ldap for addresses?) servers over the internet and then we wouldn't need any of this syncing to pc nonsense.

if i were in your situation, i might ponder doing something like getting one of the kyocera wireless routers (takes a pcmcia card on the wan side, some of them can run on battery and/or 12V cigarette lighters).. buy an ipod touch, a dumb small phone for just talking, etc. unfortunately the pcmcia cards seem to run no cheaper than $60/mo or so.

i actually wish the ipod touch had a speaker, mic and bluetooth, so someone could just hack a nice voip client and we could forget phones. i'm pretty sure the mic/speaker omission was intentional.

Danny Park on July 12, 2008 02:04 AM

I heard Missing ...

I heard Missing Sync was the only truly Mac-ethos like solution out there, but it turns out the software RIM packaged in for Macs has worked the two times I did a BlackBerry and Address Book sync. I can live with that for now.

In a different world, the 3G GPS iPhone would have come out two months ago (and activated properly), and I'd be much more content. Instead, another 20 months until new phone time. Though who knows what transformations these spaces will undergo in two years.

Ryan Lee on July 14, 2008 10:43 PM

You must login to leave a comment


Ryan's Journal: Continued Traveler's Review: BlackBerry Curve, Sony Ericsson Z750

Excerpt: ... Ryan's Journal RaynDrop : Ryan's Journal [ RSS Feed | All Entries | Previous Entry | Current Entries ] Continued Traveler's Review: BlackBerry Curve, Sony Ericsson Z750 - monday 2008...

Ryan's Journal: Continued Traveler's Review: BlackBerry Curve, Sony Ericsson Z750 on October 06, 2008 02:04 AM [pingback]