|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.