Date: Wednesday, January 5th, 2005, 09:40
… Continued from Part I.
For my second installment on the BlackBerry 7100t I am going to focus on some BlackBerry software that I have been using. (Tons of BlackBerry 7100t screen shots can be found here.)
When you get your 7100t out of the box, the first thing you should do is check to make sure that you have the latest version of the BlackBerry software. Check it at Tools > Settings > About. At the time of this writing the latest version is 126.96.36.199 (which fixes some bugs with the handling of speakerphone and other little weird things.) T-Mobile customers can download the software update for the 7100t from T-Mobile.com. Side note: MobileWhack writes about some of the neat features that will be coming in the BlackBerry 4.0 software. According to Emory everything important about 4.0 is in 3.8.
One major pain for Mac users is that you cannot install software on the BlackBerry from a Mac, even with PocketMac installed. So you’ll need access to a PC to install software on the BB, until another solution comes along. Many people either own a PC or have access to one (at the office, for example) but this is a caveat that cannot be ignored by Mac-only buyers. Virtual PC may be an option here, but I haven’t tested it.
That being said, I have been enjoying a couple of cool applications in my first week of using a BlackBerry. For reading RSS streams I have been using Feedburner. It’s pretty streamlined and can be installed over-the-air (OTA) by navigating your BB browser to a URL. More software should be available OTA. Bloglines Mobile is a much more elegant solution for reading RSS feeds on the BB.
Other applications I have been testing include VeriChat by PDAapps.com which connects you to the IM services of Yahoo!, ICQ, MSN & AIM simultaneously (even when your device is in standby mode). VeriChat also uses GPRS (not SMS) messages for transmission of messages. If you’re not on an unlimited SMS plan and use a lot of IM, using the native application can chew up your allowance fast! Too bad that T-Mobile has crippled some third-party applications for the BlackBerry in my area by disallowing outbound requests on TCP port 80. The built-in Oz IM client is decent but limited to one IM service at a time. Verichat can connect to multiple IM accounts simultaneously and adds support for MSN Messenger.
I am also running:
Berry411 is a free BlackBerry search tool that gives you quick access to yellow pages, white pages, movie times, Google, and Froogle results. Magmic’s Texas Hold’em King allows you to play in online high score competition and tournaments but is only fair. The graphics are poor, it’s hard to read the tiny cards, and it’s spendy at US$7 IMHO.
More coming in Part III about the BlackBerry’s negatives and accessories.
So, what’s on your BlackBerry?