John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Blackberry Bold OS review

Subject: Blackberry Bold OS

Well I found a version of the Blackberry Bold OS V4.5.0.77 that would run on my work 8830 so I thought I would give it a go. I don’t have a Bold (and don’t really want one) so this is a chance to see what’s new. While not totally representative of a Bold experience it’s close enough for me.

RIM are continuing to try and push the limits with the Blackberry’s doing more multi media stuff and I must say they are doing well. But then it depends on what you are comparing them to. They are no where even close to an iPhone still the reigning king of the multimedia hill, but they are keeping pace with Windows mobile. This isn’t a huge effort since MS seems to continue to be floundering. MS have a great product but there pace of innovation especially on the touch screen devices is a snail’s pace!

With the new version of the OS comes a new browser. This is a welcome improvement. RIM’s browser has always been laughable. In the past it was closer to a WAP browser than a real browser. Now they have updated it. It works much better. To make up for the lack of touch screen they bring a mouse like cursor you can move around the screen with. Not a bad idea. It works fairly well. This is no Safari like the iPhone (still the reigning King of the mobile browsing experience) but it is comparable or maybe even better than pocket IE on Windows Mobile.

On a previous review I ranted about the fact that my 8830 would only take a 2G miroSD card and it had to be formatted in FAT 16. This is now gone. It read my 8G microSD card formatted in FAT32. Welcome to the 80’s RIM.

The multimedia manager is pretty good, supporting MP3 tags and playing music well with only occasional stutters. All in all it worked ok. On first start it has to scan the card for multimedia files which is painful on large cards. Once done however it worked well. I saw no way to make a playlist however.

The 8830 already did A2DP (stereo Bluetooth headset) so this carried on into the new release.

Nothing new in the GPS area, a crying shame. The carriers still see this as a revenue stream. Who pays a monthly fee for GPS on top of paying data fees to download the maps on the fly. As far as I am concerned they could take out the GPS out of the devices and I would not miss it one bit.

As always, no one does email like RIM and this continues. They have also added some HTML support but requires BES support so I couldn’t test that out.

Another thing RIM does well is battery life. It has always been a mystery to me how RIM get the kind of battery life they do. 3 days on my 8830 is normal. Unheard of in the Windows mobile world (or iPhone for that matter). One of the things RIM is a master of is downloading the min amount of data and disconnecting quickly. This keeps the radio on for the shortest period of time possible which is one of the bigger power consumers. RIM perfected this in the early days when their networks were anemic. To compare a sync with a BES when there is nothing to download will take 1-2 seconds. By comparison a sync with an IMAP or SMTP server can take as much as 5-10 seconds to complete and disconnect! I’ve not played with Exchange based (my Exchange server went poof) for a while, but I use to find it quite efficient, close to a BES.

But that said I put my 8830 to work as I would use my Windows mobile device. I started my morning playing MP3s over streaming Bluetooth. Used Gtalk to connect to instant messengers through the day. Surfed a bit. Blah blah blah. Basically used it as I normally would my Windows Mobile device. No GPS use. All in all by the end of the day, low and behold the battery was dead. So it looks like one of the reasons my Berry gets so much better battery life is because I use it less … Go figure!

So at the end of the day, things are continuing to look good for RIM. They have released a number of new models and form factors. They released the Pearl Flip, as well as the Storm, their first ever touch screen. They seem to be on track to releasing the largest number of models in a year ever! All this just might stop them from loosing subscriber numbers in during bad economic times.


June 8, 2009 - Posted by | Other reviews

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