Research in Motion's BlackBerry series has been trying to edge its way into the pockets of consumers for some time, and despite its hefty price tag, the new Bold could be its best attempt yet. It's certainly a stylish looker: all black and chrome with splashes of red for the keyboard numbers. Its appearance is smooth enough so …
Ahem, 'xcuse me. I think that's enough coughing. The biggest problem is the battery life of these things.. Yes it has 3G, but "what the Lord giveth the Lord doth taketh away" If you have 3G on, the battery runs flat quickly (faster than the 8707 I hear...)
Annonymous because the RIM black helicopters are circling outside.. (and I'm not kidding either!!)
I would get a Blackberry tomorrow if it weren't for the way the email access on them works. I'm happy to stand corrected, but my understanding is that you have to proxy your email though your telco's (or Blackberry's) servers, which means giving them access to your real email account.
I don't like the idea of that - I want to talk to my email server directly - via secure IMAP.
How do Blackberry user's get on with this? Do they consider it a security/privacy risk? Or am I completely wrong about how this works?
Don't you mean the E71?
To the AC's
Re: battery Life
You're wrong. The battery life on the current firmware is epic. Only the (beta) firmware that Orange launched on 2 weeks prior to anyone else was an issue.
Re: RIM relay
The data is encrypted (either Triple-DES or AES) end to end (between BES and device), so there is NO chance of RIM accessing your data. It's been cleared for the US military/gov, and has UK CESG approval. It's certainly more secure than a mobile phone call (for example).
Re: Email accounts
... if you think email is (in any way, shape, or form) secure and private unless you encrypt the contents, you either need a lesson in SMTP or you are quite deluded.
I've got a Bold (although it does say "Property of Research in Motion - evaluation unit") on it's rear end, and it ain't bad. Battery life is better than AC#1 suggests, way better than the quoted 8707 (which is what I swapped it for).
As for AC#2, fret not, all content is AES-encrypted end-to-end between the device and your BB servers (who then talk to your Exchange infrastructure). The keys are recycled and regenerated every 30 days too.
It's a neat little device, certainly does what it says on the tin to a great extent. "Content Protection" (aka onboard file encryption) is much more bearable than on previous models, too. Older ones struggled with this feature.
Ta for the info re the email relay. It still means giving the telco/Blackberry server my private username, password and SSL keys so that they can access my IMAP server though (assuming that the relay system supports TLS authentication, which as far as my research has uncovered, it doesn't). I really wouldn't be happy handing any of this information out to anyone. Again though, I'm happy to be proved wrong.
Some extra information
1. Carphone Warehouse is selling the Bold for £399 so beware all those small dealers who are offering the handset for upwards of £475. I have even seen a dealer on Tottenham Court Road who was selling it for £600 and told me that Carphone Warehouse had none in stock when they did.
2. Buying it from Orange or Carphone Warehouse, Bold users will notice that Blackberry Maps have been deleted from the device and replaced with the aforementioned companies' own GPS maps solutions. However, these are commercial applications and require payment after 15 days trial.
3. PAYG customers who buy the handset will not be able to use the phone's 3G connectivity for internet use because none of the UK telecoms offer Blackberry Internet Service/Internet add ons on a PAYG basis, they do this for Blackberry on contract only! I had to have my Bold refunded after I discovered this and won't be buying the Bold again until unlimited 3G web access is offered on a PAYG basis, as O2 offers this for 3G handsets such as the iPhone.
Re: "if you think email is (in any way, shape, or form) secure and private unless you encrypt the contents, you either need a lesson in SMTP or you are quite deluded."
I'll second that!
Signed: The author of the original "Email accounts" comment
Not a bad phone
I got one of these recently, although I haven't been able to see Blackberry Maps in action thanks to Orange. All in all though it's not a bad phone, but I found the battery lasting a little more than a day with the 3G turned on. I've turned it off and so far it's on it's second day and as far as the battery meter is concerned it's down to 4/5ths of what it can hold.
The screen is one of the best I've seen. There's a trailer for the movie Speed Racer pre-installed, and this does a good job of showing of what the screen is capable of. If space weren't an issue then this might even serve as a replacement for my ipod when it comes to video. The camera seems to be very sensitive to shaking. My hands aren't the steadiest by any means, but photos taken with this phone seem to be visibly more blurred when you view them at actual size.
Personally the only real gripe I have is with RIM. Their own website doesn't seem to accept the 9000 as a valid model. Try downloading maps onto a Blackberry 9000 and see how far you get. Apparently the download is only for phones running version 4.0.x and 4.2.x of their OS. The 9000 runs 4.6. The browser goes to a homepage that contains links for applications and other resources. Try going to any of these pages though and you'll be told that there's nothing available for your model.
RIM have made no effort to try and provide something to the owners of their Blackberry 9000. They can't even properly support their own products.
Surely you mean E71. Which, btw is an amazing phone. With predictive text, the smaller keyboard works like a charm. and if you compare prices, the E71 is simply the smartest choice for a smart phone.
Been using for a week or so...
Have to say the screen is great, battery life is ok but there are some very annoying things with this phone. Twice now it has and shut itself down and rebooted with horrible error message's including one with a full white screen,error code and an option to Reset selectable by the trackball.
Got mine today and I love it over my old 8707v
... plus mine came with a 1Gb card unlike the reviewers. Didn't like the "pouch" which I think is lame, but fortunately the belt-clip case from my 8707v fits just as well.
As for those of you complaining about carriers deleting BB maps, I agree it isn't as good as Google Maps for example, so if you really want the RIM application, just visit one of the many BB forums and get yourself a new firmware. Upgrading is very easy though it won't unlock the phone, but at least it gets rid of the carrier garbage.
All phone are unlocked here in Luxembourg so we simply get factory delivered models that we can do what we like with ;-)
Wot No BB Maps?
Had mine since launch on Orange.
- email setup and delivery
- video playback quality
- music playback quality
- shipped with 1GB micro SD
- 8GB micro SD works fine
- standard USB cable for PC connectivity and mains/car chargers
- QWERTY keyboard
- drops calls endlessly
- loses signal all the time and shows 'SOS' (see above)
- RIM web site support hopeless (see previous post)
- still fighting with it to work as a modem for my laptop
ORANGE ADVERTISED THIS PHONE AS HAVING BLACKBERRY MAPS AND THEY SWITCHED THEM OFF AND WON'T ADMIT IT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
At least it can shoot video and supports MMS, unlike some devices I could mention ;-)
Battery life is...
..excellent. And this is said by an informed user who has had this for four weeks. The 3g battery drain is not an issue on this phone, so AC #1 you're talking outta your ass. I have to charge my phone once every three days, and that is with an hour of calls every day, heavy email use, 40 minutes-ish of browsing and plenty of texts. That comes down to two days if I throw in an hour or more of music play back each day. Which is pretty good by my standards.
The iphone 3g I had on test last week couldn't get through a day with the same use, the same for, well, ANY HTC device too!
I once remember hearing Tim Berners Lee say about email "don't say anything in an email you wouldn't want written on a postcard".... If you're objection to using a BB is based around such a flawed perception of email security, you're missing out on a good device with this 9000.
Orange have enabled BB Maps!!
It's true that some of the initial batches of Orange branded 9000's came without the BB Maps app, but they all now support it.
You need to log into your BIS or BES account and resend the service books to your phone. This will update the service books and then the BB maps will be available.
You then need to make sure the app logo icon is not hidden, by pressing the 'Blackberry" key twice, and then ensure 'show all' is ticked, and voila it'll appear!
You also have the option, at least on my current handheld, of forwarding e-mail to an address at RIM which is then delivered to your handheld. RIM does not have the credentials for access to my e-mail account, nor would I trust them with it. I really don't care what lengths they go to in order to protect the message in transit, at some point
- the RIM servers have the ability to access my account and pull whatever data they like
- the message being retrieved from my POP/IMAP server sits in the clear for a while on the RIM server while it is being processed
While the RIM servers are in Canada and not the "all your data are belong to us" USA, there is still too much risk there IMHO
The fowarding option isn't perfect either - the last I checked the RIM SMTP servers did not advertise TLS
I think there *is* a Java IMAP client for the BBerry tho, which may get around the RIM issues, but be careful. The IMAP client traffic may be counted differently from RIM hosted traffic and you may end up with a huge bill.
If you are using BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server) then I believe the encryption story is a bit different, but there is no BES available for plain IMAP, only Exchange and Notes AFAIK.
Just a note to add to all the negative views....this Bold does not support UMA.....
What I do to get around the lack of a POP3/IMAP client is forward all emails to Gmail then use the BB Gmail client to access. Set the default sender ID on Gmail as your POP3/IMAP email address. A bit of a faff, but it works and I don't have to pay exhorbitant BIS data charges.
After a week I went back to my Curve
All you Bold fanboys must have big hands! I found it heavy, clumsy and the keypad difficult to type on accurately.
Sure it ticks all the connectivity boxes, but even with v126.96.36.199 I was recharging the battery every night.
Generally, Bold looks/feels like RIM's response to iPhone rather than a great leap forward. 5/10.
I don't see how people can really compare this to the iphone. I'm not flaming anyone either, just an observation.
Totally different UI, totally different ways the user accesses functions, totally different ethos to the whole device. I certainly think they waited to see what functions Apple were putting into the version 2, and made some additions. But having used both the iphone2 and this, I think a direct comparison with the Sony Walkman range is better one to make.
David- yes I agree it does seem larger than the Curve and people here at work have either gone straight back to their old devices, where as others have fell in love instantly. You know what they say about big hands though.... big gloves.
TOM TOM navigator on BB BOLD???
RIM Blackberry Bold 9000 doesn't support the TOMTOM as described in the the review article . Please update the review as the suggestion that you can install/run tomtom applications is misleading..
Size and BIS/BES mailbox separation
Copmared to curve it's a brick, period. The echo's in my team were "why would I want anything bigger"
Also still no separation of BIS and BES, so no reason to upgrade.
First impressions of the Bold
I got a pair of Bolds 3 days ago on Vodafone for my business with their branded version of the 188.8.131.52 firmware. It is my first BlackBerry handset and I love it. Every day I find something new and cool it can do. I've used the iPhone too and I wouldn't even be tempted to do a swap if someone offered me one.
I run Facebook and JiveTalk IM on my handset and use it as a phone quite heavily. Network coverage isn't excellent where I live (despite what Vodafone tell you). The reception is better than my Nokia but I leave 3G enabled as the 3G is marginally better than the 2G coverage. I have WiFi switched on and most of the email and IM is done over it when I'm in my home/office. I'm just about getting a day out of it (much less than the 216 hours promised in the brochure.)
I'm wondering if battery life is related to firmware. I would find it interesting if the posters above, both good and bad, would post again with which network they use. I wouldn't be surprised if a pattern emerges between the network and firmware version and who gets decent battery life.
The stills camera is pretty good for a 2mp but when using it for video I found the artifacts to be very unpleasant, totally chalk and cheese with the included sample videos that looked great.
The most disappointing thing about the Bold for me is the Blackberry Desktop Manager Windows software. I find it brain damaged in comparison with the software for my old Nokia 9300i. It can backup and restore, install/remove applications and sync with Outlook but not much else. The Nokia software could send and view my messages, edit my contacts and ringtones... Enough things that I never used them all.
I also find the Desktop Manager software very unreliable at the things it does do. I've had to reboot my Windows PC on a daily basis to get it working when it decides it won't recognise the handset. The main OS in my business is Linux and I run Windows XP SP3 virtualized with Virtualbox on my main machine. The Blackberry software sees the handset in this environment but won't play nice and hangs up whenever I attempt any transfer of data to/from the handset. I've found many reports on the net that it doesn't work with virtualized Windows on other virtualization platforms either. I'm going to take a look at Linux software projects for it.
On the subject of email privacy, I don't have any particular problem with RIM checking my mail for me. I don't think anything really bad is going to happen (if RIM got a reputation for that then it would be very bad for their business.) If it's the spooks you're worried about then if the US or Canada want to read my mail I'm sure the UK Security Services would go to my ISP who would just hand it over so I don't think I've really lost anything.
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