Scott Hanselman

Upgrading my Blackberry's Software and getting the Hotkeys to work

October 17, '05 Comments [5] Posted in Reviews
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I just updated my older Blackberry 7280's software from version 3.7.0.76 [Platform 1.6.0.114 - 2003] to version 4.0.2.49 [Platform 1.6.1.53].

It was a pretty big jump, updating the firmware/software on the crackberry from a version 2 years old to the latest one. It's the same version the newer color ones use, I think.

I love it when just updating the software of a device like this gives me lots of new features. This upgrade gave me:

  • Alphanumeric Speed Dial from the Phone Screen. "H" for home and the like.
  • Whole new Phone Screen with a direct dialing box with LARGE NUMBERS. YAY!
  • All new Alerts and Ringing Phone dialog boxes. Yes, of course! Fill the whole screen with the name of who's calling. Brilliant. Only took 4 versions to get that right. :)
  • All new calculator with on-screen keyboard map. Best phone calculator I've used.
  • Updated Tasklist with icons indicating level of completion.

Believe me, I'd love to get a Windows Mobile phone - if only it could keep up with my Blackberry. I've got wireless calendar syncing, global Active Directory lookup, "rightclick" equivalent context menus for phone numbers anywhere, instant email delivery, speed speed speed, battery life for a week, and no stylus. I kept watching folks take out there tiny stylii and tapping away on their phones. Seemed odd to me. If the interface to a phone is so obtuse that I have to use a stylus, it's time to re-explore the UI metaphor, no?

One thing that was an irritant that you, as a newer blackberry user, may not realize you're missing:

TIP: BlackberryOS 4.0 turned OFF the home screen hotkeys by default. That means you don't have the quick hotkeys like "C" for Compose or "A" for Address Book that I used all the time on previous versions. I have been told, by many newer Blackberry folks that this feature isn't available on the new version. However, if you go to the main Phone screen, click the scroll wheel, select Options, then General Options, then turn "Dial From Home Screen" to OFF you'll get all these hotkeys back.

TIP: I've experimented with all the different Blackberry fonts, and I find "BBMillback Tall 10 Bold AntiAliased" to be the best balance of size and clarity.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Monday, October 17, 2005 10:17:18 PM UTC
You are comparing your Blackberry to a Pocket PC with phone capabilities, which is really a PDA first and a phone second. The interface on a Windows Mobile Smart Phone does not rely on a stylus nor does it support one. However, seeing as how I've never owned neither a Blackberry nor a Windows Mobile Smart Phone, I cannot give you a comparison of the two.

As far as comparing a Pocket PC to any real mobile phone (Blackberry included), I'd say it probably is a bit weak on the phone side. Sure, I can sync with Exchange and get instant email delivery, but the battery life is horrible like a PDA and I don't think I can get Active Directory lookup (never tried). However, I can access a tremendous library of utilities and most importantly games!!!
Monday, October 17, 2005 10:35:43 PM UTC
I hear what you're saying, but I disagree. I was watching folks using phones that were running Windows Mobile 5.0. This was 3 different people on the plane. I know the whole device space, and these were unquestionably phones with stylii. I know the interface doesn't require it, but it was interesting that these phones included a stylus.

On the games side, I'd never pick a mobile platform for games - that's what a PSP is for! :)
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 1:33:32 AM UTC
I have a 7100v running 4.0.2. When I moved from 3 to 4, I thought the auto-sync with Exchange was the best ever thing to happen! No longer did I have to sync my device and Outlook when they were out of whack.

The 7100 was my choice because of the phone form factor. In retrospect maybe the one key per alphabet is better - especially since I seem to be using the Berry with growing frequency for email.

I am with T-Mobile and they also offer means (BlackBerry Internet Service) to have my other e-mail (e.g. Gmail) delivered to the handheld.

Steve, As far as games are concerned, I think the berry has it's fair share of games. But then again I never found a real need to get any of them.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 1:35:24 AM UTC
Your blog works well with IE, with Firefox though I seem to be running into many issues, incl. not being able to post any comments. Do you know what the issue is? I probably am pushing my luck :-) are you planning on fixing it?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 3:07:19 AM UTC
Hmmm, didn't know they went so far as to add a stylus to the Smart Phones. It does seem kinda dumb, especially since those things have teenie tiny screens.

I'll concede that PDA games are no match for the awesome power of the sleek, beautiful PSP (no, I don't work for Sony). Still, I don't carry my PSP everywhere and it's nice to have something besides solitaire when I need to (ahem) see a man about a horse.

End all be all reason for having a Pocket PC, so you can build Windows Mobile .NET applications. Kinda stupid, I know, but I just can't give up my lovely lovely Pocket PC.

(Mostly, it's because I get benefits at work that allow me to purchase gadgets so long as they're not in direct competition with Microsoft products.) :-)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.