BlackBerry Curve observations

After 48 hours with the WiFi-enabled BlackBerry 8320 (Curve), here are some observations…

– Hardware:
This device is a lot more attractive in person than in pictures. It’s very light and pretty thin, but build quality is solid. It’s nice to see a standard mini-USB connector (with charger and mass-storage support) and stereo headset connector (4-prong 3.5 mm). The micro-SD card lives under the battery, which is unfortunate.

– Software:
The user-interface is very good. It’s simple, consistent, and easy to use, but it’s lacking polish in some areas (media player and camera). Then again, after living with an iPhone for 3 months, I’m getting jaded – sorry for being such an Apple fangirl :). I think a short press of the mute key should show the profiles (I ended up assigning the left-side convenience key to the profiles). It was easy to install my contact and ringtones and to customize the phone.

The BlackBerry Destop Manager is not working for me. I’ve installed it on 2 different Windows XP (SP2) computers and I’m still experiencing the same problem: I can’t install applications.

When I run the Application Loader, everything is grayed out and the Application List shows: “The BlackBerry Desktop Software does not have BlackBerry Device Software for the device that you have connected to your computer. Contact your wireless service provider or system administrator.” When I click on “Add” (the only control not grayed out other than “Cancel”) and select the Opera mini 4 beta ALX file, it tells me: “No additional applications designed for you device were found”.

Thoughts?

– Data/WiFi/Bluetooth/UMA:
I still don’t have a BlackBerry plan. Why? I think Research In Motion should support industry standard email/web/MMS connectivity over GPRS/EDGE for people (like me) with regular data plans who are not interested in using push email. In fact, I was under the impression that the “consumer” devices like the Pearl and Curve supported industry standard connectivity, in addition to the BlackBerry plans.

The built-in web browser works fine over WiFi (with or without the SIM inserted), despite the lack of BlackBerry plan – of course, it doesn’t work over GPRS/EDGE. Opera mini 4 beta doesn’t work (both WiFi and GPRS/EDGE) despite changing the APN in the TCP options to “wap.voicestream.com” (for my unlimited t-zones data plan).

Bluetooth works fine, but I’m not (yet) sure if UMA works.

– Keyboard/Screen:
The keyboard feels nice but I’m struggling to read the key labels at times. The QVGA screen is decent, as expected (it could be brighter, perhaps).

– Camera:
The 2 megapixel camera takes decent pictures and features an LED flash, but could benefit from an auto-focus lens with macro. Video recording appears to be missing.

– Audio/RF:
Call quality and reception are very good. Sound quality is average when listening to music with high-end headphones, but I’m being picky here…

FYI, The supplied stereo headset works with the iPhone (both physically and electrically), including the switch/microphone- nice!

– Battery life:
It’s a bit too early to tell, but with WiFi enabled and Bluetooth disabled, so far, so good.

Update: I’ve since upgraded to the Total Internet data plan.

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14 Responses to BlackBerry Curve observations

  1. No need to assign a convenience key to profiles if you don’t mind pressing the F key when you are in the home page of the 8320. See:

    http://blackberryfaq.com/index.php/Home_Screen_Shortcuts

    I have a jpeg with the shortcuts I’m using for the time being until I get used to the Curve. I can send it to you if you like. I don’t use the IM programs, and the 3rd party programs mentioned in the url above, so I cut them out of the jpeg.

  2. Terry says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one having problem installing applications on the Blackberry Curve 8320. It’s the only flaw in an otherwise enjoyable four days with my new phone.

  3. David B says:

    To be able to install apps on my VZW 8830 via Desktop Manager, I first had to download the device software that matched what is on my 8830. Once I had that installed on my PC, I am now able to install anything via the Add dialog.

  4. Cindy says:

    I’m having the same problem on my Vista running Sony Viao. I have the new Tmobile version of the Blackberry Curve 8320 and I installed the Blackberry Desk Top Manager. I’ve been unable to install applications. It doesn’t recognize alx files. What software should I download and where do I find it so that I can get this thing working! Thanks for your help.

    Cindy

  5. dw says:

    Had the same problem. T mobile has new OS for 8320 as of 10/22/07 – download
    v4.2.2.180 from their website (replaces 4.2.2.171 released with phone on 9/24). New OS will recognize .alx extension and open files, can then install off a menu.

  6. REJ says:

    Ok. If u got the blackberry for t-mobile u cant add applications until u download the desktop manager 4.3. I had the same problem myself. After you download it you dont have any problems from there.

  7. Don says:

    I can’t use my camera on my curve because it says “Could not start the camera. Close other applications and try opening the camera again”. I don’t have any apps open? Anyone have any ideas?

  8. Carly says:

    I have had the same problem with being unable to start my camera. I called t-mobile and they had me re-initialize the phone which did not help. I am also getting java.lang errors. I am sending back the phone since I am in the grace period. Everything I see on the internet says that the BB is finicky about what gets installed and deleted. I suspect that deleting software via the Desktop Manager screwed it up. Either way, it seems that TONS of people who try to load some software and then delete it, end up with error messages and their camera not working. This is my first BB Curve and I am not impressed.

  9. softmc says:

    Opera mini does not work yet over wifi with blackberry curve 8320. A solution though should be developed shortly.

    Check this link

    http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=223860

  10. Theo Gordy says:

    does anyone have a web adress or link to download software for my bb curve from t mobile so that i can record videos? please help.

  11. jamesspratt says:

    Weyhay, we have a result…

    I actually got this info from the forum moderators at Shozu.com as was having the same problem using their software on my 8320.

    This is what you need to do:

    The problem may be resolved by adding your network operator’s access point settings on the following screen in the Blackberry’s OS: Options -> Advanced Options -> TCP.

    Most carriers offer a couple of different access points (an Internet and a WAP access point) for users to connect over, so if you aren’t able to use ShoZu over an Internet access point changing to a WAP access point can sometimes resolve the problem.

    The following sites list access point settings for a number of major network operators around the world:

    http://www.taniwha.org.uk/gprs.html

    For me, I found my orange UK details there and entered these into my BB settings. Tried to launch Opera again, clicked OK twice to something about a ‘low level connection’ and Bob was my uncle.

    Cool cool,

    James

  12. Ron says:

    I have a BB curve 8320. And had a lot problems with using it as a modem. It stays on for 15min, sometimes 45min, sometime 3hours, one time 3min my computer say can’t find web. the only why to get back on is to soft reboot or take battary out. T-mobile has kept me on the phone for hours and never fixing the problem. even reaserch in motion don’t have a clue. I tried another bb curve 8320 same thing. reinstalled device software. 2gig mem card 2 differant computers and laptop same thing. buying this phone wasn’t a good deal after all. Its not good to do this to people I basicly have to deal with it. my be some out there can help…

  13. ray says:

    Same problem connecting to my pc with Vista. My question, though, is a different one. Anyone know of software to manage apps that are running like an app manager? It seems that the “close” button doesn’t stop the app, more like minimizing. On my old t-mobile Dash I had an app the would actually close apps of your choosing that were running in the bg.

  14. permatasari says:

    The BlackBerry Curve has new features new trackpad navigation, media keys and a slim design.

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