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Sunday, June 05, 2011

The BlackBerry Bold 9780... with the PlayBook

One of the folks on the CrackBerry.com podcast read my mind when I started using the BlackBerry PlayBook and suggested that the PlayBook makes an ideal complimentary device to the non-touch screen 9780. He's right. It's just as happy as the Torch in the role, but the PlayBook, when linked with the BlackBerry Bridge software, is rich and practical enhancement of the communication suite offered by the BlackBerry Bold.

If you have a BlackBerry already, to utilize BlackBerry Bridge you'll need a device capable of running BlackBerry OS 5, and it should have the latest BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) client. If you have that, you're set and the integration is tight. The PlayBook even tells you when a call is coming in and allows you to silence it remotely. It would be something for the Playbook to allow you to answer a call and use the device as a speaker-phone, but maybe that's not far off, after all, Research in Motion (RIM) is as much about innovation as invention. There are some very smart people there that are working very hard at making a great business tool even better.

Now I just took advantage of the Rogers deal to get a PlayStation3, but that was not my deciding factor in getting a pair of BlackBerrys for myself and my daughter. There are several factors, but the key points are:

  • The BlackBerry Messenger allows certifiable sent, received confirmation so I know, and my daughters know that we've sent the message
  • The data usage is less than other phones out there because of the compression and encryption in place
  • The 9780 (Bold) and 9800 (Torch) have real GPS technology and work with BlackBerry Protect to ensure that the device is locatable, and erasable, remotely
  • BlackBerry phones are tough. I'll recommend a case to anyone, but they are certainly some of the toughest devices on the market
  • The cameras on these devices are great (5 Mega-pixel)
There are other advantages too, but these are the core reasons.

Now, the first thing I did when I received these phones is the updates and core Apps I enjoy for BlackBerrys. Aside from updating BBM and the BlackBerry App World, and installing BlackBerry Protect, the next thing up is Google Maps and the Rogers "My Account" which allows me to track usage (data/phone time) and I show my daughter how that works so she knows how to use the phone responsibly. I also install BlackBerry Bridge for connectivity to the PlayBook. The other very awesome, ad free, app is Poynt. Very helpful when trying to find a place to eat, get to the movies, or just find your way around.
I can't help but think that if RIM created a Bridge application suite for Windows/Mac/Linux to allow this functionality they might be onto something. I'd be very happy to have this connectivity on my Bluetooth equipped laptop or desktop, just like it is on my PlayBook, and the BlackBerry would become the centre of my communication universe. 
Now, my daughter will not have a PlayBook soon, this is driven by my not running out of space on the 16Gb model I won (yes, thank you again RIM) as yet, but the potential is there. As I use this device more, whether shooting awesome video, or taking great pictures (though generally not in low-light), this device is really the centre of my universe both at home and at work. because you can pair the device with more than one BlackBerry, the benefits of the home/work split are clear. You can only connect to one device at a time, but once paired you can switch by simply selecting the appropriate BlackBerry from the list. The data is delivered from the BlackBerry to the PlayBook on-demand.

Now this isn't the only way to communicate with the PlayBook. There's two paths to get information onto the PlayBook, you have WiFi file sharing and you can plug it in and use the Desktop Software to transfer files. The Desktop Software will transcode video files, but I really prefer the WiFi connectivity. When the device is around my house I can connect to it, drop-files on it, back files up from it, all from my Windows desktop PC. I've set the user ID and password, highly recommended, and connect using the devices IP Address. This is NOT as technical as you might think.

I do recommend plugging in from time-to-time to perform backups, it's just a wise move. It's not about device reliability it's about the other factors in life taking away what you really might miss. 
In enjoy the BlackBerry experience, as do my daughters. The Torch is affordable on-plan, and an investment without a contract. PROTECT that investment and install BlackBerry Protect. If you're using a BlackBerry that's on a corporate server, you don't need BlackBerry Protect, your BlackBerry Enterprise Server administrator has the same capabilities and more, but for personal devices, it's my number one recommendation.

The BlackBerry Bold 9780 comes with a 2Gb microSD card, the Torch with a 4Gb microSD card. If you have Windows 7 (I can't speak for Vista) you will enjoy having a Bluetooth connection because once paired with your PC (Laptop or Desktop) you can send those photos and videos to your home system wirelessly via Bluetooth. As long as that PC is on and you're in range (within 30-50ft). Frankly, my 9780 is either plugged in my living room, or in my pocket/backpack (when at work) and unless I need to actually answer the phone my PlayBook handles most of the non-verbal communication. While I have tethered my PlayBook to my 9780, a simple process on Rogers Wireless, I do not use it this way because of the possibility of using so much more data. It's responsive, usable, and if your wireless carrier is as co-operative as Rogers is, it's a wonderful experience. 


Rogers was kind enough to originally give me a phone number in Milton, I live in Brampton. Milton is long-distance from Brampton. I call to 1-888-ROGERS1 and a very polite conversation with a very helpful person has corrected this. It seems some of the Rogers people think 905 is 905, and 905 is not 905 but a vast collection of places a long way from each other in an area SURROUNDING Toronto's 416 and 647. If you're making the move from Home phone to Cell Phone as your primary means of communication in the GTA, ask for a 416 or 647 number. I'm now a 647 with assurances that this will not be charged to my bill etc., etc. - We'll see. 

When speaking with any customer service agent don't get angry, calm yourself and understand that sometimes people screw-up, and systems aren't as easy what we'd expect. Talk calmly and politely and be prepared to be on the phone for a while. Explain your self clearly... Do NOT get angry... and never use foul language.
I find that I turn to my Playbook for almost all of my communication, even when a richer experience is available on-line and within reach, because I find it simple, easy to use, and very functional. That said, the BlackBerry 9780 with it's BlackBerry OS 6.0 is very clean, responsive, and just as simple, yet packed into a much smaller area which is not a complaint but a reality with a phone-sized device. It's not a touch screen as the Torch is, but still works very well. I have the advantage of being able to turn to the BlackBerry PlayBook for much of my experience, but the 9780 on it's own is absolutely enough of a device when you won't need even the PlayBook, such as out on the town. That said, I'll load the PlayBook up with travel plans, PDFs, Word Documents, and Spreadsheets that make the trip or outing work better. Planning and preparedness can really help.

I wonder if Joby will create a GorillaPod for the PlayBook? 

I'll be buying the charging cradle for the 9780, and likely the 9800 (for my daughter), as well as the charging cradle for the PlayBook (possibly two... one for the office) but I like being able to just grab and go.