Bigger IS Better when it comes to Media Cards for your BlackBerry
Convergence is all the rage – we want to carry all our Media, Data and assorted information with us at all times. The problem, is storage capacity. I have a 30 gig iPod that is almost full. Now, I don’t need all that music and all those Videos with me at all times – but I like to have the choice.
I love my BlackBerry Pearl, but I can’t fit quite as much information on a measly 1 or 2 Gig Micro SD card. I wish I could get just 4 Gigs of stuff on there – then I would be happy.
Wait! I can! After the latest OS upgrade (v184.108.40.206) I can now use a 4 Gig card. So, which should I use? In this review I will test out the SanDisk microSDHC 4 GB card which is available in the ShopCrackBerry.com store and includes an SD card adapter and microMate Card Reader.
SanDisk microSDHC 4GB Media Card
The “Official” line on this new, High Capacity card reads as follows from the SanDisk Website:
SanDisk is proud to announce our newest format and capacity to the SD card family: microSD High Capacity (microSDHC) 4GB flash card. Included as bonus is our new MicroMate™ SD/SDHC compatible, high-speed USB 2.0 Reader! This will help and ensure your transition from the microSD format to the microSDHC format – for our cards and for compatible host devices. Also comes with a full size SD adapter to fit into devices with an SD slot.
Not all devices support microSDHC 4.0GB cards. Please contact your device manufacturer for details. To ensure compatibility, look for the microSDHC logo on the product or packaging of your new phone or PDA.
So, what are these terms - SDHC, miniSDHC, and microSDHC?
The “HC” in these cards stands for High Capacity. These cards are based on the SDA 2.00 specification, introduced by the SD Card Association. This new SDA 2.00 specification enables SD cards to reach higher capacities: 4GB - 32GB*. Now, I have yet to test a 6GB or and 8GB card – but for the first time, I am having success with a 4GB card in my Pearl.
What are the differences between SD and SDHC?
Regular SD cards use the FAT16 file system, but SDHC uses FAT32 to boost the range of memory addresses it can access and so store. Micro SD versions work the same way.
There are warnings on the SanDisk site that trying to put information from the old SD or Micro SD cards onto the new ones might not work. In addition, if 4GB cards are inserted into a legacy SD/miniSD/microSD host device, the host device may not recognize/utilize the card as 4GB, and it instead may read as a 2GB card.
I was brave and figured I would give this new card a whirl – not knowing if it would truly work in the Pearl. I took off the back cover, removed the battery and took out the old MicroSD card.
Next, I put the old MicroSD card into the SD adapter (included) and put it into the card reader on my PC. I copied the content of the old card into a new folder (for backup and restore purposes).
I put in the new 4GB card into the Blackberry. For detailed installation instructions, visit CrackBerry.com's BlackBerry 101 Lecture on Media Card installation. Next, I went to Options->Advanced Options-> Media Card and hit the “Menu” key. I selected “Format Card” and the Blackberry folders were created on the card.
I removed this new card, put it in the card reader and transferred the data from the backup folder making sure to put “Music” in the “Music” folder, “Videos” in the “Videos” folder, etc.
One last time, I put the new card back in my device. Now for the moment of truth. I went back to the “Media Card” menu and looked at the bottom where it says “Free Space” and saw that I now had 3.7 GB of total space! It worked!
Speed of Card
I was nervous that the bigger card would result in slower access times for my data. While I wasn’t able to get a “scientific” read of read/write speed – I figured that many other folks on the Net would have already done that work – and I was right. From everything I found (and my own non-scientific tests confirmed this) the new, larger capacity card was just as quick as the old FAT 16 card.
When accessing my music files, I actually think the new 4GB MicroSDHC card is even faster. There was never any stutter in video files and I was able to shuffle a playlist of over 300 songs and never miss a beat.
“Real” Capacity for your BlackBerry
Now that I had a working 4GB card, I wanted to see if I could truly make my Pearl an iPhone killer (I kind of think it already was… :-)).
I loaded on over 400 songs with no problem. iTunes encoded music is “locked” and can’t be copied – but you can always make a playlist of your iTunes songs, burn them to a CD and then “rename” them and use them as MP3 files on your BlackBerry.
I then used the Neuros MPEG4 Video Converter (which I just reviewed) and converted and copied five full length DVD’s onto my BlackBerry.
I topped that off with about 400 pictures of my family, recent vacations and the like. Now, I have music, Video, Pictures, BlackBerry email and the form factor of the BlackBerry Pearl. I am one happy camper!
This is a simple and easy way to double or quadruple the storage space on your BlackBerry device. You can do everything your friends can do on their iPhones with all the conveniences of your BlackBerry keyboard and BlackBerry email.
This might just be enough to get you to ditch your iPod or portable MP3 or PMP and just use your trusty BlackBerry for all your Media needs.