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BlackBerry 101: Using the BlackBerry Browser on OS 5.0

CrackBerry Internet Header
By Alicia Erlich on 17 Dec 2010 12:59 pm EST
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Do you find yourself losing interest in the real world? Are there moments you long to be near a computer to view the latest sports scores or blog posts? Do you have the urge to look something up on Wikipedia because you need the answer now? Fret not; as the owner of a BlackBerry smartphone you can easily access the internet whenever and wherever you go. We're going to discuss how to use your BlackBerry browser so you'll never be more than a few inches away from your precious internet ever again.

The browser is capable of rendering most webpages with support for HTML 5, CSS3, and JavaScript. So unlike older devices, media filled pages will load as long as they don't use flash. In addition, many sites automatically redirect you to their mobile (optimized) version. For example, type in www.crackberry.com and you'll be rerouted to m.crackberry.com. That doesn't mean you can't view full sites. If you compare both the mobile and full version you can see it's not too shabby when loading the new CrackBerry.com and the animated banner.

Browser view

 

CrackBerry web view 

Now that we know a little bit about the browser, let's get in to the basics shall we?

Open the browser

First, where can we find it? Unfortunately, there's no universal search, so we'll have to do things the old fashioned way and search the home screen. For some carriers, you might see multiple icons (i.e. WAP, HotSpot), so don't panic if they look similar as it depends on the theme. In this case we're looking for the one marked Browser.

OS 5.0 Home Screen

For all you newbies out there don't be surprised if a blank box comes up with the BlackBerry logo. Hit the menu button, click on ‘go to' and that will bring you to the start screen where you can access your bookmarks, browsing history, address bar and search bar.

 

Browser to go

Browser Start 

Bookmarks are arranged in descending order from most to least visited so you'll never be more than a click away from your favorite websites.

Viewing and Browsing Websites

There are various ways to visit webpages from within the browser itself: address bar, bookmarks, history/recent pages and search bar.

Address Bar

After opening the browser, type the URL in the address bar at the top and click enter. After a few seconds, your page should load the mobile version.

Browser address

 

Bookmarks

When you're in the start screen, click on the bookmark heading, go through the list, highlight your choice and click the trackball/touchpad or the enter key.

Browser bookmark list

Want to make finding that bookmark easier? Type in the first few letters and you'll be able to narrow down the list.

Browser bookmark search

History/Recent Pages

Already visited a site but don't want to go through extra clicks or taps to go back? Simply use history and recent pages (menu > options > recent pages) as long as you
don't clear your cache and cookies. Just remember that each time you open and close your browser all stored items in recent pages are deleted.

Browser history

Recent pages 

 

Search

Like other browsers and search engines, the BlackBerry browser gives you the option of entering in a specific term if you don't have an exact web address. The cool thing is that if you point your cursor over the box on the right, you can choose from a list of popular search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo!, Live Search, Wikipedia, and Dictionary.com).

Browser search

Browser search sites 

After you type in your term hit enter for the results. All you need to do is click on the site you want from within the search results and you'll be taken there.

Browser search results

You might have guessed it looks just a tad bit small. What's the reason for the miniature print? It's because there are two different ways to view pages on your device: column view and page view. In a nutshell, column view reformats to fit your screen and wraps the text to the next line (similar to automatic resizing). Page view renders the full webpage as seen on your computer and is OS5's default view, hence the tiny print and the need to scroll side to side and zoom in to get a closer look.

Here's the same search in column view.

Browser search results

To zoom, move your cursor until the magnifying glass appears and then click until the size is acceptable or press the menu button and click on zoom in. To try and combat the small print, modify the font size by clicking on menu > options > general options and make the default and minimum font size and style bigger.

Browser font option 

 

Browser functions and shortcuts

Browser functions

Browser functions 

  • Escape key - zoom out (only works after zooming in)
  • A - Add to bookmarks
  • B - Bottom of page
  • G - Navigate to another page
  • H - Home Page
  • I - Zoom In
  • J - Turn on JavaScript
  • K - Bookmark list
  • L - View web page link address to copy or send
  • P - View web page address to copy/paste to another application or send via email, pin, text, etc.
  • R - Refresh website
  • S - Open browser options
  • T - Top of page
  • U - View or hide banner (shows or hides notification icons at top)
  • Z - Switch between column view and page view

There you have it; the basics to using the stock browser in OS 5. It may not have all the bells and whistles that other browsers have but it will take you where you need to o. What do you think of the BlackBerry browser on OS 5? Sound off in the comments below.

Reader comments

BlackBerry 101: Using the BlackBerry Browser on OS 5.0

19 Comments

Unfortunately, search is limited now to Bing, which s*cks. At least that's how it is on my S2...or is that VZW's fault?

I ONLY use Google. Why do you have to stuck with Bing? If you are stuck with that, you should ask your service provider for help because RIM doesn't do this... may be your service provider blocks other search companies?

That is VZW's fault. But no need to be limited by Bing with the BB Browser. Do you have Quicklaunch? It has a web search function which can be set to your browser of choice. I use Google. Hit my space key to activate my QL menu, then g for google. Then you get a dialog box to enter your search term. Works like a charm.

Terrible browser in pre-OS6 devices - horrendously slow and under-featured. Basic, basic software (hence the interest by users in Opera Mini, Bolt and OS6's version) that certainly encourages keeping your data use low by only accessing the net under duress.

Add to that its inability to connect to some hotspots requiring a sign-in - the browser may freeze up or just cause the whole device to crash/reboot.

Did I mention its a terrible browser? Excusable (marginally) in a basic cellphone or eBook reader - in a smartphone, not so much.

I was thinking of downgrading from os 6 to os5 (on my 9650) to be more productive. Then I saw this article and how horrible the browser was..

Of all the browsers this one from BB is the best!! Opera makes my cursor laggy and Bolt seems a bit slow for my liking....Just how I find them working in my opinion from constant use.

In the upper right hand corner of the mobile page click on Login. After you enter your information just click on the link to go back to the blogs/forums. The comment box will be at the bottom of each post and you can preview/post from there.

The BlackBerry browser is pretty terrible on OS 5. It is great for WAP sites but almost useless for full sites. Pages either don't load, have errors, etc. Terrible.

Bolt is the best browser for full sites.

I hope the browser on the next Storm is MUCH better!

You know I always thought I was logged in already because I never had to sign in when I would post in the fourms. I did notice the register icon at the top of the web page but I assumed to was for new members only. Didn't even think about checking to see if it was also a link to log in. :(

Still can't figure out why I could post in the fourms but not in the blogs though.

I also thought it was kind of odd that I would be signed out when switching from the forums to the blogs. Plus, I also noticed that the sign in link on the blogs only shows up on my S2 when in landscape mode and not in portrait, only I have to refresh the page after rotating which was frustrating to figure out. It's some kind of rendering bug I guess.

I am a newbee to BB but I like what I have and ofcourse want more would like BB to get a flash player I am worried about upgradeing to os 5 been hearing about all the horror stoies of errors and stuff

I am a newbee to BB but I like what I have and ofcourse want more would like BB to get a flash player I am worried about upgradeing to os 5 been hearing about all the horror stoies of errors and stuff

My biggest issue is the file too large comment I get on too many searches. Sucks to have to figure out website from hotlink and then copy into Opera to get to a site. Any one know a way around the size limit in the BB browser