BlackBerry Brains And Braun

By BDBOLD on 1 Jul 2009 08:28 am EDT
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As BlackBerry owners, we're pretty loyal to our beloved device, but I'm sure most of us can admit to having been tempted by the fruit of "another" on occasion. I often like to hop on YouTube and check out some of the un-boxing and review videos to see what some of the other devices have to offer, and while I won't be jumping ship any time soon, I must confess there are a lot of cool features the other guys have that make me a little jealous.

I Heart My Berry

Instead of just sitting around green with envy, I decided to take a closer look at some of the neat things offered by HTC devices, the iPhone and Android handsets.  I wanted to see if I could replicate these features on my Bold or at the very least achieve similar functionality. Sure, our icons are pretty nice, but an interface like that of the HTC Touch HD certainly looks a heck of a lot better.  And yes we have a nice Manage Connections icon, but how about that handy WiFi toggle on the Treo Pro? While there's obviously nothing we can do about the current hardware, is there software available that can give us our favorite features offered by the competition? Let's find out.

Browser Power

First up is the web browser, BlackBerry is always getting knocked for its browser - or lack there of. I personally have no issues with the browser on my Bold which, when configured properly, performs pretty well as long as its not being compared to Safari on the iPhone or Skyfire on a WinMo device.  Even though Skyfire is headed to BlackBerry in the near future, I needed some more browser power now so I downloaded Bolt Browser which renders complex pages a bit more accurately than the Berry's native browser. Looking to take it one step further I also downloaded Opera Mini. Now my Bold is capable of surfing three web pages on three different browsers simultaneously. Can the iPhone do that?

Bolt Browser

 

Operating Systems

While I am a big fan of the BlackBerry OS, I would certainly like to see some of the nice 3D content offered by the HTC Touch HD on my Bold, especially their great looking weather application.

Touch HD


After a quick look in the CrackBerry App Store I came across Berryweather. This application looks great with its animated radar maps feature and handy homescreen icon that displays current conditions. While it may not have the fancy windshield wiper that cleans fake rain drops off your screen like the HTC, it does have customizable themes and a free three day trial is available.


Weather


Hardware

One of the advantages of the Treo Pro and some Windows Mobile devices is their numerous hardware buttons that allow for one click access to certain device applications. Though we may not have a ton of buttons dedicated to specific programs on our BlackBerrys, we do have two very useful convenience keys. Wanting to add some extra functionality to my Bold's convenience keys, I grabbed myself a copy of QuickLaunch. Just like the Treo Pro, I now have one click access not only to toggle WiFi on and off, but just about every application, file and function I could possibly want. This program really steps up my Bold's productivity and efficiency. Gone are the days of digging through menus to activate the memory cleaner or setup a Bluetooth connection, QuickLaunch simply does it all.

After writing this article I realized that I should not have been questioning what my device was capable of - no sir.  Instead I should have been asking what is it not capable of? While these other devices sometimes look a little fancier and may have a function or two that we don't, as loyal BlackBerry users we will always find a way to stay true to our beloved Berry. With all the new applications available today, the BlackBerry can have some beauty along its brains and braun.

CrackBery Member Stories - This article is from Mike B. - a member of the CrackBerry Nation (username BDBOLD). If you have anything you'd like to send in us that would be fitting for the CrackBerry blogs, we love to hear different views on everything Berry. Drop us a line at editorial@crackberry.com and let us know what you've got. The CrackBerry Member Stories category is to provide an outlet for members to have their tips, stories, ideas, etc. reach a broader audience. You may just see it here on the homepage!

19 comments

nyc_rock

Anything not clear there? Using three different browsers (which all blow by the way) is not substitute for one decent browser. Seriously BB, this is an embarrasment. At least give us tabbed browsing for gods sakes.

Has Blackberry every hinted that they are working on bringing tabbed browsing to the OS? Where is crackberry on this?

Dabrador

This article provides no useful value. Finding an app to improve an OS is like putting a gold nose ring on the snout of a pig.

The BB OS is outdated and has outlived its useful life. Each incremental increase in the OS is nothing more than prettier screens and bold text.

zzycatch

In what way is the BBOS out of date? I see this claim made a lot, but I've yet to see a single person defend it.

codemaker

This read like fanboyism. "BB browser sucks, but we have third party browsers. Oh, and we can multitask! Take that iphone losers!". Really? Although the BB browser has the basic functionality you need to access the web, the iphone browser is worlds better. And multitasking has no place in a discussion about browsers. On top of that, the iphone's excellent browser supports tabbed browsing, allowing them to view more than three web pages at a time. That is just a sample, the whole article reads like this (except with less iphone bashing).

I hate saying nice things about the iphone or defending it, but I hate fanboyism more. This could have been a much better article if it had been written from a more neutral point of view. Or more from the context of "tips to improve your blackberry experience".

akaRichard

I must agree with the comments above. While I'm willing to defend the berry on many levels, the browser really and truly sucks. It really needs an overhaul. It's the single biggest reason why I'm considering the iPhone (along with on-device VPN support).

While functional, the Berry OS is also due for a visual overall while keeping its core functionality.

The faster we berry users accept that truth instead of masking with 3rd party apps, the faster we can pressure RIM into giving us a better browser.

NonCon#CB

Was this article in any ways influence by what boygeniusreport.com wrote in there (What Happened to Research In Motion and where they are going?) Article? One of the best tech blog articles ever written so far in '09 I might add.

http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/06/30/what-happened-to-research-in-m...

JRSCCivic98

No doubt. This was the first thing that I thought of when I read this. Oh hey, look, this looks like a PR fireback from a RIM executive to save face. :rolleyes: I wasn't too far off from the truth. ;)

I think people are missing the key differences here. The features described, even in this article, are NATIVE on other handsets and the BB platform needs 3rd party apps to accomplish the same thing. Honestly, the only thing the BB platform has an upper hand advantage over is MULTITASKING... nothing else in my opinion. I dread the day Apple relases an OS for the iPhone that does seamless multitasking... because that'll be the end of BB advantages.

RobGom

Once the iphone has a comparable mult-tasking UI, and a back button, i'll be sorry to say that my beloved bold will go by the wayside. Rim has been at the forefront of Smartphone innovation for quite a while. That being said, they should take some glances in the rear view mirrow because at this rate, they're going to be trailing rather than leading.

Kevin Michaluk

FYI...this article was actually written/submitted to us on the editorial line a few days back (before the BGR post ever went up). The member submitted a few stories to get up - this one was just in the editorial queue for today.

Love the BGR piece too..I linked to it in our Canada Day post! Put words to what many people have been grumbling for a while.

Also, we're letting members submit stories for the blogs...so if you (or anybody else) wants to write a good piece, get it done! They're reflections of the community members... by members for members/readers, so should be good discussion points always.

thebeags

Maybe on another site?

collin16

Seems more like pride than fanboyism to me. And this article IS on crackberry.com, what do you really expect? I think you guys need to calm down just a pinch. Great article

Dabrador

No, what we ALL need to do is to call out the obvious. You can dress it up as "pride" but the truth is RIM is not keeping up in the smartphone category.

RIM is the current version of Palm from the mid 90's. RIM has the best hardware...now do something with it and introduce a similarly advanced OS!

c0rinne

I can appreciate what this article is trying to do.

To whoever wrote this, just ignore the whiners.

rocksteady01

...if anything I am hoping the iPhone innovations are making the RIM folks get off their lazy butts and get back into the game. Stop making 10 million versions of the same thing[curve] and giving it different names..

....take a lesson from Palm....you don't want to be the last person to the dance.

'A storm user....and loving it...but that iphone... she sure is pretty.

Death Blows to come.

-iphone on Verizon

cobra302

the article was very well written, but i dont see that the author really ever found anything that was like what he wanted. the programs mentioned, seemed to come close, but never really did the exact same thing.

i also agree that the bgr article that was posted was very good. really did spell it all out.

BDBOLD

1. My article was sent in a few days ago before BGR posted his.
2.BGR is well respected by the CB community and I personally found his perspective to be both truthful and well written.
3.We are BlackBerry enthusiests here at CB so yes I am biased towards the BlackBerry but as the article stated I personally like the features offered by the likes of Apple, HTC and others and set out to add some of there functionality to my device.
4.If you take the time to compose your own articles with your own views and opinions there is now a place to post them here on CB and ill certainly respect everyones opinions but negative comments are pointless.
5.Thanks to everyone who appreciated my take on owning a BlackBerry

br14

I don't deny that RIM's user interface (UI) leaves something to be desired, but if I read that their "OS" (Operating System) is rubbish one more time I think I'll explode.

RIM's OS is light years ahead of some others in the same market (you know who you are Mr Jobs) even if the UI isn't up to scratch.

Complain all you want about the UI but please don't confuse OS with UI.

As for the BB browser, there have been dramatic improvements over the past year or so. Admittedly it could still use further improvement, but what you may not realise is that app developers can embed phone features into web apps with the BB browser that are not possible with some other devices.

So if you want to interrogate GPS location data from the BB browser in your web pages, you are free to do so.

And for corporate developers, pushing content to the devices for use in the BB browser couldnt be easier.

Not to mention offline queues that allow you to queue up browser messages until back in coverage.

Oddly enough, replicating the Apple UI probably wouldnt take that much effort for RIM.

So I for one would love to know why they stubbornly refuse to succumb to the clammer for prettiness and leave UI improvements as extra work for developers (like myself).

By the way, creating a multi-tasking operating system is a hell of a lot harder than having a pretty screen.

kingzee

Great comments. Yes, many confuse the OS and UI. They are closely connected, but still entirely different. I really don't know what all of the fuss is about. I find no quams with the BB UI. It's simple and I like it. I'm sure I'd like it just the same if it were "prettied" up. The only difference between the iPhone UI and the BB UI is that iPhones uses more 2D/3D looking objects for icons, etc.