My BlackBerry Bolds Browsers Are Buggered. Yours Too?

Bold Browser Still Needs Work
By Kevin Michaluk on 28 Aug 2008 11:08 pm EDT

also known as...  I Tried To Do a Comprehensive BlackBerry Bold vs. iPhone 3G Web Browser Download Speed Test, but After Four Days Of Trying I'm Still Trying.

It's been a week since the BlackBerry Bold was released by Rogers in Canada. A lack of in-store availability on launch day meant I had to wait until day two to actually buy one, but buy one I did and I unboxed it on video with nearly uncontrollable excitement (can you blame me?!). I followed up soon after with another video showing off the device's media capabilities via the photos, movies, music and ringtones that come preloaded on the Bold.

With those two clips out of the way, it was time to move onto my next task - the BlackBerry Bold browser overview and Bold vs. iPhone 3G browser speed test showdown. I know some of you are getting sick of the Bold vs. iPhone which is better/comparison stuff, but there are a LOT of people out there who want to see this browser speed test happen (including the editors of some major tech sites that have been urging me to get this showdown done right). It was only a few minutes after I set out to begin the definitive Definitive DEFINITIVE Bold/iPhone browser speed test showdown that the frustrations that have consumed the past four days of my life began...

And four days later I am still unable to complete this master of all browser shootouts. My Bold's browser is fast at consuming pages over 3G with Javascript support turned off, but as soon as I enable Javascript support or try and browse over WiFi via the HotSpot browser, my Bolds (I have two of them now) fall apart. Read On for a whole lot of geek talk...


So here was my master plan. Visit eight popular websites on a commercially purchased, full release BlackBerry Bold and iPhone 3G under the four basic browsing conditions used by most people...

Websites to be visited:

Browser Conditions for Speed Test:

  • Over 3G, Javascript Support Off
  • Over 3G, Javascript Support On
  • Over WiFi, Javascript Support Off
  • Over WiFi, Javascript Support On

All told each phone would be timed over 32 website visits and compared under the same browser settings/conditions. The phones would not be "raced" side by side so as to eliminate variables (wouldn't want them competing for the same WiFi signals now would we?!). Rather, they would be individually time trialed. The timing device would be the stopwatch on my BlackBerry KickStart (err Pearl) 8220. Cache would be cleared, the appropriate settings would be picked per the four browsing states listed above, and then the eight sites would be visited in a row (timing each site individually, short break between each visit as the new URL is typed in). Once testing was complete for the BlackBerry Bold, I'd put it down, pick up the iPhone 3G, and visit the same eight sites under that same browser setting state. Once testing on a setting state was complete, cache would be cleared, settings would be changed, and the tests would be done under the next condition. And so it would go until each phone was timed visiting eight sites, four times over, each time under a different state. Also, the tests would be carried out late at night so that the sites being visited wouldn't be getting updated or change while the speed tests were taking place.

The other issue I wanted to be consistent and within regular operating norms on was signal strength. Though I own an iPhone 3G, I don't use it much or know that much about it to check those settings, but on the BlackBerry I used the ALT + NMLL shortcut to switch my signal strength to numbers. Throughout the 3G tests it registered at -70. For the WiFi tests, I checked the connection strength (Options > WiFi Connections > Menu Key > Network Details) prior to each test and and it was always between -35 and -40 dBm. So though I don't know the numbers for the iPhone 3G, at least it was always used in the exact same location. Lastly, I decided that the radios would be left on during the WiFi tests so as to duplicate real life use. I think most people still want the ability to receive calls even when browsing via WiFi.

All in all, about as fair a trial as I could think up or conduct within my work environment with the tools and smartphones at hand.

Special Note Regarding the BlackBerry Bold's Web Browsers

It should be noted that on the BlackBerry Bold additional setting changes need to be made in order to conduct the test as described. On the iPhone, the only settings required to be changed are Turn WiFi On or Off and Turn Javascript On or Off.

On the BlackBerry Bold, there are a couple more steps as there are actually two main browsers - the Internet Browser, used for browsing sites over 3G and also the HotSpot Browser, used for browsing sites when WiFi is enabled. It's kind of interesting to note that the default for the Bold's Internet Browser is to have Javascript Support disabled, while under the HotSpot Browser it is enabled (iPhone's default is to have Javascript support enabled). So when switching between 3G and WiFi tests on the Bold, the actual browsers need to be switched accordingly. Also, the Browser Identification settings needed to be changed. On the Browser Configuration page there are three options under the Browser Identification field: BlackBerry, Firefox, Internet Explorer. This setting determines how web servers see the device.

Browser SettingBrowser Setting
Seemingly Innocent Browser Settings...that for me lead to TROUBLE!

When set to BlackBerry, if you visit a site like or, their servers will detect the BlackBerry setting and serve you up a mobile-optimized site instead of the full html site. A nice touch, especially if content is your only concern, but for this test since we want to compare HTML sites the default settings wouldn't work. So for all of the browser tests, the Bold would be set to "Internet Explorer" (which I later would find out from a Rogers Rep and RIM Support Rep was the recommended selection for this kind of test).

Preamble to the SUPER DUPER TEST

So it was after midnight on Sunday when the rest of the blogosphere was hopefully sleeping (didn't want anybody posting stories and changing the sites to be visited) that I got set up to do the testing. Video camera ready, digital camera ready, notebook and pen ready, stopwatch ready, iPhone 3G and a shiny new BlackBerry Bold ready.

Before getting to the official time trials per the rules above, I figured I'd do some general testing and browsing so I'd have a sense of what was to come. Both phones had their WiFi turned off, and their browsers set to factory defaults (minus Browser Identification on the Bold set to Internet Explorer). I was pleased to see the Bold beat the iPhone for pulling up the first three sites I visited -, and It was only faster by a few seconds, but it was faster, so I took this as hopeful sign of good things to come. The Bold's browser doesn't do quite as a good of job at rendering pages as the iPhone 3G's browser, but it's pretty darn close (I'd argue 95% as good). There are some sites, like, where the Bold really messes up the tables, and it also seems to have something against the header on Regardless, the Bold pulled up these sites about a bajillion times faster than they would have on my 8320 Curve on Edge and looked about a gajilion times better than the browser on OS4.2.2. A HUGE leap forward for RIM.

Based on this initial testing with both phones set to their browser defaults, you could argue the Bold's browser is actually faster than the iPhone 3G's browser. But... BIG BUT... the Bold's Internet browser is set to Javascript Support disabled while the iPhone's default is to have it enabled. To tell you the honest truth, when it comes to just viewing websites on both the Bold and Safari I have not really noticed much difference visually between having JS on or off (the pages render about the same). In a world where speed is of the essence, I think most people could live with JS turned off. But for this to be a fair test and draw a fair conclusion of which smartphone is faster at browsing, the speed tests would have to be compared under the same browser settings. Takeaway Lesson: if you see any speed tests conducted between two smartphones, be sure to double check the settings. Enabling JS support on one and not the other can skew the results however you like. 


3G Browsing, Javascript Off
The Bold pulled up the majority of sites in the 29 to 40 second range. Not too bad I figured, considering some of the sites (like CrackBerry and theIphoneBlog are actually pretty beasty). The Bold seemed to be off to a good start.

iPhone 3G's turn. Wow. I was actually pretty shocked at how fast the iPhone 3G pulled up pages with Javascript disabled. In the time that I've had an iPhone 3G I have never thought to turn off Javascript (have just used the browser on its defaults), but apparently doing so is a pretty good idea - it seems to save about 10 to 20 seconds per site on downloading time.

When set on the same browser settings, in this round of speed trials the iPhone 3G definitely seemed to hold the upper hand. Round 1 goes to the iPhone 3G.

3G Speed Test

3G Browsing, Javascript On
And this is where my story takes a downhill turn and becomes a full-fledged nightmare. Up until now I was super happy with my BlackBerry Bold. Loving it. Though it was a bit slower in the first round of tests than the iPhone 3G I was still happy. Time for Round 2. I clear the cache on both phones and turn on Javascript support. I start with the Bold first - this would be the first time ever browsing a site over 3G on the Bold with Javascript support checked on. Time to visit

2 minutes go by before the page finishes loading... WTF?!?! Over twice as long for Javascript support? Let's try the 3 minutes?! Something can't be right here. Watching the pages load with Javascript support enabled was painful. The blue status bar was constantly going (requesting script, running script, loading images, requestin script, running script) and the hour glass began popping up on the screen. Ok. Let's try one more. One minute, two minutes, three minutes... A problem occured while trying to render the page. WTF?! Ok Time to clear the cache and reboot this phone. Let's try this again. Over 3G, Javascript on, ok.. two minutes to load Engadget. Better. Let's try Gizmodo. Hmm... Four Minutes later it's still loading. I lose my patience. I try and hit Menu > Stop but the device is stuck thinking. Eventually it does respond and I manage to exit the browser. Alt + Caps + H brings up the Help Me! Screen and I look at the File Free number. Only 12 megs? But...but... I swear I had 43MB free just a few minutes ago. I mean, common on, I haven't even installed one app on this phone or done anything other than browse a couple of websites.

HOUSTON... errr.. WINNIPEG... we have a PROBLEM
There goes my well-planned, comprehensive and fair test. My Bold must buggered is all I can think. Let's give it a few minutes rest and I'll finish off the iPhone's tests. I whip off the eight sites with the Javascript on over 3G. Clear the cache, turn on WiFi and proceed to whip off the 16 site visits required for the test. You can check out the times on the tables. Kudos to Apple - these tests went fast and flawless. Maybe their new marketing slogan should be "The iPhone 3G's Web Browser can load faster than Usain Bolt can run a 100 meters."

So with the iPhone 3G now done its share of the tests, I'm back to the Bold. Let's try visiting a few more sites over 3G with Javascript support on. No dice. Same issues. It'll pull up the first site I visit with Javascript on within a minute or two, then from there if I try to visit any other sites without first clearing the cache or restarting the phone it takes minutes to complete loading a page, if it loads at all. I found I was getting a whole bunch of errors - Cannot Render Page, Insufficient Memory, or my favorite, Communication Error. YET... if I close down the browser, restart it and disable Javascript once again, the site that just took 4 minutes to load now takes less than 30 seconds. And I can browse sites continuously. Conclusion - something is FRAK'd with the Bold's ability to support Javascript when browsing over 3G. Well, for ME anyway. Time to move on. I'm sure things have to go smoother with the WiFi tests.

WiFi Speed Tests

I connect to my local network and the connection is STRONG... -35 dBm. I'm less than a hop and skip (no jump) away from the router for the duration of these tests to help ensure strong signal strength and hopefully quick WiFi browsing speeds. Let's start with Javascript off (where there doesn't seem to be an issue). I had loading in 40 seconds over 3G, so with the WiFi generating such a strong signal I'm thinking it should be at least 10 or even 20 seconds quicker, considering the iPhone loaded it in under 20 seconds. Nearly two minutes later the site finishes loading. WTF?! Shouldn't WiFi be faster than 3G? I'm not convinced. I pull the battery, clear the cache, and try it again. Problem rendering page?!!

Browser Hate
After a while I got used to the Bold's Browser HATING me

At this point I'm thoroughly baffled. I try browsing websites over WiFi on the Bold for the better part of an hour. Unfortunately, that doesn't equal many sites. I eventually gave up. Something must be wrong. Images would begin to load, but then the blue status bar of death and hour glass would take over. It would take several tries of cache clearing and rebooting to get a site to load, and when it did, it was in the minutes. Either this phone is broken (yet everything else about the device seems to be in perfect working order) or the Bold hates me, or RIM released a device with some Gremlins living in the code, or maybe a bit of all three. 4am. Time for bed.


Test Day 2 - Monday
I take care of my regular Monday morning CrackBerry duties then get back to the Bold. I do a few more tests. Same deal as the night before. I call Rogers for support. While the tech guy I got was super friendly and we examined the device and browser settings and options, everything looked good on my end. He thought maybe it was hardware problem and suggested returning the device since I just bought it a few days prior.

I call up RIM Technical Support. I give them my credit card number so they can charge me the $50 per tech issue fee. I just want to talk to somebody who has a Bold in there hand and hopefully several Bolds nearby (Rogers guy was on an 8700) so we can do some of these tests over the phone and we can get to the bottom of this issue. Unfortunately, the first rep I talked to didn't have a Bold on him and the guys in tech support who did were not around at the moment. But the rep assured me that turning on Javascript should not add minutes to the browsing experience nor mess up the phone the way I described it. We examined the settings and did a couple of quick tests. No luck. He then suggested I wipe the handheld (Options > Security Options > General Settings > Menu Key > Wipe Handheld), so we did that while on the phone. Still no luck. He suggested I download the OS from Rogers (they just put it up on their site that day) and do a clean install of the OS. He figured if that didn't help it may be a hardware issue and that I should take it back and return it for a new one.

So I reloaded the OS. No luck. I called up my Rogers guy to see if he had any Bolds left in stock. He had ONE. I make it to the store just before it closed for the night. Instead of returning it, I just decide to buy a second Bold. This way I'll now have a second device to test out my findings on and make sure my numbers are valid... because at this point I'm not really trusting the device. While at the store, I grabbed my sales guy's Bold and did some testing on his device. There was no WiFi to test on... but guess what? Same Javascript support issue over 3G. I browse a few sites with Javascript off and they load quick...turn on JS support, and I don't have the patience to watch event one site finish loading. I buy my second Bold, go home, put everything on the charger and go to bed.

Test Day 3 - Tuesday
Please Please Please just let my first Bold have been a dud. I love the device. I just want it to work properly the way it should.

Nope. Same EFF'n issues. Exactly the same. Web browser works nice and fast if it's over 3G and Javascript is turned off. I turn on Javascript and the device becomes a dud. And this one is HATING my WiFi connection just like the first Bold. It dawns on me that maybe for SOME reason the Bold has some sort of incompatibility issue with my router (a D-Link DIR-625). Seems weird, especially since the iPhone seems to love it, but to eliminate this possibility I go to the homes of a few of my friends and try doing some WiFi tests over their HotSpots. No dice. A page will start to load...and then it craps out. I have yet to see one page load fast on either of my Bolds over WiFi. Well - not totally true. One time after a reboot I managed to load in 37.56 seconds. Not bad...though over 3G it only took 14.42. This has to be a curse. Two tainted Bolds?

I call back in to RIM Technical. I get a really helpful guy who has a lot patience with me and the situation at hand. Juggling both Bolds back forth, we go through different speed tests under different settings. He's taking notes. He gives me a task list of more tests to try and he gets started on doing some testing of his own. I email him my results. He emails me back an hour or so later that he's escalated the testing on to their Research department and somebody from that team will get back to me.

At this point I get an email from one of's forum moderators telling me to check out a forum post. It seems a few members are beginning to wonder where I'm at... nothing new on the Bold, not too many blog posts from me this week, no new podcast.. so I post where I'm at in the forums along with a little RANT!

I give up for now. Two new BlackBerry Bolds that have been three years in the making that I've been waiting months for to get released and I can't even get done the little browser speed test I've been trying to complete since Sunday night. I'm going to bed.

Test Day 4 - Wednesday
I email back RIM technical support first thing in the morning looking for an update. They respond and want more questions:

  • make and model of the router I've been trying to use WiFi on
  • the exact steps I have been going through in conducting my speed tests.

They're on it. I like that. I just wish they could tell me what was wrong and tell me how to fix it. Trust me, I do NOT want to be spending my time doing this (nor writing this blog post for that matter). I just want things to be perfect. And while I'm not opposed to going out and buying a third Bold, I just have a feeling it won't solve this nagging Javascript issue, nor my weird WiFi issue.. which seems strange.

But it seems my buds over at BlackBerry Cool were having a better time than me with the Bold. Simon posted up a video comparison between the Bold and iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3G wins a buy a bit, but it's close. But it also looks like the Bold's browser has Javascript support disabled for the tests. I couldn't help but WONDER if the boys at BBCool would run into the same issues as me if they turned Javascript support on.

I think it's time to get some outside help on this. My definitive Definitive DEFINITIVE browser test is obviously garbage at this point. I don't think it can considered a valid test because both my Bolds are messed up. So I call up Doug from BlackBerry Cool and bring him up to speed on my week of frustrations. BBCool's new Rogers Bold has been doing ok, but while we're on the phone Doug starts doing some tests. He's definitely not having the same WiFi browsers that I've been having. That's good. I have hope that there's a simple explanation to why my two Bolds hate WiFi. Doug switches to 3G with Javascript off and pulls up a couple sites. Still pretty fast. Now for the true test. Doug enables Javascript within the 3G/Internet Browser. I AM CURSED. It only took a minute for him to realize something was a mess. And when trying to visit a second or third site over the Internet Browser it slowed to a crawl and brought up the hour glass and rendered the device next to unusable.

That was enough to get BBCool onboard to try and figure out what's going on here. I emailed Doug my spreadsheet with sites to visit and my timing data (plus we added two more great sites to the test - and and he picked up the gauntlet. I have heard grumblings that there could be some "geographic" issues at play here with the issues I'm experiencing, and while I don't understand why or how that would be the case, with Doug and Simon being in Ottawa we could at least maybe validate or throw out my results data.

Test Day 5 - Thursday
RIM got back to me with some of their tests. They told me they had visited all eight websites I was testing over WiFi in 24 seconds or less with Javascript both Off and On. FAST. That's what I want. That's what I've been expecting! But in that email they made no mention of the 3G speeds (with JS on or off) or whether or not they were investigating that end of the equation further. They did however give me a new set of sites to visit and do some time trials on:

You can see the results. The Bold handled the sites no problem over 3G with JS off, and I was able to run through them in succession, but I again ran into the same issues once I turned it Javascript support on or tried anything over WiFi. I actually had one site load fast over WiFi - But once I tried to browse to the phone just locked up after 2 minutes of attempting to load the page. And really, should I have to reboot the phone and clear the cache just to browse one site? Something is obviously messed up here. I lost patience and sent them in my data from this round of tests for the sites I could do in reasonable time. I'm waiting to hear what's next.

RIM Suggested Sites Bold Test

In the meantime, Doug got back to me with the completion of his tests! The are POSTED HERE on You'll want to check out the results. Pretty Interesting. At least I'm not totally crazy. He IS running into the same issues as me when he enables Javascript support over the 3G browser. Thank GOD his HotSpot browser is actually working and the test times look good. The WiFi strength he tested on isn't too strong (I think his times would be a lot faster if it was around -40 dBm) but obviously things are in check there and it seems like his HotSpot browser can handle Javascript. Even with things working better for him on the WiFi browser some of the results seem a bit out of whack... for some of the tests the pages actually loaded quicker with Javascript on.


You've seen what I'm trying to do. How do your test results compare? Post them in the blog comments or on this dedicated forum thread. Or email it in to Kevin at Are you experiencing any of the same issues? Are you trouble free? Let me know! Follow the methodology in this post with the same sites being visited. I'll follow up with a Call for Bold Browser Data blog post shortly that lays out the exact steps.

Update: I've been receiving a TON of emails on this since posting, and it seems LOTS of you are experiencing the same issues. MANY with the Javascript enabled over 3G browsing, and SOME with the same WiFi issues. Ergggs. 


I'm sorry guys and gals. I failed you. I set out to put together an awesome test comparing the browsing speeds of the Bold and iPhone 3G and I couldn't get it done. The premise was there, but the equipment is not up to snuff yet to draw any definitive conclusions. I say that because I don't think this is a fair battle just yet. I may have bought the Rogers BlackBerry Bold (well, TWO of them) over the counter, but the Bolds I'm rocking are obviously still in training - not ready for the full-out browser speed test war just yet.

So here are my conclusions for NOW:

  • the BlackBery Bold from Rogers has some serious issues when you attempt to enable Javascript support while browsing the web over 3G. Maybe not for everyone, but at least for four devices owned by a guy who works in a Rogers store and two BlackBerry Addicts who happen to be the editors of BlackBerry blogs.
  • there has to be some sort of issue with the Bold and WiFi/HotSpot Browser that pops up under specific circumstances. I don't know what is yet, but I'm sure there's something up. I know I'm a CrackBerry Addict and not a BlackBerry Expert, but I don't *think* it's user error on my part in this case. 
  • when the Bold browser is working it's pretty fast and works well. Not quite as fast as the iPhone's Safari browser, but fast. Word has it that RIM still has a lot of performance tweaking to do to extract more speed out of the browser and I believe it. There's no doubt the hardware is capable of sucking down the data quick, so this showdown may be pretty tight in a month or two as new code gets released. For now I'd be happy just having a native browser that worked as intended. I've got video footage of this whole debacle/massacre/mess or whatever you want to call, but I'm going to trash it in hopes a better day will be here soon. I'll turn the video recorder on once the Bolds' browsers are no longer buggered.
  • if you're in the USA waiting for the Bold to come to AT&T, don't be mad, be GLAD. I'm sure hope by the time you get the device RIM will have addressed these issues and you won't have to be frustrated like ME.

If you've read this far you are hardcore and truely a smartphone geek. Be proud of it. I've spent the better part of a week in frustration dealing with this. I think me and the Bolds are officially now on a break. Just for a bit. At least until this issue gets resolved and I actually know which one of the Bolds I'm going to keep as my daily driver, my SIM is going back in my Curve.

White CurveOld Faithful
No 3G or Awesome Display or Fast Processor, but my Curve is Still Sexy

Good thing I just did the Colorware thing and got it painted white. I'm still attracted to her and have a lot of love... call me a BlackBerry Polygamist, it's the truth!!


Topics: Devices

Reader comments

My BlackBerry Bolds Browsers Are Buggered. Yours Too?


well I didn't read all the info I just checked out the cute phones lol!! (such a girl right?)

really nice and I love the white.

I wish they would send to Canada, I'd love to get one done!! yay!!

RIM said that they are now focusing on getting the bowser to render properly (BTW can you please show he results for the Acid, Acid2, and Acid3 tests?) and after that they are supposed to be working on stability and speed.

Holy Massive blog post batman, still got nothing on the novels you write and call emails though :P

Aside from that...regarding the post, I have been on a lot of sites lately looking at everybodys reaction to the BlackBerry Bold...noticing a lot of issues with the device at this point...the biggest seemingly is the browser issue, as well as the "App Error 205" bug that seems to be plaguing the Bolds, at this point i'm kind of glad I haven't taken the leap yet to the Bold...maybe all the stuff about it NOT being ready are turning out to be true...which makes me wonder why RIM would sacrifice their history of great quality products, just to release something not ready...seems like a Microsoft kind of way to go..launch it, knowing it's buggy..use the users of it as beta testers and fix it based on their findings...Broken product..fixed via patches..Maybe the iPhone rush forced RIM to go that way, but even then I still don't understand why they would sacrifice a quality product and their reputation on that alone.

PS: Send me one of your Bolds, I'll do some testing and send you the results...we can rule out that geograhpic thing, although I cant guarantee the Bold will come back...just the test results :P

Yeah, been getting lots of those. Only on reboots though.

Once the device gets buggy and glitchy, I try to doing a soft reboot. Leads to an App Error 205. From there another soft reboot or battery pull seems to get it back up and running.

I tried a soft reset and it didn't work, So I pulled that battery and now it seems fine ):<
What the hell is that error anyway??

Just wondering Kevin, at this stage in the new OS game for the Bold and all the problems with the browser, would you stick with the Curve until the issues are worked out? Or is the Bold's problems worth working putting up with until there is some sort of update for it?

I just tried, with out Java script over Wi-Fi loads in under a minute for sure (no timer on me at the moment)... with Javascript (cache cleared), it takes longer but is still not more than 2 minutes I figure...

P.S. I'm probably using a newer version of the OS than you ;)

I have no doubt something is messed with my WiFi.

The bigger test is over 3G and the Internet browser.

Try visiting Should be maybe 35 - 45 seconds (signal strength at -70). Try again with Javascript Support on. That's the BIG glitch here.

It should maybe add 10 seconds or something. But right it messes things up.

If you're running newer code than then yeah, hopefully things are better. But I'm running what was delivered on the device I bought over the counter a few days ago. Should never have been released if this issue is as widespread as it seems to be.

I did try with Javascript on afterwards (as I said earlier).. it did take longer, you're correct. But it did load...and did not take that much longer IMO

I understand your frustrations. In all honesty though, the browser is probably the weakest link on the Bold from what I've seen. It also seems to me that the browser runs good only after a reboot. Kind of like Windows, I'm disappointed to say..

Saying that however, it slowly keeps getting better and better. Compare it with the pre-release Bold you got... You'll say that RIM should've waited more till they released it, but apparently for them it made good business sense. It will be frustrating for the early upgraders, but it will help get feedback for other devices that are to come out. I hope.

The biggest problem with RIM is that even if they do get the Bold's browser fixed in a future OS release, the average person doesn't know how to do an OS upgrade so they're screwed. RIM's OS upgrade mechanism is stupid, and totally unlike Apple's. If Apple screws up something on the software side with the iPhone they simply push out the update, and boom, it's instantly available for *everybody in the world* and the upgrade process is easy.

OS 4.5 & 4.6 were supposed to introduce Over-The-Air OS upgrading, but it's only available for devices on a BES. In other words, for a lot of the Bold's that are being sold to *consumers* now, the OS that comes with the device is the OS they're going to have forever. Their experience will be crappy, like yours Kev, and they'll be annoyed.

And I didn't even talk about the fact that the Bold SHIPS WITH JavaScript turned OFF. WTF? How the hell are developers ever supposed to create compelling web-applications without JavaScript? Is this a joke or something?

I used to use Viigo on my BlackBerry but now since I have an iPhone I've been using the Google Reader web application which is spankingly brilliant - you just can't beat synchronization between your mobile and your desktop world.

Without JavaScript turned on by default, no company or developer is going to give a stuff even trying to create web applications for the BlackBerry.

What a totally wasted opportunity.

Very nice effort. My wife and I are looking forward to the bold here in the U.S. Your right hopefully they will get the javascript bug nailed down before it comes to AT&T. No worries gives me more time to save the money, afterall I'll be buying two as well.

interesting read and definately delayed my purchasing of the bold until you get some answers/solutions (was originally going to get it september 2nd)
Have you also spoken to RIM about any of the memory leaks that you have been experiencing? i thgouth 128 would be plenty seeing as how my curve runs fine on 64mb, but it seems like the bold is terrible in that department as well

The text in the last time chart is sooooooooo funny. "gave up WTF?" That is the killer. Hilarious

I have waited for what felt like years for the Bold to release. I gave up and went to the iPhone 3G and I must say I couldnt be happier. I really wanted the bold to be good tho, rather unfortunate to say the least.

OK I'm sorry, call it JEALOUSY if you like but ever since you got your first Bold on E-Eff'n-Bay I've really not liked you or the Crackberry web site! Yeah that's right! Your posts are always dropping the "Bold Bomb" and it has been just so annoying! No wait, thats not fair. I think it's because of your success... Whatever I admit it's messed up but I'm dubbing you Kevin Michaluk my new "NEMESIS". (yes I only had one Nemesis before you. He worked at Starbucks. It's a long story.)

Now today after reading your post I can finally feel vindicated and I actually enjoyed hearing about your Bold Issues! Yes that's right... No browsing with Javascript enabled! Ha Ha Ha Ha! Now whose laughing! Me that's who!!!

BTW I love your pod casts

I only ever had one NEMESIS too... also a long story. We should meet up one day and tell each other our NEMESIS stories. Though I guess I know one of yours now.

Shoot me an email. kevin at I think you NEED to be a guest soon on our CrackBerry Podcast. Will make for an awesome show.

Hopefully you have a killer radio voice that's better than mine - not my calling, that's for sure. It's definitely Craig that holds the show together :)

I've tried a couple on Opera 9.5 on my HTC Touch, EVDO

There is something really weird with It loaded almost all the page in 20 seconds, but then it hung there for more than a minute. It's like there is some weird time on on the ads served on the page.

If there is a problem with third party ad servers, you will indeed be affected by your geographic locations. I'm not getting the same ads here in Montreal as you are.

Theirs a spot to enable "Location Based Java Script" on the Bold...which SHOULD be addressing the issues with location based ad's being served.

Not sure if Kevin enabled that though! May be something to look at.

I have always had issues with JS on my Pearl 8100 not being acceptable. Fortunately, only 1 site I ever go to needs JS to function for me, but its a killer. Normally, I grab my buddy's iPhone and visit that site.

Plus CSS and page rendering is all over the place with the new 4.5 for 8100. Most pages render better with CSS on, but 2 that I read are much worse (including Pinstack) and 2 (CrackBerry and BGR) won't even load.

Those are the very issues I hoped RIM had knocked out before my next BB - as I am awaiting the Storm/Thunder.

As for your WiFi, my only question/hint would be are you using b/g or draft(N). It could be that your router IS the problem in this case. I of course would hate to think RIM didnt look forward to N and backwards at b/g as both being required, though.

I think the Router could be the issue to in regards to the WiFi/Hotspot browser, but it's just weird how it seems fine. SOME STUFF will's not like there's no connection at all. So info is getting through.

I tried from several different spots too - so either they're all bad, or both my devices have some weird glitch. I'm not sure.

Either way, the iPhone 3G works fine on all the locations that are giving me glitches.

it is called Draft(N) for a reason, its not completely set, and while technically backwards compatible, I suspect that could be the reason some info is getting through at what seems like Edge speeds. Either way, RIM is really missing the mark on all of these issues.

I'm going to have to defend the BB bold here. The loaded in under 30 seconds for me using the hotspot browser. Not sure what's up with yours... :(

yeah, for me 3G mode with JS off is what worked just fine. The browser is completely useable in that mode.

It's when Javascript gets turned on while browsing over 3G that the browsing time goes up BIG time.

And for Most people the WiFi Browsers seem to be working ok. There's just "something" going on with mine that seems really really really out of whack. Don't know the explanation for it yet, but there has to be one.

Um... it took you 4 days to figure it out?

I've been reporting browsing issues since last Friday.

WiFi is dodgy on the Bold. 3G browsing is just broken.

There's also an insane desire for this piece of junk to want to switch to a 1 bar Edge signal when there is a 5 bar 3G signal. No idea what that's about.

Where the hell is the new OS from Rogers?

No No. I figured out the problems the FIRST time I tried the browser out (that's in the post). I just spent four days working to try and get it diagnosed, acknowledged, and fixed.

My goal here was to do the Browser shootout. Never expected it to turn into a Bold's Browser is Buggered post, but once it became apparent that I'd never be able to fill in my spreadsheets with valid times from the Bold I figured the only thing to do was blog my experiences of the week.

Wow, you guys are right. If the iphone really is that fast, and processing all the javascript, then the bold's processor either sucks, is doing too much other things in the background, or something else software related.

It could be that the iphone is not really running all the javascript, but that is unlikely.

Regarding the iPhone, as you say, it is highly unlikely it is not running all the JS. There are some beautiful AJAX (The 'J' is for JavaScript FYI) web applications that are available for the iPhone. It's the real deal...

I can count the number of BlackBerry web-applications on one hand. I can count the number of *good* BlackBerry web-applications with no hands.

Then, hoping the bold's hardware doesn't completely suck, it's a major software issue going on here.

I'm not certain, but I believe that since the iphone has 8GB of space by default, it has a decent amount of RAM, and the bold's 1GB default space means it wasn't even meant to compete in this space.

Nevermind, bold and iphone have same amount of RAM.

So there is still hope? ;)

Only thing I can think of now is virtual memory page faults eating up processor time, or something. But probably general software issues that can indeed be cleared up (phew!).

Sadly enough, I have to say that I've been running into the same problem as Kevin.

I purchased a BB Bold from Rogers a few days back - amazing device, I'm in love with it!

At first, the browser worked beautifully. With JS turned on however, or if browsing on WIFI, pages would take minutes to load or fail to load at all.


I'm starting to think that guaranteed to get better speeds the 8GB+ space is needed. By the way, what's the max micro SD card the bold can handle?

ok, enough of my ranting, anyway, according to gizmodo it supports the 8GB and is expected to support the newer 16GB as well.

So Kevin, you neglected another way RIM has jacked the price in your unboxing of the bold---you guaranteed have to buy yourself a micro SD :(((

I only have a few pics and a small video, already told me to delete the languages I wasn't using, cleared cache and all, and already am down to under 3MB free file space.

Whoa. That was the longest blog post I ever read. Kudos to Kevin for taking the time to write all that for us CrackBerry users out there, even though it wasn't what he wanted to write, that still was awesome. I hope RIM can push out a firmware update to fix all the Bold users' out there. Looking forward to see RIM's final fix/response on this issue. Hopefully soon.

I live in Calgary, and thought what the heck, I'll try as well. Downtown Calgary, 1:00 AM.

Starting the tests with the 3G, They were simular to the results you had. The only major difference in times was trying to load 3G w/JS:

Here's just a few examples of the sites. 8 mins, 23 seconds 4 mins, 54 seconds 1 min, 17 seconds 35 seconds 1 min, 6 seconds.

Signal: -70 DBM for 3G

So, I must agree with you 100%. I really wonder how the techs got fast times for these sites.

Even hardcoding the APN to or didn't help much either.
Hopefully this helps.

Here's hoping it gets fixed ASAP...

I would love to see this test using Opera on the Bold as it seems RIM just can't get that browser right.

This makes me want to analyze the coding of some of these pages to figure out what the deal is. I think I might peruse some of the code on the iphoneblog vs natgeo. Im curious if you had the same results using the bb browser with js on...

Anyhow before I spend hours breaking down bad code heres something to look at.
Global Statistics
Total HTTP Requests: 136
Total Size: 1313957 bytes

Object Size Totals
Object type Size (bytes) Download @ 56K (seconds) Download @ T1 (seconds)
HTML: 104058 21.54 1.35
HTML Images: 743296 157.34 13.14
CSS Images: 193927 50.45 12.83
Total Images: 937223 207.79 25.97
Javascript: 246375 52.90 5.11
CSS: 25392 6.46 1.53
Multimedia: 909 0.38 0.20
Other: 0 0.00 0.00

Global Statistics
Total HTTP Requests: 46
Total Size: 359785 bytes

Object Size Totals
Object type Size (bytes) Download @ 56K (seconds) Download @ T1 (seconds)
HTML: 47703 10.11 0.85
HTML Images: 220469 49.74 6.97
CSS Images: 20746 5.73 1.71
Total Images: 241215 55.47 8.68
Javascript: 60572 12.67 0.92
CSS: 10295 2.65 0.65
Multimedia: 0 0.00 0.00
Other: 0 0.00 0.00

Its worth mentioning that the iphone blog has missing images.

You should try hitting up one the connection speed sites with your bolds and iphones and see what kind of numbers you get from that.

I read the whole thing and it's rather disappointing about the bold's browser with js. I don't think you failed at all, quite the opposite. Since one of the objectives was to see how fast it really is, and we've found out. Right now bold's browser with js sucks!

RIM needs to step it up!

Btw, any upcoming info's regarding BB 9220? So eager for any news for that 3g Javalin.

But is anyone else encountering an email notification problem with their Bold?

After reading an unread email and then hitting the back button (to go back to the home screen) 5 mins later I get another notification of a new message but its the same email I just read. I've checked all the email options and such but all the settings seem fine.

Just wondering if anyone else is encountering this issue and if there is anyone way to fix it.



I love my Bold. I just got my wisdon teeth pulled and it has since been my bedside companion helping me through this tough time. I love you Brutus (a.k.a my Blackberry Bold)

My bold is having the same problems with JavaScript and so are those of some of my friends. Not cool.

Oh God , should I regret buying this thing now?
How are we ever going to use 6 GB a month with this slowness of the browser? I'm pissed and there better be a fix in sight else I will use my 30 day 30 min exchange with Rogers.

All bold owners out there.. I have come to learn that some of us have and some don't have the wireless update feature. I was wondering who out there has the wireless update feature from their bold? I called rogers over it they told me some of the units shipped with it and some did not.

Hey Kevin,

I know this is a litlle off topic, but I figured this was usefull info to us crackers. Take a look at the link below for further info.

Consider this a pretty solid bit of info, though it has not been double or triple confirmed like we normally like to do, and well, we saw what happened with Rogers. We’ve heard from pretty high up source at AT&T that they’re aiming to have the BlackBerry Bold in stores on October 2nd. That’s a Thursday, so we’re assuming the full launch would be on the following Monday, the 6th. Let’s see how this pans out…

Just completed my own test with my Curve. I beat Bold and Iphone on all web sites with poor little ole slow EDGE. Bahaha.

You probably didn't put it on IE emulator. You can't compare it using the bb emulator. Apples to Apples is the only way to go!! Edge is not and cannot be faster than 3G (when working properly lol)

.....that maybe there is a reason ATT hasn't released the Bold yet?

We all sit here and complain and want this thing released, and it turns out that it obviously is no where near ready. Maybe the rest of the phone is ready, but obviously not the 3G and JS. With the Bold, RIM is trying to get a piece of the trendy, non-business market. These two features are pretty darn important to compete with the iPhone (BTW....I would never buy one of those things).

Hopefully, ATT is working with RIM to iron out the bugs in the software. Heck, maybe the ATT branded bolds will ship with an updated OS.

I am on IE.I know EDGE is not faster than 3G, but it is according Kevs tests and mine. At least I am faster until his Bold is working right. LOL

After all the hype about the Bold, There are issues with 3G and it's web browsing, I tried some of those tests, and I too had some speed problems on certain sites.
I surely hope that Rogers puts out an OS update soon to get rid of these issues. Either than that, I love my Bold.

There seems to be a beta out there on the web that is available for the Bold. I wonder if you could install it on one of your Bolds to see if there is any difference.

Come on man - don't leave us hanging by a thread. We gots to know what's going on. Has .134 helped any? How about another significant update to your blog post? How about a Podcast? You've got us addicted, and then no more fixes for the Bold info junkies.

I've upgraded to the leaked firmware .134 and tested out using a clean install over wifi.

40 seconds was the time it took to complete, compared to 2mins + that you experienced...

try the new firmware seems a lot more stable.

Thank You Kevin for all your hard work. Sorry to hear the bad news. I have just read where ATT will probably hold the Bold off until October now. Like everyone I have been patiently waiting all summer for the Bold. Now I think I may have had enough. October is not a summer release date. It's been months and really to me it looks like the Bold has serious issues. Today I will drive down to the Apple Store and throw my bucks on the counter. One iPhone 3G please!
Enough, RIM failed horribly on this one I'm sorry to say.

Actually, all the problems you've had have helped me out. I have a 7130c and there have always been websites (including this one) that I could not pull up. I can't even count how many times I've pulled the battery. I tried turning off the Java and VIOLÁ, it works. Whatever problem the Bold is having could be the same one my old BlackBerry has.

Come December the Bold better get un-tweeked or I'm gonna be forced to jump ship.
I hate to do it i luv BB. :/

For God's Sake, pull it together RIM!

Good thing I got tired of waiting for the Bold on ATT and bought an unlocked Nokia E71. 3G and wifi definitely rendering pages must faster than the bold and competitive with Iphone speeds. and if you havent seen this phone, i highly recommend it. EVERYONE asks me about it and wants one.

im so tired of hearing about this phone and not being able to buy it from at&t yet...i dont even want it anymore, my treo 750 is on life support and i need something now...i like the iphone but i hate how you cant get pics except through email and the touchscreen keyboard.. if only the nokia e71 had a better looking screen.. i think i might settle for the samsung omnia, but i heard that screen is very good either hmm... damn you at&t

I must say that you have my congratulations that you have the means to collect multiple phones costing several hundred dollars each. And that you have time to spend four days doing nothing but counting the milliseconds of internet page loads. A lot of money and maybe too much time. I envy you.

hi kevin,

this might be a little bit off topic, but besides BOLD I also use a Nokia E90 from time to time. call the E90 a underdog, but while the keyboard on that Nokia dinosaur is not very good to type, and calendar and contacts are old fashioned and slow compared to BOLD or BB, the E90s wide display is proably even better, sharper and crisper than the iphones, and it's Browser is really fast, no matter if JS is on/off, or if 3.5G (HDSPA) or Wifi is used.

sometimes with a lot of bugs compared to my old 8310 and 8700v I wonder why I have spent € 500+ on the bold.

but regarding fast email handling, contacts and calendar (and typing emails) no iphone (or E90) comes up ever to a BB, so then I know why :).


ps: I use tmobile OS, and there is a difference between slow JS turned on, and fast JS turned off.

The bb browser definitely sucks, I've confirmed it. Opera Mini runs as though you were running a totally different machine. It's just not as smooth and BB friendly, but for the speeds its giving me with JS and the whole lot it's hella worth it.

RIM folks must have begun development on this browser last week or something like that. 5 man crew? Hell you guys need a bigger crew if you're going to attempt to take on the iphone with the thunder/storm.

Kevin, how pissed would RIM folks get if you did a opera mini bb bold test vs Iphone? =DDDDDDDDD hahahaha ... hilarious!

First, I want to know what JS adds to this whole browsing experience. When I try browsing without it, pages seem to appear the exact same as with the option turned off.

Second, my WiFi browsing has been a little wonky with JS on, pulling up this page in about 35 seconds. With it turned off, it took about 27 seconds, which isn't bad. Still, I had it lock up when I tried browsing thru the HotSpot browser. Permanent hourglass.

I have to ask why this even surprises anyone. RIM devices browse via proxy, iPhone doesn't. That should tell you all you need. Proxy rendering is about one thing... cutting down data transmission costs, which means piss poor quality of web experience. End of story.

wow, i came here to leave a quick comment an hour later im absorbed by this news.

Its been a back an forth between Bold and E71, i know the nokia screams at rendering pages cos i played with it but that small screen and keys was putting me off.

Over the last few days,the BB won my heart without even touching the device, now this.

Think i stick with plan of getting this and then selling it for the E71 if not happy.

In the uk, the device has been delayed constantly. with this and the 2G-3G, it switching must the reason. The device is due 4 Sept and im hoping the issues are fixed with a post .126 firmware.

Kevin, I was wondering in all of your chats with RIM tech support if you mentioned what your job was. I'm sure the guys and gals at RIM come to your site quite often and will see your post, rant, whatever. I just seem to think that if they knew what you do for a living, and that you were writing an article about the very problem you were calling them about, that they would be quick to solve the issue with JS. Anyway, I was just curious if it was mentioned at all in your calls to RIM.

Extremely dissappointing new about your comparison report the Bold Browser Speed compared to IPhone. Waiting for months while it seem there is no information from ATT or BBerry about what is going on, for me the time is up and the IPhone wins. If a definite statement is not released about the timing of the Bold and how BBerry is going to resolve their browser issues,Im signing up for the IPhone, two of them within the next few days. Enough is Enough from RIM when you have had such loyal Blackberry customers and RIM seems to be playing a game on marketing now with a product that based on information is inferior on browser speed.

Just wondering Kevin (or anyone else with a Bold!!), at this stage in the new OS game for the Bold and all the problems with the browser, would you stick with the Curve until the issues are worked out? Or is the Bold's problems worth working putting up with until there is some sort of update for it?

I've experienced the same issues with JS. Wifi performance is fine at my home and work. Problems appear to be exclusive to the browser and not the hardware, as Opera Mini is FAST on the Bold. The only disadvantage with Opera (that I've encountered so far) is that it does not support plugins (i.e. the media player, which is required for Youtube), and it does not support email integration (i.e. send link/page). Opera does allow you to choose radio/wifi in it's settings, which ensures that you're really using wifi.

I hope that RIM gets on the JS issue soon, as it's going to really hammer them if their browser isn't seen to be at least comparable to Safari on the iPhone.

I just got my Bold a couple of days ago. I am in Australia and am on the Optus 3G/Blackberry data plan. I have been on the plan for a couple of years. I have had none of the problems described in the article. I did get the phone a few weeks before the official launch. All i did was put my sim card in, and away I went.
I have found the speed of the Hot Spot browser to be very fast. And that is 3 levels from where my modem is!! With JS on, I am able to go to site such as and view the Live Timing. Live timing uses specific Java Script, which my browser requests, then produces the screen.
My 3G speed is about the same speed as my Wi-Fi, in some web pages, much slower.
If any one is interested, I will attempt to the time the pages Kevin was trying. The way I see it is, that if you really want to surf the net quickly, safely, and efficiently, you won't be relying just on a smartphone. Saying that, the speed of the Bold that I have, is quick enough to keep me on the couch, instead of getting up to go to the computer.

Hi Kevin, thanks for the great post. So far I love my Bold and am having a good time comparing it with my iPhone loving coworkers. They sure aren't as fast with the touch keypad! We are in southern Alberta and do not yet have 3G so I haven't been able to try out the browser. I travel in 3G areas quite a lot so am eager to see how it runs. Any word on a fix for the browser issues?

Kevin, I sympathize with your frustrations, and believe you conducted a truly fair and exhaustive research on the Blackberry Bold. It seems from your writings you really wanted the Bold to succeed, showing a bit of biasness for Blackberry, but your tests and initiative showed honesty and integrity. Which only proves your honest intention throughout your research.

Just because the outcomes did not result in your desired expectations does not make your desired comparison a failure, it is actually a success. Your tests were conducted and the results are what they are. The results do not only conclude which device is faster than the other, but includes the failure of the devices, tasks to resolve the risen issues and the absolute conclusion or reults of your testing and efforts.

If I were you I would not take RIM's difference in results with a grain of salt. Since they failed to give you any data on their tests as you did for them to conduct a proper coomparison. Nor did they explain any reasons for the difference, I would say their results are inconclusive. At least you described your test enviornment, what was their environment? What makes their results more significant without proper documentation? and yours less significant with documentation? It seems they played the old corporate miracle story that works in their labs but no one gets to experience. This way they don't lose face and keep their good reputation.

So stop looking for excuses, that's RIM's department. You just have to deal with the fact that some companies have gotten caught in the race of competition but are not concentrating on the quality of their products. Remember Apple has not had experience in the cellphone or pda market before the iPhone, however they took the time to study it and work on the quality of their future product. Not to say they are the best and have no bugs, but their working on a quality based product with innovtive features maybe why the Apple iPhone has been such a hard product to beat.

Vincent Cruz

We're app developers and as you mentioned the BB is sounding like a no-go just because of the obstacles presented to users and the poor performance. We just completed our iPhone support and it's working great. Unfortunately for us there are just to many clients with BBs to ignore. Since I'm just re-acquainting myself with the world that is BB I was wondering if Opera's mini browser was an option? Does anyone have any experience with this?