My must have smartphone feature is a blinking notification light, what's yours?

By ivantwilliams on 12 Sep 2011 02:09 pm EDT

BlackBerry 6710

Back in 2005 I had my first experience with a BlackBerry. I don’t recall the model, but I do remember it having a green screen with black text, and a thumbwheel. It looked similar to the above, which is a BlackBerry 6710.

Ah, those were the days… In March 2007, I joined, right in its infancy, literally. The website, along with the forums was growing rather quickly, and word was spreading, including the new name, ‘CrackBerry’. By mid 2007 I wouldn’t be caught dead without my BlackBerry. If it wasn’t in my hand, it was on my right hip. I hardly ever used it for calls; it was used mainly for emails, and BlackBerry Pin Messenger or as it is known today, BBM. Being an addict was one thing, but admitting it was something else. I was already a CrackBerry addict, albeit, I hadn’t admitted it yet, but there was not an ‘official’ name till came along.

BlackBerry 8700G

A short while after joining the team, I did an interview with Fox News on the day-to-day use of a BlackBerry. This included the effects of constantly using it, home life, work life, and paying attention to the ‘red light’ for notifications. Back then, I was using the BlackBerry 8700. It was a rugged brick of a device, it just simply worked! If I rightly remember, that was the FIRST colour screen device that I owned, and boy did it look GOOD!

iPhone 3GS

Well, spring forward to June 2009; I being a gadget nut that I am, decided to try my hand with the Apple iPhone 3G S. Besides being a gadget lover, and always wanting to try a device for myself, I really wanted a gadget that had fast browsing speeds. And that’s where Apple and the iPhone came into play.

iPhone 4

I stuck with the iPhone 3G S, until the iPhone 4 was released. The iPhone 4 was released in June 2010, and of course, like millions of other fanatic users, I was in line, for about 4 hours or so, to get my own iPhone 4! Now that was an experience in itself., as you know, is very well known for sharing the latest details and information for ALL BlackBerry smartphones, and their respective carriers. In addition to the support that is offered via the Forums from the general public. Thus, I won’t go into details about the differences between the BlackBerry and iPhone, except this: THERE IS NO RED, GREEN or BLUE LIGHT ON ANY APPLE IPHONE!

This has to be the main feature that I missed during my defected time with an Apple iPhone. From time to time I’d be working at a user’s desk [I work in I.T. Technical Support], when I’d return to my desk I’d have no choice, but to pick up my iPhone to check for messages\notifications. The joy of a BlackBerry is within a 15 minute or so window, if you receive any notification you can have it set to show a ‘red light’. This is good for viewing your device from a distance; in the dark; in discrete, etc.

BlackBerry Bold 9930

On 3rd Sep, while on holiday in Orlando with The Mrs, I bought a BlackBerry Bold 9930 from Verizon. Seriously, who buys a mobile while on holiday?

Since I’ve been back home, all I’ve done is played with the thing, during which time I realize how much I actually missed the ‘red light’ of notification, and even the blue one for when I’m connected to Bluetooth in my car. It really is the simply things that make us happy, and this for me is it. What for you is a MUST have feature, no matter the device that you’re using? 

Reader comments

My must have smartphone feature is a blinking notification light, what's yours?


My must have is also the LED.

When I see my friends always checking their iphones or droids just to see if they have msg's where as myself, yes i check to see if my phone is blinking, but i dont have to "unlock" my phone to see if there is a msg waiting for me

UHM....iPhones do not have notification lights but Androids do have those lights

BTW did you know that studies have been made that people will reach for their phones to check for messages whether or not the device has a notification light or not? Crazy huh?

SOME Android phones have notification LEDs. The Samsung Infuse does not have that notification light. The HTC Inspire has one but it is so weak it is practically useless. You cannot beat the BB LED.

This one dude posted "1st" like 6-10 posts ago and he was actually 4th. I agree that posting 1st and no input is not cool.

Your an idiot. You always have posts that show you constantly check crackberry for new posts all day, and then you poke fun at people. Your a moron who always pipes up about nothing. Hide behind your keyboard coward, is it all work to you? The site is fun too...

The point is, you people who decide its a race to comment first, and you end up looking like a fool cause you offered no input and you put first and you werent even first

I normally never comment, but I thought it amusing how you said, "Can we go back to bb related talk now??" although your first comment had nothing to do with Blackberry and was just about you trying to be first. Now that you're not first you want to go back to Blackberry-related issues? How hypocritical.

LOL. That's awesome :) and thank you.

Pink...seriously don't get all bent out of shape just because you were not first and then because people call you on it and then you go off and make an even bigger fool of yourself. There will always be a next time Pink all good, one day when you are bored and everyone else is bored maybe you will be first. In the meantime if being FIRST! is that important to you...go to usually very few posters on there so all you have to do is refresh your browser until the new story comes out and you will be FIRST!

You posted "1st", but you were 2nd. You didn't even answer the question, you just had to be "1st" and couldn't even pull that off. You missed it by a full 2 minutes. What's not to mock?

LED is nice. But I need a nice camera as well (I take a lot of document pictures) and a good battery life (2-3 days full operation). 9780 is a great choice for me. I am looking forward to get the 9790. 9900 is not a option for me (bad camera, weak battery, to big).

+1, I don't think I'll go with a 9900, My 9780 works great and the camera works really good for me. I just replaced the housing so it's good as new!

Yep! a blinky light is a MUST. Also push email, keyboard, and GREAT battery life. Thats all I really ask for.

Oh yeah, AND customization. Never realized how much bedside mode, sound profiles, themes, etc were so important to me.

I have two "must have" apps on my BlackBerry.

#1 - Shazam
#2 - Documents -to-Go

That blinking app is cool, but I don't just really have to be notified whenever I get a message. I'll see those messages soon enough..LL!


Add to that BeBuzz.

Makes the LED even more functional. Different color LED for emails, texts, bbm, whatever you want. Or add different colours for specific contacts.

My most used and loved app. By a long shot.

Agreed. I love the blinking LED and I'd definitely like to see various colours, but in the absence of that I customize sounds for different emails and such. I'm a professional typer so the keyboard (and layout) is tops for me. Second to that a great battery life, decent camera and good, big enough display. I also like to customize my tones with mp3 ones, so I love that too. And oh Document viewer is a must convenient. Afterall I'm a professional!

Since you mentioned Shazam, do you by any chance know if there is another app like this? Cause I had it for my curve 8520 but its no longer available :(

A good solid hardware keyboard. Portrait. Not horizontal. Nothing less than the 99 keyboard will do for me now.

As I read through this it sounded almost like my experience. I was a BB user who defected to Apple for the iPhone. I loved my iPhone 4 when I got it, but all my time with iPhone I kept missing the LED notification. And I somewhat missed BBM as well. But the LED was one of the things I missed most. But I didn't want to return to Blackberry because there wasn't a solid enough device for me to invest it. That changed with the Bold 9900 release! Within a day of the release I sold my iPhone and purchased the Bold 9900...and I'm quite happy. I didn't realize just how much I missed some of the simple, functional features of Blackberry. Thankfully, the 9900 is in a beautiful form factor too! So I'm quite happy to be back to team Blackberry :)

I love that little LED! I downloaded the free version of the BeBuzz app, which lets you customize the light's color(s), patterns, etc. based on whether you've missed a call, had an email, etc. And with the free version, you can have up to 5 custom profiles for your contacts! Now I know right off if I've got a text from my husband, best friend, mom, and so on. It's great!

Yes good little app that! I used it for that very purpose but now I use my favourite mp3 tones for such customizations. How cool are the customizations? Take your pick, LED or tones?

Yep totally agree, a blinking notification light is essential for any smartphone. One of the great features about a BB is that you can download a app and change the colour of the blinking notification light.

My First Smartphone was Nokia E71x and it is so frustrating that it can do more stuff then the so called modern smartphone does and I still have to turn it one for those things sometimes.

Full qwerty keyboard and push email. In today's college world where I spend most of my time communicating with my professors through email, it is essential for me to have instant access to every new email I get, especially if it is about class or assignment updates.

I can tell you countless times when I would tell my classmates about a change in schedule or assignment because i knew i had an email to check. Definitely an advantage.

The blinking light is addicting, and I still miss it. Had a 9900 and sold it, mainly due to 4 things. I am curious what your experience is with these bullet points:
1. Browser - it is good on 9900, but hard to browse on small screen. I click the wrong links all the time.
2. Maps - I use maps all the time, and the mapping app on BB still sucks compared to iPhone, and is miles behind Androids. Also the GPS reciever is brutal. My iPhone gets a lot way faster and easier.
3. Camera - video was choppy, pics average. I don't use camera a lot, but I wan't it to be good enought, I don't have to carry my Canon with me. iPhone meets this need.
4. battery life - who would have thought that an iPhone would have bettery battery life than a BB. Well in the case of the 9900, it does.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the 9900 it is a beautiful device, with an unmatched keyboard, and build quality.

It would be great if you could do a follow up speaking about what you miss about iPhone, and how you mitigated it.


I agree with you. Camera and battery life are very disapointing things on the 9900. Tjats why I will never buy it. I hope. the 9790 will be better.

My battery life and camera photos are great.

Hope you have tried one out and not just beleiving all the bashing going on around here.

I am not able to taky any readable document pictures on the 9900. Impossible without the autofocus. Battery - if you thing, one day operation time is good for a Blackberry, so we are talking about totaly different things. I had a 9780, 2-3 days operation time were no problem for me. After switching to the 9900, I get max. 1 day with same moble traffic. Sorry, I dont want this.

1. Zoom in and then click, problem solved.
2. Meh. I never have a problem with maps getting me where I need to go.
3. Choppy video? Dude its 720p HD. And lack of autofocus has made nearly no difference for me.
4. Sigh. More people who don't know how to configure a device to maximize battery life.

#1.No problems with the browser really. If touch won't work the trackpad always does! When I just wanna use touch I zoom the page and touch exactly what I want.
#2. Google maps works like a charm. I don't really use GPS.
#3. I'm disappointed with the camera! But videos are crisp and play smoothly. Nonetheless I still find myself taking good shots with the camera! I compromise there, but somewhat disappointed.
#4. Battery life is disappointing too, this after coming from 9000 and 9700! But I've learnt to manage battery life better: closing out of applications not in use, reducing backlight timeout to a minimum, reducing display brightness to 10% or 20%, turn off unused settings like wifi, increasing the refresh time for certain notifications like FB, turn off LED for certain notifications like social email addresses. The result: a significant improvement in battery life. I can go through a full day as a medium to heavy user and still have 35-40% battery life!

I love blackberry for the notification light especially if I don't hear my phone. Also the track pad and best of all the full qwerty keyboard! No one can top blackberry for their keyboard ever! I love my 9810 torch it offers many different ways I can use the phone and I don't ever get bored w it and it works! Thank u Blackberry!! :)

I like the slight (and I mean slight) heft of my 9800. It makes it feel like a solidly-built device to me.

1. fast and reliable messaging notifications ( tried iphone and 4-5 android devices, all had problems with getting me notified in real time of the messages i receive, be it mails or im ones);
2. good keyboard ( no matter how hard i tried, used swype on my android... not even close to the bold kb i love so much);
3. notification light

1 - physical keyboad (smart auto correct (smarter then iPhone), and keyboard shortcuts )
2 - LED
3 - Scroll wheel (not only touch screen / not direction pad )
4 - Able to lead 200+ email tread fast (iPhone4 and Droid failed this tests)

Couldn't agree more!
My Galaxy Tab doesn't have LED light even though Android supports it for notification.
My Bold 9650 seems like a naughty girl when she is 'blinking' at me. LOL

First off WELCOME home Ivan!!!!!!!!!!! I know you never REALLY left, but it's great to have to back with a BB in your holster and a blog pencil in your hand!

Anyways, I'm TOTALLY with you on the LED, it's my must have. In fact, I use the Calls Only profile with BeBuzz to customize my LED so it's a different color for each email box, BBM, etc, and the only time it "rings" is for call, and at THAT point I get "disco" LED! ;) I also use BB for the keyboard which I totally missed when *I* went rogue and got the Storm line.

I love my 9930. Wife bailed on RIM and went to the dark side (iPhone4).

She has blinking light envy.

I also had the iPhone 3Gs and 4 but switched to Blackberry, my first being the 9800 and then adding Style 9670. Now I have the 9930 and the 9810 great phones. I really like the flashing led for messages and "Who Is It - Pro" (which I have) or "BeBuzz" makes it even better. I do miss some of the apps from iPhone, but there is nothing that I can't have as a work around with Blackberry. For email, SMS, and of course BBM there is nothing better.

I have relatives with Droid bricks. I see this anemic little light weakly glowing like a firefly at 300 yards away showing a new text or something. Love my bright LED! My brother- in-law was just complaining about trying to use the driod keyboard with his freakishly huge fingers too. I told him he needs a Blackberry! 34th! (or so) ; )


I LOVE BB's sound profiles and bedside mode. This seems like a REAL no-brainer. I'm surprised no other OS's have copied it but it seems on BB can get it right and make it work so well. Just don't screw it up with the new QNX OS or I will have no choice but to look elsewhere, RIM!

Well, that blinking LED is a KO for the iPhone! I luv my blinky!!!

Another must have is a large, crisp display.

BTW, does anyone have a problem with the language button being on the virtual (soft) keyboards. What a waste of a key!!! It's useless (for those who speak only one language), and I'm often hitting it by accident! It should be a menu item!!!!!

Just last night I started to type out a text msg and I looked down and my keyboard was in Chinese! Kinda funny but I agree, the selection should not be right there on top of the screen but an option that can be saved and safely hidden from clumsy fingers in a menu.

Must have for me in a smartphone... that little berry symbol branded on it! Only Blackberry will do!

I can't pick just one aspect. There is so many things including the notification light, email, integration of email phone book images and files, auto correct (can't spell for the life of me) blackberry keyboard, now touch screen, and blackberry messenger.

I wouldn't want to have a phone that had ANY of these things missing. The light is great but it's about how it all works together

My two must haves, after trying the Torch 9800 and an Android:

1 - A REAL keyboard...
2 - The blinking LED...

I was down to choosing between an iPhone4 and the new Bold. The reason I even considered the iPhone was because I heard all this bad news coming back about the camera on the Bold. You know what? It's serviceable for me.

I chose the Bold over the iPhone got it: the blinky red light. :D

Must have the LED Notification light.
I returned the Galaxy S because it didn't' have one.
Much to the Horror of the 20 something at the AT&T store.

I absolutely missed my blinking led when I was using the iphones. There is just something I love about it. I even have the green status light blinking.

Must HAVE 3 things on the Device:
2.Better Battery Life
3.Blinking LED (BeBuzz)
Must have 3 apps:
(so you can Run all other apps you have installed)


Number one feature on ANY smartphone or tablet is battery life. If it can't last long enough for any other feature to be used then there is no point.

I have a sim card with AT&T that bounces from a 9700 (come ON AT&T, with that 9900), and a Nexus One. Whenever an email/text comes thru on the N1, the big trackball lights up. Pretty neat.

BeBuzz! Not only will it tell me if it's someone I want to talk to/read, it tells me if it's someone I DON'T (like that idiot that keeps getting his girlfriend's phone number wrong...).
Couldn't do without the LED, the keyboard and so many other things. (I'm one of the 9930 people who's getting great battery life)

Pearl 8100 > 8800 > Storm > Storm 2 -- Call me Oldie :)

Must have: Be Buzz, Be Pop up, Docs to Go, BB Smart Alarms, PDF Viewer

I was in a meeting on the weekend, and I showed PPT from my BlackBerry. The IPhone people were saying "I never got that right on my IPhone".

Didn't bother to ask them why :)

To cut a long story short, they were simply impressed :)

...and I got an oldie of a Berry :D

keyboard is the new must have for me.

Recent phones prior to getting my curve were a 3gs and a htc hd2. Iphone i liked, htc was a useless piece of windows phone crap but thats a whole other story. Im not a massive lover of soft keyboards, although im getting used to my playbook lately, fact remains though i can easily touch type a full email on my curve without any hassle. People keep saying on here that the bold has the best keyboard of the bb range so roll on december when my contract expires and i can upgrade :)

Yes I know what you mean I have that experience to when I had an iphone kinda sucks when have no led notification u can't tell if u got a msg or not unless u fully turn on the phone but blackberry I know I have a msg incase I don't hear the message tone

I work off my phone, doesn't matter if I'm in canada or usa. Sometime in situation I need to reply asap, which saved me numerous time. Thank you Blackberry!

I love the addicting light...

I have blue for facebook
Disco for any BBM
pink/white/pink/white for my best friend because that's her favourite colour.

it goes on and on but the customization is what i love about blackberries. (thank you BeBuzz)

The notification light is one of the iconic features I love about Blackberries. Having a Color LED app is even better when I'm in a meeting and my phone is on silent but want to know who is texting/calling me. Just another amazing feature that makes Blackberry #1 in my opinion.

My must have: also LED (blinking in different collors for friends), Alarm Clock, Auto on/off, Birthday data in calender, klicktel.

WELCOME back to CrackBerry ! ! (pkcable beat me to it.) It's great to see someone posting from the early, early days of CrackBerry.

I also must have the LED and the QWERTY keyboard. Besides the blinking light, I have set up a distinct ringtone for each of my five e-mail accounts so I always know who is sending me an e-mail.

Looking forward to reading more of your blogs.


- CB

Looks like I'll have to investigate this BeBuzz that everyone is talking about. I'm more of a 'red light' and vibrate type user.

When in the office my BlackBerry is in my holster on my right hip. If it vibrates once, then that could an email, text, calendar reminder or bbm. If it vibrates more than once, then I know it's a phone call...

But, just like I don't really use custom ring tones for specific callers (The Mrs, my daughter etc), I'm wondering if when I use BeBuzz and see X colour flashing on my BlackBerry, will I even remember what that colour is for? LOL

Thanks for this post and all the comments!! With the upcoming release of iphone 5 I have been considering playing with one for a while.... I think you all have put that idea to rest! Thanks CB friends!!

Ironic, I was on vacation in Myrtle Beach when I bought my playbook. Got tired of fighting with my wife and niece over the ipad, it was that last little push I needed to pick up a PB.

green-email, purple-text message, red-missed call, blue-facebook, white-bbm, orange-low battery, yellow-calendar, disco-incoming call. LOVE BEBUZZ!!!!!

After two htc androids, I have come back to Blackberry. Simply put, I missed the ease of Bluetooth voice dialing; exceptional voice dialing over the phone itself; a fantastic speakerphone that is easily engaged; a great physical keyboard; defintely, led lights; nicely pitched message alert tones; just the right amount of personalization--who needs seven screens that you can't truly personalize or it will sap your battery in six hours; speed dials galore; the ability to make a call without waking up the phone, unlocking the screen, pressing the dial pad prompt, and then finally--hopefully--correctly dialing the number! When I purchased my Bold 9930 on the first day my carrier offered it for sale, I was elated--and I still am. It is amazing how a simple thing like a cell phone can make you feel as if a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. That is what the BB Bold 9930 has done for me. It is a fun phone that actually works as it should. Messaging is simple and easy. Email is fantastic. I have no problem reading the font on this phone even though it is smaller than the font that was on my androids. And the entire Blackberry line of phones bespeak "class". Yes you can tell a Blackberry a mile away--and I haven't seen one I don't like! Certainly class built of quality is Blackberry's signature. I hope they continue in that vein.