Wanted: Nine BlackBerry Operating System Tweaks in 2009!

BlackBerry OS Wishlist for 2009!
By Al Sacco on 20 Jan 2009 01:36 am
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The modern world of smartphones is rapidly evolving, to say the least. And this fact has never been clearer to me than when CrackBerry Kevin and the other SPE folks recently undertook their yearly Smartphone Round Robin which is now winding down -- so many great devices, each with its own cutting-edge features and functionality, some of which didn't even exist just a year ago (fyi - Kevin tells me his Back on the Bold final review is coming tomorrow and the grand prize winners will be announced Thursday!). The SPE boys (and girl!) and their toys really got me thinking that it's time for RIM to not only step up to the plate with regards to the BlackBerry OS, but to hit one (way) out of the park -- at least if the company wants to continue competing with Apple, Microsoft, Palm, Google and the other handset heavies.

RIM didn't exactly play the slouch in 2008. In fact, the company released the first official versions of BlackBerry handheld OS versions 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7-with the addition of such great features as full HTML e-mail support and built-in Docs to Go document viewing and editing software from DataViz. At least four brand-new devices were also released, including the Bold 9000, Pearl Flip 8220, Storm 95xx and Curve 8900.

However, despite the introduction of some very interesting new hardware, none of RIM's new software was truly revolutionary; each new version was really a simple evolution of a previous BlackBerry OS.

With companies like Palm raising the bar due to unique devices like the Pre, and groundbreaking operating systems, such as the brand new Palm webOS, RIM can no longer afford not to wow us. What follows are nine suggestions for new Blackberry OS features, or enhanced functionality, that would better position RIM to reclaim its title as Smartphone King. (Note: I solicited feedback and commentary for this article via Twitter, and as such, specific ideas are attributed to their rightful originators. My suggestions are also in reverse order; I'm saving the best for last.)


WANTED: NINE BLACKBERRY OS TWEAKS IN 2009

9) Arriba BlackBerry, Arriba! Faster Startup/Reboot Process

If you're anything like me, the battery in your BlackBerry device gets removed roughly once a day-sometimes much more frequently, depending on whether or not you recently installed a new app or service. Then there are the soft resets whenever I delete an app and need to reboot or just want to refresh my device's memory.

Each and every time you remove your BlackBerry battery or initialize a soft reset-via the ALT + Right Shift + Delete shortcut on full QWERTY devices or otherwise-your BlackBerry reboots. The problem's that the BlackBerry startup/reboot process takes FOREVER. It's a personal pet peeve of my mine, and I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only one who has this grievance.

My iPhone literally takes less than a quarter of the time that my BlackBerry needs to reboot. I realize that this process is likely related to hardware as well as software, but come on, RIM. Reward our patience with a speedier reboot time, why don't you? We all deserve it.

8) A Lil' Microsoft Love-or at Least Tolerance: Better Exchange, ActiveSync Integration

I won't get into much detail here, as this suggestion is strictly business-oriented, but many high-end smartphones, such as the iPhone and some Nokia devices, now fully support Microsoft ActiveSync, which lets users sync their devices with PC-based Microsoft apps and services without the need for additional software like BlackBerry Desktop Manager.

RIM's clearly a Microsoft competitor, but its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) software already works hand-in-hand with Microsoft's Exchange Server so BlackBerry corporate users can receive Outlook mail via RIM's trusted "push" delivery service and more. So why no ActiveSync support built into the BlackBerry OS? (Jack Nork, director of client resources, with Retail Optimization Inc., a retail sales consultancy, also reinforced this suggestion via Twitter.)

7) BlackBerry Clean Up: Tidy Up Those Advanced Menus

One of my favorite things about the BlackBerry OS is how packed it is with shortcuts, tips and tricks and personal customization options. However, I think it's safe to say that I'm just a bit more "tech-savvy" than your average BlackBerry user-writing about gadgets and other mobile technologies is, after all, my full-time job. And all the menus available throughout the BlackBerry OS, namely within Options, are very likely intimidating and unnecessary for most BlackBerry users, especially non-business users.

As CrackBerry moderator Bla1ze (@Videos4BB on Twitter ) pointed out when I collected input for this article, many of the BlackBerry OS advanced menus could be hidden by removing those options from wherever they currently live and "burying" them within an advanced keyboard shortcut-ALT + C, B, C, B, for instance.

I think this is a great idea, as it wouldn't do away with any existing functionality, but could help to make what can be an intimidating device to newbie BlackBerry users a bit less daunting.

6) Enhanced Device Control via BlackBerry Task Manager

There are already a number of ways to determine which applications are active on your device at any given time, including via the application switcher ribbon, but figuring out which apps are using the most BlackBerry resources, why, and then quickly quitting them, if necessary, isn't as simple.

Sure, you can fire up BlackBerry Desktop Manager and whip out that clunky calculator for some arithmetic, or bang out the ol' ALT + Left Shift + H shortcut to see your total memory vs. free memory. But I'd much rather have access to a simple task manager, like the one used in both Windows and Mac OS X. It could be invoked via an advanced keyboard shortcut-ALT + T, M, T, M, for example. And such a task manager could incorporate some of the functionality of the current BlackBerry Safe Mode, which is built into RIM device running OS v4.6, to help identify and eliminate problem apps.


5) Bulk Up That Toolbox: Give Us a "Location-Aware" To-Do List, Advanced Alarms

I simply do not get along with many of the default tools that ship with the current BlackBerry OS. RIM's Tasks and Alarm apps are perfect examples of this lack of compatibility.

The default BlackBerry Tasks app that ships with all new RIM smartphones is about as useful to me as a SureType keyboard without the corresponding text-prediction software. I've tried using the app on numerous occasions in the past to no avail, as it always seems like more trouble than it's worth.

For quite some time now, I've pondered the Tasks app and which features could make it truly valuable to me, and I keep coming back to GPS-based, location functionality. Obviously, internal GPS or at least a Bluetooth puck would be required, but that shouldn't be much of an issue, as the vast majority of RIM's new devices-with the exception of the Pearl 8220-have GPS built-in anyway.

Just imagine the potential value of a location-aware Tasks app: It could remind you to stop at the dry cleaners to pick up your good suit, just before you drive by the shop; the next time you visit the supermarket, the task manager could remind you that you're supposed to collect the fixings for that night's fajita dinner; or it could notify you when you're about to drive-by the mall, where your girlfriend's waiting to be picked up. The possibilities are endless, really.

I'm also not a big fan of RIM's Alarm app, though the improvements introduced in BlackBerry OS 4.6 were a big step in the right direction. I appreciate RIM's addition of advanced functionality like the new Bedside Mode and a stop-watch feature; however, the app could be infinitely more valuable if it included alarm "profiles," or settings that let you program specific alarm options for each day of the week.

For example, I was lucky enough to recently attend CES-as well as record a CrackBerry podcast there with Kevin and a few members of the CrackBerry.com team. I would have loved to be able to pre-program unique alarm settings for each day in Vegas, as my schedule varied greatly. I needed to be awake by 6 am my first morning, 7:30 on the second day and 8:45 on the third. And as such, I had to change my alarm settings every evening. An alarm app with "profiles" would've allowed me to set specific alert times for each day, saving me the completely unnecessary stress of remembering to set a different alarm time each day.

(Note: I'm well aware that there's no shortage of third-party alarm apps with much more functionality and customization options than RIM's alarm, but why should I have to pay for another alarm app when one comes with my device? RIM ought to take a few pages from the books of those other app makers and deliver a quality default Blackberry alarm.)


4) Overhauled Multimedia Experience: We Want the "Funnest" BlackBerry Yet!

RIM has clearly made a push in recent years to embrace consumer smartphone users, with the introduction of devices, apps and services designed specifically for the masses, as opposed to products built strictly for businesspeople.

One of the key components to a successful consumer smartphone experience is the ability to easily acquire, install and consume multimedia content, like music and video in the form of television shows and movies.

RIM's default multimedia player has come a long way in a relatively short period of time--the Pearl 8100, which hit the United States in the fall of 2006 was the first RIM device to feature a full-fledged media player-but it's still got a ways to go before it can even hope to replace the iPhone as my main media player.

That's really due to the lack of one critical part of RIM's multimedia strategy: a central hub for purchasing and downloading BlackBerry-optimized content. The recently launched BlackBerry Application Center and Application Storefront, which is due in March, will certainly help RIM and its wireless carrier partners distribute approved BlackBerry software. But there's currently no "official" way to download music and video files that are meant specifically for BlackBerrys. (Owners of Verizon's BlackBerry Storm might be familiar with the carrier's V Cast Music/Rhapsody app, but my experience with this service has been dismal. However, that's a different blog post altogether...)

iPhone users have iTunes and the iTunes store, and though some of us may not "appreciate" Apple's stance on DRM and other issues, you've got to admit, iTunes is a hell of a lot better than RIM's multimedia distribution channels-or lack thereof. There are plenty of relatively simple ways to convert video into BlackBerry-friendly formats- just ask Bla1ze -but your average consumer's nowhere near tech-savvy enough to mess with third-party conversion program just to watch an episode of 30 Rock.

RIM needs to get its act together on the multimedia front, with either a new desktop music app that integrates with some sort of BlackBerry-specific content provider, or at least offer (much) better iTunes/Amazon MP3/etc. integration.

3) Yowzers, What a Poor Browser: Revamp That BlackBerry Browser!

RIM's BlackBerry browser has long been the butt of many jokes in the smartphone world. That's because even though RIM has nearly mastered e-mail management on its handhelds, it's light-years behind other mobile software manufacturers when it comes to Web browsing.

The BlackBerry browser is awkward to use; doesn't render pages all that well, especially when compared to the iPhone's Safari browser; and it's relatively slow, among other complaints. Worst of all, it's required to perform various tasks, including installing most third-party apps onto Blackberry devices.

I'm not saying that RIM should straight out copy Apple's work on the iPhone's browser, but it needs to do something. As it is, I use Opera Mini 99 percent of the time I surf the Web via BlackBerry, and there's also a new browser on the BlackBerry-block, called Bolt, which means RIM smartphone users now have one more option to help avoid the BlackBerry browser.

And if RIM just can't come up with a better browser, for whatever reason, it should at least let us download apps via other browsers-and even, wait for it...let us set another third-party app as the DEFAULT browser. Something tells me I won't be seeing this last request any time soon, but a CrackBerry addict can dream, right?

2) Redefined Multitasking, System-Wide Search: Palm webOS-esque Innovation

The device drawing the most attention in the smartphone space right now is probably Palm's recently unveiled Pre, which runs the company's new OS, Palm webOS. That's for a couple of reason, not the least of which is the plain fact that it has been six years since Palm last released a refreshed mobile OS, and observers are still trying to decide whether any piece of software, no matter how impressive, will be enough to revive the struggling handset maker.

Regardless, the Pre is catching a lot of eyes, and rightly so: The Palm webOS is remarkably innovative and original. I have two favorite Palm webOS features right now, though I've only spent an hour or so with the device. The first is the software's approach to multitasking, or performing multiple actions simultaneously. The second is the system-wide search feature that can scan your entire device for search queries at any given time, instead of searching only a section of your device, or a single database, and requiring multiple searches to fully explore your smartphone. The Pre feature is not unlike the Spotlight found in Apple's Mac OS X.

To make a long description short, the Pre handles multitasking by enabling users to rapidly open and close apps and services from anywhere, at any time, by simply swiping a finger to display new app options and tapping them to open. And "closing" or doing away with open apps is just as simple; one finger swipe brings up active apps in the form of "cards" that can be shuffled through or swiped off of the top of the display to close them.

Multitasking on current BlackBerrys is similar in that you can bring up the App Switcher from any screen via using a convenience key to see which apps are open and to gain quick access to them. But exiting apps requires a tap of the menu button, as well as a scroll and click of the trackball to find the appropriate option and select it. And opening new apps means a trip back to your home/icon screen. RIM would do well to implement some sort of similar approach to multitasking.

After seeing the Palm Pre's system-wide search function in action, I realized that every single smartphone OS should have something like it, especially the BlackBerry OS, my favorite mobile OS. It's extremely simple, yet could be invaluable to users. In fact, I'm a bit surprised this is only now just debuting, as the benefits of such boundary-free search seem obvious in retrospect.

Since, I don't want RIM to merely clone the Palm webOS functionality, I'll take my suggested feature one step further. I'd love to see RIM not only implement a new, Palm webOS-esque search function, I want the company to extend that functionality to add "intelligent" troubleshooting. So, for instance, if you're having an issue tethering to a PC, you could type "how to tether" and the system would return a variety of information, including RIM's existing online Help page on the subject, plus a Set-Up-Wizard-like tutorial to walk you through the process of resolving your problem. And if you're still unable to work through the issue, the troubleshooting service could collect a variety of related device diagnostics, such as whether or not a wireless network is available and if you've correctly configured a new connection on your PC, and deliver additional possible fixes based on that information.

1) The BlackBerry Dilemma: No Saving Apps to External Memory Cards

Currently there's no official way to save and backup BlackBerry applications to a media card; RIM smartphone users are forced to save apps to their devices' built-in storage space.

This is without a doubt one of my most significant gripes with RIM's BlackBerry OS. It not only means that I cannot backup my apps on a media card to ensure that I don't lose them while performing a system upgrade or other potentially damaging process; but the inability to save applications to a media card also means that the total space I'm afforded for storing my collection of apps-which, I assure you, is vast-is strictly limited to the amount of space left in my device's "on-board" memory. In fact, BlackBerry users are not only restricted to on-board memory for applications, they're restricted to on-board application memory, which offers even less storage space-for RIM's current devices, it's somewhere in the range of 128MB (Storm and Bold) to 256MB (Curve 8900). Consider that this application memory is also where your OS is installed and things like your inbox and browser cache take up space and in reality you're left with around 30-40 megs on the Bold/Storm for apps and just over 100 on the Curve 8900. 

The BlackBerry OS itself along with another chunk of core system software is also stored within the on-device application memory. So while modern BlackBerry smartphones like the Storm have as much as 1GB of on-board memory and support external microSDHC cards up to 32GB, users really have much, MUCH less app storage space. And when that app space is filled, you're out of luck: You can either delete apps to add more; deal with a poorly performing BlackBerry that needs more memory to run efficiently; or simply forget about new apps. And that sucks.

Other smartphone owners aren't affected by similar restraints; when you buy a 16GB iPhone 3G, you can't expand your total available memory via media card, but you can store whatever you want on the device, be it all music, video, applications or a mixture of all three. To add some perspective here, consider that a number of existing iPhone apps, namely games, are already upwards of 100MB in size (there's one out there over a gig!), meaning you could store only one or two of these large apps on your BlackBerry smartphone.

RIM should lift its constraints on saving applications to media cards, so we can all do whatever we please with both our built-in and external memory sources-especially since the company plans to soon release its own "App Storefront," which will only make it easier for BlackBerry users to max out their devices' app memory.

(Thanks go to the venerable Rene Ritchie, of TheiPhoneBlog.com, Robert Losch, of CoffeeDharma.com, and CrackBerry Kevin of this site for helping me flesh out this suggestion.).


Final Thoughts 

What did I forget? There's no way I could possibly include all of the suggestions that I have to better RIM's BlackBerry OS, so I picked what I thought were my best options. I'm sure some of you have more exciting-and plausible--ideas than any of those mentioned above. So by all means, share 'em right here. I can tell you from experience that RIM has ears everywhere, and I assure you it's listening right now. So don't be shy with suggestions, comments, and/or complaints. You never know; an idea posted here on CrackBerry.com could eventually find its way into a future BlackBerry OS.

Topics: Editorial

67 comments

malejko

As a new 8900 user, having tried all the other smartphones out there (except the new Pre of course), I tend to agree. The hardware in the 8900 I have is awesome, the O/S has been added onto, but overall it's still holding on to the email device that it was born with.

It's not an iPhone, even if it comes with similar applications right out of the box. It has advantages and disadvantages to the iPhone and Symbian and Palm, but overall we're still evolving.... these suggestions are definitely at the top of my list as well.

scottybarr1980

Well this is my first Blackberry a 8520 Curve, and while it is usefull for push email on the go it has still got a long way to go in terms of software to compete with the likes of the Iphone and Pre. My main thing I find to be a bit of a pain is the way the email works; it is just very basic looking and it does not allow things like mark and delete and does not have the option like some of the Windows smartphones that have the option like in Outlook to create folders whereby mail from certain contacts goes straight into or where you can mark as spam, check what is in drafts or deleted items. I would also like there to be a real Skype option as the iSkoot app really is rubbish. I would like for it to sync with my iTunes like it says it does in the desktop software but does not actually do.

Now I am no technophobe in fact far from it I am a huge fan of gadgets and all things tech.

Garz

Al Sacco... Good guy all around! Glad to meet you in Vegas and also do the podcast together.

I really agree with your #1. We all would love to see that changed.

Leo

Al Sacco

Hey Leo,

It was awesome to meet you, too. CrackBerry.com's lucky to have so many great moderators like you, AZeis, Bla1ze, Kasperapd and all the others I haven't yet met.

AS

4ster

You could have had an even ten if you had only added:

10: A Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac OSX.

sunnygal

I totally agree on this. Some of us like our Blackberries, but use a Mac computer. If RIM doesn't change, I may have to switch to the iPhone.

Al Sacco

I really couldn't agree more that RIM needs to better address the needs of its Mac-user-customers--of which there are many. In fact, I'm one of them.

I considered including the need for better Mac support as one of my suggestions in this post. However, I broke the news last year that RIM will finally be releasing a number of Mac-specific tools in 2009--not necessarily a new version of Desktop Manager, but tools that will allow Mac users to perform the majority of functions available to PC users via the current Desktop Manager. RIM also claims that many Desktop Manager-related tasks will be performed wirelessly in the future, so it won’t matter if you’re a PC or Mac user.

Check it out:

http://www.cio.com/article/449809/

So while I think this is certainly a valid suggestion, we already know that RIM plans to release some new utilities for Mac users in 2009. (It's also worth noting that an early version of BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac is already available, and in my experience, it works just fine.)

AS

b-rose

I'm sorry, but no. Why should I have to have Media Sync, Pocket Mac, AND whatever the next thing RIM is releasing, when Windows users can get everything in one program.

We still CAN'T TETHER our phones and computers! At this point, that is just insane.

OTA upgrades are fine and good if you have the Bold or Storm, but if you don't (I have a Curve), this is no help to you. Also, although it would be great to upgrade my OS over the air, this still wouldn't solve the problem of BACKING IT UP (and all my apps).

RIM needs a REAL Desktop Manager for Mac. No more 3rd party BS. They're very close to losing my business (and many other people I know). This isn't a small issue. It's a HUGE one.

airbrush1

But put it in the top 5

Air Force One

I like them all except #7.

Please don't dumb down my BB for the sake of not "intimidating" new users. I like having access to options quickly, easily and conveniently .

Better the new user learn how to use the device. I don't buy into the whole intimidated theory anyway. The BB OS is one of the most straightforward there is, imo.

Kelvin Ng

There are just so many things in the options that are dis-organized. For example, why is "Screen/Keyboard" one section? Why can you modify the font for all applications in there? Why can you modify the Trackball in there? And why can you modify the LED coverage indicator in there?

These things don't make ANY sense at all..

birgerklaus

in my opinion the profiles settings must be modified.
More Volume settings! 3 Volumes settings is to less!

Better integration of filter setings.
It must be possible, like Nokia, to set only the profile and get only a ring for a selected group of persons.

The Sync via Bluetooth and Desktop Manager is a nightmare.

Regards
Birger

sigmamason

1) Memory leaks. No logical reason for your memory to go from 50+MB to 30MB with no apps running.
2)Faster Synchs

Tom Kaminski

RIM really needs to support 3D acceleration on their latest devices to compete with iPhone and Andriod. Does anyone know if this is going to be supported anytime soon? We need better games! NOW!

derekflint

This is a tough one. Whilst the iPhone is trying to take it to the DS and PSP, I don't know if Android is going to make huge inroads.

The thing is, the Nokia N95 had built in 3d acceleration for gaming (and created a nice little buzz for the reborn N-Gage), but the N96 binned it, and apparently the N97 will be doing without it as well. And then there are the issues faced by the HTC devices - the Touch Diamond has 64mb set aside for video acceleration, yet didn't play videos any better than my N95. Perhaps even a bit worse.

In terms of mobiles, I'd rather stick with 2d - I tried the System Rush demo on the N95 and it was nice to look at, rubbish to play.

tom1l21

Wouldn't it be cool if you could customize the hotkeys instead of using the default ones RIM assigns to your phone, i.e. b=browser, d=memo pad. I want to customize these and even allow for 3rd party apps!

Anonymous

Maybe this could be part of the browser discussion? But It is soo important to so many that maybe it derves it's own small category. I understand that Java and Flash don't work well together as their underlying programming is done in different languages. But its time we stop saying they don't work together and figure out a way to help them work together. If we can't focus on getting Java and Flah to work together - how do we expect to get the Palestinians and Israelis working together?

RobBob

I'm a Crackberry newb. Irecently migrated from a Moto Q to the Storm. While I like the Storm better, I do miss the Task Manager. I was always diligent about checking it and quitting apps no longer in use. It did wonders for my battery life. I could not agree more about having a better to do app.
A file manager would be a nice addition too. It would be nice to be able to view/rename/move the files on my device.
One thing that does surprise me is the amount of third party apps for WinMo vs those available for the Blackberry OS.

Xopher

I would say this is my biggest gripe about my BB. Free memory is even worse with older BBs ,like my 8830. Anytime I see a new application, I have to look to see how much memory space the app is going to take up before I even consider downloading/purchasing.

I can understand having core applications being required to be installed to internal memory (browser, e-mail, PIM, maps) so that they can always be accessed no matter if your MicroSD card is installed or not, but other applications should have the option to be installed elsewhere. This is the one thing I miss from my WinMo device.

I used to have around 30 apps installed on my WonMo device. I'm lucky if I can have ten on my BB. With the app store coming out, I'll always be wondering what app can I do without (uninstall) to have something else.

revwill

One thing I liked about the old Palm OS is that their desktop software came with a native calendar and contacts manager, along with the option to use Outlook instead.

Not everybody uses Outlook.

I would like to see Blackberry increase functionality with calendar and contact managers other than Outlook - perhaps open-source solutions. While Google Sync is a good workaround, it would be great for the BB to adopt operability with other desktop options.

I also believe RIM should take a look at what Bitstream are doing with Bolt in order to collaborate (or even, dare I say, adopt) a new default BB browser.

(and as long as we're making improvements, can I PLEASE get Word Mole on my Curve?)

Anonymous

As a sotrm user I think that one of the neccessry updates in the next software release should be that the Storm's accelorometer should be limited in its function when the phone is on the main screen...why in the in heck would anyone want the submenu to come up in landscape mode anytime you put the phone down on a table or in your pocket..at the very least this should be a setting that a user is allowed to enable/disable in the settings....if i want to enter the advanced menu...i'll hit the blackberry key or the screen to enter that menu...the whole point of having shortcuts on the "desktop" is just that...so you don't need to have that advanced menu available/popping up all the time! Kevin help me out!!! :)

vincenttanakiam

Co signed,

ur right on that one and as a storm user I cannot get used to the most dumbest function button ever made on a phone....

The Volumeknobs; up/next, down/previous this is really not functinal at all.

when ever I hear a track(Mp3)I want to raise that volume to get my kicks on....but in stead of raising it up it skips to the next track try that a couple times and it skips.
I cannot get used to it.

as far for the OS update(s) RIM FIX THAT BIaaaaaaa.....
Sorry but a phone(half smart) on a contract of €57,50 a month is far from a consumer phone/package.

Blackberry Dude

BB should fix the message notification LED so that it blinks until the message(s) is/are read! Currently, it stops blinking and goes dark after about 15 minutes.

wmc

Although the flashing LED is a great feature, even the cheapest phones have the option of setting an audible or vibrating reminder. I am a hearing impaired person that is also emergency personnel. I don't always notice the initial alert and I am either asleep or in a noisy enviroment with my BB in my pocket. I can't be constantly looking at my BB. Why is such a very basic feature as an audible or vibrating reminder missing on such a feature rich device????

BB_Storm4me

The Storm is my first BB and before I had Treo 700P, which was the replacement to a Sony Clie and cell phone.

While I agree with many of the other suggestions, to me one of the most important things a smart phone OS should do is try it's best to reduce user input. The old Palm OS may not have been flashy, but one of the simple things it did, which the BB OS still doesn't do, is reduce input in fields. For example, when I'm in a contact and trying to input into the "Job Title" field, the Palm OS would look at what I'm starting to type and look at other Job Titles in the contact DB and provide a predictive text choice as I type. Specifically, I can get "Field Service Manager" as a choice just by typing "fi" on my Palm. For general text input, my Storm is just doing predictive text spelling ,which my Palm didn't do, having both is what is needed.

Simplifying text input should also encompass predictive spelling that gives higher ranking to "real" words close to what you're typing. I see so much garbage as choices it isn't funny.

SureType could use a quick button to provide a Multitap style toggling between the multiple character choices, so typing a persons name doesn't have to be nearly impossible. (A Storm problem which requires me to rotate to the QWERTY when this happens.)

I agree with a better search tool. The Palm search would take me to the spot in my "memo" with the text search string. The BB search gives me a list of things I have to search inside of.

Synchronizing with Outlook takes to long and requires too much user action during the process. It was 3rd party software on the Palm, but Chapura did a much better job. ActiveSync is a must.

RIM better get busy...that Palm Pre is looking pretty sweet.

cexshun

This is simple. Blackberry always has been a work device at it's heart. There are 2 major improvements that NEED to be done.

1) Today screen
BB needs a decent summary screen of emails, todos, calendar, etc. The business world, and the world in general, moves fast. We need a single screen we can look at, and see the day's agenda. Sadly, not a single 3rd party app even comes close to the WinMo today screen.

2) Full IMAP support
No more of this watered down IMAP implementation. I'm tired of waiting 3 hours for my read/unread items to sync from my PC to my BB.

juntanaka

We definitely need a BBM-style SMS application, I don't see how it can be so complicated for them to do that, since they already have BBM and all other IM applications in this way, why not SMS as well? The way we get SMS right now is very dated, it definitely needs an overhaul.

Heck, if they could do thread-style e-mails like G-Mail, it would be even better.

sweetinabug

A desktop manager for mac!!! I lurve by BB but right now its the only thing tying me to my old vaio. I want all my toys to play nice! Seriously this has been dragging on for too long- they'll lose people to the iphone if they dont release this soon.

Atrus

I fully agree with most everything mentioned! My top complaints are:

1) Can't load apps to memory card. This drives me nuts and is the #1 thing I dislike about my Curve.
2) Lack of Task Manager - I'd like to see what's pulling a lot of resources on my BB.
3) HTML - Understandably my Curve won't be a Storm or Iphone as the screen isn't huge, and I agree that OS 4.5 has helped a TON, but it still could be made a little better and FASTER. If not, at least let us default to another browser.

And, here's an additional "Wow!" idea...I am on BES and have a mandatory lock feature so I have to input a password. I am sure a lot, if not most, people on BIS add a lockout to keep their information secure as well. HOW AWESOME WOULD IT BE TO HAVE A BIOMETRIC INPUT FOR YOUR PASSWORD? Instead of having to type in a 7-character password, I'd love to be able to swipe my finger across a small reader on the side or back of the device and have it unlock.

gansito

A Biometric input to unlock is #1 on my list. My Lenovo T60p already has this, so it can't be so difficult, right?

My BES has a mandatory lock and the max time is 10min so I have to enter my password 20+ times a day...try that while driving and your Storm is taking its sweet time to accept your password :-( Extremely annoying!!!

I will shell out another $200+ when this feature makes it into a future touch screen BB.

derekflint

In terms of multimedia, the Storm and Bold seem to have it covered. And they play Windows media files, last time I checked, Apple don't support those formats.

Regarding WebOS and multitasking; I have never seen a device demonstration where the device was really made to work. One of my concerns with the Storm was how it would behave with a full memory card (very well, thanks RIM). For all we know, a Pré with 8gb of music on board might crash all the time.

I don't mind the BlackBerry browser - sure, it's slow, but it works, and yes, Opera Mini slaps Crackberry on my Storm far faster, but at least I can look on Amazon in the BBB. The only thing I would wish for browser wise is that the download size limit be removed (downloading 30+mb files off of video.google to the N95 was a nice feature, although time consuming).

ShafiqueK

i came from a treo 700w to a Storm, and generally am not that enthused about this OS. on my old WinMo phone, the Today screen gave me a summary of my unread messages as well as my upcoming calendar appointments. In my work life, i constantly have meetings that i need to run to and need those appointments listed out for me on the main screen!

additionally, i hate how everything on the storm is a multi-step process. i want to make a phone call? i have to click contacts, then find, then search the person, then enter their contact screen, then select the phone number, then hit talk. WOW. with my old 700w winMo phone, i just started typing the first few letters of that person, and voila, the contact appears and lets me select immediately the phone number or email address to call or message.

i want a palm pre. or maybe even my old winMo phone back. but im stuck with the storm/verizon through work... doh!

coldconfession13

I want to be able to rewind and forward easier in music. I hate using the trackball and having to skip like 30 secs or so. What if I wanted a quick rewind to like a sec or so which is not possible. How about no gaps in the songs when going to next track. How about sound thru bluetooth when watching videos. With the storm I got asked is there a site that you can stream videos on the storm besides storm. There is none.

tomvb2000

The BB is supposed to be a productivity tool but RIM seems content to leave things the way they are. How about:
1. Threaded SMS (BBM style threads)
2. BIS email folders
3. Assign an app to a hot key (not just a phone #) and launch it from anywhere by holding the key for >1 second
4. More options in Profiles along with a timed schedule and/or location-based choices
5. Like the post, a better Task Manager with full app resource details to better manage available memory before it goes over the edge. Especially true for available RAM (16MB total) as that is the true limit moreso than available flash (File Free).
6. Get stable OS updates out there faster. It shouldn't take 12 months of betas with bugs unrelated to what was changed.

roeod4

Better Calendar - Palms regular old OS killed the BB on this.
Today Screen - WinMo has the ultimate in this and BB needs to adopt it.
Media Card or More Storage - I just want more space and I don't care where it comes from. Build the devices with 16GB on board memory, let us run apps off the memory card or let the memory card be the on board memory (this would make OS upgrades incredibly easy if you only had to replace a folder to do an upgrade and would allow you to switch from 8gb to 32gb if you wanted to).

Anonymous

This may be done via a 3rd party app, not sure...

But how about profile settings based on your calendar?

For example, if it's 9:30, and you're in a meeting, and your calendar lists you as being "not available", have the phone go into silent mode until the end of the meeting...

Nothing more embarrassing than having your phone ring (or buzz from vibration) during a meeting...

derekflint

One Android 'lazy' app that I liked the look of was Locale, okay, it wasn't calendar based, but it ran off of the GPS and changed the phone Profile according to where the device was at the time.

Although the Storm does the next best thing and slaps a whopping great icon on the home screen...

clacalamita

One of the things that really bugs me about my storm is the lack of user feedback. As a game producer, I know how important of a feature this is. For example, when I'm browsing my email, contact list, or messages history, there isn't any dynamic screen location bar at the right side of the screen (similar to what's on your computer when you scroll through anything). This is particularly frustrating when my storm is lagging. Sometimes when it lags, the screen freezes for a second or two thus making me "think" I had reached the bottom or top of a page. Simply including a location or scrolling bar at the right hand side of the screen would do wonders. Take Apple's iPhone for example. When you reach the top or bottom of any page within its OS, the screen literally stretches and bounces back thus providing quality user feedback and a true intuitive touchscreen experience.

egruber

What's the point of Voice Activated Dialing, if you cannot use it when the keyboard is locked? You can dial out with a locked keyboard, but that doesn't help when I am driving and cannot manage those tiny keys!

sunnygal

Definitely agree on this. Thanks for bringing it up.

Xopher

You can use VAD if you have a bluetooth adapter connected. Just press the call button on the bluetooth and VAD becomes active. The BB's buttons are still locked, and it keeps you virtually hands-free.

Anonymous

Isn't Got-2 by gwhizmobile a location aware task app AND FREE???

derekflint

Thanks for the tip, just took a look and there's a Storm beta - might check that out.

tnewton3

I really like my Bold and there is only a couple things that stick out on this list that I agree with.

#8) I would love to be able to sync up via activesync with my outlook. It seems as big as the blackberries are as work phones and almost like an extension of the body it would already have this ability.

#5) Would be nice but there comes a point where you have to count on your own brain and not on a Blackberry to tell you when you are next to the store to get dinner or to remember to pick up your g/f outside the mall. I use the task manager all the time and for what I do it works fine, I may not have the most to manage yet but it does the trick for now. When it comes to alarms I have the same mentality. I too would love to set up profiles for alarms but again there comes a point when it's two extra steps to set up the alarm for your new wake-up time that night.

#4) Agreed
#3) Agreed

#2) Switching taks is already super easy and closing them isn't that bad as well. I usually have quite a bit open and using the quick short cut is easy and then backing out of the application is easy as well.

#1) This is huge I want to be able to save my app's to my memory card and not be locked down. Too much to even get into with this one. But this is a must.

b-rose

The huge, giant, GAPING omission is this: TRUE compatibility with Mac Computers. It's just insane at this point. There are so many Mac users out there already, and their numbers are increasing every year. Yet, for those of us who don't have a PC, we have NO WAY TO TETHER! And no way to install upgrades to our Blackberry OS (we still don't have OTA upgrades for most of the phones).

The 3rd party solutions are something, but they're not nearly enough. Not at all. Why should I have to pay for MissingSync and still not be able to tether? Pocketmac may be free, but there's still no tethering, and very limited functionality.

RIM needs a straight up Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac. End of story. If they don't get on that, they might well lose my business.

The smaller omission:
It would be great to have an app that can use the camera's LED flash as a flashlight. The stupid apps that light up the screen really don't cut it (and turning on the video camera isn't a great solution). It would be a simple, easy to make, tiny app, and it would be really useful, especially in emergency situations.

gravearch

That #1 complaint is absolutely right, but is so much more important than the others it deserves its own page, or billboard. RIM should, essentially, stop selling units until they allow apps to be stored on the media card. This vastly reduces the usability of what should be a well-designed high-end device. There are SO MANY people out there who are just making do with their frozen screen while they attempt to browse, or ten second lag before the SMS sends, because they aren't aware of why this is happening. Most people just accept this crappy functionality and get on with life - very few look on sites like this and discover work-arounds. RIM is shooting themselves in the foot.

ablefton@gmail.com

Agree with the comments in this post. RIM's OS is getting a bit 'long in the tooth' and not a match for what's coming from Apple and some of the others (not sure about Symbian). You can only add so many bricks to a wall before it topples. PC World's review of Smartphones almost called the RIM OS 'venerable' and while it 'does the job' it's no beauty. (my reading of the words)

Besides the 9 improvements mentioned in this post, I'd also like to see 2 hardware improvements:

1. Make the trackball more bullet proof. I've had two fail on me. There must be a better way. I don't recall ever having to clean my scroll wheel; though I like the ball better. Also my Bold's trackball failed after only 45 days and AT&T had to replace the phone. How about a Lenovo/IBM-like TrackPoint???

2. Make the USB port more solid. My 8800's went out (came loose after a year) and my Bold is now getting loose....and, yes, I'm very careful with it. I talked to my rep at AT&T and he said this has been a big problem with Blackberries.

fmcgirt

Totally agree on task manager and browser. Would love to see a BB browser with the capability of even Safari on iPhone. BUT totally disagree on letting ActiveSync anywhere near my BB. One of the great joys of my life in leaving Windows Mobile devices and coming to BBs was getting away from ActiveSync and ruined calendars with missing data fields, duplicate and missing contacts all of which had to be corrected by hand on both Outlook and the handheld device. There are many horror stories on the web about people just like me with similar experiences. People even tried to write and sell third-party apps to clean up databases after ActiveSync. Don't ask us to relive those days on our BBs. We called it "Active Stink" for perfectly valid reasons!!!!

Phoctifino

Pretty much agree with the suggestions and in general RIM must kep looking for an edge on the GUI and innovate, not just try to keep up with iPhone and Android.

BUT my main comment comes on another aspect of RIM competing against their rivals: BES charges are insane! Apple is moving to enter the corporate market, Nokia's latest ad campaign take a direct pop at RIM with their "no extra charges" strap line. In Uk we get stuffed to the tune of about $45/month/user for BES access, plus the software, plus a BES server. This cannot continue and RIM must get smart. Our company's BB days are already numbered as a result...

artie

# 1 is mine also, it's obvious with my "new theme" "THE HOUR GLASS". I would also like to add the "Vibe", if the device is in your pocket, you'll never notice. MATKE IT STRONGER! I do hope RIM reads this and takes it to heart.

trebb

I think threaded messaging wouldn't hurt. It seems like a very simple thing to add, and it would make every user happy. Palm has it, Windows has it, iPhone has it, Android has it...why don't we?

no1

It would be great to get multiple calendars to sync with different calendars in Outlook. I know this has been heavily discussed on a number of sites before. Only the default calendar syncs over DM. And it syncs all events with the default calendar in Outlook. . . I can move events from my default calendar to a personal calendar in Outlook, and they remain there and update when I make changes, but there needs to be more functionality there for BIS users.

An easier solution might be category assignment in calendars. We just need to be able to filter personal, work, etc. separately.

anonymous

#5 already exists in the form of "got 2", a location-aware to-do/calendar that takes events from your BB and combines them with locations you enter.

Your own article/link:
http://crackberry.com/free-app-got-2-task-management-blackberry

I don't go far a field without a purpose, so I am still trying to figure out how it works for me in a semi-rural context, but I sure can see how it would be good for an urban/very busy person.

I'm on a Pearl & it works just fine.

Paul

jaydee547

http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/01/20/the-top-10-things-we-hate-abou...

those are so real things to change. Kevin, you need to get a proof reader or something for when you write.

Also, calendar needs to emulate outlook 2007 as best as it can.

The media player needs to be updated to sync better with itunes - star ratings, create new playlists, etc.

The browser, yes absolutely.

Initial setup and better integration with Gmail/yahoo/hotmail/outlook for email sync (deleting, etc) and address book/notes/ etc sync for BIS.

If they could fix those things i listed + what bgr said, this phone would be a slam dunk

jpeterson99

I don't even care about the media card at this point. I wish we could tap the device memory on the Bold. I have not used a single mb of device memory because I don't use the device for media. I want to use that 1 gig for email or applications. If the Bold did that, it would be the perfect device for me. And if you can also utilize media cards, I would be in heaven.

NevilleS

Kevin, your gripes with the alarm app are a bit misplaced: you can set up as many alarm "profiles" as you want by creating alarms in the calendar app.

Go into the calendar, pull up the menu and add a "New Alarm". They are like normal events but have no event info, just a name and a recurrence. You can set up a weekly recurring alarm on Monday/Wednesday to wake you up at 8, and a different time for other days... or just add a single alarm for a specific day.

What's really nice is you can modify individual occurrences just like you would a normal recurring event, so if you decide you want to wake up early the next day, you just go into the calendar and modify the next morning's alarm. I use this feature quite often, it's very handy.

nnay07

I am new to BB and agree with many of the previous comments.
I must admit that the learning curve with my Bold has been quite long due to too many messy options/advanced options that aren't all in the same place.
But what really bothers me is the lack of some basic features and facilities.
Why can't I copy and paste a phone number from my contact list to include it in an SMS?
Why can't I copy a phone number from my contact list?
Why can't I extract a phone number from SMS content and add it to an existing contact?
Why can't I easily create a new contact base on a new SMS or call having the option to select in which field this number should be placed?
Why not being directly asked at the end of the call if I want to store this phone number if this number is unknown?
Why can't I edit a contact when I select it by typing the first letters of the name, and have to get through the contact list button first instead?
I'd love to be able to set a led blink whenever I miss a call.
I'd love to have a way to get all the informations related to a contact when selected (SMS received, calls received, mails received,...)
... si many little things that would make my user experience much easier. As a phone only, I find it way behind other brands.

Milton Lee Massie

Hey Folks I am a newbee and a returnee from years back when I owned the 6510. I am saving the cash for th Storm 9530. I am new to the CrackBerry Frat/Community. Help me out please? All of the info regarding the tweaks, things that frustrate the current users of the Storm and the launch of the Palm Pre make me nervous to buy the Storm. First of all I am truly fed up with Sprint!! I am currently using the Centro by Palm. I am ready for an upgrade and I only impressed with the Pre's multi-task function. Other than that I do not want stay with Sprint or with the Palm system. I have been reading about the 9520 with the wi-fi capability and that is appealing. Yet, it doesn't look like it will launch anytime soon. I am starting to get confused. I truly have been impressed with all of the Storm's capabilities. I have read most of the pros, cons,criticisims and praises. I am reading too much. Would you Kevin or anyone in the community suggest I move forward with the Storm 9530 4.7 version or should I wait for the 9520 to become a reality and for some of the tweaks to be a reality on the Storm before I purchase? Spending money wisely is a value to me and to many device geeks like myself. I truly hope you can provide some guidance. Milton

dgburns

Your #1 is close to spot on. However, for ME, just letting applications USE the extra memory that's on SD or in-built for their data store would be a HUGE help. If Viigo could install in application memory on my 8830 but store it's data on my 8GB card, it would be FAR better. Same with my 9530, why can't apps install in the 128MB of application memory but store their data in the 1GB in-built memory? What's the point of that 1GB if apps can't use it???

And let's not get carried away with making everything a keyboard shortcut! Unless you can explain to me how to do ALT+LGLG on the Storm's screen?!?

Scott W

Don't just tidy up the Advanced menus...take a once-through on all of the UI menus and think about usability. Move the important stuff to the top, the infrequently used to the bottom, and remove some of the redundant and/or legacy options.

If I'm looking at my contacts list and hit the menu button, why I'd expect Call, New, Edit, and Delete to be readily at hand...and not much else. Aren't "add custom ring tone" and "add picture" things that are done while editing? Why is "activity log" an option when I can just hit the Call button to get there?

If I hit the menu button in the email screen, why are there FIVE "compose" options instead of one with a submenu? Do we need options to "place call" or "call voice mail" from here?

It would also be very cool if the shortcut keys were somehow visible in the menus - sort of like how Windows apps list "Copy (Ctrl-C)" in its menus - but space is probably an issue. But how many Crackberry articles should you have to read before you figure them all out?

alarm-o-rific

I love the suggestion for a location aware task list. Got-2 has one, but I had mixed results with it... maybe I need to check the latest for fixes.

on the alarm profile thing, you can set Alarms in the Calendar. These can be set to go off once, or on varying recurring cycles... so if you need to be up at 6am on Monday and 7:30 on Tuesday, you can do that all in the calendar. Only caveat is that you can't change the alarm alert (a nice to have)... but at least you can set an alarm without messing with your regular daily alarm.

cheers,

J

Anonymous

I love the suggestion for a location aware task list. Got-2 has one, but I had mixed results with it... maybe I need to check the latest for fixes.

on the alarm profile thing, you can set Alarms in the Calendar. These can be set to go off once, or on varying recurring cycles... so if you need to be up at 6am on Monday and 7:30 on Tuesday, you can do that all in the calendar. Only caveat is that you can't change the alarm alert (a nice to have)... but at least you can set an alarm without messing with your regular daily alarm.

cheers,

J

richv77

In addition to the wish list above, my biggest gripe is with the font size in most of the applications I have downloaded. I can't believe how small it is with some of the most popular *free* apps like Viigo and others. I am a new Blackberry user and my previous phone was the iphone which I still own.

I have changed the default system font but this setting doesn't seem to affect any applications including RIM's own web browser. I guess most apps were designed for a smaller screen than the Bold or Storm?

I don't want to put on my reading glasses each time I need to use my Bold.

Your suggestions are welcomed.

-Rich

Barrie_guy

I can't beleive no one has mentioned the most basic of all email features on what is primarily an email device!!

Why can't I sort and store my email to named folders! and furthermore to that, set up filters and automaticaly divert messages with certain keywords, or from certain senders to said named folders!

Every web based email provider in the world has this functionality (except for gmail, which uses labels which when u label and archive a message has the same affect) so why not my blackberry?!?!?

weston8of13

I all ready had to delete some apps in order to put what I wanted. I just bought 2 months ago. I have a 16GB card it but can't really utilize its potential for apps. Thats my biggest gripe.

Thanks

W9WY

How about a way to UNDELETE an email that I deleted (Storm) or did I miss this? In Outlook on my desktop I can go to the deleted items folder (as long as I don't close Outlook) and undelete something. I know the BB asks where I want to delete something but a few times I have fat-fingered it and hit the wrong one.