Monday, October 13, 2008

New Blackberry Curve

My employer issues me a Blackberry 8330 Curve since I am one of the floor captains in our building.  We have an unlimited data plan and I've never gotten any complaints about using it to surf the web outside of normal business hours, though I didn't feel comfortable putting my personal email accounts on the device.  It does have a few disadvantages, though:

  1. The camera is disabled for security purposes.  Nevermind the fact that plenty of personally owned camera phones are allowed in the building.
  2. Tethering is disabled, so I can't use it to get my laptop online.  Even if tethering was enabled, T-Mobile just lit up their 3G network in Philly and my device supports only their EDGE network, which is much slower.
  3. Our carrier is T-Mobile.  We used to have Sprint, who has decent service in the Philadelphia area.  T-Mobile's network coverage is much spottier.
Last week I became eligible for Verizon's "New Every 2" promotion on my personal cell phone.  This is a promo wherein they give you $49.99 credit towards a new phone every two years.  Verizon also has the best cell network in this area, IMHO.

So, yesterday I went to the local Verizon store and bought a Blackberry Curve 8330 pretty much the same as the T-Mobile one from work.  Aside from the $49.99 credit, there's also a $79.99 mail-in rebate, so the final cost of the phone, belt case, car charger, and a 2 GB Micro SD card will be only $100.

The T-Mobile phone is configured to use wifi connections when available.  The Verizon Blackberry doesn't have that capability, but it doesn't really need it due to Verizon's better network coverage.

My employer has a deal worked out with Verizon for a 20% discount on cell phone plans, including data plans.  So I got the 5 GB/month data plan and the $15/month tethering plan, with the first month's tethering free.

Since my laptop is a MacBook Pro I specifically asked about Mac support tethering and syncronization.  The Verizonbot told that both are supported but that I'd need to download the PocketMac sync tool from  The tethering software would be included on the CD in the phone box.


After inserting the CD and finding Windows-only tethering software, I hit Google.  I found two ways to tether the Blackberry to Rohan:

  1. Via Bluetooth, which requires no additional software.
  2. Via USB, which required me to download Verizon's connection manager software for one of their EVDO cards.
This was a PITA, to put it mildly.  Although I was able to get tethering up and running pretty quickly, a non-technical Mac user would have been in a real bind.  Is it really that hard for Verizon to include at least the tethering app on the Blackberry CD?

Oh well, bitching aside, I'm able to get about a meg down using the USB connection to Verizon's EVDO network.  Bluetooth speeds are about half that.  Web browsing speeds using Opera Mini are better than the T-Mobile Blackberry.  Accessing my Gmail account, using Google's downloadable app, works much more smoothly.  So far I've made only a couple phone calls but call quality was better than my old Motorola Razr.

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