Monday, January 26, 2009

GPS on Verizon Blackberry 8330

After getting annoyed that I couldn't tap into my Verizon Blackberry 8330's internal GPS, I did some searching on the Internet to see if there was a way to open access to it.  It turns out that a recent firmware upgrade allows you to use the internal GPS without shelling out for Verizon's Navigator service, which would incur a monthly fee.

I downloaded the updater from blackberry.com, following a link from Verizon's site.  Unfortunately, the updater is Windows-only, so I copied the 68 MB file to Hobbit, my MSI Wind netbook, and used it to update the Blackberry.

The whole process took about 20 - 25 minutes, and at one point I thought it stalled.  I left it alone and it eventually finished, putting me on v4.5.0.77, vs. 4.3.x which came with the unit.

Once the upgrade was finished I checkd the GPS functionality by opening the Blackberry Maps app, and saw that it was able to get my location.  Unfortunately, Google Maps hasn't been updated to take advantage of the internal GPS on this device, so I can't use it for accurately locating myself.  I'll survive.

On a side note, this sort of intentional crippling of firmware features on their phones is one of the things that really bugs me about Verizon.  It's done purely as a way for them to charge more for features that are natively supported by their cell phones.  The only reason that I stick with them is that in my area they have the best network, by far.  If another cell provider had a comparable network and didn't intentionally cripple their phones, I'd be sorely tempted to jump ship when my contract expires.

Edit:

Well, either the Blackberry firmware update or the OS X software update that I ran earlier today borked my ability to tether the BB to Rohan my MacBook Pro for EVDO Internet access.  I can tether it to Hobbit, but a couple different versions of the Verizon Access Manager fail to see the BB when it's connected via USB.  My Bluetooth tethering setup wasn't working, either.

I'll need to putz around with this more.

1 comment:

alkali2010 said...

Hey - cool stuff, i've been angry that I can't use the GPS without shelling out the dough for VZNav.

Which firmware update did you use? I definitely want to give this a try. Everything still working?