A Blackberry User Considers Android

I’ve been a loyal Blackberry user  for about four years. RIM not long ago released the Blackberry Torch to modest fanfare in the US. While Jim Courtney tells me that it’s worth a look, it’s only offered by AT&T, which makes it a non-starter for me.

In contrast, today marks the official launch of the G2 on T-Mobile. With it’s landscape mode keyboard the G2 just might be the handset that entices me to make the leap to Android. I’m going to try and lay hands on one this evening. Further, my wife wants a new handset as well. We might be in the market for a pair of handsets.

This comes at an interesting time as Counterpath just this week announced the pending release of Bria For Android. Todd Carothers’ blog has something to say about this release. The availability of a solid SIP client on Android is a welcome thing, although I’ve heard good things about SIPDroid. It’s nice to have options.

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Current Events In Cell Phones: Tales Of My Transition to Micro-USB Power

As described previously, about a month ago I bought a Blackberry 9700 cell phone to replace my vintage Blackberry Pearl. The Pearl and the Motorola Razr that preceded it both used mini-USB type connector for DC power. I had thought that this was something of a standard, but if it was I guess it was short-lived. Early in 2009 the major cell phone manufacturers all agreed to settle upon “micro-USB” as the one standard connector type for DC power in new models.

Someone once said, “the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.” I suspect that it might have been Dilbert.

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One Month Emboldened By The Blackberry 9700

blackberry-bold-9700-2As opposed to elsewhere, where I do in depth reviews of certain devices, this is a little mini-review that reflects the experience of my first month carrying the new Blackberry 9700, aka the Bold2. If you’re looking for a more general overview of the device I suggest Crackberry.com’s review.

In the weeks just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday my 3 year old Blackberry 8100 was failing. The mechanical trackball from which the models “Pearl” nickname was derived was simply failing. I cleaned it a couple of times but each time it would again become unresponsive after just a few days. It’s time had come.

I wasn’t settled upon another Blackberry as it’s replacement. I had been happy with the handset for a long time, but felt that a full keyboard would better meet my needs moving forward.

Further, while I was interested  in Android powered phones, I wasn’t willing to change carriers based solely on hardware availability. I’m basically happy with T-Mobile. I wasn’t about to move to Verizon Wireless just to get access to a Motorola Droid.

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An Unexepected Benefit Of My SIP-to-Cellular Gateway

blackberry-bold-9700-2It’s been a while since I installed the little Portech MV-370 GSM gateway. It sits in the office IT stack and does what it does. When I’m traveling it lets me call home using my unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes. It also backs up our IP-based home & office phones. If both the Comcast Cable modem and Covad DSL are out the we can route calls out via T-Mobile.

The Gigaset cordless phones support enough accounts that this is easy, just add #6 to the number to specify dial using the GSM trunk. The GSM gateway is the 6th account on the Gigasets. We don’t even need a local Asterisk system to make it possible.

Remembering back to the installation of the GSM gateway, I converted my T-Mobile account from an individual plan to a family plan, with the gateway device becoming the second line on the account. I dropped my number of minutes but the monthly carrying cost was the same. It seems like a good idea since the use of mobile-to-mobile minutes to call home was going to reduce my need for minutes in the end.

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