Monday, December 15, 2008

The Blackberry Storm

I've been using a Windows Mobile PDA phone for some time and I rely on its PDA features. But many of our clients have bought Blackberry phones, so I decided I would switch when the Storm became available. That would help us better support Blackberry phone users on the networks we support.

By the way, I would love to try an iPhone, but our company is locked into nearly a dozen two-year contracts with Verizon. We like Verizon, and the iPhone is only available on AT&T, which would be costly.

Early Christmas!
My Blackberry Storm arrived a couple weeks ago. How fun to get and try something new. I activated it and configured it, but found that because I use a Mac I couldn't install many of the applications I rely on. And the BB Desktop Manager wouldn't work on my virtual Vista machine. Hmmm...

So I began looking for replacement applications. Though disappointed at this point, I was okay with changing in the name of progress. I deal with that a lot...

Exchange Server Software
Then we installed and configured our Blackberry Professional Software; a scaled down version of Blackberry Enterprise Server. We were told it was nearly the same software, but with a thirty-user limit. Well, it wouldn't synchronize between my phone and our Exchange server. But fortunately it came with a complimentary technical support incident, so we decided to give 'em a call.

A day and a half later of almost constant tech support and engineering, the synchronization began. w00t! BB said they weren't used to working with virtual servers, and that was our problem. (Those of us who work with virtual servers know that wasn't the issue.)

Finally, I as on my way to enjoying the Blackberry experience. That is, until synchronization stopped about twenty-four hours later. Hmmm...

Well, on to the actual phone...
I found it very hard to type on the phone. It often wanted to use a key my thumb was barely touching rather than the one it was entirely over. That made for very slow texting. In addition, it was really hard to move the cursor back to a position where I needed to make a correction, so I found myself having to backspace a lot to correct errors.

When the phone synchronized with exchange, it didn't pick up all of the contact data. So I had to correct a lot of my contact data.

The phone got very good cellular connections even in weak areas, and the camera was excellent. But those weren't enough for me, so I switched back to my old Windows Mobile PDA phone after a couple of weeks of trying to make the Blackberry work.

If you are a non-corporate user who wants this phone almost exclusively for making calls, playing music, taking pictures, etc, it's a good phone. If you're a corporate user who needs to rely on its PDA functionality, you may be disappointed by how difficult it is to navigate.


Mark32 said...

Its wide screen and Touch Screen are awesome features, you can see a video review at

Cisco said...

Sorry to hear you had so much trouble. I have not had any experience with the Storm, but we do use Blackberry Professional Software with Exchange 2007 and really like it. We currently have about 18 Blackberry's configured with our BPS Server. We support Windows Mobile and the iPhone via Active Sync, and the Blackberry Professional Software is a great tool to allow us to support Blackberry's as well. The most common problem we've run into is when the phone carrier has the phone provisioned for Blackberry Internet Services instead of Blackberry Enterprise Server. BB Support said the VM was the problem. Which was virtual, the BPS Server, the Exchange Server, or both. Although we have two ESXi servers hosting nine virtual servers, both our Exchange Server and our Blackberry server are both physical at the moment.

Nick Nicholaou said...

Hi Cisco!

I'm glad your experience is better than mine was! Our Exchange and Blackberry servers are both virtual... I think it was more than they could grasp.



John W. said...

Hi Nick,
I do not have experience with virtual servers. But on our network, it worked with no problem. I was a Palm Treo user myself(windows mobile). and switching to Blackberry storm was one of the best things I did. The E-mail application on this device is paramount. besides the regular SMS and E-mail, now we have the Blackberry Messenger, I do not know if you had a chance to look at it. it is an instant text and voice massaging for blackberry users.

I am sharing my experience and discoveries with device on my blog

bitbud said...

If you are already running Exchange, then try ActiveSync for the Blackberry, and eliminate the need for the extra server:

Admittedly, I have no experience with either the Blackberry or AstraSync, but it was recommended to me by a friend.

blackberry surveillance said...

I guess this time around, blackberry have served the people well. I have heard a lot of improvement from it.