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Old 07-14-2009, 06:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey guys. I thought I'd come to the experts about some Blackberry questions. I just got word from our boss that we can look into a phone upgrade for our SWAT team. We currently have PTT Nextel's but can also look at Verizon as a plan. Your guys’ input will help focus my search and future proposal. Any assistance would be great.

Here are our parameters.

1) Carrier has to be Nextel or Verizon
2) Needs to have PTT feature (might be an uphill battle for our guys if it doesn't)
3) Needs to be fairly rugged. Nextel offers "Mil-Spec" versions on their phones. Does Blackberry?
4) Needs to have a calendar on it which members can send/ sync all 30 of our phones calendars’ at the same time.
5) Some sort of map feature (such as Google Maps)
6) A phone/ video would be nice
7) Not so worried about costs, but needs to be somewhat reasonable.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would honestly say that blackberries wouldnt be a good choice.
as far as I know blackberry doesnt offer anything "mil-spec". what you see is what you get, they aren't really the best rugged devices out there.
i.e. the smallest amount of moisture renders them useless sometimes.


to have the calendar feature you need to be hooked to a BES (blackberry enterprise server) which costs alot more ontop of the 30 devices you'll be buying, and has to be run with other software etc.

im not sure what ptt is.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

I would check the nextel site for info on the BBs they offer. I *think* they have a ptt bb.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nextel 8350i and get the OtterBox We've Got Technology Covered // OtterBox.com, that should do u guys fine.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I work for a Sheriff's Office and we have quite a few BB's out there... We've been using BB's for a while.. If you do go with BlackBerries, make sure you get a good case (otterbox) to protect them, cops are the not the most gentle users (I've only had a handful of device breaks).

Also make sure you test the signal the signal in all your buildings/jurisdiction area, In our main jail the signal is barely existent until you walk outside. (but it is a jail/big concrete metal box.)

If communication is that important for the SWAT team (which is probably is) and you can justify the cost I would go for it. This way you drop your beepers/pagers if you currently have them and keep the BB only.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That Otter Box is just an extra thick silicone skin and it doesn't protect against moisture. Better than nothing, but not the best protection. The Otter box Defender series looks like a step up in protection:

http://www.otterbox.com/blackberry-c...defender-case/

Last edited by oasissux : 07-14-2009 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Answered my own question.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's a review of the Defender series for the Bold and the 8900:

"I have tried just about every kind of case/holster out there to use on my Sam Browne, and have never found the perfect one until now. OtterBox Defender Series cases are rugged and can easily withstand the abuse of day to day use in Emergency Services...The actual case itself is phenomenal. It is very easy to assemble and offers great protection.

Review: OtterBox Defender Series Case for the BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Curve 8900 | CrackBerry.com
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnightdraven View Post
im not sure what ptt is.
PTT is Push to Talk. Verizon has this service but not on a BB. If PTT is needed, you will be stuck with Sprint.

Synchronization of a single calendar across all 30 units will be an issue also. I am fairly confident that it cannot be "easily" done. Each unit will have it's own calendar that can either wirelessly synch via BES service or hardwire synch with BIS service.

Properly protected, I believe the units would hold up but it looks like they may not fit the bill for your needs.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Some Blackberry models have PTT, although it's not as robust as a Nextel PTT connection. You can sync multiple calendars by sending appointments via Outlook email. Each recipient will have to confirm the appointment. As far as durability, they may not look all that rugged, but I lost my 8800 out of my pocket while riding my motorcycle at 60+ mph. The battery came out, but I stopped and managed to put it all back together. Aside from some road rash, the Blackberry worked fine and still does.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (Tmo's cheapest BB customer)

I work at the County and for a while they tried using PTT from Cingular. As mentioned by another user, nothing is as robust as Nextel/Sprint for PTT.
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
1) Carrier has to be Nextel or Verizon
2) Needs to have PTT feature (might be an uphill battle for our guys if it doesn't)
- Verizon PTT is nothing like Nextel's PTT. Nextel's PTT uses the iDEN network and, as they claim, was the only service available for communication on 9/11. If you want unbeatable reliability in your PTT, stick with Nextel PTT. If you get verizon's PTT, it will NOT communicate with users who have PTT on Nextel, and vis-a-versa.

Quote:
3) Needs to be fairly rugged. Nextel offers "Mil-Spec" versions on their phones. Does Blackberry?
-None of the BlackBerry devices, that I am aware of, are Mil-spec, however, the Nextel 8350i devices are fairly rugged in and of themselves, but with a tough case, it would be fairly difficult to break them.

Quote:
4) Needs to have a calendar on it which members can send/ sync all 30 of our phones calendars’ at the same time.
-I am not aware of any service, BlackBerry in particular, which will give you wireless sync of that many calendars. Definitely on the BlackBerry it's one device/one calendar. (Dare I say the iPhone, as rugged as that isn't, can do multiple calendars, but not in the configuration you are thinking of doing).

Quote:
5) Some sort of map feature (such as Google Maps)
-Most Smart phones have a variety of options when it comes to mapping software. Google maps is probably the most popular free application for mapping. BlackBerry also is capable of utilizing "Tele Nav" software, which is essentially a garmen GPS on a smart phone (there are others like "Gokivo"). It is very nice, but not free.

Quote:
6) A phone/ video would be nice
-Video quality on the 8350i isn't superb. Under conditions, such as outdoors on a sunny day, both picture and video are just "ok." (comparing it to the iPhone 3G[S], but this may be an unfair comparison, because the iPhone3g[S] is probably the best video in a phone, currently).

Quote:
7) Not so worried about costs, but needs to be somewhat reasonable.
-Devices are cheap. at one point recently, nextel 8350i devices were like 99cents for corporate accounts or new 2 year contracts. The real money is in the monthly cost, which I average at about $80-$90 a month each for voice and data. Consider pooling minutes and sharing them, and it could be less per device.

Good luck!
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Old 07-15-2009, 07:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Everyone has provided some great information. Additionally there are ways that everyone can sync to a private Google calendar accessible by all members and that can sync with all members but us still a "private" calendar.

Another thing you will need to consider for the BB is carrying them. I have looked at a number of LEO forums and there is no real consensus as to "how" to effectively carry the BB on duty belts. Most solutions seem to be a "settled for" solution. This being said because, especially for SWAT consideration, the phone needs to be accessible yet concealed. (you do not need the BB backlight going off while crouching in the dark).

Just providing a little input from issues I have run across and read about regarding BB's and LEO use.


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Old 07-15-2009, 09:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VIOLATOR View Post
Everyone has provided some great information. Additionally there are ways that everyone can sync to a private Google calendar accessible by all members and that can sync with all members but us still a "private" calendar.

Another thing you will need to consider for the BB is carrying them. I have looked at a number of LEO forums and there is no real consensus as to "how" to effectively carry the BB on duty belts. Most solutions seem to be a "settled for" solution. This being said because, especially for SWAT consideration, the phone needs to be accessible yet concealed. (you do not need the BB backlight going off while crouching in the dark).

Just providing a little input from issues I have run across and read about regarding BB's and LEO use.


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