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Old 05-15-2006, 02:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can I use a Blackberry only as a PDA?

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Hello I am new to the Blackberry. I use a Sharp PDA and am attracted to the Blackberry's PDA leyboard, functions and battery life. Can I use a Blackberry as a PDA without activating any phone connection? I really only need its unwired functions like note-taking and phone/address book. I notice many Bb's for sale at low prices but wasn't sure if a service activation of sorts were needed to use all of a Bb's functions.
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, you can. You can synch certain bits of information over the wire with your computer or use it by itself. If you don't need phone or mobile email then the BlackBerry may be a possiblity for you. Remember though that it's primary function is wireless email. You may find some of the functions limited depending on your needs. It's not like a Palm. Some of the convenience options being able to sync documents and the like are not native to BB.

Whether you can get a cheap BlackBerry without a contract from a wireless provider is something else. You can get used ones at a decent price. The down side is that without a service plan getting support if something breaks can be a little rough. RIM doesn't support handheld customers directly. I've dealt with carriers that won't support it if there's not an active/recent account with it.
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Old 05-15-2006, 02:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You can but it's not that great of a PDA. You're better investing in a PDA specific device, definitely explore all your options first. However if you want to use it as a phone you'll obviously need some kind of telecom connection.
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Old 05-15-2006, 07:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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^^^ What he said.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If all you want is a good, cheap PDA then here you go:

http://www.palm.com/us/products/handhelds/z22/

Don't let the Graffiti text input system intimidate you. It's very easy to learn.

Now, if you want your phone and PDA together then a Blackberry with a voice plan and no data plan is something to consider. You have the PDA functions, you can sync it witn your PC, and you have a keyboard that you can use for SMS.
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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once you realize the full potential of a BB, you won't want to use it as "just a PDA"
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Some people prefer the Palm or other series of handhelds, but a thumb keyboard and the ruggedness of the BlackBerry is an attraction. While many prefer Palm as a PDA, there are people who prefer the large comfortable thumb keyboard and prefer to use the BlackBerry as a PDA. (I'm one of those people -- I don't need all the features of DateBk5 for example, but I love the convenience of being able to rapidly enter Calendar appointments on my BlackBerry spontaneously on a spur of the moment).

An average person can eventually learn to thumbtype about twice as fast as they can Grafitti, which is another attraction. People who Grafitti at 40 words per minute, can often learn to thumb type at least 35 words per minute on the BlackBerry after a while. I am faster than most though - my test records are 40.1 WPM Grafitti/Block Recognizer in the Dom Perignon III contest by Fitaly, and 72.4 words per minute on a BlackBerry 950 keyboard and 65.0 words per minute on a BlackBerry 8700r keyboard. (Yes, these are real benchmarks. 363 keypresses in 60 seconds.)

If you need to use a BlackBerry as a PDA, check "Tips, Tricks, Keyboard Shortcuts" and "BlackBerry Calendar Tricks" of the BlackBerry FAQ and also check out PocketDay, BBToday, and Dynoplex eWorks as various alternate PIM shells that are available.
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Old 05-15-2006, 08:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When I first got my VZW BB 7250, I thought it would replace my Palm PDA. But the lack of third party applications and the limited PIM BB applications made me realize that I would still have to keep my Palm Tungsten E.

One major nit with the BB PIM apps, the TO-DO application does not show when the task is due. As for third party apps, i would love a simple electronic checkbook for the BB.

I tried PocketDay for the BB, but it does not support recurring appointments or recurring to-dos.

So now I carry the BB and a Palm Tungsten E.. like the true geek that I am..
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Old 05-15-2006, 09:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I used a non-connected BB for almost a year as a PDA only. Granted, it was limited without 3rd party software, but for scheduling, to-do's, address book, it was great. I used a 6230 (B&W screen), battery life was days on end staying on all the time, and was more reliable than anything Palm I had ever owned (I have had plenty of problems with Palms, will never use one again).
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Old 05-16-2006, 02:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think the BB makes an acceptable PDA, but my needs are meager. What initially alltracted me to the BB (in 2003) was the fact it worked over the mobile phone data networks. I just need basic PIM and email, so slower mobile phone networks, as opposed to faster wi-fi networks, for me is an acceptable tradeoff since I need coverage more than I need speed or rich application support. I can't be tied down to sparse (for now) wi-fi hotspots. When I first saw the BB, I thought *BAM* that's all the PDA power I actually need. And it works anywhere I get a cell signal (practically)? *****in'. I put my Palm m515 and iPaq in the desk draw as playtoys and haven't looked back.

Would it be fine as a standalone PDA, only using Desktop Manager to backup PIM data? Probably. Would I use it as a off-line PDA and a mobile voice+SMS device? Probably. Given that it is probably the cheapest PDA phone with a QWERTY keyboard you can find. Sure.

As for basic PDAs, my wife also uses her SonyEriccson z520a as a poor-man's (or poor-woman's, in this case) BlackBerry. She has the desktop tools from the SonyEriccson website that allow her to import (and also synchronize) her address book contacts from Microsoft Outlook 2003 (full version). She also sync's her calendar between outlook and the phone. It can synchronize wirelessly using IrDA or Bluetooth, and wired via USB cable (we use IrDA). For "push email" of important messages she relies on SMS and MMS, which work similarly. For her it is enough.
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekman686
One major nit with the BB PIM apps, the TO-DO application does not show when the task is due. As for third party apps, i would love a simple electronic checkbook for the BB.

I tried PocketDay for the BB, but it does not support recurring appointments or recurring to-dos.
TO DO Matrix looks promising. Ascendo Money has a new version out with Recurring Transactions.

CrackRJack.
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I use my BB for the calendar, memo pad, address book. But because I also need to be able to look up something on the web, or send an email or other type of message, I had to add unlimited messaging to my plan.

Because I want to keep my BB costs low and enjoy the BB as primarily a messaging device, I am getting a small inexpensive prepaid phone for any voice minutes I may need for short phone calls.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricaJ1074
Because I want to keep my BB costs low and enjoy the BB as primarily a messaging device, I am getting a small inexpensive prepaid phone for any voice minutes I may need for short phone calls.
You may be able to do both on one device. I contacted T-Mobile a few days back to find out if I could set up a Blackberry on a unlimited BB plan and with a prepaid voice plan. They wrote back to tell me that this could be done. Other carriers may allow the same.

Last edited by radimus : 05-29-2006 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I meant how did you do it?

Last edited by EricaJ1074 : 05-29-2006 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I already did. Read my post again.
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