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Old 04-10-2007, 06:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello,

This question has probably been asked a million times, but I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.

I'm quite keen on buying an 8700 or 7290 (there's some pretty cheap ones on ebay), mostly for personal use as I'm getting fed up composing emails on my regular mobile phone, using my email provider's WAP site and the 1-9 keys as a keyboard!

I wont be connecting the Blackberry to any BES straight away, and there aren't any competitively priced, consumer focused, or prepaid services I can use Blackberries with in the UK, so I don't want to buy into any BIS service (unless there are some third-party dirt cheap ones I don't know about!)

Can I use the device with a prepaid sim that has internet access? I mostly use Google Mail, and have noticed there is a Google Mail app for Blackberries that I was hoping to try out.

Thanks for your help!

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Joe
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (8700g: BlackBerry8700/4.1.0 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/100)

Joe, no. Without the BB data Plan, you will only have access to the phone and SMS, there will be no internet access, no email, no data.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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A prepaid SIM should provide you with an internet connection. However, you will not be able to use the BlackBerry to send email.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That's a bit of a pain. I wonder why the devices are so heavily tied into backend Blackberry servers. There's no technical reason why they can't use used as regular email clients and connect directly to POP3 servers and the web.

Guess it's just about money...
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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one word SECURITY. BB's are well known for their level of security. RIM wouldn't be able to promote the security of their devices if we could all just use them as we want
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwoods
I wonder why the devices are so heavily tied into backend Blackberry servers.
Well, because they are Blackberry devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwoods
There's no technical reason why they can't use used as regular email clients and connect directly to POP3 servers and the web.
Sure there is... that's how RIM designed them.
Tying the device and the network together promotes security, stability, scalability, combatibility, etc. Much like Apple Mac computers & OS X are tied together for the similar reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwoods
Guess it's just about money...
No, not really. I'm sure it's a factor, but not the only one. Probably not even the focus.
See above.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Also, keep in mind, the BB is first and foremost, a business device, not a consumer product like a cellphone.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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This is true... I'm sure they must be looking into the consumer market, I'm sure there'll be demand from non-business users who want decent mobile email access.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubdub
Also, keep in mind, the BB is first and foremost, a business device, not a consumer product like a cellphone.
I disagree with this.
Maybe a few years ago, it would have held somewhat true, but not today.
The Blackberry is just as suitable for the personal user as it is for the corporate user.
BIS is very "consumer-oriented", and the plans are about $20-$30 which is not overpriced for the average person who wants mobile push email on their handheld.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah, that's what I thought. I think you guys in the US are a little ahead of the UK though, most the mobile phone networks that offer Blackberry services are always hidden away in the business sections of their sites. T-Mobile offer it to consumers in the UK however the price is approximately $50 per month for the cheapest plan.

I tend to prefer the prepaid options, I spend less than $10 per month on my prepaid mobile phone, and if I had a prepaid Blackberry, I'd hope to only spend around that level - as it's only for personal use, with a smaller volume of email.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwoods
That's a bit of a pain. I wonder why the devices are so heavily tied into backend Blackberry servers. There's no technical reason why they can't use used as regular email clients and connect directly to POP3 servers and the web.

Guess it's just about money...
No, not really... and there are plenty of other devices out there that will do what you want if all you're looking for is a POP client. You should really read up on the features and functionality of the Blackberry as RIM's infrastructure is really a major (but hidden) strength IMO.

RIM's backend is necessary for push email (which helps quite a bit with battery life versus pull -- among other benefits) to work properly. The backend also allows the user to merely power up a new Blackberry with a SIM that is associated with a Blackberry data plan and then have the carrier's network automatically push service books to configure the new Blackberry. Every other device requires manual configuration. That's not to say that BIS users don't have to input TCP settings for 3rd party apps but as a BES user I've never had to do this.

A bonus but probably not a major selling point is PIN messaging. My wife and I used to use SMS and had to constantly deal with SMS messages disappearing into the ether without any trace. With PIN messaging we know if a PIN was delivered/received/read. Yes, you can get delivery confirmation with SMS if your carrier and device both support it. However, from a practical standpoint we've never lost any PIN's and we have mysteriously losts SMS's. Without RIM's backend PIN messaging wouldn't be possible. Really, though, PIN messaging should be a major bonus considering how much carriers are charging for SMS. If you have an unlimited BB data plan you have unlimited PIN messaging. My wife and I not only use PIN's but we use BB Messenger a lot when she travels domestically and internationally.

The Blackberry data plans aren't there to just as a money pit for RIM. It's really IMO the biggest reason why every "Blackberry killer" has failed. Competitors have focused so much on the device and the qwerty keyboard that they have failed to realize that what really makes a Blackberry a Blackberry is RIM's intrastructure. The device, as sturdy and as reliable as they have been, is mostly a front end though it can definitely run apps and perform to some degree without the backend.

BIS is precisely designed for consumers that don't want to pay for BES. It's really quite a deal if you consider the total cost of BES whether hosted or not. That said, I find BES worthwhile enough to pay for it (hosted) for personal use. Not everyone does though and many are very happy with BIS.

Last edited by takeshi : 04-10-2007 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I agree, the web-based BIS back-end does look pretty good and takes away a lot of the config from the device. It's almost like a mainframe - terminal relationship by the look of it.

I suppose my question is more about when/if they will be targeted at consumers, as opposed to just business. I've noticed that on the official Blackberry site, it gives you a business/consumer choice and takes you off into separate directions. Plus the new Pearl models seem to be consumer focused.

Is there many Blackberry consumer service offerings in the US? In the UK they seem to still be business focused on the mobile phone operator's websites, and they're normally just regular service plans, but they'll charge an extra 10 for BIS access per month, in all you wont get much change from $50.

I've just got a Nokia N73 (which is great!) but my mobile habits are shifting from being voice/sms based to sms/email based, and tapping out long sms/emails on a 1-9 keypad isn't great. Perhaps when I want to upgrade towards the end of the year, service plan prices will have dropped somewhat, and maybe there'll be some more consumer offerings.

It's quite frustrating as I see everyone on the train addicted to them in the mornings, and the devices are so cheap on ebay... just won't be able to use it off the shelf apparently!
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwoods
just won't be able to use it off the shelf apparently!
Blackberrys, properly configured, are quite usable right off the shelf. To configure them or use them in a manner other than as prescribed, can be more tenuous to setup for off the shelf use.
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