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Old 04-18-2006, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Impressions: Minuet Browser for the 8700c

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I purchased the Minuet Browser from Handango. (Some of you may have seen the thread concerning the problems I was having dealing with Handango. More on that in this thread.) I have the BB 8700c and the Cingular unlimited data plan (or at least I thought it was unlimited).

Initially I had trouble downloading the program from Handango. The screen that was to offer the download access would not appear. It took Handango almost a week to respond to several email messages. For a web-based retailer selling via download, this, IMHO, is unacceptable. (Being the diplomat that I am, I told them that, in just so many words.)

Eventually on Sunday, I heard from them. They had looked into the matter, and suggested I try again. I did and it worked. Installation with the BB Desktop Manager was simple. But then the second set of problems arose. The Minuet Browser would not open any pages.

I checked my APN settings and they seemd to be in order. After a number frustrating but unsuccessful tries, I contacted Cingular Tech Support. It should also be noted that before contacting Cingular Tech Support, I went back to Handango with the problem, but although they acknowledged receipt of my inquiry with an auto-reply, nothing further came of it. However, it was a different story with the Cingular Tech Support.

After navigating through a number of menus on the phone, I reached a Cingular Support person who specialized in tech support for the Blackberry. He was a pleasure to deal with. He calmly investigated and discussed all the problems with the browser, made suggestions and then concluded that the APN settings, despite what Handango and a few others had suggested, were not correct. Access to the Cingular WAP gateway had to be done with an additional Cingular plan.

That data plan would cost an additional $19.99 a month, but he also pointed out that if I did not like the way the Minuet Browser worked, the plan could be cancelled at any time. He also made it clear that he thought that receiving data through this gateway would definitely be slower than the "edge" technology that drove the other BB functions. I decided to try it out and see what happened.

I authorized the additional data plan from Cingular and sure enough, Minuet was able to access web pages. But it also was very slow. Sometimes painfully slow. This was not Minuet's problem, but a result of the slower Cingular gateway required.

Before Minuet, I used both the BB and the Cingular browsers bundled with the BB 8700c. The Cingular browser can be configured to provide quick access with reasonable displays. The BB browser is occasionally used for websites that Cingular has trouble with (particularly those that need log ins). It was these second type of sites that the Minuet browser was supposed to do well with. Unfortunately, that did not turn out to be the case.

My attempts to access several sites where I have to log in were uniformly unsuccessful. In every instance, I completed the username and password information, tried to log in, and after a few seconds or so, I was brought back to the log in page. I was not able to break this circular process at all. Not once. So, as far as being a better access to these kinds of pages, Minuet was no help at all.

Accessing more normal pages was easy, but, as I already noted, slower. In fact, I much prefer the display that I get from the Cingular browser than the Minuet browser for these more "standard" pages. And the BB browser continues to access many of the more complicated pages with log ins reasonably well (although it occasionally leaves a lot to be desired too).

The bottom line is that, at least for me, a Cingular user (a service, which BTW I am overall fairly pleased with) the Minuet Browser is a waste of money. It does not perform as advertised, when it does access pages I do not like the display as much as the Cingular browser, and adding to that the requirement of the extra service from Cingular takes it from marginally fair to unquestionably poor.

Handango's role in this was not stellar. They took much too long to respond, and quite frankly, as a vendor of a program for the BB 8700, they should have known what users had to do to use the program, and that should have been part of the description. They may be OK as vendors of programs for the BB that do not need continuous access to the web (some games, for example) but in this case I think they did a poor job, failing to disclose what users should expect and then responding at a snail's pace to some inquiries.

The Minuet browser may work for other users, particularly if you are not required to use a slow gateway. But it didn't for me.

That's it for now...

Parker R.
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Old 04-18-2006, 11:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review.
If you have to use this with non-Edge WAP, it is definitely useless. Anyway, If the display is no improvement (or even worse) than the Blackberry Browser, it doesn't sound like this program has much going for it.
Parker, you saved us some money.
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