Additions to FAQ:
Q: BlackBerry plans include compression. Generic data plans don't?
A: BlackBerry plans definitely includes very good compression (email/web), however, there are ways to get compression on generic data plans. Some third party applications such as Opera Mini now includes compression that work on ANY data plan, not just BlackBerry plans. (Opera Mini Compression Article #1
, Article #2
). In fact, Opera Mini's compression is as good as BlackBerry Browser in actual usage trials for HTML browsing. Images can be turned off (downloaded manually), or downloaded in low-quality mode (highly compressed), just like BlackBerry Browser. If you mainly do WAP browsing in BlackBerry Browser, then make sure you turn images off with Opera Mini, to make web page views only 10 to 20 kilobytes each. This gives you a few hundred webpage views per month on a typical 10MB generic data plan.
Q: How much data does GMAIL Mobile uses?
A: While not as efficient as BlackBerry Email, it's much more efficient than iPhone email and Pocket Outlook (Windows Mobile). GMAIL uses the following compression techniques: Making email download manual (downloads only the most recent few headers only, and new emails), makes attachment download optional, downloading only kilobytes-sized image thumbnails or text snippets when you actually try to download a megabytes-sized thumbnails or text snippets. GMAIL is pretty safe on a 10MB generic data plan, although you probably want to quit the GMAIL software whenever you're done with it as leaving it idling will continually use small amounts of data (as it downloads new email headers). Currently, GMAIL mobile does not seem to use zip-style recompression on downloads of the text portions of emails (which is small to begin with, anyway), but it does the more important compression tactics such as making download optional, and downsizing when viewing attachments -- that's the scary part that good 'ol GMAIL Mobile prevents you from killing your data plan with.
Q: Does Opera Mini have a data counter?
A: Yes! This is why it's better than BlackBerry Browser too. It has the similiar excellent compression abilities, yet BlackBerry Browser does not have a data counter. To be safe, carefully monitor the Opera Mini data counter in Opera Mini -> HELP -> About .... Make sure you don't use more than half your monthly allotment, as a safety margin. In fact, I've been frequently using Opera Mini with images turned on during my 200MB Rogers data plan, and I still use less than 10MB Opera-specific data usage per month, but to begin with, I recommend you turn images off until you ascertain how much data usage you get out of Opera Mini. The data counter is a great feature Opera Mini gives you that BlackBerry Browser doesn't even give you, the ability to monitor your web data usage on a BlackBerry! Don't forget that reinstalling Opera Mini will erase your data counter, so take this into account. (This data counter is great even for BlackBerry-plan subscribers too)
Q: Should I turn off image download in Opera Mini?
A: Yes, to begin with, especially if you're on the $5 data plan. You have one-click "download all images for this page
" for those times when you feel you need to view images, anyway. Use the data counter in Opera Mini to monitor your web browsing. In Opera Mini, all images are automatically recompressed into low-quality JPEG's by default, so even image downloads of the most graphical websites such as Learn More at Space.com. From Satellites to Stars, NASA information, Astronomy, the Sun and the Planets, we have your information here.
takes well under 100 kilobytes, much like in BlackBerry Browser but with much better rendering capabilities. With images turned off, your web pages can be typically only 10 to 20KB each (depending on site), thanks to Opera Mini compression.
Q: I am using this much data per month. Is it safe to switch to the generic data plan?
A: It is recommended to make sure you have a 3:1 safety margin
if you decide to switch to a generic data plan. If you are a Rogers Canada user and your current usage is 3MB, the cheap Rogers Canada $10 for 10MB data plan would be very appropriate for your needs. For every 1MB of actual usage, figure in 3MB of generic data plan. This assumes you do not need to use BlackBerry email, and you plan to keep your usage similiar to what you have now. The extra safety margin ensures you are highly unlikely to have data overages.