As I have done with other phones in the past, I thought I would post some personal experience observations after a month hands-on with the Blackberry 9000 Bold (purchased while on overseas trip in a country that already has it). Just as an anecdote- I tried to travel with my iPhone 3G and hated the experience so much with disconnecting calls and poor data coverage that I found myself buying the Bold within a few days of arriving.
First -- it looks and feels great -- just slightly larger than the iPhone, and similarly styled in black and chrome.
Network signal: The 3G network has connected and stayed connected for me everywhere I have travelled this month - Detroit, NYC, SF, Chicago, London, and Paris. No problems with dropped calls or weak signals --
Screen and Browser: leap years beyond the older BB models, the screen looks great, and movies and photos look stunning on the screen. The battery manages to last long enough to watch a two hour movie in-flight (but just barely). The screen is hard to see in bright sunlight, not as bright as the iPhone even at its brightest setting, but manageable. ATT's streaming video (CV) looks great on the BBB and connects automatically.
Mac users beware! There is NO native support for mac users for any of the Blackberry's -- but in particular the Bold: PocketMac which they offer as a free download does not work properly, Missing Sync which is 39.00 works for PDA function sync, but not well for files, music or movies (although it is supposed to), and there is no way to upgrade the firmware at this time without using a PC. RIM has announced that early 1st Quarter 2009 they will finally begin to support Mac users -- it won't be a moment too soon. In the meantime, you are in for the same woeful sync experience as with all other RIM phones on Mac. I fall into that category myself and it was one of the reasons I thought the iPhone might fill my needs, which was obviously wrong for all counts except sync. So its a tradeoff for sure.
Limited software -- even though the Bold has been out for awhile now in some countries, 3rd party software remains limited. Older BB software does not work, for the most part, on the Bold. Most popular software titles are not yet available for the bold, although more and more are being released all the time. Sites like Handango advertise many of its software titles are compatible with the Bold, only to find that they are NOT after download.
Themes are also extremely limited -- I haven't come across any site that has more than 4 or 5 of them, and those don't particularly look great or suit most users needs. I imagine this will flourish once the Bold is released in the USA sometime in November.
Cases -- are limited. It comes with the standard BB faux-leather pouch. Most case companies advertise that they have cases "in the works" -- most are not yet available.
Headsets with Mic controls -- there is no BB support for the buttons on existing button=controlled in-line mic headsets. While your button click will allow you to pause your media player, you can not skip ahead, replay, or do anything else with the button control. The mic function does seem to work properly.
Sound quality -- is exceptional. Using the Bold as a plain-old phone, the sound is clean and clear. With the headphones, it sounds even better -- although it does at times suffer from ATT's notorious echo (where you hear yourself speaking on a very slight delay).
Boxwave sells plastic clear cling sheets to cover the screen -- I would highly recommend them, as the Bold's plastic screen seems to scratch really really easily, especially if you carry it in a pocket without a case (like I always carry my phones). Expansys has a dock (which will also allow you to charge) which works well.
Stability: So far, it seems very stable. I have not had any resets or freezeups. The new Media Center is awesome -- but photos are problematic: large photos tranferred to the Bold tend to lockup and take forever to open --- photos that are re-sized to 300x240 pixels work as expected on the Bold -- anything larger and the Photos application becomes useless. Like older Blackberries, Error 540 pops up pletnifully if you try to use a storage card photo as your wallpaper rather than a photo stored on the device itself. In all these years, I'm not sure why RIM hasn't been able to correct that.
Overall: I highly recommend the phone once it arrives on our shores -- I've completely loved my BBB experience so far -- and it will be very popular I am sure -- along with popularity, I am sure the aforementioned software and accessory lacks will quickly be addressed. And once RIM finally adds appropriate Mac support, it will indeed be the iPhone killer many are predicting.
Yes, it supports full HTML as well as WAP through two separate launch icons.
What you have is very limited streaming ability, though - just like on the iPhone -- there is no adobe flash.
It does support limited streaming from the reformated WAP site of YouTube and the like, but no ability to watch flash video from sites like CNN etc...
ANd -- like the iPhone -- the websites automatically detect that you have a mobile device and sends you to their WAP site -- that has been a complaint on the iPhone forums for a year -- and it does the exact same thing on the Blackberry Bold --
Example -- if you go to youtube.com it automatically redirects you to the mobile website version of You Tube.
If you go to USAToday.com -- it automatically puts you into mobile.usatoday.com
You have no choice and no way to change that without some backdoor tweeks (like visiting a webpage link on the full HTML site, then pressing home to go to the full HTML site)
Where sites go through directly, they look great in HTML...
All great news and that is one insightful review of the Bold. The sad and stupid thing is this delay on "AT&T" part is down right ridiculous! I mean to announce some thing in June for July and here its Oct and still not even a "Release" date? That is down right pathetic. I mean the Storm and Thunder and the G1 are all going to be out before the bold even hits here. I mean yah I know delays and them trying to make it function right on the network and all but this many months "Off Base" for the "Release date" ?? That is down right sad. If this is the case then they "Should have not announced the phone in the first place!" They had no business announcing a phone in May saying july and it is taking till maybe as far as December to be released? That is plain wrong.. They should have not announced the phone until they were more certain of a "Real" release date.
As for RIM not making this or any of there phone supported by Mac is down right stupid on their parts. I mean do they really know how many Blackberry type individuals work on Mac systems? And more and more and more people are constantly switching to Macs escpecially after the joke of a release of Vista? A device like BB belongs on a functional mac operating system. I mean come on even my old Nokia "Sync" with my mac.. I may sound harsh here people but its something that BB or RIM needs to be aware of.. But then again all of these issues mean little as we still dont even know when the "Bold" will show up or if it will show up at all. By the time it comes out there will be something better out on "T-mobile" or other providers. Considering my contract is been up for 3 months now and I was waiting on Bold to renew I may be switching to another carrier if it does not come out soon. Thats just a fact..
Second -- as it looks, the Bold should be out during the first half of November - they have now officially slated release information meetings across the country between Mid October and the end of October. Releases with ATT usually come two weeks or so after those management meetings.
Third -- as we can see, it is NOT RIM that is having the problem. The phone has successfully been released all over the world with few issues. The problem in the US is not the phone, it is the ATT Network -- they can't release another 3G phone (which will be enourmously popular....personally everyone in my office is waiting for the Bold, none of them were waiting for the iPhone 3G) until the network stability issue is addressed. ATT is likely working frantically to build out their 3G network at least in the most populous metropolitan areas in order to accommodate the Bold 3G release....if you've read elsewhere, it is now clearly documented that as the iPhone 3G was rolled out, metropolitan areas had a trickle-down effect...the more 3G phones that access a single signal tower, the less 3G speed there is left for anyone else joining, to the point where when multiple phones are connected to the 3G tower, it ceases to emit a 3G signal and you are forced into EDGE....this has now been documented over and over again...Imagine throwing another 3G phone on top of that.
Hopefully, ATT has their signal issues at least partially solved. I think they also know they are in deep trouble if they delay the phone yet again. Again, it has nothing to do with the phone. From my own experience, it is as rock-solid and dependable as you can get and what you expect from RIM. It is currently ATT's network that has prevented the release.
Ifinally gave up on the Bold at AT&T in my lifetime and upgraded from a Palm to an 8820. I rationalized that I REALLY don't need 3G and I just bought an 8 megapixel Nikon Coolpix. However, being a techie freak, I will probably get a Bold on my next upgrade (assuming something better doesn't come along).
So.. The Bold will be somewhat of a nightmare if (which I am) a Mac Hack; and the iPhone is a toy on steroids? What's a heavily reliant phone and data user to do? AT&Ts 3G is a great idea, but is overloaded - darn! They are giving refunds of up to $30.00 in CA for loss of service. Smartphones are supposed to put everything I would need into one device. So why will I be carrying two phones and a small laptop everywhere I go? I think the pricing is way too high - especially since Vodafone is offering the Bold for free with less restrictions 18 month 600 mins. If everyone just stayed away for 2 or 3 months, Blackberry will have rolled out great MAC OS connectivity (maybe not) and AT&T will have lowered the price significantly (maybe so) and we all will be salivating for the NEXT great device that WE JUST NEED... Free Wi-Fi anyone? :-o