Yesterday my wife inherited my trusty old Motorola V710 cell phone after hers vanished. I took advantage of some credit I had, plus a pair of aggressive rebates from Verizon Wireless to get a Blackberry Curve at a very good price.

blackberry curve

I'll preface this by saying that I've never owned a "smart" phone before and wasn't sure what I was getting into. But so far I'm pretty happy. Having access to some of my favorite on-line apps (in mobile form) is surprisingly handy.

So far I've set up a few favorites in the browser, such as Weather Underground Mobile and Bloglines Mobile. I've also installed a few apps: GMail Mobile, TwitterBerry, and Google Maps Mobile. I expect that I'll find some useful aviation related mobile sites or apps that I need to try out as well.

The best part is that once the service on my EVDO card is shut off, I'll have a cheaper bill and similar capabilities to what I had before--partly thanks to Bluetooth Tethering. And from the looks of it, there are even some Linux tools to play with.

I dig that fact that I don't need to buy funky chargers. USB power is great. I'm finding the interface pretty easy to adapt to, and thanks to some BlackBerry keyboard shortcuts, I'm pretty good on the keyboard.

I thought about getting the BlackBerry Pearl but couldn't see the point of having something with a retarded keyboard when the "real thing" was close in price.

I haven't yet tried the camera and uploading to Flickr. Sadly, there is no ZoneTag.

I have used it as a phone and it's at least as loud and clear as my old phone.

What else is out there that I need to play with? I'm sure there's a lot...

See Also:

Posted by jzawodn at May 23, 2008 12:13 PM

Reader Comments
# Derek said:

I was in the same decision making situation you were in, deciding between the 8830 World Edition and the Pearl. I liked that the 8830 had a "real" keyboard, but the standard-keyboard Blackberry devices are simply too bulky for me.

I was switching from a RAZR and really liked that I could toss my phone in my pocket and forget it was there. With the full-keyboard Blackberries that's just not possible. The Pearl, at least, is a manageable and comfortable size, especially since I don't text/e-mail from my phone all that much (read, "nearly never").

on May 23, 2008 12:30 PM
# tony said:

jeremy--try Opera Mini, it's much better at handling non-mobile websites than the built in browser.

on May 23, 2008 01:48 PM
# Chad Atchison said:

Long time lurker, first time poster. Glad to your joining the 21st century!

What inspired my posting is, I work for a company called OtterBox and we make cases for several smart phones, including the Curve - I actually have one sitting on my desk right now. Anyway, if you're worried about dropping it, etc., I could probably convince our PR girl to send you a free sample.

Enjoy your new toy, and have a good Memorial Day weekend!

on May 23, 2008 02:13 PM
# said:

Second on the opera mini. I use it all the time on my blackberry and it actually renders sites properly.

on May 23, 2008 02:47 PM
# Todd said:

Haven't tried ZoneTag, but just came across this today and it looks promising. You may want to give it a try

on May 23, 2008 07:34 PM
# Harry said:

re: aviation related mobile sites, I'd love to have you try Jetrecord, which works nicely on my Blackberry 8700g (via the browser, anyway). I'm just about to release Twitter integration as well. And on that note I actually prefer Twitter's mobile interface in the browser to TwitterBerry.


on May 23, 2008 08:57 PM
# Lindsay said:

Try Handmark's PocketExpress - news, weather, and sports aggregated for free, as well as commercial travel tools, entertainment, etc with a small subscription. You can download it from the browser on the device - go to Blackberry's homepage, then Applications, and it's under News.

And for 7 others, here's a link to an article of "RIM execs top 8 BlackBerry apps":

on May 24, 2008 07:55 AM
# Scott Kingery said:

I have the Pearl and like it. Of course, I didn't have much choice as work bought it but the typing isn't that bad.
I use Opera Mini. There is also a Google Talk client you can get for Blackberry that I use really only for Twitter thus avoiding any sms overages. Also, there is that you can get to via Opera Mini or the internal browser for use with twitter (MUCH better than the mobile twitter

on May 25, 2008 10:47 AM
# Craig said:

Re: useful aviation related mobile sites...
This is the single most useful bookmark on my treo. A 'bookmarkable' GET for the standard ADDS METAR/TAF form POST. Also useful from a regular browser, where I have a set of these on and in my browser address bar cache to quickly bring up METAR and TAF along my most commonly flown routes.
For METAR only, drop the chk_tafs param from the Request-URI.
For TAF only, simply drop the chk_metars param from the Request-URI.
WeatherTAP (mobile) -- most of this info is already available on, ADDS, etc., but some additional aviation services are available on weathertap (graphical TFRs, DUAT flight plan, surface obs, etc.) and it is worth the small monthly fee, IMHO. (I subscribed to the desktop version several years ago and they recently made this mobile interface available at no extra cost, which, for me, replaced my Pilot My-Cast app subscription.)
DUAT (mobile) -- once you login, an automatic sign-on URL can also be bookmarked.

">> hourly outlook, 36-hour outlook, and current conditions.

Soaring related... overkill... but nothing beats planning my favourite weekend diversion while my physical presence is required in a horribly boring meeting.
I have a separate bookmark on my treo for each of the ~7 most interesting parameters for each of the RUC params. I also use 18z for a few params. Same params are bookmarked for the NAM, RASP, and NAM +1 & +2 day models.
For each of the ~7 most interesting NAM params (also repeated for curr+1 and curr+2 days for relevant params)
For each of the ~3 most interesting NAM +1 and +2 day models, as demonstrated above.,d2.png
For each of the ~7 most interesting RASP params.

If your mobile browser has trouble retaining the auth cookie, then add your drjack id and pw to each of the private bookmarks as demonstrated above. Finally, substitute lowercase "png" as above if you prefer the "Classic" Coloring over Fixed Coloring.

I also had a good URL for a non-Java Skew-T source, but I seem to have misplaced it.

on May 25, 2008 03:47 PM
# Brian Cantoni said:

I've got a good collection of general interest mobile websites here:

Here's another one recently sent to me -- mobile weather from Oakland air traffic control:

on May 25, 2008 05:11 PM
# Ben Metcalfe said:

Just a word of warning RE EVDO via BlackBerry Tethering...

You might want to test the performance of your throughput on the tethered BB before you ditch the separate EVDO plan. I've found that I can get 200-300kbps on my Sprint 8810 - which is fine for email and some light web, but not great in long bursts. For comparison, a friend speed-tested his Sprint EVDO card and was getting as much as 1500kbsps down.

It probably depends whether you need the speed or just 'a connection' as to whether you should keep or ditch the separate EVDO card.

on May 27, 2008 11:07 AM
# Rosina said:

Beautiful!! I have one like yours. My husband bought it for me as a gift and I just love it. Just as you, I'd never owned a smart phone before and I really didn't care about it at all. But now I have it I just can't get enought of it!!

on May 27, 2008 06:57 PM
# Tyson said:

Not sure how often you still need to get onto a Linux server, but I find SSH Mobile from Rove/Idokorro pretty usable in a pinch.

on June 4, 2008 11:58 AM
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