While ZDNet has named BlackBerry Bold the most influential biztech product of 2008, RIM has not been neglecting the millions of owners of older 8xx0 series BlackBerries. Earlier this week their BlackBerry Connection Newsletter announced that version 4.5 upgrades to all 8xx0 Series BlackBerries (using BIS servers via carriers) are now available.
Why upgrade? To bring along, where practical and feasible, several features now found on the newer Bold, Storm, and 8900 Curve such as:
- HTML email
- View and edit email MS Word and MS PowerPoint attachments.
- Download, save and edit files from the Internet
- Enhanced video support for both recording and streaming: required to run Qik.Com and the forthcoming SlingPlayer Mobile for BlackBerry.
- Record and Send a Voice Note which can be sent via email or MMS
- Improved music management
- These updates only apply to BlackBerry Internet Server (BIS) users; BES users need to upgrade through their BES host enterprise.
- Updates are carrier specific; early in the process you are asked for your PIN and taken to download files specific to your carrier.
- Updates may also require an update of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager
- MS Excel spreadsheet viewing and editing did not make the cut; they are only available for newer BlackBerry Bold, Storm and 8900 Curve.
Over the past few days I have successfully upgraded a Pearl 8100, a Pearl 8110 and an 8820. Provided you have BlackBerry Desktop Manager (preferably 4.7) installed on a Windows PC, it’s a three to five click process (depending on whether you just follow the basic steps or want to change some parameters) to do the upgrade. While your BlackBerry data and applications are preserved after the upgrade, you may need to log into some services or applications again. The final step “Connecting to the Device” may take five to ten minutes – be patient.
One key feature is not in the list above but the new firmware includes new default fonts which are significantly more easily readable. Also, on the Pearls, there are changes to make using the SureType keyboard much easier, especially when it comes to suggested “word completion”.
Definitely worth the upgrade – and required for video streaming applications.
A detailed description of the BlackBerry firmware upgrade process can be found at CrackBerry.com.
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