Friday, February 01, 2008

Google BlackBerry calendar sync, the family calendar, and BlackBerry comments

We've had my wife's BlackBerry Pearl for about a week now. Some recent discoveries:
  • The predictive keyboard text entry is slow for writing, but might improve with time. It's very tedious when entering usernames and URLs. I need to learn a shortcut to switch out of predictive mode into the standard multi-stroke letter selection.
  • A Graffiti One (original Palm Pilot) text entry solution with predictive word selection would really be much better than this keyboard and would use space far more effectively. Sniff.
  • The original Palm had hundreds of fine touches that mde working in the small 160x160 display efficient and even enjoyable. It's early, but I don't see anything like this on the BlackBerry.
  • The AT&T personal BB service includes what I think is their "push" email. We use this instead of AT&T's costly instant messaging. We use Google's BB Gmail client for work with traditional email. We haven't tried Google Talk on the BB ... yet
  • When I enabled the BB email I was directed to "" for a web interface. Ooops! Turns out that's not enabled for personal accounts. I've run into a few of these glitches. [1 - see update]
Our latest experiment was with Google Mobile's BB Calendar sync
Get calendar alerts - Using your BlackBerry� smartphone's native calendar, you can now access your Google calendar even when you don't have network coverage and be alerted for upcoming appointments with sound or vibration.

Always in sync - Your Google Calendar stays synchronized whether you access it from your computer or your phone. You can add or edit entries right on your BlackBerry� smartphone or on your Google Calendar on the web...
I was indeed able to configure a connection between our family Google Apps domain calendar and the BB. It's very slow to sync however, even with only a few test posts on the calendar. I wonder if this will turn out be a toy. If it works I might make another try to sync Outlook with Google Calendar, though I don't think there's been much improvement on that front.

We've not tried Google Talk yet.

Update 12/30/08: In the midst of a Blackberry debacle I finally figured some of the odd story with AT&T doesn't document this at all. Most users don't need to know about this because when you first connect the phone to the network AT&T auto-configures the push email that's the only interesting feature of their "Blackberry plan" (which is otherwise a generic data plan).

Anyway, if you navigate to the BB Pearl app for "Blackberry Setup", then "Personal Email Setup", you will be taken to an AT&T web page for configuring your email account. Here you set up a password for your account. In the midst of these screens, as of 12/08, there's an option to "create a username". If you do that you will be asked for a password. Be sure to have the password for your email setup already, because you'll be asked for that too as part of this setup.

Once you do this you can go to and the username and password you entered via the phone will allow you access to a very limited page for configuring your BB email. The only novel function on this page is you can define email "filters".

I suggest you ignore this "feature", it's not worth the bother. Still, it's good to know what that absurd web page was supposed be for.

1 comment:

Seven Stone Poetry Cafe said...

I've tried Google Talk on my BB and it works great. Very easy to install and use.