bb8700g.jpgWell, I’ve come to the end of my first week with the Blackberry 8700g and I’m starting to get the hang of it for the most part. I’m still making some course corrections and exploring third party software possibilities.  A couple online resources have been invaluable in the learning and adjusting process, so I’d like to give them a quick nod of recognition and appreciation.

First and foremost among these is Blackberry Forums.  If you have the endurance to read some very long threads and use the search function, there is a ton of great information here for the initiate.  I’d strongly suggest doing some legwork on the older posts before posting a “HELP”. Chances are someone else has been exactly where you are and the knowledgeable folks at Blackberry Forums have offered some good advice you can use.

I also found the official Blackberry site very helpful. I’d left my Blackberry Desktop CD at work and quickly downloaded all the tools I needed to get my Blackberry and Laptop playing nice. Not to mention, they have a gem of a tool called Blackberry Device Simulator which allows you to test run various applications on desktop-based, virtual Blackberries (various models).

My battery life test came to an end today when I decided to go ahead and charge the energy sipping Blackberry 8700g. With one tenacious power bar left, that makes it six days on a single full charge; hands down, the best battery life I’ve ever gotten in a smartphone (various Windows Mobiles, Sidekicks and Palms).

My instant messenger trial of IM+ came to an end when I, rather boneheadedly, realized that my existing service plan with T-Mobile had unlimited text messages. With that little hump out of the way, I found that T-Mobile’s OZ instant messenger client (a free download) would more than suffice for my needs with support of AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo!, MSN and ICQ.

I’m still in search of a more robust (and hopefully free) email client to replace the one that ships with the 8700g… must… have… folders… Any suggestions or recommendation from Blackberry email aficionados?

For my document and notepad needs I installed ePad/eFile from DynoPlex. I think the basic functions will suffice for my simple needs (folders, light editting, file synch, renaming and organizing). The Blackberry-based interface takes a little getting used to but desktop side file synchronizer integrates well with the core Blackberry Desktop software.

I had a great experience using the 8700g as a modem for my laptop, but first time setup is a bit complicated. I’ve decided to document that process in a seperate post for interested parties Suffice to say, it was plenty fast enough to keep me online between wifi spots; accomodating email, chat and basic web browsing (although you might want to skip the streaming video and massive file downloads).  You can even make voice calls with on your tethered Blackberry without unplugging it or loosing your connection (although online speed slowed noticeable for the duration of the call).

I’m also on the hunt for a good, free RSS reader for the Blackberry. A couple online RSS readers I was familiar with from my Sidekick days will do in a pinch (like Google Reader and Conveyor), but I’d love a dedicated application. mReader was a terrible disappointment in this regard, failing to download several times in a row and when I finally got it installed it failed to resolve a single RSS feed correctly. I considered Freenews, but frankly $20/year for a glorified web browser just made me chuckle. I also need to put Litefeeds through the paces soon too.

Haven’t gotten around to giving many games a good shakedown, although I did download Ka-Glom. Sort of a Tetris clone with some interesting twists. A very pretty game, but slow to start up and shut down.