Before heading south today, where the weather was slightly warmer than in San Francisco, and where the sun made more appearances, I made sure my BlackBerry 8800 was all setup and ready for the trip just like I was.
A new version of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager (the synchronization software) is now shipping with the BlackBerry 8800 (version 4.2). Not only it has an enhanced look and feel, but it is able to manage the media features of the BlackBerry 8800 allowing you to upload music and videos to the handheld.
In addition, it seems that version 4.2 has better error handling than earlier versions. With the earlier 4.1 version, which I used in the 81-day-experiment back when I was using the BlackBerry 8700, I was getting an error when synchronizing my Outlook data. When the error would occur, the BlackBerry Desktop Manager would quit without completing the synchronization process. No good! Version 4.2 seems to handle such errors more elegantly. It seems that my Outlook data has 5 contacts that are causing the errors. The synchronization process in version 4.2 skipped these addresses, and continued the synchronization process and included the necessary notification about the problem in the log file. Not bad!
E-mail setup was fairly straightforward after I was reminded by the Cingular technical support representative that I needed to create an account first at the Cingular/BlackBerry website. The GSP setup was just as easy, and in just a few minutes, the BlackBerry 8800 GPS was ready for the trip (the 8800 uses the TeleNav GPS Navigtor which costs about $10/month).
The exciting part about the BlackBerry 8800 today was the GPS. First, at different points during the trip, I retrieved a map of the area where I was with the push of a button. Then I was able to move within this map and zoom in and out as necessary. On the way back to San Francisco, I entered my San Francisco address and let the BlackBerry 8800 GPS guide me to it. The navigation on the GSP screen was easy to follow, the screen update was quite fast, and the voice commands helpful and clear.
The route that the BlackBerry 8800 GSP suggested to get to San Francisco was the route that I would have taken anyway. However when I got into the city, the BlackBerry 8800 GPS took a different route. You can optimize the GPS route for a) the fastest route, b) the shortest route, c) highway usage, d) street usage, or e) for a pedestrian. I think I had it set on the shortest route which caused it to take me up and down many of the steep hills of the city.
I think there needs to be one more optimization option in GPS systems and that is “use hills” or “avoid hills”. But still, the BlackBerry 8800 GSP got me to my destination safe and sound.