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OS 5 is (finally) here


OS 5 is (finally) here

BlackBerry 8350i owners have been waiting a LONG time, but it's here.

What's here? Well, in case you've NOT been plastered to the sites on RIM or for months, I'm talking about the OS 5 device update.  Sprint doesn't quite have the links updated yet, but RIM has it.

Say what you want.  The latest 'Berrys are light years ahead with OS 6, they're sliders, iDEN's getting old...blah, blah, blah.  But let's put it this way: The 8350i was pushed out just ahead of OS 5, which was supposed to have killer new features like threaded SMS, SureType, an up-to-date browser, and a better media player.  The list goes on.  The 8350i met the base requirements, and speculation soared that we lowly Nextel users would get it fast.  This was bolstered by reports in a blog (c. April '10) that the update was confirmed for Q2 a Sprint rep.

April goes by...silence

May marches on..nada

Jump through June..bubkes

Jaunt into July...can you hear crickets yet?  I sure can.

We're accelerating though August now, ergo deep into Q3, and BlackBerry forums are still abuzz with disgruntled Nextel users as well as foolhardy hackers talking up OS 5 and lamenting over the lack of it or modding the phone to accept it, thanks to SouthernLINC.

CrackBerry broke the story early this week that the update was finally approved for Nextel, so I followed the lead and got the new OS.

Same old BlackBerry, just a few new tricks:

  • The behavior of the Lock key has changed; it now places the phone in Standby, as the Mute key does
  • Minor tweaks to the user interface: Some elements have a 3D effect.  Some text elements can now use a smaller font (in the Call view, your number is smaller than the recipient's).
  • More applications now have a Find bar where applicable
  • Logging: Now includes address/number and time on events
  • SMS now grouped by recipient/sender for easy tracking
  • Much more than I have time to list

I'm quite happy with the upgrade so far.  No issues yet.  If you'd like to get yours, I've worked up a quick guide.

Let's start by checking your current version:

  1. Press the BlackBerry key (henceforth known as "Menu")
  2. Scroll to the Options applet (it has a spanner wrench icon), and then click the trackball.
  3. Click About. The system credits open.  Somewhere around the third line of text, you'll see the version number, as in
  4. Click through the remaining screens to end the session.

If your software version is, then you're at a good starting point.  If you're not there, the following update steps will take you there while squashing a few bugs.

  • Method  1: Over the Air (somewhat risky, since you must factor in battery life and data network strength at the time).  NB: Data will NOT be backed up with this method.

    1. Press Menu
    2. Click Options
    3. Click Advanced Options
    4. Click Wireless Update
    5. Follow the prompts

  • Method  2: Desktop/Web method (safer because you have your device attached to a  PC; the USB ports can draw power to charge while the update takes  place)  You'll need the Desktop Manager software from RIM,  Sprint has a  link to version 5 on its software page.  You can also get Desktop 6 from RIM if you wish. If using v5, do the steps below.  Use ONLY this method to pull down OS 5:

    1. If  Bluetooth is turned on, turn it off.  Updates cannot be transmitted over Bluetooth.  Leaving it on may delay the update process. You can check Bluetooth setup post-update.  (I myself was a bit freaked when the Desktop threw up Bluetooth errors and then took a bit longer to sort things out)
    2. Connect the USB cable, supplied with the phone, to the phone and your PC.
    3. Launch Desktop Manager
    4. Click Application Loader
    5. Click Update Software
    6. Follow the wizard steps to get the update.  Your data is backed up during this process.

In v6, connect the device and choose Update Device... from the Device menu, and then follow the wizard through.

NOTE:  Updating software may take as long as two hours to finish.  Data will be restored upon successful completion of the update task.

Software has been posted on RIM's site for Nextel.  The device update is not yet available OTA, so it must be downloaded, run, and then processed through the Desktop Software.  The process is the same as above.  After the upgrade, you will be notified if any existing applications are incompatible.  If any of your apps "vanish", the best fix is to  reload the latest version from the app provider.

Good luck,

N. Alden

Message was edited by: nalden03

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