The thing that I really liked about my virtual iPhone, I mean iTouch, was that it was a wonderful media and information consumption device. "Flicking through" weather updates, web pages and even music (gasp!) was a deeee-light. But, trying to tap-tap away on a glass touch-screen for a twitter update, or worse yet an email, was a time-consuming and error ridden experience.
This European vacation with the iTouch convinced me that I was not going to buy an iPhone 3G (with what I also consider a terrible AT&T data and voice plan) upon my return to the States. But another phone had piqued my interest - the Blackberry 8330, another 3G device on Sprint and Verizon networks. As a long-standing member of Sprint's "All You can Eat" plan, now at $99/month, I was happy with the network, despite its lack of global coverage.
The Blackberry is no stranger to my pocket gadget arsenal, as I have had a couple in the past, but they were now down to 4 oz, and nearly half the thickness of my 3G Treo 755p. But one feature was really lacking on the Blackberry - its lack of HTML email support. I fell in love with the hardware however and made the leap, figuring that third party applications would provide the feature I missed, yet all fell short. Mail load times were longer, obtrusive messages popped up, and the font support didn't mimic the factory settings. You could tell this was an add-on, and if you installed it and can't figure out how to remove it, just look for SmartView within the Add/Remove Applications icon on the Blackberry Desktop software - and un-check it. Once I read about the 4.5 client software update, with the 2.5 Blackberry Internet Service upgrades that were coming to the carriers I hoped this could be my ideal solution.
As I am not one to wait for Sprint to release "blessed" firmware, I monitored the forums and checked others, who were less dependent on their mobile phones, that tested the "buried 4.5 firmware" on the Blackberry web site. A few catastrophes were debugged, and by deleting the vendor.xml file from the installation package which dropped it within the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research in Motion\AppLoader then by running the 4.5 Desktop Manager, all of the Curve (83XX) model phones could be upgraded to the latest and greatest, with built-in HTML email support. Find your model of Curve's firmware and instructions here: http://forums.crackberry.com/f52/
After upgrading both an AT&T and Sprint Blackberry Curve without fail, I was still unable to get my HTML email from Gmail and my hosted domains. Turns out, the profiles (with their unique capabilities) are sent down from the Blackberry Internet Server (BIS) which must be accessed by going to yourcarrier.blackberry.com (sprint.blackberry.com in my case) then after logging in, delete all of your current email addresses, and finally re-instate them. After the "Congratulations" email (this feat, I hardly consider congratulatory) your addresses will default to receiving HTML email and automatically load images. These features can be turned back off by clicking on the Blackberry button while in the message list view, rolling down to options, clicking on Email Settings, then disabling HTML or Image auto-load for each of your configured accounts. You may want to stop loading images if you are on 2.5G networks, but the HTML color, font and other settings will be beneficial to you. Corporate users with Exchange servers will have other settings that I am not privy to in my installation.
Oh, and Gmail users who do not want to get a copy of their own email just sent from a Blackberry to hit them again when they press send, use this fix to create a from-address filter of your own address: Removing duplicate or email echos from Gmail accounts.
So for the next year or so, or until Android, some other hot phone, or Apple fixes all of their iPhone bugs (like this tweet from my buddy Brian Solis - http://twitter.com/briansolis/) I have the perfect phone for "producing content." Something I like to do. Like this how-to story for you.