BlackBerry as laptop replacement
June 25, 2007 9:18 AM   Subscribe

BlackBerry: can my new 8830 replace my laptop (or come really close)? I want to be able to view and edit Word and Excel files, view PDFs (including those on the web), and keep my documents (about 1.5 GB worth) on my BlackBerry. I'm willing to pay, but there are some complications . . .

I work for a big company, but spend 95% of my time away from the main office. They just got me an 8830 on Verizon and I bought myself a 2 GB microSD card. Most of my work involves generating and editing Word documents, but I also need to see PDFs (no need to edit), including many that are posted on password protected web sites. I keep about 1.5 GB of documents that I use regularly on a thumb drive that I take from my laptop to my desktop to my home, etc. If possible, I want the BlackBerry to replace the thumb drive and, still better, to allow me to do some of the work I described without a laptop.

On the first goal, the problem is that I do not generally have access to the computer or network on which my BB was set up. I never really plug it into a computer. I could do so, but am afraid to mess up the settings. If that is an irrational fear, could I just plug it into whatever computer I am using with a mini-USB cable and treat the BB like a drive? Do I need BB software installed?

On the second, I am willing to pay for software like eOffice. Again, however, I do not control the server or anything else except my physical device. Is there a way to load such software without connecting to a computer running BB desktop? If so, will loading such software change settings that I shouldn't be messing with or otherwise cause problems for the network administrator?

Thanks in advance. Please keep in mind that I am a reasonably competent average user, but clueless when it comes to networking issues or exchange servers.
posted by lionelhutz5 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
You'll need to install the eOffice software from a computer. Don't worry about the synch software wiping out you configuration, that won't happen. The software will back up your current configuration which will help if you ever lose/break your current phone and get a replacement.

Your phone won't act like a storage drive when you attach it. You'll need to install the BB synch software to transfer files back and forth. However, the 8830 uses MicroSD cards for storage. You could get a USB reader, which will let you attach them to a PC as a drive. This will require a little fumbling around since Blackberry puts the memory card inside the phone. You'll need to remove the back to get at your card. Earlier models put the card slot under the battery, which meant powering off you phone to get at the card, but I think they fixed that on this model.

I don't think you're going to like living exclusively on a Blackberry though. It's fine for reading email and writing short replies, but I just don't think it's a practical replacement for a full laptop.
posted by Eddie Mars at 9:36 AM on June 25, 2007

The office software is going to be very limited in what it can do. PDF viewing isn't going to be that great either.

Since you already have the phone, why don't you try out as a laptop replacement?

As for the connecting to your computer, i'm sure there is software you can run that doesn't require BB desktop, if not, just talk to your IT guy.
posted by mphuie at 9:37 AM on June 25, 2007

If portability is your thing, why not look into one of these upcoming devices from ASUS, priced starting at $199?

seems it has enough muscle for your needs and it sure beats typing on a crackberyy.
posted by spacefire at 9:56 AM on June 25, 2007

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