User Interface:

By now there are several devices running 4.6 (or the touch equivalent 4.7) but it is still a beautiful UI with modern icons and a more refined look overall.  Functionality, however, remains basically the same as past OS versions.  There have been some minor adjustments and tweaks to the categories, but anyone who has used the BlackBerry OS before will find themselves right at home on 4.6.

The layout is for the most part straightforward, but for a new user can still be intimidating at first glance.  Since every program has its own icon the user is inundated with 17 icons on the main menu, some of which are merely folders which lead to more icons.  It is cleaner on the Curve 8900 which was cleaner than the 83xx, so progress is being made.  It can be overwhelming for a first time BlackBerry owner, but once you use it you realize that the OS is very customizable and on the whole RIM’s approach is much better than, say, Windows Mobile (TouchFLO 3D aside.)  Its constant request for confirmation is very Windows Vistaish and quite frustrating; to close out of the setup wizard took four steps, for example.

Like the 8900 and 8350i we’ve experienced no hang-ups with the software.  There is no hint of the issues reported with the Bold and Storm (which runs the 4.7 OS, a touchscreen version of 4.6.)  Users will be happy to see that their stable BlackBerry has returned and can go back to focusing on business instead of if their device will crash or not.  There were some rumors that the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 would be running the new 5.0 OS, and since our unit is a prototype it may very well still, but for now it does not appear to be the case.



Phonebook:

There isn’t anything new about the phonebook, which is a good thing.  It’s as simple and straightforward as ever, and you can store virtually an unlimited amount of contacts.  Each contact can hold three email addresses, two work phone numbers, two home numbers, a mobile, pager, fax and “other” number as well as a space for a BlackBerry PIN number.  There is a slot for both a home and work address, as well as dates for anniversary and birthdays. Contacts can be sorted by user definable categories, each entry can have a custom ringer and picture ID, and there is a section for a webpage and notes.

Users can search directly from the main screen by typing in either the first or last name, and as you start to type a number in the phone application the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8520 matches it with the contact list. When an entry is highlighted from the main contacts view the user can hit the send button to initiate a call. If the entry has multiple numbers it will bring up a popup window where you can select which one you want to call.

Organizer:

Again, nothing new here.  Like the phonebook, the calendar function is very robust. It can be managed either on your phone or on your PC, and when paired to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) it can be remotely managed and synced over the air. Creating an appointment is simple, and options such as reminders and recurrence are present. Appointments can also be marked as private for added security.

Other basic PIM functions are available, such as Tasks and a Memo Pad. Tasks is very basic, but reminders can be set and they can also be grouped into categories. The Memo Pad is a basic notepad, no bells and whistles. A Voice Note Recorder is present for taking notes on the go, and a basic calculator is also available.

FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless