Friday, October 2, 2009

Updating your BlackBerry device's firmware... what, why and how?

One of the first I do when taking delivery of a new BlackBerry, or when one of my friends or colleagues at Priority Management (http://prioritymanagement.com.au/) do, is to update the firmware.
The firmware, is the BlackBerry device's Operating System (or OS for short). Quite often, your new device has a version of the OS that has already been upgraded, but it just happens to be not on your BlackBerry. So why would you bother upgrading. Quite simply, an upgrade is an improvement over the last version (normally), whereby RIM may have tweaked battery life, reception, updating of a particular application, and/or the removal of any bugs that may have been in the last version. Usually, the upgrade contains little incremental improvements, but as any BlackBerry power user would attest, any little tweak, no matter how small, towards further refining and improving the BlackBerry experience, is always welcomed, and eagerly sought.
There are basically three ways you can find the new improved OS:
1. Set up a notification from your Carrier message, so you either get notified of the OS upgrade, by either SMS, email, or when you connect your BlackBerry to your laptop / PC via the BlackBerry Desktop Manager
2. Subscribe to one of the many BlackBerry forums (http://blackberryforums.com.au/, http://berryreview.com/, http://crackberry.com/, etc)
3. Search the internet.
Each BlackBerry has a different version of the OS so you really do need to pay attention to which one your BlackBerry runs (BIS users, go Options>About>3rd line displayed). Of the three BlackBerry devices, the following has been observed:
• BlackBerry Pearl (8100): v4.5 (you may still be running v4.2)
• BlackBerry Curve (8300): v4.5 (you may still be running v4.2)
• BlackBerry Bold (9000): v4.6
My BlackBerry Bold's OS is as follows:

BlackBerry® 9000
smartphone (3G, Wi-Fi)
v4.6.0.301 (Platform 4.0.0.245)
Cryptographic Kernel v3.8.5.50a
Branding Version: 1.0.122.129
Micro Edition Configuration: CLDC-1.1
Micro Edition Profile: MIDP-2.0
Micro Edition JTWI Version: 1.0
Micro Edition Media Version: 1.1
Micro Edition PIM Version: 1.0
Micro Edition File Version: 1.0
Micro Edition Bluetooth Version: 1.1
Micro Edition Location Version: 1.0.1
Micro Edition Security and Trust Services (APDU) Version: 1.0
WLAN Version: 2.4.0.91{16}
http://www.blackberry.com/
Copyright © 1997-2008
Research In Motion Limited.
All rights reserved.

You may also decide, in an endeavour to have the latest OS, to use another Carrier's OS, and not your Carrier's version. Prior to uploading onto your BlackBerry device, you need to ensure the vendor xml is removed first.
For instructions on how to upload your OS, please take a look at any of the previously mentioned BlackBerry forums for a comprehensive step by step guide.
So take a moment and check which version of OS you currently have installed, and see whether or not an upgrade may be warranted.

Enjoy,
Thomas

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