Product Re(al)view: Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac

Product Re(al)view: Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac

Sonia Zjawinski
Oct 2, 2009

If you've owned a Blackberry and a Mac you know that the relationship between the two devices is tense, hairy, and oftentimes nonexistent. With that kind of dysfunction it's a surprise if your mobile is ever up-to-date on appointments or new contacts. Today Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry releases an all new desktop manager to help negotiations between your Blackberry and Mac.

I got my Verizon Blackberry Curve almost two years ago and from day one I've had issues synching with my Mac. I downloaded RIM's PocketMac software and it wouldn't read the device. So then I paid for Mark/Space's Missing Sync. It worked like a charm until I updated my Mac to Snow Leopard. Suddenly I got more errors than a PC. I checked Mark/Space and learned there was an update, but get this, I had to pay ANOTHER $30 for the upgrade. Argh!

All I want is a smartphone that works with my Mac. Yes, I heard that and no, I don't want an iPhone. Well, I do want an iPhone, I just don't want to pay AT&T's ridiculous monthly fees. So, back to the Blackberry it is.

While doing some digging to see if there were any other Mac-friendly BB synching apps I discovered RIM was actually releasing a new BlackBerry desktop for the Mac OS. I pulled some strings and the RIM folks let me play with the new software before it's release today. Here are the deets.

Let me get this out of the way first. It works. And well. You plug in your Blackberry, click "Sync" and it does just that. The raddest feature is that the Desktop Manager now scans your actual device to see if you need any app updates for your phone. A major plus since the last time I had to update my cell's software I used the outdated Blackberry software for a year or so, until I got ahold of a Windows machine to actually update my phone with. Yup, RIM released updated software, but it was only accessible via a PC.

The software works much the same way any pervious Blackberry syncing software does (when they work); just with a nicer looking interface. You can select what -- calendar, contacts, notes, tasks, or music -- you want to sync and what to keep as is. You can even decide which categories of events to sync over.

Now comes my gripe. I opted for a smartphone rather than a regular mobile for one reason: to get and send emails. Since I've gotten the Curve it's driven me crazy that I can't ensure that my inbox on my computer matches up with my inbox on my mobile. Instead I have to sift through my mobile's inbox and delete emails I've already deleted on my computer. I know it sounds petty, but the Blackberry's processor can really lag when you have 2,000 "unread" emails to go through. Unfortunately, this new Desktop Manager does nothing to alleviate this issue.

This has a lot to do with the fact that I use a POP account rather than an IMAP account. POP accounts downloads emails to your device as they come in and doesn't really keep a record of what you've read or not read. So basically your mobile and your computer act as separate inboxes that never talk to each other.

One solution is to switch my account to an IMAP account, where all email stays on the server and can be accessed from any device and will always be updated. The issue I worry about here is bogging down the server. Do you guys have any suggestions?

Blackberry Desktop Manager is planned to launch today. [update: Here's the Blackberry Desktop Manager app page!]

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