The Isolated Blackberry

I have the privilege of playing with a Blackberry 5810 and soon perhaps a 6710. Both of these handhelds are Java based for use with GSM/GPRS networks. Both have cell phones integrated with the traditional wireless PDA. Awesome I thought. I can ditch my cell phone and have the world at my fingertips. Until...

I use Mozilla, so the first thing I check is how to synchronize the address book. Now I'm not that naive to think that this will be simple. I never dreamed that Mozilla's calendar would work but I thought there would be a chance to get the address book synched.

No dice. Blackberry doesn't synch with Mozilla in any way. Perhaps I can write a conduit as you can with Palm? Nope. The synch operations are integrated with the desktop with no third party conduits allowed in as far as I can tell. To make matters even worse, the address book in Mozilla isn't based on a very widely accepted standard but rather a format referred to as Mork, I believe.

Even if Mozilla were a little more open with it's address book, such as implementing it as an LDAP server or something similar the Blackberry software doesn't even offer that as an option.

The calendar is also limited in it's synching abilities but it's still very much a new work in progress. At least if the Blackberry software supported it I could set-up a WebDAV calendar server.

Now the Blackberry is still a wonderful device. I can check email and surf the web wherever I have a connection, and make a phone call with the same device, but it's basically useless as a PDA since I can't synch addresses, memos, tasks or appointments. So I'm trapped using Outlook or another PIM software that Blackberry prefers. The Treo still looks like the best option at this point.

Santa, are you listening?