In Part 1 of this 3-part tutorial, we learned the most basic ring settings (ring/vibrate, default and personalized ringtones, unique tone for text messages). In Part 2, we’ll learn the more elaborate settings normally found only on smartphones:
- Notification of messages (email, PIN, browser push), Calendar events, and Task to-do items
- Notification signal types and meanings
- Standard notification profiles
PART 2, BEYOND THE BASICS
Simpler mobile phones do calls and text messaging. But smartphones like the BlackBerry offer more means of messaging and even personal tools much like a PDA or full computer. So, the term “ringing” doesn’t quite fit all the reasons a smartphone needs to get your attention. Hence, the term “notification.” And since “ringing” or “notification” can be quite disruptive or annoying in group settings, one needs different “profiles” of notification for the various situations we find ourselves in.
Notification–Beyond Phone Calls and Text Messages
As shown in the screenshots below, a Profile can be set to notify you of a number of occurrences. Most are communication-related but some are related to the BlackBerry personal tools.
Let’s define each of the twelve notification types shown above:
- Browser: This harkens back to an older technology that mostly flopped, called browser “push technology.” One of the few ways you might get a browser push message is if you subscribed to a weather alert, stock quotes, or breaking news. [For example, surf on your phone to http://mobile.blackberry.com > Applications > Weather & Travel/Weather Push.]
- Calendar: The BlackBerry Calendar lets you ask for reminders of events on your calendar.
- Gmail – New Mail: This doesn’t normally appear on your phone. I downloaded and installed the Gmail application for BlackBerry on my phone. What is noteworthy about this is that you may install an application that takes advantage of your BlackBerry’s ability to notify you when something significant happens.
- Level 1 Messages: There is a way to automatically examine email messages and determine if the sender or subject is “high priority” (Level 1) so that it can be announced with greater urgency. This topic is covered in Part 3 of the tutorial series.
- Messages[you@your_email.com]: New messages received on one of the email accounts you registered to have pushed to your BlackBerry. You may have multiple of these if you register multiple email accounts.
- Messenger – Alert: The BlackBerry Messenger uses your phone’s PIN as its address for allowing you to invite, or receive invitations from, others to hold a text conversation. You can also “ping” a contact or transfer a file to their phone using Messenger. You can ask Messenger to alert your when a registered contact becomes available for a conversation. BlackBerry Messenger is similar to, but not the same as, instant messaging (IM), SMS text messages, or MMS multimedia messages. It only works between BlackBerrys.
- Messenger – New Message: This is a message received by the BlackBerry Messenger.
- MMS: This is a message that can include text, picture, video, or sound.
- Phone: This is a phone call.
- SMS Text: This is a text message (160-character limit).
- Tasks: The BlackBerry Task application lets you ask for reminders of tasks you scheduled on your To-Do list.
Ways Your Phone Can Notify You
Your phone has three ways to notify you or get your attention: sound, vibration, and light (LED*). (There are also icons, but that’s not covered here.) Below are descriptions of these notification types and their purposes:
|Tone: Call or message received; event or task reminder|
|Vibration: Call or message received; event or task reminder|
|Green (flashing): Phone is in wireless coverage area**Green (solid): Phone is off and charging|
|Red (flashing): Call or message received; event or task reminder
Red (solid): Phone error (or if briefly solid red, phone is resetting)
|Blue (flashing): Bluetooth is active|
|Amber (flashing): Battery is low|
* The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 Smartphone User Guide claims the four LED colors are used for other purposes, too, but I have no evidence this is correct.
** Many BlackBerry owners feel like the green flashing LED to indicate wireless coverage is an unnecessary waste of battery charge and elect to disable this. This is disabled by doing Options > Screen/Keyboard > LED Coverage Indicator = Off.
Let’s look at the standard notification profiles and how they are initially set (before you tinker with them):
|Loud: Uses high volume tones, and uses tone and vibration in- and out-of-holster|
|Normal: Uses medium volume tones, and uses tones only out-of-holster|
|Vibrate: Mutes volume and uses vibration only in- and out-of-holster|
|Phone Only: Out-of-holster uses medium volume tones for phone calls only, for everything else it only flashes LED; in-holster, mutes volume for tones but uses vibration and flashing LED for non-calls.|
|Off: There are no settings for this profile–all notification is shut off.|
So we’ve moved beyond the basics and learned about all the reasons and ways your phone can notify you of important events. And we’ve learned the standard profiles of notification that cover most of the scenarios you would find yourself in. In Part 3 we’ll cover the remaining and most advanced notification features.