When the names Blackberry and Mac get mushed into one sentence, you can expect someone to shudder. Mac and BlackBerry are just not meant for each other and finding the right Mac solution is a Holy Grail for BlackBerry users. You’ll find yourself wondering why your contact pictures haven’t transferred properly or why the Blackberry calendar shows duplicates of your appointments. In the end, we’re stuck fiddling with the problem and before we know it, it’s time for bed.
So I’ve decided to give a helping hand to my fellow Mac users here on Blackberry Cool, who, without a doubt, find themselves searching frantically on forums for help. As an avid BlackBerry and Mac user, I will be publishing a regular column to help Mac users better interact with their BlackBerry. For my first article, I’ve compiled a quick list of all the possible solutions to have your Blackberry interacting with your Mac.
Forget what Wikipedia says, an OS Virtualization is a piece software that enables the user to use an operating system from within another. In our case, this allows us to use Blackberry Desktop Manager on Windows while running OSX. So what are your options?
VMware Fusion 2.0
The latest software build offers seamless integration between OSX and Windows (or any other OS). It offers multiple display support, data sharing, application sharing, USB device support and much more for the price of $79.99. They offer a 30-day free trial and in case you already use another virtualization program, up until March 31st, VMware is offering a $30 competitive upgrade rebate.
To download VMware Fusion 2.0, go here.
Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac
Another virtualization alternative for the Mac offered at $79.99, that also offers seamless integration between OSX and Windows. Offers much of the same features as Fusion does, and is according to them, 20% faster then their competitors. Some Blackberry forum users have expressed their discontent with using Parallels due to incompatible USB drivers or failed USB recognition. So I would advise those who are interested in this particular software, to take a look on Blackberry forums and Parallels own troubleshoot site.
To download Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac, go here.
This is not a virtualization software but it assists users to properly install Windows on their intel-based Macintosh computers. It is Apple’s free alternative to enjoy some of the headaches we’ve dealt with when using a stand-alone Windows machine. What happens is that BootCamp creates a partition on your hard drive, specifically for Windows (or any other operating system), without interrupting OSX’s data. This is by far the safest alternative to running Desktop Manager, for the obvious reason that your Mac literally turns into a windows machine the minute you hit the power button.
To download BootCamp, go here.
Blackberry Clients for Mac
Let me begin by saying that these applications are in no way as feature rich as the Blackberry Desktop Manager. They offer sync support for iCal, Address Book, Entourage, iTunes, Mail, iPhoto but unfortunately don’t offer a backup solution like Desktop Manager does at the delicious price of free, nor do they allow you to upgrade your Blackberry’s OS. Regardless, they do offer an easy way to synchronize content between your adored devices. Here are your choices.
A free syncing solution between your Blackberry and Mac. It offers two-way syncing for contacts, calendars, tasks, email and notes, by supporting Address Book, Entourage, iCal, Lotus, MeetingMaker and Now Software. PocketMac pushes iTunes music to your Blackberry including playlists and album art. It integrates well with iPhoto to help organize and display your artistic photo’s that you’ve managed to finally stabilize. In case you’re wondering, it makes due with the latest of iPhoto’s needs by including geotagging, just as long as your device supports GPS and is turned on. Lastly, PocketMac includes free unlimited email technical support from Les Boys in Waterloo.
Note: If you’re a Blackberry Storm/Blackberry Curve 8900/Aluminum Macbook user, a new driver for PocketMac is made available on their website.
To download PocketMac, go here.
Mark/Space Missing Sync
A popular two-way syncing solution that offers plenty of features and stability that will leave a bitter taste in your wallet, the minute you hit that buy button. Missing Sync offers much of what PocketMac has to offer but goes the extra length to include bluetooth syncing, two-way video transferring, sync reminders, archived text messages and call history and Mark/Space’s Proximity Sync technology. All for a base price of $39.95. They also offer Missing Sync Business Edition that includes 2 computer licenses, software upgrades at no extra cost and priority email support from technical support for $89.95.
To download Mark/Space Missing Sync, go here.
Blackberry Media Sync
RIM has finally dipped there feet in OSX by releasing this beta version. Although, it isn’t a syncing solution for contacts, calendars and such but more of a media sync solution. And when I say media, I mean music only. The good news: it works very well. The bad news: you can’t have PocketMac or Missing Sync installed on your Mac. It does a fair job at catching all playlists you have on iTunes, along with importing album art and placing songs in their respective categories.
To download BlackBerry Media Sync, go here.
DoubleTwist goes up a few notches over Blackberry Media Sync by getting users to sync their media library and tickle it with its social networking capabilities. It enables users to send photos and videos to their friends over Facebook, Youtube and email. But there’s a twist, regardless of video formats, DoubleTwist encodes videos on the fly for your enjoyment. It is an all-in-one, nicely built package. DoubleTwist sits in beta at the moment and has its fair share of missing features but the developers are picking up on all opinions and suggestions within the DoubleTwist forum.
To download DoubleTwist, go here.
Whether or not you take pleasure in using Google’s products and services, they have managed to do some good for us Mac users, let alone Blackberry users. Google offers a simple OTA (over-the-air) solution to keep your Blackberry in sync with your Google account. Any changes done is pushed to your account and synced on either your Blackberry or Macintosh, depending where you made the change. Google Sync supports two-way contact synchronization, along with multiple calendar support and calendar alert support. Even though Google provides a convenient way to synchronize between your Blackberry and Google account, that Macbook you have sitting on your desk, at this point, is being left out. Luckily Google was kind enough to include CalDav support in Google Calendar, in order to speak with Mac applications such as iCal and Mozilla’s Sunbird. This option allows users to publish and subscribe to calendars, sync between multiple users and sync between multiple devices.
I must admit that Mac users have quite a few options to successfully pair a Blackberry to their Macintosh. It’s just such as shame that none of these options run at 100%. Patience is virtue.
Rumors have been circulating for the past year about a Desktop Manager for the Mac, but we have yet to see an ideal solution. RIM’s launch of the BlackBerry Storm and upcoming App World have shifted our attention for the time being, but Mac users are still patiently waiting. It would be nice to get some sort of blip on the radar from RIM but in the meantime, we’ll have to make do with what is offered.
Expect some full on reviews on some of these applications, including some tips and tricks that will surely make your experience somewhat more enjoyable.