Using the BlackBerry Torch
The new BlackBerry Torch may be the best device RIM has produced, but with a new phone design and a new operating system, even experienced BlackBerry users may need some help finding their way around the phone. This guide will touch on how to do some of the basics like making phone calls and general navigation. The guide will also cover some more advanced topics, like how to connect the BlackBerry Torch to a mobile hotspot or how to setup your BlackBerry Torch email.
General Navigation and Text Entry
Most of the navigation on the Torch will be done through the touchscreen. Even if you feel more comfortable with the trackpad at first, using the touchscreen just makes everything so much easier. Slide your finger across the screen to move the cursor, and tap items with your finger to select them. On the main screen, you can drag the menu up with your finger, then flick your finger left or right to access other menus. Tap and hold your finger on the screen to access a pop-up menu that is focused on the item your finger was over.
You will also often use the four buttons on the bottom of the device. The green button accesses the phone portion of the BlackBerry and connects to phone calls, while the red button hangs up from calls and will bring you back to the main menu from any application. Press the back button, the one with an arrow, to move back one screen when you are navigating through the device. The button with the BlackBerry logo opens up a menu, based on the application you are using.
The Torch offers both an on-screen keyboard and a physical keyboard. When the on-screen keyboard is up, you can press the BlackBerry key to open up the menu and choose between the three types of BlackBerry keyboards: full, SureType and Multitap. You can also slide the phone open and use the physical keyboard, if you find it easier.
Making and Receiving Phone Calls
With all the features that are packed into the Torch, it’s easy to forget that it is a phone as well. To make calls, tap the green key on the bottom of the device. You can then type in the number on the touchscreen, or press the contacts tab to search through your contacts and select a name to make a call. End your calls by pressing the red button.
You can also make calls by going into the “Voice Dialing” application. Just speak the name of the contact, or say the number you want to dial, and then select the correct number from the list that populates.
Answering calls is as simple as pressing the green button when the phone is ringing. If you are already on the phone when another call comes in, press the BlackBerry button and choose “Answer-Hold Current” or “Answer-Drop Current” from the menu.
RIM has refined email setup into a very simple process. Just choose the “Setup” icon from the main menu, and then choose “Email Accounts.” Decide between a regular email account and an Enterprise email account. Select your email provider from the list, or add the server information to add a provider that isn’t listed. Type in your email address and password and tap “Continue” to finish the process.
You can also choose to create a new address instead of choosing an email provider. You will then have to enter your desired email address and password, then create a security question before the account is created. The new address will end in “@blackberry.net.”
Social Feeds Application
RIM’s new Social Feeds application is part of the company’s push towards the non-business user. The application lets you consolidate all of your social network messages and RSS feeds into one messaging system. You can also post status updates and messages across networks at the same time. Just select the “Social Feeds” icon on the home page to bring up the application. Press the BlackBerry key and choose "Options", then press “Display.” You will now get a list of social media applications that you can integrate into your Social Feeds app. Just put check marks next to the applications you want to integrate.
To set up the RSS feeds, press the BlackBerry key to access the Social Feeds menu, then choose “New RSS Feed.” Enter the address for the RSS feed, then tap the name of the feed to add it. Your RSS feeds will integrate with your social media updates in the Social Feeds application. You can also tap “New Post” from the Social Feeds menu to create a new message. Just touch the social media application icons that appear above the message to indicate which services to send this message to.
The Torch comes with a new WebKit browser that completely changes the BlackBerry web browsing experience. You can access the browser by touching the icon on the home screen, then type in the web address in the field at the top of the screen. You can run your finger up and down the screen to scroll up and down the page, and you can pinch your fingers together to zoom out or spread your fingers apart to zoom in.
The browser also supports tabbed browsing, which lets you have multiple web pages open at the same time. Press the BlackBerry key and choose “Tabs” to open up the tabs window, where you will see a display of all your open tabs, along with a green plus that you can press to open up a new tab. When you are done with them, press the red “X” to close the tabs.
Connecting with Wi-Fi
The BlackBerry Torch comes equipped with Wi-Fi technology, so that you can connect to the Internet on your Torch using an existing wireless network. If you come across a public Wi-Fi access point, commonly called a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can set your BlackBerry up to notify you and give you the option of connecting.
Tap the top of the home screen, or press the “Manage Connections” button to access your Wi-Fi. Place a check mark next to the Wi-Fi option to turn it on. Select “Set Up Wi-Fi Network” to have your device scan for available networks. Select the one that you want, and enter the password if it is a secure network. Then tap connect and get Wi-Fi speeds on your data applications. Your Torch will prompt you whenever you enter an area where there is a Wi-Fi hotspot that you have already connected to. AT&T hotspots will automatically pop-up.
Using GPS Features
Many BlackBerry applications require your device to know where it is located in order for them to function. BlackBerrys come with a built-in GPS which will determine where you are, and report that information to any application that needs to know. For your privacy, you can turn the GPS off, but as more and more applications are built with GPS functionality, keeping the GPS off isn’t generally recommended.
Turn on your GPS functionality in the Device section of the Options menu. Go into “Location Services” and turn the services on. Be sure to press the BlackBerry key and save your changes. Now you can get your longitude and latitude from the “Location Settings” menu, by pressing the BlackBerry key and choosing to refresh the GPS.
Additional BlackBerry Torch Help
Now that you know how to setup your email and connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can start learning the more minute aspects of the phone. There are so many features and accessories available on the BlackBerry Torch, that no one tutorial article could hope to cover them all, but there are a number of resources on the web that can help you. An OS 6 tutorial will help you navigate through the new operating system. RIM also offers an HTML help page that covers everything about the phone, and a demo that shows you how to operate the device.