My Motorola Rambler arrived from BoostMobile.com yesterday. So I finally have a Boost CDMA phone and can begin testing apps for compatibility. There were a lot of surprises with the phone, some good, some bad, I’ll write a full review of The Rambler eventually but I wanted to do a post tonight just about my experiences loading and running apps on it
I’ve heard that all the CDMA phones use the same Qualcomm Java runtime so I’m hoping that the Rambler will be representative of the whole CDMA line and apps that work on it will also work on the Juno, Mirro, Seek and Incognito etc.
I installed a bunch of apps and games from BoostApps. Almost all of them work but there are serious issues with using the QWERTY keyboard with some of them.
Like the QWERTY keyboards of most phones all the keys have either numbers or symbols like ? ! ; $ on them. You press the Fn key plus the other key to type the number or symbol. This generally works OK in the messaging app and the built in browser. But you can’t hold down the Fn key to type a bunch of symbols or numbers in a row. You have to press Fn and then a number or symbol and then release Fn and press it again for the next character. The trick is to press Fn twice which is Fn-lock and then type as many symbols or numbers as needed. Press Fn once to turn off Fn-lock
I’ll start with Opera Mini 5.1 because this is my favorite app and I really wanted it to work. Opera runs surprising well on the Rambler.. It’s fast and smooth, with no display issues and multiple tabs are not a problem.
But the keyboard gave me a lot of headaches. When using inline text entry typing lowercase letters and symbols using the Fn key is OK. But typing numbers and capitalized letters is a pain. Fn + number doesn’t work. The phone treats each number key like a key on a non-QWERTY phone that’s in abc mode, To type numbers you have to press Fn twice to enable Fn lock and then press each key multiple times to cycle through the letters like a-b-c-2. The caps key doesn’t work either. To type a capital letter you need yo press F twice and then use # to switch between lower case, first letter capitalized and upper case. At least Opera shows you which mode you are switching to.
Full screen edit is better. Everything works as expected cept for typing passwords. In password fields the Rambler doesn’t show you what you typed, just a star. It also doesn’t tell you if it’s in caps or lower case plus it automatically capitalizes the first letter of the password. Really frustratimg.
Opera Mini 5.1 has a couple of other issues. You can press Fn twice and use # and * shortcuts which is great. But if you try to use 2 and 8 for page up and down the browser always jumps two pages up or down instead of one. The other bug is that if you try to install an app using Opera Mini the phone locks up and you have to turn it off and on to recover.
The other apps I tested on the Rambler wer:
- Bolt 2.5 – works well except for the keyboard. In inline mode only the number keys do anyting. Fullscreen edit is OK except for passwords which have the same issues as Opera. Downloading apps works though.
- Bolt Lite 2.5 – Loads and runs but gives a connection error
- Gcal – Loads and runs but complains of an invalid security certificate and won’t connect
- MultiCounter – Works well.
- Mail by Google – Loads and runs but won’t connect saying a certificate is not recognized
- First Aid Mobile 3.0 – Works perfectly
- Mobile Task Manager- Works without problems
- Locate A – Gets a java error and won’t run
- SubBrain – works fine
- Nimbuzz – works but the soft key mappings are wrong. Entering your password is hard because Nimbuzz doesn’t show you what you’re typing and it always capitailizes the first letter. I managed to log in by typing the first letter of my password twice and then going back and erasing the first one.
I ran into one other problem that seems to be a phone or network bug. Every now and then when I tried to download an app it failed with the message Forbidden from webserver – 951 Forbidden. Once that messaged occured i got it on every app I tried to download. I found that if I turned the phone off then on fixed the same download would work.
I’ll contine to test more apps and update the individual app download pages with compatibilty notes for the Rambler which will hopefully apply to the other CDMA phones as well.