BlackBerry devices are some of the most popular smartphones across the world, and it is fast becoming the ‘must have’ device in Africa. Research In Motion, the makers behind the device, have sold millions of units on the continent and in a recent Sunday Times Survey, the BlackBerry was voted the coolest brand overall in South Africa.
In South Africa, it commands a whopping 70% of the smartphone market according to estimates by Vodacom. In August last year, RIM’s Regional Director for East, Central and West Africa, Waldi Wepener revealed in an interview with BusinessDaythat Nigeria is one of RIM’s fastest growing markets globally.
But a BlackBerry is more than just a phone that lets the user make calls – it is also a business tool that allows for more functionality than a traditional mobile handset. But what most BlackBerry users don’t know is that their phone possesses the ability to do so much more than meets the eye.
While most BlackBerry owners only make use of the standard features of the device, there are a number of shortcuts that allow users squeeze a bit more functionality out of their smartphone. Although the shortcuts, or secret codes, will not change the functionality of the device, they will provide for some exciting alterations, views and open some secret menus.
* Decibel meter
Displays your signal strength in decibels, instead of bars. Hold “Alt” and press “N”, “M”, “L”, “L” (repeat to reverse the effect).
* Address Book file verification
Checks the data in your Address Book for inconsistencies. In the Address Book, hold “Alt” and press “V”, “A”, “L”, “D”.
* Address Book data structure rebuild
Forces a data structure re-build in the Address Book… In the Address Book, hold “Alt” and press “R”, “B”, “L”, “D”.
* View source code
Displays the source code of a Web page. In the Browser, hold “Alt” and press “R”, “B”, “V”, “S”.
* Help Me! menu
Provides crucial technical information about your device, for when seeking technical support or help in forums… Hold “Alt” and (left) “shift”, then press “H”.
* IMEI display
Displays your device’s international mobile equipment identity (IMEI – your serial number) on-screen… Also works from all other GSM handsets. Type “*”, “#”, “0″, “6″, “#” on the Home screen.
* “Soft” reset
Performs a “soft” reset of your device; the equivalent of doing a “battery pull” (ie. Removing the battery for a few seconds). Press-and-hold “Alt”, then press-and-hold (left) “shift”, then press-and-hold “Del”.
* Event Log
Displays event logs of all the system-level events that occur on your device… Hold “Alt” and press “L”, “G”, “L”, “G”.
* Data/voice usage
Display data/voice usage on a BlackBerry device. Go to Menu > Settings/Options > Status and type BUYR to display data/voice usage on a BlackBerry.
* Device PIN
The BlackBerry device’s PIN will be displayed. Type MYPIN in a message box for example while composing a new e-mail.
Disclaimer: Although these secret codes and menus have been tested on the BlackBerry 8800 and BlackBerry Curve 8300, they might not work on all models. IT News Africa also can’t be held responsible for users accessing menu functions that are otherwise hidden from normal use.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor