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The 411: Your BlackBerry questions answered

Every two weeks, CNET editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories in The 411.

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
3 min read

Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at nicole.lee@cnet.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

In light of BlackBerry DevCon happening right now, I decided to take this opportunity to answer a few of your BlackBerry-related questions.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook
Will the BlackBerry PlayBook have tethering? James Martin/CNET

I'm excited about the BlackBerry PlayBook! Do you know if it'll have tethering? -- Davin, via e-mail.

Yes, but maybe not quite the way you expect. From the specs that have been released, we know that you'll be able to tether the PlayBook with a BlackBerry handset via Bluetooth. Will it also tether to a non-BlackBerry handset? I don't see why not if the handset is capable, but perhaps it can't. Also, the specs mention that the tethering allows for the transfer of content between the two devices (which is great), but it did not mention whether you can use the BlackBerry handset as a modem. Again, I suspect it might, but RIM is quiet on the subject. It may be because they have to work out a deal with the carriers, or maybe it depends on which carrier they're going with their 3G and 4G models. Stay tuned though, as I suspect we'll find out the complete answer to this shortly.

I have a BlackBerry Storm. My question is this: I want to give it to my son but I do not want the Internet charges. He already has an existing phone on my account but since I got a new phone he wants my old one. Is there something I can do? -- Peter, via e-mail.

You are free to give it to your son, but I think you might not be able to escape the data charges. As you know, Verizon requires data plans for all their smartphones, and I don't think you can get away with just canceling the data plan portion of the phone bill. If our readers have alternate ideas, let us know.

I was reading your article on the new Blackberry 9330 on CNET. Besides some of the additional bells and whistles, I was curious to know what your thoughts were on the differences between the BlackBerry 9330 and the Blackberry Curve 8530; and whether you would just purchase the 8530, since they seem pretty similar. If you wouldn't mind letting me know, I would greatly appreciate your expertise and insight. -- Todd, via e-mail.

The BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330 and the Curve 8530 are indeed quite similar. Both have similar features (EV-DO, GPS, WiFi, 2-megapixel camera, etc.) and the design differences are slight. However, the 9330 is upgradeable to the latest BlackBerry OS 6, and for that alone I would definitely get that one instead. OS 6 brings with it many improvements over OS 5. You get an improved home screen interface, universal search, a Webkit browser, and more.