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Making, Receiving, and Managing Calls on Your BlackBerry Curve

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In this chapter, you learn how to use your BlackBerry Curve to make, receive, and manage calls. You also learn how to customize your BlackBerry Curve’s phone application and work with ring tones.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Topics include the following:

  • Creating and using ring tones
  • Working with profiles
  • Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA)
  • Phone options and settings

The BlackBerry Curve is a great smartphone that has a lot of features, but it’s still a phone. The BlackBerry Curve’s phone integrates neatly into the BlackBerry software, which allows it to have some extra features not found on regular cell phones.

Configuring Phone Settings

Let’s start with the phone configuration. You can completely customize how the phone works and sounds and make it uniquely yours. You might not want your BlackBerry Curve to sound like everyone else’s phone—you can change the ring tone and set special ring tones to play when certain people call you.

In addition to ring tones, you can change some phone settings so that your ID is hidden when you call someone, or call waiting is disabled.

Creating Your Own Ring Tones

The ultimate way to personalize your BlackBerry Curve is to get a unique ring tone. Before we get into how to set up ring tones and other features, let’s discuss how to create a custom ring tone and get it onto your BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry Curve can use many different file formats as a ring tone. The following formats are supported:

  • 3gp
  • WAV
  • MIDI
  • AMR-NB
  • G711u/A, GSM610
  • PCM
  • MP3
  • AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
  • WMA9/10 Standard/Pro

As you can see, you have many choices when it comes to the ring tone formats. But how can you create your own ring tones? The easiest way is to use a website that allows you to upload an MP3, select the part of the song you want as your ring tone, and send that to your BlackBerry Curve.

>>>step-by-step Creating Ring Tones with Mobicious

Many sites do this very well. Some charge, others are free, and still others are partially free. A great site that allows you to do all this for free is Mobicious. Here is how to use Mobicious:

  1. Visit the Mobicious website on your desktop at http://www.mobicious.com/.
  2. Sign up for a free account.
  3. Click Make My Ringtone.
  4. On the Create a Ringtone screen, click the Choose File button to select an MP3 file on your computer.
  5. After choosing the file, click the Upload MP3 button.
  6. On the Edit Ringtone screen, drag the blue bar to the part of the song you want to use for your ring tone.
  7. Click the Send to My Mobile Phone button.
  8. Type your phone number.
  9. Select your wireless carrier.
  10. Click the Send to Phone button.
  11. You receive an SMS or text message on your BlackBerry. Open the SMS, click the link, and choose Save.
  12. Backspace over the filename, and change it from the number to something more recognizable, like the song’s name.

>>>step-by-step Setting Phone Sounds

Whether or not you create your own ring tones, you may want to personalize how your BlackBerry Curve’s phone sounds. All sound settings for the BlackBerry Curve are set in the Profiles application, which you can find on the Home Screen.

  1. Open the Profiles application.
  2. To edit a profile, scroll to Advanced, and click the trackball or trackpad.
  3. Scroll to the profile you want to edit, click the Menu button, and choose Edit.
  4. This list is expanded when you install new applications that have their own new sounds. For example, if you install AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), you see a couple new sounds called AIM Alert and AIM New Message. Take some time and scroll through all the available sounds or alerts on this screen.
  5. To edit the Phone sounds, scroll down to Phone, and click the trackball or trackpad.

    The top half shows the alerts that play when your BlackBerry Curve is out of its holster. The bottom half shows the alerts that play when your BlackBerry is in its holster.

We should probably take a moment to explain this concept, because it is unique to the BlackBerry. In 1999, when the BlackBerry was a hard-core business tool, it was sold with a holster. The holster clipped onto your belt and allowed you to quickly grab your BlackBerry, read email, reply to email, and return it to its holster. In those days one-way pagers were popular, and they had holsters, so it seemed a natural progression to sell the BlackBerry with a holster.

RIM decided that the BlackBerry should be aware of its location, either in the holster or out of the holster. This made sense, because you might want to set your BlackBerry to vibrate or play a sound when it is in its holster on your belt. But when you take it out of its holster to reply to emails, it doesn’t need to vibrate or play a sound, because you have it in your hand, and can see the new email arrive.

The second reason for this awareness is that when your BlackBerry is in its holster, it puts itself into sleep mode, where it turns off the screen and disables the keyboard. This saves battery life and prevents accidental key pressing (also called pocket dialing).

Every BlackBerry since the inception of the BlackBerry has been aware of its location, either in the holster or out of the holster. It knows if it is in the holster or out of the holster because it has a little micro switch that is triggered by a small magnet in the holster. When you clip your BlackBerry into its holster, the magnet activates the micro switch.

Since then, the BlackBerry has become trendy and has been adopted by the consumer marketplace. The BlackBerry is no longer sold with a traditional holster, but with a case. Sometimes the BlackBerry is sold without any kind of holster or case, which means you need to buy your own.

The top half of the Out of Holster/In Holster screen has the following options:

  • Out of Holster:
    • None
    • Tone
    • Vibrate
    • Vibrate + Tone
  • Ring Tone:
    • Click the trackball or trackpad to see a list of ring tones.
    • Scroll to the top of the list to see the custom ring tones you may have downloaded.
  • Volume:
    • Mute
    • Low
    • Medium
    • High
    • Escalating (starts soft and gets progressively louder)
  • Repeat Notification:
    • None
    • LED Flashing (an LED flashes after a missed call for visual notification)
  • Number of Vibrations (used only if Out of Holster is set to Vibrate or Vibrate and Tone):
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3

The bottom half of the screen has the same settings as the top half, but these are the settings for when your BlackBerry is in its holster.

The final line on this screen is Do Not Disturb. If you change this to Yes, your BlackBerry does not alert you in any way when a call comes in. Instead, it sends the call straight to voice mail. This setting is unique to the Phone part of a BlackBerry profile.

To save your settings, click the Escape button and choose Save.

>>>step-by-step Specifying a Ring Tone by Creating an Exception

In addition to regular profiles, you can override the sound that is played based on who is calling you. This allows you to set up a special ring tone for a group of people or just one person. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go back to the main Profiles screen, click the Menu button, and choose New Exception.
  2. On the next screen, type the name of the exception in the Exception field.
  3. On the next line, click the trackball or trackpad, and choose Add Name. This brings up the Contacts.
  4. Choose a name from your Contacts. You can repeat steps 3 and 4 to add more names to this field.
  5. Leave the next line set to Active Profile.
  6. On the last line, click to see a list of ring tones, and choose one.
  7. Press the Escape button to save your settings.

Specifying a Ring Tone Without Creating an Exception

Last, you can specify a ring tone for any of your contacts without having to create exceptions.

Unlike an exception, this ring tone plays only if the profile you have selected is set to play a sound. In other words, selecting a custom ring tone for a particular contact simply overrides the tune selected in the active profile. If that active profile is set not to play a sound, no sound is played. This is unlike an exception that is truly an exception to the rule, which plays the ring tone in that exception even if the active profile is quiet.


  1. From the BlackBerry Home Screen, click Contacts.
  2. Scroll to the contact you want to add a custom ring tone for.
  3. Click the Menu button, and choose Edit.
  4. Click the trackball or trackpad, and choose Add Custom Ring Tone.
  5. A new field called Custom Ring Tone appears at the bottom of the contact.
  6. Click Browse to choose from the available ring tones.
  7. Press the Escape button and choose Save when you are finished.

>>>step-by-step Setting Phone Sounds

Besides the BlackBerry profile settings that control how the phone sounds, you can change other phone settings to further customize your phone experience.

  1. Press the Call button to jump to the Phone application.
  2. Click the Menu button, and choose Options.
  3. On the Phone Options screen, click General Options.

General Options

  1. Auto End Calls can be set to Never and Into Holster. If you change it to Into Holster, your BlackBerry ends the active phone call when you put it in a holster or case. Remember that the holster or case you are using must have the small magnet that allows your BlackBerry to be aware.
  2. Auto Answer Calls can be set to Never and Out of Holster. If you set it to Out of Holster, your BlackBerry automatically answers all incoming phone calls when it detects that it is out of its holster or case.
  3. Next is Confirm Delete. By default, when you click a number in the phone list and choose Delete, you are prompted to confirm that you want to delete the number. If you set this to No, you are not prompted.
  4. Restrict My Identity can be set to Always, Never, and Network Determined. If you set it to Always, your BlackBerry does not send your Caller ID information. If you set it to Never, your BlackBerry always sends your Caller ID information. If you set it to Network Determined, your BlackBerry does not try to override whatever your carrier has set your Caller ID restrictions to.
  5. Phone List View controls what you see when you open the phone application. The choices are Most Recent, Most Used, Name, and Call Log. Most Recent displays the most recently called numbers. Most Used displays the most-called numbers. Name sorts the list of numbers by the names in your Address Book if you have them. Call Log shows a log of the numbers you’ve dialed.
  6. Dial From Home Screen allows you to be able to pick up your BlackBerry Curve and, without first switching to the Phone application, start dialing numbers right on the keypad. If you set this feature to No, you can’t dial directly from your BlackBerry Curve’s Home Screen. First you must enter the phone application by pressing the green Call button.
  7. Next is Show “My Number.” If you set this to No, the phone application does not display your phone number on the main phone screen. However, it still shows your number while you’re on a phone call.
  8. Default Call Volume defaults to Previous, which means that the call volume of your next phone call will be the same as your previous call. This setting can be set to 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%. If you specify a value, each new phone call has the volume set to that particular value.
  9. Enhance Handset Call Audio defaults to Previous, which means that any audio enhancement you selected during your last call also is set on any new phone calls. The settings can be Normal, which means no enhancement; Boost Bass, which boosts the bass of the incoming audio; and Boost Treble, which boosts the treble of the incoming audio.
  10. The final setting on this screen is Enhanced Headset Call Audio. This is identical to the previous setting but relates to a headset. The headset could be a Bluetooth headset or a regular cable-connected headset.
  11. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

>>>step-by-step Voice Mail

  1. Click Voice Mail.
  2. The Voice Mail screen has only two fields. These fields normally are preset by your carrier, so you should not need to change them. However, if you decide to use a voice mail system that is not provided by your carrier, you can use this screen to set the voice mail access number and a password if needed.
  3. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

>>>step-by-step Call Logging

  1. Click Call Logging.
  2. This allows you to set what your BlackBerry logs when you receive calls. You can set it to Missed Calls, All Calls, or None. If you set this to Missed Calls or All Calls, the call information appears in your BlackBerry Messages view among your emails.
  3. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

>>>step-by-step Call Forwarding

Normally your call forwarding is set to forward calls to your voice mailbox if you do not answer them. However, you can reconfigure the settings so that calls are forwarded to another phone number.

  1. Click Call Forwarding.
  2. The first setting is Forward All Calls. This is normally set to Do Not Forward. If you scroll to the setting Do Not Forward and click the trackball or trackpad, you can choose a number to forward all calls to. By default this is set to your voice mailbox number. However, if you want to add numbers to the list of choices, first click the Menu button and choose New Number. This brings up a screen that allows you to enter more phone numbers as possible forwarding numbers. After you have done this, when you click Do Not Forward, you can select from a list of numbers instead of just your voice mailbox number.

    If you choose to forward all calls to a specific number, your BlackBerry ignores the other settings on this screen.

  3. The other settings are under Forward Unanswered Calls. These are If Busy, If No Reply, and If Not Reachable. Again, to change the number that the calls are forwarded to, click the number next to the setting, and you can select a new number from the list.
  4. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

>>>step-by-step Call Waiting

  1. Click Call Waiting.
  2. The only choices here are Yes and No. Set this to No to disable the Call Waiting feature on your BlackBerry. When this is disabled, you are not audibly notified when you receive a call while on another call.
  3. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

Smart Dialing

  1. Click Smart Dialing.

    This screen allows your BlackBerry to handle phone numbers more intelligently and allows you to configure your BlackBerry to dial internal company numbers.

  2. First you need to set the Country Code. This is the code that people use when they need to call your country. For example, the United States is 1, the United Kingdom is 44, and South Africa is 27. You always put a plus sign ahead of the number. So the United States would be +1, and the United Kingdom would be +44, for example.
  3. The Area Code field you can leave blank, but if you call a certain area code frequently, enter it here.
  4. National Number Length is the length of phone numbers in your country. To calculate the number length, count the number of digits in your phone number without any country codes or dialing area codes. For example, if your full number is +1 212 555-1212, the +1 is the country code, so the remaining number of digits is 10.
  5. If you use your BlackBerry for business and you normally use it to call colleagues, it may be useful to fill in the fields in the next section. Enter your company’s phone number in the field To access office extensions within my corporation, call Number. Next, choose how many seconds your BlackBerry must wait before dialing the extension. The default is 3 seconds. Finally, you can specify the extension length.
  6. The last section is for dialing numbers in other corporations. Here you can set how many seconds your BlackBerry must wait before dialing the extension. This last section works in conjunction with another BlackBerry phone feature. That is the BlackBerry’s ability to dial extensions.

    To take advantage of this feature, when you enter your contact’s office phone numbers into your Contacts, enter the company’s number, and then type an X and the person’s extension. For example, you would enter +1 212 555-1212 X 1234. In the future, if you choose to dial this person from your Contacts, your BlackBerry would dial +1 212 555-1212, wait for the time you specify on this screen (a default of 3 seconds), and then dial the numbers following the X.

  7. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

>>>step-by-step Speed Dial Numbers

This screen allows you to set up phone numbers associated with letters on the keyboard.

  1. Click Speed Dial Numbers.
  2. To set a letter to a speed dial, scroll to the letter, click the trackball or trackpad, and choose New Speed Dial. This opens your BlackBerry Contacts and allows you to choose the person to assign to that particular letter.
  3. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.

>>>step-by-step FDN Phone List

  1. Click FDN Phone List.
  2. When you have changed your settings, press the Escape button to go back one screen.
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