As iPhones and Android phones get more powerful and gain more enterprise support, many folks are leaving the rounded realm of the BlackBerry for the two big touchscreens. Most BlackBerry owners have built up an extensive list of contacts from their many, many texts and emails, and they might wonder how they'll survive the trip. But take heart: You don't need to pull out your SIM card and pray, or load cumbersome transfer software. In fact, you're one text message away from transferring your contacts to nearly any smartphone.
Research in Motion offers desktop syncing software, imaginatively titled BlackBerry Desktop Manager, that can import your calendar and contacts into Microsoft Outlook, Windows Calendar, Lotus Notes, and a few other organizer apps. If you're planning to sync your new iPhone or Android with Outlook or another one of those apps, you might do well to go ahead and bring them onto your PC or Mac, load them into Outlook or the like, then rely on that app to pass them on to your next phone.
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But then again, the company with the most server space in the world wants to help you instantly synchronize your contacts from one phone to another, so why not let it? Google's Sync app and service works with BlackBerry smartphones, along with iPhones, Nokia Symbian phones, older Windows Mobile (6.0 and 6.5) models, and any smartphone that supports SyncML. Android smartphone have built-in Google account syncing, including contacts, and most any modern smartphone worth its salt (including Windows Phone 7) offers some kind of Google/Gmail contact syncing. Worse comes to worse, Google lets you export your contacts in the generally friendly CSV and vCard formats.
So let's get started. Open your BlackBerry browser and head to m.google.com/sync. You'll be prompted to download the app Google made just for BlackBerry phones. Alternately, use your desktop browser to open google.com/mobile/sync, then click the Download App link under the BlackBerry heading, where you can enter your mobile number to have a direct link sent by SMS to your phone.
On most BlackBerry smartphones, the Google Sync app should install itself automatically, after you approve the download. Once it's installed, you can find the Google Sync icon on your home screen (or in your app list). Click it, and you'll first need to enter your Gmail address or your full email address at a Google Apps account into the Login field -- which brings you to a decision point, if you're not already experienced with Gmail and Google Contacts.