Thursday, January 14, 2010

Options for the Verizon BlackBerry Bing application

Verizon BlackBerry users discovered a little something extra in their phones this December. Verizon added an icon for Microsoft’s Bing application. For some users, this is an extra treat, for others it is the technical equivalent to a lump of coal. If you fall into the first group, you can stop reading now and enjoy Microsoft’s reasonable attempt to match Google in the mobile app space. If, on the other hand, you feel blindly assaulted by Verizon and Microsoft for forcing this application upon your pristinely configured device, there are options.

First, let me tell you that the Bing icon is not an application, so you cannot uninstall it like an application. Think of the icon as a placeholder. It is just like many of the other icons that are pre-installed when you power up your BlackBerry for the first time (V Cast Videos, V Cast Music, VZW Tones, Visual Voice Mail, etc.). Clicking on the Bing icon actually launches a website from which you can install the Bing application. With this in mind, here are three options for dealing with the Bing icon.

1) Delete the Bing VPL service book. Go to Options / Advanced Options / Service Books. Highlight the Bing VPL service book, press Menu and select delete. This will remove the Bing icon from your device. While this sounds like a simple solution, it is not a onetime task. The Bing service book is re-installed whenever the device reloads service books. Service books are reloaded as part of creating a new BlackBerry Internet Service email account as well as whenever the phone is reset (taking the battery out without powering down the phone first). For some users, the Bing VPL service book may never reappear, for others it may turn up again and again.

2) Hide the Bing icon. While this doesn’t remove the icon from your phone, it does place it out of site. To do this, highlight the Bing icon, press Menu and select Hide. The icon has now been hidden from view. You can unhide the icon by going to the home screen, pressing Menu and selecting Show All. Highlight the Bing icon, press Menu again and select Hide to uncheck that option. Press Menu again and select Show All to uncheck that option if necessary.

3) Lastly, you can just leave the Bing icon on the screen. It doesn’t take up much memory if you don’t install the application. It is just another icon on your Home Screen.

While some users see the Bing icon as an invasion of their BlackBerry’s Home Screen, it really is no different than the V Cast and VZW apps that come pre-installed. In this case, I guess it is more accurate to consider Bing a post-installed icon.

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