Updating the BlackBerry Pearl

by Volker Weber

Toasting a new firmware on a mobile phone always make me nervous. Will the upgrade succeed or will I brick the device, rendering it an expensive paper weight?

There have been two things bothering me with the Pearl, and both have been fixed with the firmware:

  1. When receiving a call, it took a few seconds after pushing the green button until the other person was able to hear me. This is a big problem since the caller does not know you have answered the phone. You keep saying "hello" a number of times until you have established that you can hear each other.
  2. The trackball was muting the phone ringing. This has been widely reported, but it did not actually affect me. I have had no case that I did not hear the phone ringing because of this defect. Still I was a bit uneasy that it might happen so I am glad to have this new firmware on the device.

When you try to download the firmware, you will find that RIM only lists a Rogers version. This is not a problem. Download the package, stop Desktop Manager, run the installer, then remove the vendor.xml file. Load Desktop Manager and it should ask you to upgrade the phone.

I also edited the BlackBerry.alx file and removed the _vendor tag from the Vodafone Today theme. I think this is the most elegant and functional theme for the BlackBerry. Isn't it funny, that we tried hard to remove carrier branding from our phones just last year, and that this year, Vodafone has come up with branding that you actually want?


I've updated probably 40 different BlackBerry devices - some of them multiple times through various release levels. I have NEVER had an upgrade hose the device. I think only once or twice it failed on the restore. But even then I had the backup to just reload and all was well.

Man, I want 4.2 on my 8700 or I want Cingular to release a Pearl! I've had this 8700 since January and it's getting old! ;) I have read sporadic reports that 4.2 will allow you to open wav attachments - that would be an excellent feature for business voice mail users.

Chris Whisonant, 2006-09-29

I have tried to brick various BlackBerry devices (reset, remove battery and disconnect cable connection during firmware installation process) and I never suceeded in doing so. I was always able to recover the devices even when they only had a flashing red LED and wouldn't boot up anymore. I think RIM made the firmware update process quite fail-safe. The only BlackBerry I did not try to brick is my BlackBerry Pearl 8100 as I have currently only one ;-)

Abdelkader Boui, 2006-09-29

> I have tried to brick various BlackBerry devices

wow. I just feel like Volker while flashing a device...

Samuel Adam, 2006-09-29

where did you get the update volker?

John Head, 2006-09-29

He got it from here. This is the official BlackBerry download page of Rogers in Canada.

Abdelkader Boui, 2006-09-29

I am a Cingular customer in the US and I really dislike most of the preinstalled BB themes (7130g). The themes available from the "download theme" menu option are awful as well.

After a quick Google search I came across the following link.

From my Blackberry browser I followed the posted Over-The-Air links to download the Vodafone and Vodafone Today themes (you need them both for the Today theme to work). The both pulled down quickly.

Bottom line... I love the Vodafone Today theme! Thanks Vowe.

Michael Hollis, 2006-09-29

Thanks, Abdelkader. You beat me with your answer. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-09-29

Hi Volker, I prefer this way to update the BlackBerry with themes:

c:\theme>javaloader -u load *.cod
RIM Wireless Handheld Java Loader
Copyright 2001-2005 Research In Motion Limited
Connecting to device...
Connected *
Loading net_rim_theme_102_320x240 Done
Loading net_rim_theme_104_320x240 Done
Loading net_rim_theme_105_320x240 Done
Loading net_rim_theme_109_320x240 Done
Loading net_rim_theme_119_320x240 Done
Loading net_rim_theme_120_320x240 Done
Loading net_rim_theme_120_today_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_125_icon_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_125_list_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_bb_dimension_list_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_bb_dimension_today_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_bb_dimension_zen_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_bb_insight_icon_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_bb_insight_list_320x240Done
Loading net_rim_theme_blackberry_320x240Done
5161446 bytes sent at ~212843 bps

c:\theme>javaloader -u load net_rim_theme_120_320x240.cod

Javaloader.exe is a real cool tool to manage the software on the Blackberry without the Desktopmanager.

cheers marco

marco foellmer, 2006-10-13

Hello Volker,

i am really happy to hear that you consider our graphics and the Vodafone today screen-concept as attractive and recommendable. As the responsible person for graphics/iconography here in Vodafone, i am delighted by the fact that an expert gives such a postive feedback and sees the advantages of what we developed lately.
With nice regards and greetings from Düsseldorf
Guy Papstein

Guy Papstein, 2006-11-09

I followed your instructions and I bricked my blackberry. I have a unlocked pearl that i use with cingular. I renamed the vendor.xml file and removed all of the _vendorid tags in the blackberry.alx file. Now, my blackberry does not load. What can I do?

Thomas Spendley, 2006-11-27

You may have to wait a little bit longer to have it load. It may easily take 15 minutes to load after the flash.

The email address you left when writing the comment seems to be missing a character. Maybe you were as impatient when you flashed the device. ;-) Don't worry, even if you cannot reflash, you can still use Javaloader to erase the Pearl and then do a new flash.

Volker Weber, 2006-11-27


I installed the firmware update, and I am having issues locating the .xml file I'm supposed to delete. Can you possibly give me a little more in depth directions? I appreciate it.

Nathan Nins, 2006-11-30

Nathan, the instructions are a bit vague on purpose. I am trying to prevent some people from hurting themselves. If you have not yet discovered the search function, you should not be doing this.

Volker Weber, 2006-11-30

HI Purchased a Blackberry 8100 Pearl.. and did the unlock Via Imei calculation .. code works and i can insert other sim cards and phone now accepts them but it will only make calls on the 850/1900 band (Band that tmobile uses in U.S) but it wont make or recieve any calls on the 900/1800 band it finds the network but for some reason it wont make any calls any idea if i need to reflash the firmware? tried the rogers firmware that was posted at top of this thread but that didnt work :(... any ideas appreciated or if u know where i can locate an unbranded flash.. to try
Thnx in advance guys

Ben Wilson, 2006-12-04


How can I get the unlock code for my Pearl? I'm on rogers. My IMEI is: 352127011630519.

Also, does anybody know where to get the latest firmware?


Kevin Fleisch, 2006-12-16


My email is kevinfleisch @ hotmail.com


Kevin Fleisch, 2006-12-16

Is this going to turn into another application/x-oleobject / blonde thread I wonder?

Ben Poole, 2006-12-17

Wow! Thanks for the instructions. I just upgraded my blackberry 4.2.0_rel79 (Telefonica) with modified alx files (blackberry and platform).

Yusuf Motiwala, 2006-12-19

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