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NIH BlackBerry FAQ

Q. What is a BlackBerry?
A. The RIM BlackBerry is the HHS standard PDA for all handheld devices needed for e-mail or for voice and e-mail communications. PDAs are palm-sized computing devices that provide users with constant access to locally stored information and may also provide wireless connection to e-mail, Internet, and/or voice communications.
Q. How does NIH use PDAs?
A. NIH uses PDA devices to provide access to NIH systems for senior staff, middle and line managers, and other staff whom management requires to be on-call for operations support, or emergency response.
Q. What do I need to do to acquire a BlackBerry?
A. Please view the following procedures for BlackBerry acquisition:
  1. Justification for Acquisition. NIH needs to ensure that PDAs procured for use by staff are justified, technically effective, and managed appropriately. ICs shall ensure that procurement of a PDA device supports the employee's responsibilities and related productivity and responsiveness requirements.

  2. Required Approvals. The IC EO must approve the acquisition of all new or replacement PDAs and related service contracts for staff in their respective IC. The IC EO and NIH Chief Information Officer (CIO) must approve all exceptions to procuring the HHS-standard PDA device. Exception requests must include documentation that supports the reason that a BlackBerry device cannot meet the staff's needs.

  3. Acquisition Procedures. ICs that order a PDA or replace an existing PDA must comply with the NIH Policy and Procedures for Acquiring and Managing Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) (NIH only). ICs shall refer to information provided on the CIT website when procuring BlackBerry devices. ICs shall follow their normal procurement ordering processes after receiving approval(s).
Q. Are there other wireless resources at NIH?
A. Yes, but you may not be able to see them all unless you're using an NIH machine. Additional resources include:
Q. Are there other wireless resources outside of NIH?
A. Yes, but they are mostly devoted to developers. Additional resources include:
Q. Is there an international service plan available?
A. You should check with the service provider to determine how to activate international service. The contact information can be found above.
Q. I need a BlackBerry but I don't need a phone. What should I do?
A. You can purchase a 6710 without a voice plan. The device will still have a phone number assigned to the SIM card and it can be used to make and receive phone calls (there is a fee of $0.20 per minute for inbound and outbound calls if a voice plan is absent). In order to prevent the device from being used as a phone, you should remove the phone application from the device.
Q. What is a SIM card?
A. A SIM card is the Subscriber Identity Module. It provides between 16 and 64 kb of memory which is used to provide your phone number, and to store others' phone numbers, SMS messages and other information. It can be moved from device to device (assuming the same carrier) so you can keep your phone number. You need the SIM card to send and receive email (and other data) as well as make and receive telephone calls. The SIM card is not used on all networks. For example, the 957 model does not use a SIM card (no phone), nor does the 6750 (Verizon) CDMA2000 device.
Q. What happens if I lose my BlackBerry?
A. The best thing you can do is protect your BlackBerry with a password. Under the "Options" menu (the icon looks like a Swiss Army knife) select "Security" and enable the password. Select a password that you can remember, and be sure to back up your data. If you forget your password, and have not backed up your data you are likely to lose some information.

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This page last reviewed: November 09, 2011