BlackBerry Always Sounds Like It's on Speaker Phone

RIM BlackBerry Bold

As much as you may love your BlackBerry smartphone, it certainly isn't without its problems. BlackBerry App World may not have as many apps as Android Market or the iTunes App Store, but the automatic smartphone issue with certain BlackBerry devices could be even more annoying.

What Is the Speakerphone Blast?

The "speakerphone blast" is a surprisingly common problem that affects a wide range of BlackBerry models from Research in Motion. You may have experienced this issue yourself; it may be intermittent, it may be persistent, and it may even fix itself over time.

In short, the common complaint is that when a user answers a phone call on his or her BlackBerry, the speakerphone is automatically activated rather than using the regular earpiece answering protocol like a normal phone. The common term used to describe this scenario is a "speakerphone blast." This is because many users naturally bring the BlackBerry up to their ears upon answering the call, only to have their ears "blasted" by the significantly higher volume of the speakerphone function.

For some users, the problem is persistent and the speakerphone remains activated throughout the call unless they intervene in one way or another. For many others, though, the phone will automatically revert back to the regular earpiece volume a few seconds after answering the call, despite initially answering the call with an undesired speakerphone function and volume.

Common Causes of the Problem

The speakerphone function on nearly all BlackBerry devices can certainly come in handy. If you are driving down the highway and need to answer an urgent call, the speakerphone allows you to keep both hands on the wheel while still being able to take the call. The speakerphone works well if you want to listen to the radio on your BlackBerry too. However, you only want the BlackBerry to activate speakerphone when you want it to activate the speakerphone.

In general, there appear to be three common causes to this BlackBerry speakerphone blast problem:

  1. A hardware problem: It is very possible that your chosen retailer or carrier has supplied you with a defective unit. As with any other piece of modern technology, there are going to be some defective units that make their way into the retail channels. If this is the case and you discover the problem early, it is usually fairly easy to get a replacement phone free of charge. Call into technical support for your carrier and discuss possible solutions. If you purchased your BlackBerry through your company's IT department, then you can have them handle the situation on your behalf.
  2. A software problem: A BlackBerry is not unlike your computer. Sometimes, the software on the phone can be defective or otherwise have some sort of problem. The firmware (which serves like the operating system on the phone) may also have some bugs and other issues.
  3. A user problem: Believe it or not, sometimes the problem exists in the person holding the product. Some owners of touchscreen-based BlackBerry devices, like the Storm and Torch, may accidentally press the "speakerphone" virtual button on the touchscreen with their cheeks while in a call. This can accidentally activate the speakerphone function.

How to Solve the Speakerphone Issue

While you can have very little recourse when there is an unfortunate BlackBerry service outage, you do have options when it comes to the speakerphone blast problem. The solutions depend on the causes of the problem in your specific case.

  1. If it is a hardware problem, contact your IT department or your carrier to see if you can get a replacement smartphone. If you are still under warranty and it is determined that the hardware is defective, you should be able to get it fixed or replaced.
  2. If it is a software problem, this can usually be fixed with a firmware update. Check the website for your wireless carrier, look up your specific model of BlackBerry device, and see if you are running the newest firmware. Follow the instructions on the site for how you can update your firmware.
  3. If it is a user problem, see what you can do to prevent yourself from causing the same problem. If you have a Storm, you can try installing applications like TalkLock or StormLock to "lock" the screen of your phone when you are in a call. That can help to prevent accidental presses.

Some users have also reported that the speakerphone issue arises when they leave Bluetooth turned on without having the BlackBerry paired to a Bluetooth device. You can try that too. If all else fails, call into technical support and see if they can help you.

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BlackBerry Always Sounds Like It's on Speaker Phone