Gmail app working on WiFi with Aerize WiFix - no EDGE or GPRS data plan
I moved from a trusty Centro to a very nice BB 8900, one of the incentives was the availability of WiFi - I don't have and don't want to pay for a BB data plan, since I don't need its killer app, push email. I was expecting to use the Gmail app over WiFi wherever possible. I can access a browser via wifi, but I discovered I couldn't get a connection with the native gmail app. I've found a loophole or low level hack to run theh java gmail app through wifi with the help of WiFiX (see below), and I hope this will be useful for others to tinker with and come up with a better solution.
After some research, I realised that blackberry is somehow blocking access to data via WiFi for third party and other applications, probably to make cell providers bill more on limited data plans - or as an incentive for unlimited data plan signup. Edge is slow, coverage can be patchy... and blocking data connections on what is a handheld computer is quite sad.
Now, there's a great little program called WiFiX by Aerize which tunnels data traffic through WiFi, making the app beleive it goes through GPRS-EDGE-data plan. This works great for the Google app, for Google maps, and others (google it, search in these forums - I cannot post links in here). That application, unfortunately, does not work with the latest Gmail app for Blackberry, version 2.0.6.
What I realised is that Google produces many versions of its Java apps - the blackberry specific one you get when connecting to Gmail for mobile, but also a generic version for java virtual machines. Dowloading and installing v2 of the generic java gmail app gives an error, but I managed to get a copy of the generic java gmail app version 1.5... AND IT WORKS! There are some caveats - basically, at some point you do need a cellular data connection, but here is my procedure in detail (there are some reboots involved in between steps):
1.Download the Gmail app 1.5 JAR file, I got mine by clicking on the JAR link (using the wifi enabled browser) at Gmail Old Versions | Wap Review and follow instructions to install.
2.Install WiFiX Aerize (there's a free trial). You might want to check how nicely it works out of the box with the Google search app and google maps. I think it will NOT work with OS 5, I'm on 4.7.
3.Allow access to mail.google.com through WiFiX: go to Settings->Options->Aerize WiFix, click on new, enter Gmail for name, Click on Add Host, enter mail.google.com. Save and exit.
4.You need to access the Gmail app ONCE through the cellular network. With a SIM card with a working data plan (any will do, not necessarily the BB specific one), run the Gmail app, login.
5.Turn off your cell signal, take off your SIM card - the Gmail app will now work through your WiFi (WiFiX trick) connection.
And that's it! Pending-ideas in the next post.
Last edited by GUIYOFORWARD; 02-07-10 at 09:27 PM.
Now, what is missing - what coud be better - etc.?
1.You still need a few seconds of cellular data connection to enable the hacked gmail app to connect for the first time. It would be nice if someone found a way to make this "requirement" go.
2.I'm not sure if google implemented something on v2 of the Gmail app that blocks the connection. However, if you install and run the generic v1.5 and do not connect the first time via cellular data, the app complains about NOT finding a data connection, EVEN with the WiFiX trick. So there's probably something at the OS level preventing access, unless google built in the GPRS-check-on-Blackberry even in the generic Java version of the app, which does not make a lot of sense.
3.Needed for further testing: v1.5 of the NATIVE Gmail app for Blackberry. The generic version of the Gmail app is not as nice as the blackberry specific version (so much for the java write once motto...). Basically, the BB version is slightly tweaked to show nicer and more direct menus, for instance with the generic app you don't type directly into the login box, you enter a new page where you enter the field... I'm not sure if the BB version 1.5 will work with the Aerize trick, but if it does it's a better user experience.
4.Getting the generic v2 (2.0.6) version of the Gmail app to run on the Blackberryy would be great. I get an error message when trying to run it. I tried v2 over my data plan and it is really much much better.
5.If there's a java-blackberry wizard with a sense of community and some spare time, it would be great to compare the blackberry and generic JAR files and see if the BB "only through cellular data" restriction can be hacked off - since google people are not nice enough to do it themselves.
There was one more point, Aerize states that they will not support SSL & HTTPS, and that was usually blamed on the forums for the gmail app not working. I'm not sure if v1.5 is SSL enabled or not...
PS: In case it's not clear: SOMEONE PLEASE SEND ME THE GMAIL APP FOR BLACKBERRY JAR FILE VERSION 1.5. Thanks!!
Last edited by GUIYOFORWARD; 02-07-10 at 09:37 PM.
- 02-16-10, 05:01 AM #4
what you've found is of absolute importance for all the users around without a data-plan and spent good money to have a wi-fi enabled blackberry.
I've a couple of questions about your procedure. You said you need some seconds of cellular connection for the first start up. I'm tempted to think this is just for the very first connection after the installation. Is it true? Or we need few seconds every time we restarted the gmail app?
I've read the point of SSL connections and apparently the Aerize Wifix can't work with this kind of secure connection. It looks like that the gmail app 1.5 is NOT secured with SSL and this would make me a bit skeptical. I definitely want emails to be secured!
Thanks for your good job and I hope you continue improving!
hey there. yes, it's a few seconds for the FIRST TIME EVER you logon to your gmail account. I asked the aerize guys about SSL and this app but they didn't reply.
I will try the BB specific app and see if it works with Aerize. I will report back in a few days.
- CrackBerry User
02-18-10, 05:24 PM #6
- 18 Posts
very nice topic.
What about google maps? with wich version can you get it to work? I tried gmail app and gmaps with no success, on both. BB maps gives me the same error as before aerize.
This are my specs:
Bold 9000, no data plan, wifi access, bb browser access, ota installs
aerize version: 126.96.36.199 (found wifi connection)
gmaps version: 3.2.1 (error = demand of data plan)
gmail app version: 188.8.131.524 (error = no active data connection found)
bb maps: can access via third party laucher but no maps (error = actual services do not allow access to map data)
- CrackBerry Newbie
03-07-10, 01:17 AM #10
- 3 Posts
The problem with aerize is after the trial expires, it locks you out of the app so that there's no way for you to enter the registration code even if you did buy it. So if you're gonna buy it, make sure to do it before the trial runs out.
There is a way to get a lot of stuff working over wifi without aerize. Problem is there's no automatic way to make things work over cellular when you're away from a hotspot (if you have a limited data plan or something). It's either one or the other. However, an enterprising person could probably write a small app to automate the switch. If anyone knows how to code good BB apps, send me a PM.
- CrackBerry Newbie
05-26-10, 12:45 PM #12
- 2 Posts
Blackberry over WIFI
I don't know if i understand the business of Blackberry well. If I have a Blackberry Storm 2, unlocked. And I am traveling. Why shouldn't I be able to use my gmail or other apps on WIFI?
Interesting thing is BB users don't seem to care about this? If I paid the price in full and have WIFI, why should I be limited to BB data plan????
Blackberry is going to fail big time with such NONSENSE business model. I bought brand new BB Storm 2. Going to sell it and buy Nexus One.
- 07-11-10, 07:17 AM #13
Thank you so much GUIYOFORWARD, You have made me extremely happy! By introducing WiFIX to me and by explaining how to get gmail app for Blackberry working. And it works! First I got gmail 1.5 working and after that I tried 2.0.6. After unchecking in the options "always use secure connections", it worked fine. I did sent and receive a lot of emails and did not pay for it through my prepaid sim-account. I only am wondering how risky is it not to use a secure connection ?
Thank you very much!
- 09-16-10, 12:10 PM #17
This works. However whenever phone is shut off you are logged out. So it puts you back to needing a few seconds of data to sign in
And unfortunately 1.5 is pretty lacking. Just a wrapper really. No alerts or polling. You can do as much or more on the mobile gmail site. And that's accessible via wifi
Its really hard to believe google would create apps that can not use wifi. But I have to assume this is enforced by RIM
I have seen that someone has made the new 2 app work wifi only. But wont share so could just be all talk
Any new progress here?
- 09-16-10, 08:08 PM #18
Before doing any of this downloading of apps that will (supposedly) make Gmail app, Google Maps app etc. work over Wi-Fi, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR TCP/IP Settings are what they should be, resend service books, register HRT and do a batt pull. That usually works.
- 01-01-11, 05:21 PM #19
Sorry, I don't get it. The first post here suggested that we can connect to Gmail without a data plan. The very second post said it's not possible without a data plan.
So: can this be done or not? There's a lot of noise after that from other posters cheering that they can see google maps -- yay, but who cares. Google Maps on BB sucks anyway, and it's easily accessible through the BB browser, in roughly the same bogstandard manner.
But Gmail is a priority.
Can Gmail work *without* any data plan whatsoever, using just WiFi? I heard somewhere that an OS update now allows this to be possible.
- 01-01-11, 08:31 PM #23