Monday, December 14, 2009

Blackberry Bold (my communication weapon of choice) mixes Pleasure with Business

Reprinted from The Globe and Mail

A lot of folks like to pick on the Blackberry because it isn't as much fun as the iPhone. There's a sense among some that one Android phone, for example, will differ from another, but a Blackberry is still, at the end of the day, just a Blackberry.

But there's a reason so many people lose their minds once they're separated from their Blackberrys – what RIM's device does, it does really well. And the new Bold 9700 might just be the best Blackberry we've ever seen. There are no great departures from the traditional model, sure, but the Bold still looks tremendous. RIM is slowly trying to make the phone sexier for the average consumer, but they'll be damned if they sacrifice the no-nonsense business capabilities of the Blackberry in the process.

Ups: This is one mighty fine-looking Blackberry. The keyboard has been compressed somewhat from previous iterations, and yet manages to provide a better typing experience than any other phone we tested. RIM has replaced the trackball – which we often broke on previous versions – with a sort of flat track pad. This comes in mighty handy when web browsing. Anyone who has tried to use the trackball to browse the web on a Blackberry knows how frustrating an experience it is to find yourself maniacally skipping from one link to the next. In the Bold, you control a mouse with the track pad, giving you much better control of where you want to go on a page. Web browsing still isn't nearly as good as on the iPhone or the top-end Android phones, but it's far better than it used to be on a Blackberry.

RIM makes few changes to its traditional user interface with the Bold. The home screen contains some of the most-often used functions, such as the mailbox and the calendar. Touch the menu button, and you're transported to the full slew of options. Essentially, the learning curve for anyone who has ever used a Blackberry before will be about 10 seconds long.

Downs: There are no monumental changes here, just a really good version of a well-known smart phone. The Blackberry may still do typing and push email better than any other phone, but it's no longer the only product offering such functions as push email. The non-core functions, such as the media player and the camera, aren't as good as many other phones, especially those with a similar price tag. RIM's Blackberry app market is substantially larger than some of its competitors, such as Palm, but still lags far behind the iPhone.

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. Re/Max a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage. 519-536-7535. 521 Dundas St., Woodstock, ON

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