Saturday, July 29, 2006

Crackberry

Ok, here is where I have to eat my own words....I got a Blackberry. Back in the day I had dissed the Blackberry as a weak and ultimately useless device only for those email junkies who just HAD to have access to email no matter what the cost. Now that I found myself in the unenviable position of having to be constantly in touch and on the go I bit the bullet and picked one up. Now before you pass judgment on me being a total hypocrite and deserving of a good lashing hear me out on why this "crackberry" is far more useful than even I had anticipated.

First, lets take a closer look at exactly what IS a Blackberry. Quite simply it is nothing fancy, just a 300+ mhz processor and a 320x240 64,000 color screen, at least that's what I got with the 8700c I purchased from Cingular Wireless. No camera. No memory expansion. No complicated stylus-based navigation. Using the scroll wheel was a snap and there are virtually no hoops to jump through to get email up and running. I was also able to get instant messaging up and running in short order for both my Google and AOL accounts. Not bad so far...but this simplicity does have it's price. Although the Blackberry does email and IM like nobody's business, it can't support more complicated applications like the Windows CE devices can. But I hear that issue is slowly being addressed by third party vendors such as Google (the Google Maps app for Blackberry rocks!).

So why do they call these devices "crackberries'? After about a week using my Blackberry....I was completely dependent on it. Once you have all your email accounts setup you start to just use the Blackberry to read and respond to messages. I found myself not checking email at my desk at work during lunch anymore. I simply had no need to, all the messages had already been read on my Blackberry as they came in. Same goes for IM, which worked great even in low signal areas. Voice quality and general reception was fantastic on my 8700c and I even found it possible to write messages while there was no signal knowing they would be sent as soon as the device was back in range of a tower. Combine this functionality with the ability to run cool applications such as Google Maps and Cryptmagic (a password utility) and you get a great tool for those who are always on the go.

My only complaints, lack of memory card support and the Bluetooth support is very basic (does not support using the blackberry as a modem).

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