Sgamen Personal Tech

Blackberry Curve 8310

http://sgamen.blogspot.com/2008/01/blackberry-curve-8310.html


Thought I should also post about the Blackberry Curve 8310 I went to (from my Motorola Razr v3) about 4 months ago. Since Dell is out of the PDA business and I was actually getting tired of carrying bouth my Dell Axim with my Razr I decided it was time to go with a phone PDA combo device.

I thought I wanted a Treo, I have really liked Windows Mobile and have really become dependent upon Pocket Informant for calendaring in particular. Two things made me decide not to go with a Treo:

1) Palm as a company is pretty shaky right now. They have just come out with their new Centro device that looks more to me like a kids toy than a Smartphone, and it seems like it is their last ditch effort to make it in the market. Like Nintendo did with the Wii in created something that was just entirely new and essentially betting the farm (good bet) on the design of the controller, I think Palm is hoping Centro will help them capture some of the market by doing something pretty different. Not sure I want to go on that ride.
2) The company I work for made a decision in the fall of 2007 to drop all support for any other smartphone than a blackberry. There was a pilot group that was using Treos but it didn't go very well in comparison with the blackberry users in the organization and they just decided it wasn't worth the cost to support two platforms.

The iPhone would have been another option too, but with the cost and the fact that it doesn't do push email, I knew I didn't want to go that route yet. So, with number 2 my decision was really made for me and I decided to jump over to the blackberry world and see if I could stand it. I expected to really miss the touch screen on the Dell and Palm PDAs I have had over the years. I expected to feel very limited on what kind of 3rd party software might be available.

I have had my Curve 8310 for about 4 months now, and I have to say that I am really surprised at how much I like the device. It never has issues where I have to reboot. The native calendaring is good (miss the coloring capabilities of Pocket Informant a little, but overall very solid). It is great to text or email with (full QWERTY keyboard very similar to the Treo). You can add an micro SD card to get more storage. With the AT&T version of the device I didn't get WiFi, but I do have a camera that works pretty well so long as what you are taking a picture of isn't moving. Soon as you get motion involved it blurs badly. The camera does have a flash, so even low light pictures are OK.

The biggest surprise to me is how much I like the trackball that is in the middle of the phone. It is a little ball that looks like it is a pearl (which is why they have a device named a Pearl), and it works really well. Obviously there are things where a trackball isn't as fast for navigation as a touch screen, but I think RIM has done a great job going with the trackball instead of the jog dial so many of their devices had on the side.

I signed up for an Enterprise data plan so that I could sync OTA (over the air) with Exchange at the office, and that seems to work incredibly well. That was one of my biggest concerns about going with a phone and PDA in one device. When they were separate I could leave my PDA connected to my computer at work to sync and then go out of my office with my phone still on me. When they were combined I was worried I was going to be continually syncing my device and then having to remember to grab it before leaving to go to a meeting or lunch.

With the enterprise data plan and getting things setup with the Exchange guys at the office, all I have to do is just keep my phone charged. It has been really awesome that way. I actually get my email on my blackberry faster than I can get it through Outlook on my desktop.

The other thing I am surprised about liking is the Internet browsing. It isn't a fully web browser for sure. Nothing like the iPhone (of course nothing is and that is the point), but there are a number of sites it does a decent job sort of "dumbing" down so that it can be displayed on the phone. It is good enough I use it a couple of times a day as I'm in meetings or on the move to google for things or read news. It has to go over the EDGE network since the device doesn't have 3G, but I expect that RIM will be working on that, and like I have already said, it is very useable.

I liked the device enough I decided to buy my wife one. We didn't load her up with an enterprise data plan, actually we don't have any data plan for her right now, but she uses it to text and we manually sync it to our little Exchange server at home through the desktop tool that incorporates Intellisync software. It all seems to work really well.
Blackberry Curve 8310, Pada: 10:40 AM

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