A couple Saturdays ago, I got a familiar itch that needed scratching — the good ol’ gadget itch. It’s an itch that can often be expensive.
I got this itch for the first time in 2005, when I coveted a Motorola MPx220. After waiting for several months, still hearing from Cingular that they were on “backorder” (read: they were never coming back), I went out on eBay and grabbed one — in black, no less, which wouldn’t have been available with Cingular. I stuck with that phone for about a year and a half, but with the advent of Windows Mobile 5.0 and my increasing text message habit, I was looking to move up to something else with a QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, the Motorola Q was not available on Cingular yet, but the Samsung BlackJack was. I waited patiently for my upgrade eligibility, which came roughly last March. I then nabbed the BlackJack on a nice discount. Finally — QWERTY and reasonably reliable — and fast — Internet access. I even had 3G for those times I traveled out of state or to Columbia.
However, some issues in the BlackJack crept up. I had to restart my data connection on a daily basis, and there were some things that I could not do — no GPS, and terrible support for Java apps. I lived with it, though.
In the last couple months, though, I’ve been intrigued by the BlackBerry platform and what it can provide. I’d never used a BlackBerry before but had a basic understanding on how they work. Everyone I’ve talked to has absolutely raved about them. Naturally, my interest was piqued; could this be a more efficient way for me to get stuff done on the road?
A couple Saturdays ago, I wondered what kind of money a BlackBerry would command on eBay. I was thinking about getting one of the older models; I would have been happy with an 8700c, with one important exception — no extended memory support. That was an issue. I also noticed that the newer BlackBerry models, namely the Pearl, 8800, and Curve, used a trackball, which seems to be better than the thumbwheel traditionally found on BlackBerry models in the past. I was used to the thumbwheel on the BlackJack, but it was limiting in that it only went up and down. The keyboard was also way too easy to fat-finger; BlackBerry keyboards are also known to be way better than most others out there.
Curiosity turned into an impulse buy of a used BlackBerry 8800 that Saturday. It arrived this past Saturday, and I see what all the rage is about. I have learned quite a bit, and it’s already become the best device I’ve used. The phone portion is fantastic, and the organizer is top notch. I’ll need to get hooked up to the Enterprise Server at work to get over-the-air synchronization of my organizer data and push e-mail, but that will be worked out. Messaging will rock when everything is set up properly. I have also grown addicted to BrickBreaker, the game that is bundled with BlackBerry OS.
My favorite feature is that I can holster the phone and have the keyboard lock and the notifications change. This way, when the phone is out of the holster and a call or message comes in, it won’t vibrate off the table. There are so many little usability things built in that I can’t even begin to break them down in a weekend.
It’s a great phone experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a lot of power out of their mobile device.