I am on day #7 with the BlackBerry 8800. My experience so far with the BlackBerry 8800 has been quite rewarding, and as day #9 gets closer (the last day in my 9-day experiment with the BlackBerry 8800), I am starting to think about how it compares with other devices that I have used in the 81-day-experiment.
Where does the BlackBerry 8800 leave the earlier BlackBerry 8700 model?
Compared to the earlier BlackBerry 8700, the applications list has grown quite a bit with the BlackBerry 8800 including the multi-media capabilities such as music, pictures, and videos, in addition to voice dialing and voice notes among others. In addition the design (form factor) has been significantly improved. The BlackBerry 8800 is much thinner and slicker that the earlier models. When you look at the pictures below (the BlackBerry 8800 followed by the BlackBerry 8700) you can see how the new model is a major departure from the earlier design:
Having become thin and elegant however, the BlackBerry 8800 doesn’t give you the same grip when you hold it in your hands—compared to the earlier models. When I pick up the BlackBerry 8800 with one hand from a flat surface like the top of my desk, I am afraid I am going to drop it. In addition, I find myself accidentally hitting the side key (the one on the left side of the device), which starts the Push To Talk application and prompts me to register to use the service from Cingular.
I remember that day, from a few years ago, when I owned a BlackBerry 7230 and I was presenting at an event, and I accidentally dropped the device from the podium, and saw it crash into the floor and break into 3 pieces. I was extremely disappointed or maybe even shocked, not just about the thought of losing my device and my data, but also about the not-so-elegant scene in front of my audience. To my surprise, the three pieces which were the device itself, the battery cover, and the battery itself, were intact and once assembled, the device was back in business right away and without a glitch. I hope that the 8800 would withstand such an accident, but I am hoping not to have to find out.
From a usability perspective, and I am referring here to navigation and data entry here, the trackball coupled with the menu and escape keys on the side, present a super easy and efficient user interface. Together, the trackball and navigation keys, have a nice and smooth feel to them and make up what I consider “the” best smartphone interface for the business user who doesn’t want to be distracted by more “choices” and more “parts” (like styluses, touch screens, 5 way navigation buttons, and more application buttons, and combinations thereof).
The BlackBerry 8800 interface (trackball centric), which was introduced with the BlackBerry Pearl late last year, seems to have picked up momentum with the BlackBerry 8800, and seems to be a successful development/evolution of the trackwheel and escape button interface that the BlackBerry 8700 and previous BlackBerry devices enjoyed for year. It seems that at some point, when the rest of the service providers jump on the 8800 bandwagon, the 8800 will replace the 8700.
How about the BlackBerry 8800 and the BlackBerry Pearl?
The BlackBerry 8800 is pretty much a “BlackBerry Pearl on steroid”. The looks are almost identical, except that the BlackBerry 8800 has grown a bit to accommodate the full QWERTY keyboard, and continuing with the “business” theme, it got away with the camera, keeping the device more in the business category than the social category. So essentially, the target audience is slightly different, one catering more towards the business users, while the other catering towards consumers and business users who give elegance and social functions a higher priority.
Comparing the BlackBerry 8800 with more devices?
In the next few days, I will continue to compare the BlackBerry 8800 with the rest of the devices. Meanwhile, if you are a business user considering a smartphone, you probably want to add the BlackBerry 8800 to the list of smartphone that you are considering. Obviously selecting a smartphone includes many factors, and the BlackBerry 8800 may or may not be the one that best fits your need, but it is strong contender in the smartphone world.