RIM reinvents the BlackBerry Pearl

RIM reinvents the BlackBerry Pearl

The BlackBerry Pearl has continually been a standing symbol as a whole lot as a technological innovation. “I’m a business individual, with business needs. I want to know immediately when problem’s brewing,” your usual enterprise consumer would possibly say.

That’s no longer to say that the BlackBerry hasn’t developed over time. Gone are the days of the black and white LCD, which was replaced with a hand held-like color screen and increasingly smaller sizes. Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the BlackBerry, has even made some forays away from its traditional rectangular packaging, which compelled the agency to desert the full QWERTY keyboard format for an abbreviated 20-key machine.

But RIM’s today’s product, the BlackBerry Pearl, represents a wholesale break from everything we have visible from RIM. This is its first providing on the way to enchantment as a whole lot to customers looking for a smart smartphone as to CEOs seeking out a smaller BlackBerry.

[ Keep up on the latest thought leadership, insights, how-to, and analysis on IT through Computerworld’s newsletters. ]

The BlackBerry Pearl
Credit: Research In Motion

The first and most obvious difference is the dimensions and form. The Pearl is tiny, even via cell phone requirements. It measures simply over four in. Lengthy by way of 2 in. Huge, and is half of an inch thick. It’s also extraordinarily light, tipping in at a smidge over three ounces. But battery existence hasn’t been sacrificed in the call of weight. The phone specifications declare 15 days of standby and 3.5 hours of talk time. In trying out, it lasted a week inside the dash of my automobile with out sputtering out, even though I spent three days in a totally vulnerable sign coverage place.

Like the alternative cellphone-style BlackBerries, the Pearl needs to double up on keys to fit in everything by the usage of SuperType sensible predictive typing software. For example, if I need to type the phrase “pricey,” I kind the keys which have the d, e, a and r letters on them. The software program figures out that I possibly supposed “dear,” and presentations that word as the entered text. But it additionally offers “fear” as an alternative, and I can pick it if that’s what I sincerely supposed. I determined the software changed into pretty accurate at figuring out the proper phrases inside the proper context in order that the equal keystrokes can also result in a specific default word depending on wherein you’re in a sentence.

[ REGISTER NOW for CIO’s Future of Work Summit – FREE TO ATTEND on June 14-15 ]
The predictive typing is less intuitive when coming into such things as Web addresses, and you have to steer it within the proper route, occasionally midword. For example, when coming into “Derry” into the mapping utility, I could most effective get it right if I picked “Derr” from the alternatives earlier than typing the “y.” But all in all, I became able to type at a reasonably incredible charge.

The largest difference maximum conventional BlackBerry users will note is the lack of a thumb wheel. Instead, there may be a small iPod-like scroll wheel in the middle of the keyboard with a white center-button (hence the “Pearl” moniker). Don’t be fooled though, it would not behave like an iPod. If you make a circle along with your finger around the wheel, you may make the menu you are viewing go up, down, up and down again. That’s due to the fact you operate this wheel greater like a trackball. To pass left or right, stroke the pinnacle or bottom of the wheel in an appropriate path. Sometimes it takes a second with a menu to determine out which pair of motions will navigate correctly, and some menus will accept both axis. The wheel is a piece sensitive to perform until you get used to it. It takes a light finger.

Unfortunately, I changed into not able to locate any obvious manner to scroll in a given direction constantly; you have to keep stroking. This is particularly awful inside the browser, due to the fact the way many Web web sites (like CNN.Com and AccuWeather.Com) render with the aid of default, you emerge as with a lot of fabric to scroll through to get to the actual meat of the web page. AccuWeather took dozens of downstrokes on the wheel till I got beyond what could have been aspect menus on a normally rendered page.

The smartphone has a complete Bluetooth profile, together with serial functionality. I wasn’t capable to check it as a modem, however possibly it’d paintings as such. It additionally interacts nicely with Bluetooth speakerphones, inclusive of the potential to voice dial from a Bluetooth tool.

The smartphone is likewise very media-pleasant. It can perform as an MP3 player, using mini-SD cards to keep the songs. It additionally has a 1.Three-megapixel digicam with a integrated flash, which changed into weak and ineffective for photographs in dark interiors. The 240-through-260-pixel screen can also play video in maximum famous codecs. The first-class turned into awesome, rivaling what I’ve seen at the video iPod and much higher than maximum video on different handheld devices. Unfortunately, you can’t shoot video with the cellphone, simplest view it.

Along with email integration (and Exchange integration for the enterprise users), the Pearl also has an integrated instantaneous messaging client that works with maximum not unusual IM offerings. There is likewise a pleasant mapping utility, a Breakout game and the standard non-public records manager functions together with calendar, deal with e-book and to-do list.

The cellphone still has some quirks and bugs. I changed into approximately to get the cellphone to go into its version of the Blue Screen of Death by means of hitting the mute button whilst in the setup menu. It also hung up a few instances (as in became unresponsive) even as browsing Web sites. The model of the Pearl that I used had T-Mobile carrier, and it accomplished admirably each for voice and data in my testing.

With T-Mobile supplying the Pearl at simply under $2 hundred (after $a hundred and fifty rebate from T-Mobile and with the usual service commitments), it’s is going to give the brand new Palm Treos a run for their cash within the handheld laptop replacement market. While Windows Mobile and Palm OS devices may have a bigger range of software program available to them, the BlackBerry Pearl has a killer charge and enough capability out of the box to preserve most customers happy.