Wednesday, March 2, 2005

RIM BlackBerry 7100g, you're my best friend

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I got a new phone to replace my Motorola v60c (arguably the best cell phone ever made because of its simplicity, design, and durability). My BlackBerry connects me to all my contacts through phone, email, instant messages AIM&MSN (3rd party software by VeriChat needed since 7100g doesn't have it built in unline 7100t) directly and efficiently. Everything with my exchange mailbox syncs wirelessly. This means, I can just update my Outlook's contacts and it will automatically sync up with my BlackBerry. And when I'm updating someone's phone number on my BlackBerry, it will update my Outlook at home, so there will never again be a confusion on which number is newer (the cell phone's or outlook's). The color screen is amazing. The small pixels remind me of the fine detail of sony PDA's, and the brightness level is a demonstration of how far we've come in handheld displays. The browser is very capable. There is a bunch of 3rd party software in the works. The included softwares and game (brickbreaker) is awesome. The UI has drawbacks but also significant improvements over the standard BlackBerry full QWERTY keypad which results in an overall a better decision than the standard BlackBerry design.

I was a little hesitant to try the new keyboard. My first encounter with a customer's 7100t was unspeakably bad. It literally took me a minute to type my email address. Later I learned that I just didn't know how to use it. I was trying to do the TAP method trying to find the (ABC for #2, DEF for #3 and so on) keys that I was familiar to on a standard cell phone. How you are supposed to use it is to use it like a qwerty keyboard but it will guess what you are trying to type (tap method is automatically switched on when typing passwords). And this isn't a standard dictionary lookup. It is smarter than I imagined it would be. It will learn words that aren't following spelling rules like UCSD. The more you use the word, the more familiar it will get in guessing it. When you are also typing a slang word for example, it will try to follow spelling rules like (i before e except after c) to guess whether you typed a E instead of an R, or an A instead of an S. Just about every time I type, I'm usually scratching my head wondering how in the world they ever guessed I was wanting to type that specific word that for sure is not in the dictionary. It really feels like it is reading your mind as you type. I don't have any Bluetooth compatible devices, but I'm sure the Bluetooth on the 7100g will come in handy some day.

Congrats to BlackBerry for making a huge step in improving on what was already a fantastic interface in the original BlackBerry devices.

Now only if it can play mp3s, videos, let you stick a memory card in there, and put in a camera sensor, that would just make this device the ultimate device.

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