Okay, okay, I can hear the sniggers and the comments now: “He’s gone for style over functionality” Well, not quite so true though it does have an element of truth to it. Yes, I got myself a Blackberry Pearl through my O2 business package. Why I have this? Let’s look at my history for the last few years:
2 x Sony P910i’s: First one I left it on my car roof and it fell off on the highway and got crushed. The second one fell into a bucket of water when I was cleaning my car. The P910i was a bit expensive to keep doing this. Not to say I didn’t like it, on the contrary I actually enjoyed having the phone and once mastered it was a real synch to use.
Nokia N90, all gimmick and thats about it. I ended up hating this phone with a passion, ugly not responsive enough to web surfing and too much fiddling added to my frustration. Furthermore I had actually wanted a N92 but could one be found in the UK? NO!
Hermes HTC, a PPC with all the features under the moon. I didn’t like it though as there was a lot more fiddling to do when answering calls and browsing menus. Mobile phones in my opinion are supposed to be there on the click of a button and give me all the information I need fast. I don’t need to be taking the phone from my ear in the middle of a call to ensure I dont press the wrong button when I get a call waiting, this happened to me several times.
So, a quick trip down to my local O2 store to play around with some Blackberries. I had the intention of getting a Blackberry 8700 after reading Dan Appelquist posting about the admin functions. Once there in the store I changed my mind when I saw the Pearl or Blackberry 8100. I went home and got straight onto the phone with O2 and bitched about getting an early upgrade, they were only too happy to comply. I have been with O2 for a few years now and was first attracted to them by the calming effect of their brand, after all who wants to have orange splattered all over your phone, I don’t like the brand colour and found their customer service less than informed (I hear they have got much better since). O2 are like any other network provider in the UK, they provide a network and a series of very standard phones with not much thought given to the Smartphone market. And like all other network carriers in the UK they are miles behind in getting anything new. Their customer service is good and they know hwo to put up a fight when trying to upsell you or when I try and downsell them. I have stayed with them for the past few years and probably will move when something better comes up, eventually.
I digress, the reason for this posting was about the Blackberry Pearl. After speaking with O2 by phone I decided on the 8100, it’s smaller than the usual offering by Blackberry and is sleek with black and gun metal silver. The few days I have had it I have been impressed by the ease of use to grab email ‘on the go’ quick mobile web surfing, and messenging other Blackberry contacts I know, mainly colleagues. I immediately put Google Talk onto the Blackberry so I could IM my other contacts, it appears to work very well. I must admit I am not overtly impressed with the third party software offerings and I imagine there will be some good stuff coming in the future. What I really miss is the SOTI Pocket Controller Pro that allowd me on the HTC Hermes to operate my phone from the desktop, this included sending emails, MMS, SMS and all other functions including manually adding addresses. I have found nothing for the Blackberry Pearl that does the same function, though there is software that allows you to operate your PC remotely through a Blackberry, but nothing in reverse.
The Blackberry Pearl easily fits into my pocket, and has already synced nicely with my integrated Nokia Bluetooth Handsfree car kit. I have spent a good part of the day searching for something on it to complain about and so far have found nothing of any importance, only cosmetic stuff like the lack of any cool themes, or that there is not a function that allows a user to customise their own UI or home screen. I would rather add what icons I want rather than be told by Blackberry what icons they think I should have. Nevermind I am sure someone will develop a theme which has icons I can agree with.
The Blackberry 8100 is not an advanced smartphone but rather a basic smartphone, out of all the similar smartphones out there, Blackberry Pearl probably leads in style and functionality. Overall so far, not too bad… watch this space…