By cjsasaki on Mar 15, 2007
Well after living with a Treo 650 for 2 years, it was time to give it up. I was going to wait for the Apple iPhone (being an Apple Alumni, I still have loyalties), but after stumbling upon the new RIM Blackberry Pearl, I made the switch now. The form factor is just beautiful and makes the Treo look like a giant brick. For a PDA, it sure feels like a phone in your hand. Back when I was deeply involved with Java Micro Edition, RIM licensed Java and told us they were going to write all their applications in Java. After telling them that was awesome, we sheepishly asked them, why? The answer they provided was wonderful, that they had tried a proprietary platform play and had a difficult time attracting a broad developer community. Well, I have to say, the Pearl does run Java really well and even their video and music player applications are written in Java.
Blackberry's are known for email, and even writing short responses to email is easy enough on the Pearl which is the smallest RIM device to date. The smart key entry is a lot easier to use than T9. It took me all but 20 minutes to get everything set up, downloading my work mail automagically, and even synching to my Macbook's iCalendar and Address Book. Hooking into the USB port, it asked if I wanted to put the phone into a mass storage mode and after saying yes, an icon showed up in the Finder where I could easily drag MP3 music, photos from iPhoto to the microSD card that I added to the phone.
After a week of using the Pearl, I'm a very happy camper. It's much smaller than the iPhone will be, handles email very well and after downloading the Java Gmail client, it does everything I need a device to do without having my belt look like Batman's. Bluetooth 2.0, a megapixel camera with a tiny flash, ability to use microSD for memory expansion, and really nice mail makes the Pearl shine.
Now, I can probably wait until iPhone 2 comes out (and all the kinks are worked out). Great job RIM! Just wished it had UMTS and/or 802.11 built in and the email client displayed HTML email messages. After using Nokia PDA phones, Microsoft PocketPC/Mobile Editions, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and Palm Treo 650, I think the closest one so far that just works well, is the Blackberry Pearl. If you want a full size keyboard and bigger screen they do have a bigger brother model. But I wanted small and thin and the Pearl was it. The only big issue is IMAP Mail. If you delete mail on the Mac to you IMAP account, it doesn't reconcile it on the Blackberry. There is a trial version of an IMAP mail application, but the user interface is pretty horrible.
Don't worry Steve, I'll be back for the 2nd round of iPhones.