Tools & Technologies

First Week with a BlackBerry Curve 8310

I have had a BlackBerry 8707v for about a year. It has worked well, and I have written previously about how pleased I have been with it, and the precursor 8700 that worked great until I accidently dropped it.

Research in Motion haven’t been standing still, however, and it has released new mobile devices in the past year. One of those was the Curve 8300 series, and I received an evaluation unit from RIM under the RIM Analyst Relations programme a week ago. In asking for it, and in trying it out, my frame of reference has been: Would I spend the money and upgrade, or is the 8707v sufficient to my needs? And what would I recommend to clients?

First, what’s different? The 8310 is narrower and thinner than the 8707. The 8707 looks positively big next to the 8310, and the latter includes more capabilities. There’s a camera on the back. There’s a media player inside. It has space under the battery for a memory expansion card. So all in all, the device is a better gadget (more is better)..

Smaller means that the keyboard is smaller. That hasn’t proven to be a problem. I could type fast enough on the 8707 to blog in real time (all of the posts from the Global Leadership Forum were blogged live on the 8707 last week), and I can type just as fast on this one (the post “WSS in Business” was typed live on the 8310). And this review was too.

Smaller means that a belt holster isn’t essential. This is the first device with a QWERTY keyboard that I’ve owned that is small enough to fit into a pocket. This device could easily and comfortably go in my jeans pocket, a suit trousers pocket, or a pocket on a white shirt. It’s small enough and light enough to do so.

The in-built camera makes it a true mobile blogging device. I haven’t had that before, but the picture of Gary in the SharePoint post from earlier this week was taken on the 8310, attached to an email, and sent up to TypePad for immediate publication. It was great. Of course there are other cool business scenarios too: the insurance assessor submitting claims from the scene of the accident, etc.

The main complaint I have is that RIM took away my beloved thumb wheel! I had become very proficient at using that thing, and now it is gone, it took me a few days to get used to the pearl, and how to use it. And the removal of the clickable thumb wheel and the introduction of the four buttons on the front has changed the interaction paradigm, but I am adjusting.

While on the subject of the interaction paradigm, I do like the new short menus on the pearl button, and the option of a full menu. The short menu includes the most realistic thing the user would do next, and I have found it a good addition.

So with that said, back to my original evaluation frame. Yes, I would upgrade. And yes I would recommend it to clients.

(Like Volker, I’ll give this the “Editor Refuses To Give It Back Award”)

(Okay Microsoft … I’m willing to give a Windows Mobile 6 device the once over. Are you game, given my three negative experiences with devices I purchased?)

Categories: Tools & Technologies