October 13, 2006

Blackberry 7130e Handheld Is Very Cool

When it comes to handheld cell phones or PDAs, I fell off the leading edge years ago. After being one of the first to embrace the Handspring Visor platform in the 1999 timeframe, I moved on and ditched the Palm OS altogether a few years ago, in favor of the most rudimentary of Blackberry devices, which simply sent and received corporate e-mail. Of course, this meant I needed a second device, a real cell phone, to act as the yin to its yang. But as time has passed, the Blackberry has taken over for remote e-mail, Web browsing and cell phone calls. Just last week, I managed to get my hands on the 7130e handheld model, and I would likely run out of superlatives for it if I tried to tell you how cool the darn thing is.

Unlike the traditional clamshell Blackberry, the 7130e is slimmer and taller, shaped more like a traditional cell phone, and offering a tall, brightly lit color screen, with all the familiar applications for out of office communication. The largest difference between this device and the others I've tried is its keyboard. Venturing away from the standard QWERTY keyboard, the 7130e doubles down by squishing two letters on each key, and through a sophisticated database, it inherently guesses as to the word you are typing, and learns as you go along. Though this initially made me nervous, it has proven much better than I had anticipated. I can easily type long sentences without making any errors or typos, and the longer the words, the more likely the Blackberry is to get it right. In fact, it's words like "get" which have the same keys as "hey" which are more trouble.

Contrasted to previous models I've used, the 7130e has an excellent screen, regardless of the background lighting, and the device's operating system is sophisticated enough to offer passable Web browsing, and most importantly, real game playing. Within an hour of getting the new Blackberry, I had purchased and installed Blackberry versions of Spades, Hearts, and Cribbage, to go along with the free Klondike and BrickBreaker, which came with the device. Now, instead of your fearing a distracted motorist on a cell phone call, you have to deal with me trying to make 15s and 31s at the steering wheel when I zip through the intersection. Don't think I won't be either...

If you're already using the Blackberry platform, and have been cruising along with an older generation device, it's time to trade up. If you haven't yet switched, there are very few reasons not to anymore. Blackberry is the de facto standard in the workplace, and is making inroads to consumers as well. Given its not some wacky version of Windows Mobile helps too.

Listening to ''Culture Flash'', by Ministry Of Sound (Play Count: 10)