Hi all, I've had the dare for about a month now and I have to say I love it. But not only coz of its fancy features or shiny beautiful design and screen, but mostly coz of its functionality.
My favorite part of the dare, and the part that sets it above any other phone I've seen including iphone, is the ability to add shortcuts right onto the "desktop" or initial screen. I'm a grad student and my schedule is hectic and I use the hell out of the calendar and notepad tools. I put my shopping list and 3 different to-do lists in there. And having them right there at first touch is a godsend, not buried deeply in menus like other phones. Also, the qwerty touch pad makes it much faster to enter text than models that don't have it.
I don't want to carry a PDA in addition to a cell phone, and don't want a big clunky expensive smart phone. The dare is perfect in its usability and aesthetics. Plus it's smaller, lighter, and not as cold/metallic feeling as the iphone.
All the other stuff, MP3 player, camera, video cam, video player, etc are just bonuses. The only thing I really wish for is to be able to write custom apps for it myself, since I'm comp sci, which I think is possible on the iphone? I'm not sure. But it's not a biggy.
Oh and one important thing - make sure you get a plastic screen protector. I got a cheap one from walmart. Saves a lot of worrying about accidentally scratching the screen. I just throw it around the house, in my pocket, etc dont even care.
So what's your favorite aspect of the dare? Smiley
You may know it as the RIM BlackBerry 9000, but on Sunday, Research In Motion officially took the wraps off the highly anticipated smartphone, complete with a new name. The "Bold" is in reference to the smartphone's gorgeous display, but it's also bold in that it represents a number of new moves for the company. Oh, BlackBerry Bold, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways.
The bold and the beautiful
As we just mentioned, the device gets its name from its screen. The BlackBerry Bold features a half-VGA (480x320 pixel resolution) and a 65,000-color display. During some initial product testing, research group participants repeatedly called the screen "bold" and "brilliant." The Brilliant moniker didn't really jibe with the company, thus the BlackBerry Bold was born.
So just how bold is it? Well, RIM stopped by our office late last week to show us the device, and let me just tell you, I was absolutely blown away. I can pretty much say I've never seen a better-looking display on a smartphone. Colors pop off the screen, and it's really amazing how sharp and crisp everything looks on the display.
We watched a couple of videos, and for the first time, we didn't notice any of the pixelation or blurriness that you typically get with phones. In addition, the menu interface has been revamped with a much more modern look and icons. Also, as you can see from the images, the BlackBerry Bold boasts a new design. It's more elegant than models past, with curvier edges and a silver trim that complements the black casing.
If you turn it over, you'll also notice that the back has a leatherette texture. No more slick plastic. RIM will sell replaceable backplates in different colors, including blue, gray, and red, if you want to individualize your phone a bit. The BlackBerry Bold measures 4.5 inches tall by 2.6 inches wide by half an inch deep, and it weighs 4.7 ounces.
Kevin Michaluk at Crackberry.com took a gamble, buying one on eBay, and posted a hands-on review. He made a good comparison of the device to the Motorola Q9h.
Finally, the BlackBerry Bold has a QWERTY keyboard that RIM likened to a modernized Curve keyboard, but I'm not really seeing it. Instead, it reminded me more of the BlackBerry 8830.
Now, I know some of you 8800 series users had issues with the keyboard, but I tried it out, and it's pretty easy to use--relatively large buttons with some spacing between the keys.
There's a heaping of wireless options on the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) BlackBerry Bold, but the most appetizing and notable item is the HSDPA/UMTS (850/1900/2100) support.
It's the first such equipped BlackBerry, and we all know that it's been a long time coming. RIM says the delay for bringing such a device to the market is that it wanted to make sure that battery life wouldn't be sacrificed at the expense of including the 3.5G technology. Hey, whatever the reason, we're just finally happy to have it.
You also get integrated Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g), Bluetooth 2.0 with full A2DP support, and built-in GPS (enhanced and assisted).
The RIM BlackBerry Bold is equipped with a 624MHz Intel PXA270 processor, whereas previous BlackBerrys had 312MHz processors, so technically, you should enjoy smoother and faster performance.
During our briefing, there were a few hiccups in performance, but we're going to keep our fingers crossed and chalk it up to the fact that it wasn't a final unit. There's also 128MB of flash memory and 1GB of onboard memory, which is all supplemented by the microSD/SDHC expansion slot (supports up to 16GB cards).
Multimedia, Web, and other good stuff
You still with me? I know this post is getting a bit lengthy, but there are just a few more highlights to note. First, the Bold includes an improved Web browser (thank goodness), with the option to view pages in a full desktop HTML style or a mobile version, and you can now more easily navigate pages with the trackball, which acts like a mouse cursor, and zoom in and out.
As for multimedia, the smartphone is equipped with a 2-megapixel camera with video-recording capabilities and up to 5x zoom. The media player also continues to support numerous audio and video formats, including MP3, WMA, AAC, DivX4, and WMV3 files, and the phone is equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack. By the way, the Bold has some pretty powerful speakers--none of that weak, tinny junk.
Oh, and hey, what's this? It's makes calls, and sends and receives e-mails, you say? Yes, you'll still get all of the voice and messaging features of previous BlackBerrys, and the handset will also come preloaded with Dataviz's Documents to Go suite, for document viewing and editing.
"When and where can I get one?"
Now that we've totally built up the device, and you're ready to run out and buy one, here's the letdown: the BlackBerry Bold isn't available quite yet. It's currently going through carrier certification, and although RIM wouldn't officially name the service provider, based on the 3G bands, you can pretty much guess who it will be (hint: starts with an A and ends with T&T). And while pricing will also depend on the carrier, RIM is guessing that it will be in the $300 to $400 range, and expected worldwide availability is "this summer."
OK, that's it! My fingers are tired from all the typing, so now it's your turn. Clearly, I'm pretty amped about the smartphone. Of course, the true test will come when we finally get it in for real-world testing, but from everything I've seen so far, the RIM BlackBerry Bold has huge potential. But what do you think? Hot or not? The commenting floodgates are open, so have at it.
Update: AT&T confirmed this morning that it will be the official carrier of the BlackBerry Bold but didn't provide any details on availability other than "later this year."
With HP wireless printers, you could have printed this from any room in the house. Live wirelessly. Print wirelessly.
Apple iPhone 3G.If you expected startling news to come out of Monday's keynote for Apple's World-Wide Developers Conference (WWDC)--headlined, of course, by Steve Jobs--you went away unstartled and disappointed.
This event was mostly about confirming widely reported rumors: The high-speed iPhone 3G is indeed arriving shortly (on July 11), it's half the price of its predecessor ($199 for an 8GB model with a two-year contract), and it has GPS. Otherwise, much of the keynote was devoted to recapping stuff announced back in March regarding the iPhone's SDK for third-party applications and its support for Microsoft's Exchange e-mail platform.
As the day progressed, information emerged about certain things that Jobs and company hadn't mentioned, such as the fact that AT&T remains the exclusive U.S. carrier and will charge $30 a month for all-you-can-eat data. Gizmodo reports that the iPhone 3G must be activated in person at an Apple or AT&T store--a major step backward from the slick at-home iTunes activation of the original version.
In short, we're awash in answers. But as usual, I'm wrapping up the day of a major Apple announcement in connection with an extremely promising product still curious about a bunch of things. Things that--as far as I know--remain mysteries. Such as...
1. What's with the plastic back?
The 3G iPhone's plastic back (black version).As Jobs ticked off the design achievements of the iPhone 3G at the WWDC keynote, he mentioned its "full plastic back." I think that this change may indeed be a virtue--the shiny metallic backs sported by first-generation iPhones and most varieties of iPods are maddeningly effective magnets for scratches, fingerprints, and grime. But Apple usually upgrades its products by replacing plastic with metal; it's hard to imagine the company going the other direction unless it had a motive unrelated to aesthetics. Was it able to shave a millimeter or three off the required thickness by using plastic? (Cramming everything in was clearly a challenge. Despite Jobs' pollyanna-ish statement that the new iPhone is "even thinner" at the edges than its predecessor, Apple's official depth spec for the iPhone 3G is 11.6mm, versus 12.3mm for the original iPhone.) Maybe the metal would have interfered with GPS reception? Or did Apple simply have to go with cheaper materials when it cut the cost of the iPhone in half?
2. When will we get 32GB and 64GB iPhones?
For some of us, an iPhone can't function as a first-class iPod until it has enough memory to hold every song and video in a fairly large media collection. It's safe to assume that Apple will boost the phone's memory as soon as it can cram enough storage into its case and sell the resulting device at a price that a sane person might spring for. Since the iPhone-like iPod Touch already comes in a $499 32GB version, I'd be surprised if a 32GB iPhone is more than a few months away. But I'd be equally surprised if a 64GB iPhone showed up before mid-2009 or so, given the still-imposing cost for that much flash memory. (Apple charges a $999 premium for a MacBook Air equipped with a 64GB solid-state drive instead of an 80GB traditional drive.)
3. Will we ever be able to use an iPhone as a modem?
As I attended the WWDC keynote at San Francisco's Moscone Center, I was online with my MacBook-- courtesy of my Windows Mobile-based AT&T Tilt phone, which served up high-speed Internet access to the laptop via Bluetooth. Jobs didn't mention similar functionality for the iPhone 3G; if it's on its way, it's likely to cost more than the $30 a month that AT&T says it'll charge for an iPhone 3G data plan. But modem use is so handy that I'd happily pay more for it if it becomes available in some official form. (You can use an original iPhone as a modem, but only through scary, unauthorized techniques.)
4. How about turn-by-turn driving directions?
GPS on the Apple iPhone 3G.The iPhone 3G's GPS capability is nearly as exciting as the 3G itself. But the examples shown at the keynote ranged from the slightly alarming (Loopt's location-based social networking, which lets your friends determine exactly where you are) to the somewhat frivolous (Jobs's demo of "tracking," showing a car zig-zagging its way down San Francisco's famously crooked Lombard Street). The real killer app for GPS continues to be turn-by-turn driving directions, of the sort that companies such as Tom Tom and TeleNav make possible on other GPS-enabled phones. If Apple were planning to release such an application in July, Jobs would surely have mentioned it. Maybe it'll come in a future iPhone software upgrade, but it would be fine with me if a third-party developer beat Apple to the punch.
5. How will the iPhone 3G/BlackBerry Bold wars shake out?
The 3G iPhone's plastic back (white version). An awful lot of folks who are in the market for a multimedia-savvy smartphone this summer will probably winnow their options down to two contenders: the iPhone 3G and RIM's BlackBerry Bold. Then the choosing might get tough. The iPhone has a bigger screen, multitouch input, an accelerometer, and the sophisticated multimedia content engine known as the iTunes Store. And its price ($199) is likely to be significantly less than the Bold's. But the Bold has a real keyboard that feels good and that--unlike the virtual one on the iPhone--never eats away at available screen resolution. It also sports a full-blown office suite rather than the iPhone's relatively rudimentary document viewers. I'm still not sure which phone I'd ultimately pick.
6. What does all this mean for the iPod Touch?
Until now, the iPod Touch has delivered all the goodness of the iPhone (except the phone part) for less money. But things look dicey for the Touch in its current form at its current price point: It doesn't have the iPhone 3G's GPS, and the 8GB and 16GB variants now cost $100 more apiece than their iPhone counterparts. If you're happy with your current phone and have no desire to lock yourself into a pricey two-year voice and data contract to score an iPhone, you might still be interested in a Touch, I guess. But it's hard to imagine that it will stay popular at its current price--and since Jobs didn't mention a price cut today, I wonder if its days are numbered.
7. Will MobileMe be worth 99 bucks?
New iPhone 3G apps.Back in 2000, Apple released a free set of Web-based services called iTools. In 2002, the company redubbed them .Mac, and attached a yearly price tag of $99 to them--which is pretty pricey considering that the Web is rife with comparable (and sometimes better) free services. Yet another metamorphosis is imminent: .Mac will become MobileMe; and rather than focusing exclusively on the needs of Mac users, it'll target both Mac and PC owners who have iPhones or iPod Touches and want to keep their mail, appointments, and contacts in sync.
Apple marketing head Phil Schiller's demo was impressive--and MobileMe's Web-based applications looked as if they might be the first Apple services that live up to the high standards of Apple's traditional desktop software. The one thing that hasn't changed is the price--still $99 a year. A 60-day free trial will give prospective subscribers plenty of time to determine whether that's a decent deal.
8. Is the iPhone on its way to becoming Apple's primary product?
Jobs began today's keynote by saying that Apple had three primary product lines: the Mac, digital music, and the iPhone. Then he launched into a 2-hour keynote that discussed only the iPhone. The next version of Mac OS X, "Snow Leopard," was exiled to a session in the afternoon. That might be because Snow Leopard's release is so far in the future that Apple doesn't want anyone except developers to pay attention yet. But it's also a statement about how rapidly the iPhone has become core to everything that Apple does.
Those are the first eight questions that sprung to my mind, though I'll probably have dozens more as I mull over the keynote's news and the fallout from it. Got any answers or educated guesses--or additional questions of your own? We'd love to hear them.
Motorola, now B-list handset manufacturer that once gave us the all-powerful Razor, doesn\'t want to be left off the touchscreen handset gravy train. For that reason, Motorola has created the Blaze, a smart-looking little handset, all decked out in red, for all the CDMA fans over at Verizon.
The folks over at the Boy Genius Report posted new photographs of Motorola\'s new touchscreen handset, the Blaze. There should be little doubt that the handset will, indeed, be retailed for Verizon. No word yet as to whether smaller CDMA-based networks will receive the handset, but Verizon will most likely be the big player with this unit.
The Blaze isn't anything to scoff at, either. As to unit hardware specifications, the Blaze has a 2.0 megapixel camera, EV-DO support, Mobile TV, Blue-tooth, and that ever-so-lovely custom Verizon operating system. Why on earth Verizon feels the need to muddy the strong systems developers create is beyond me, but there you have it.
On the topic of Verizon cramming its own operating system onto each and every handset it retails, I would imagine it is so that customers don't feel like they're purchasing something completely foreign with a new handset. Obviously, there is some benefit to being able to pick up a new unit and already be familiar with the OS. However, that certainly makes a big statement as to what Verizon thinks about handset developers' abilities for programming.
The Verizon Blaze is unique in that it is a flip-style phone that you can operate while closed; beyond that, you won\'t be really missing much if you pass this handset by. Testing shows that the mobile browser is lack-luster, and just about everything else is more hassle than fun.
Still, one might assume from the low to mid-range specifications that those looking to land a decent touchscreen handset might be satisfied with the Blaze. No price range has been set, but with much flashier and higher-end handsets hitting the touchscreen market, expect this one to be at least reasonably priced.