The Blackberry 8800 is simply the best device that RIM has ever put out. While Blackberrys have always been the hands down leader in push email technology, they have been lacking the additional functionality that has become commonplace on other smartphones (such as the Treo or Q). The Blackberry 8800 changes all of this.
The Blackberry 8800 is sleek. With its glossy finish and shiny chrome trim, the device seems more like a Motorola Q in my hand than any of my past 3 Blackberrys. The 8800 includes a media player. This turns your Blackberry into a music and video player. The MicroSD card expansion slot can accommodate up to a 2GB memory card (1GB cards are available for less than $20). Voice-dialing has been a standard function on my cell phones for years, but has been absent from the Blackberry line until now. GPS is also added through the integration of the Telenav software package (this is a paid subscription service).
One of the most notable changes, especially to a longtimet Blackberry user, is the omission of the classic Blackberry scroll wheel. This navigation device has been replaced by a trackball located in the center of the phone. This trackball is flanked by the traditional escape button (normally found on the side, below the scroll wheel) and a new menu button. While this is taking me some getting used to, this new way of navigating through the Blackberry’s applications and menus seems to be more intuitive. The Blackberry newbie won’t experience this transition period.
For those familiar with Blackberrys, you may be saying to yourself that all of these features have been available on the Blackberry Pearl for several months. While the Pearl shares all of the great new features and adds a camera, which is sadly absent from the 8800, the lack of a full QWERTY keyboard keeps the Pearl from being a good business solution. Try writing a couple of emails on the “SureType” keyboard and you will agree.
If you are in the market for a smartphone, the Blackberry 8800 is the best business device with personal life functionality that I have come across. It is only available from Cingular at this point. Cingular was also the first to adopt the Blackberry 8700, but Verizon and Sprint finally came along with the 8703, so it probably is just a matter of time for them with the 8800.