With the addition of Intel Processor power, is the new BlackBerry 8700g still all work and no play?
It seems that in today's competitive microprocessor world Intel are on their way to clawing back dominance of the market, almost every week we hear about a manufacturer that has switched to Intel; Apple, Palm are the most famous. Research in Motion the manufacturers of the BlackBerry have also taken to Intel with the introduction of the new BlackBerry 8700g communications device. For Research in Motion the choice of processor from Intel is the Xscale; this is the same processor already used in Pocket PCs and smartphones and recently in the Palm Treo 650 and Treo 700w models.
Both Apple Computer and Palm made great use of the Intel processor speeding up their systems and giving us new opportunities like the ability to run Windows and Microsoft Pocket PC operating systems (I’m writing this article on an iMac running XP), so what has Research in Motion done with their Intel processor?
RIM has a successful business class product in the BlackBerry communication devices, as we've written before these devices excel in the area of instant e-mail and contact management, they are tough and workmanlike but most importantly they are dependable. What they lack is the pizzazz and fun factor that you get from a Microsoft or a Palm device, there are no fun games or fancy movie players and they'll never replace your iPod but they will sit in your pocket and fetch each and every e-mail that you need.
Design and Ergonomics
This latest BlackBerry has its sights set on a bit more pizzazz, whilst the old model was very basic and functional this new model has taken a little from the design of the candy bar versions of the BlackBerry, the 7105t for example with glitzy silver edging and an attractive midnight blue case. The keys are black and shiny and as with previous BlackBerry devices there is a full set so that you can type quickly with two thumbs. A welcome feature to this model is a pair of dedicated phone keys to hang up and place calls above the keyboard - much like its peers already have.
At just 4.7 ounces the new BlackBerry has shed 0.2 ounces from the previous 7290 model (now available for $99 from T-Mobile). The weight saving comes from shedding a little size, now at 4.3 x 2.7 x 0.77 inches (fractions of an inch down from the previous model but down nonetheless) and from dropping a little in quality, more of that in a moment. The reduced weight and slight reduction in size of the unit means it’s even more pocket-able than before, easily sitting in a shirt pocket without feeling like you're carrying around a paperweight.
Whilst the general layout with the thumbwheel on the side is carried over from the previous model, let me tell you now that the display is not and that it is a very good thing. The new screen is beautifully bright, has fantastic contrast and boasts a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels with 65536 colors. They've taken the opportunity with the increased resolution to improve the quality of the icons, suddenly this thing is looking a lot less like the agricultural functional Blackberries of the past and much more like the “Showy” Pocket PC that it is competing against.
This is a great blackberry