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THOUGHT: Is Blackberry going the PDA way now and will RIM succeed?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 10.06.03 - 13:20:12 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 6649x
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Recently I received a press release from RIM about the release of two new Blackberry devices in Europe:

Waterloo ON - Research In Motion (RIM) today announced availability of its newest BlackBerry handhelds to mobile professionals in the United Kingdom. The BlackBerry 7230 and BlackBerry 6230 support worldwide international roaming on GSM/GPRS networks and deliver email, phone, SMS, browser and organiser applications.

The BlackBerry 7230 features a crisp, high-resolution colour screen and the BlackBerry 6230 incorporates a high-contrast monochrome screen. Both of the new BlackBerry handhelds are compact and lightweight with superior battery performance, making them ideal for mobile use.

The new, JavaTM-based handhelds are available in the United Kingdom as part of T-Mobile International's retail launch of BlackBerry for professional consumers. The BlackBerry 7230, BlackBerry 6230 and professional consumer service offering were unveiled by RIM and T-Mobile in Germany and Austria on June 2. Details of pricing and roaming services are available from T-Mobile International.

"RIM is committed to delivering the best combined data and voice experience for mobile professionals," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "Our powerful BlackBerry handhelds are easy to use and can provide a wireless extension to one or more existing email accounts, in addition to support for phone, SMS, web and organiser applications. We are pleased to introduce the BlackBerry 7230/6230 with T-Mobile International to professional consumers and small businesses in the UK."

"We are continuing to be a 'connected' society; email is becoming as essential as the ability to make a mobile phone call. T-Mobile is committed to making the workplace wireless, focusing on the small business and 'prosumer' market as a core element in our mobile data strategy," said Nikesh Arora, Chief Marketing Officer for T-Mobile International.

  • Ideal for mobile professionals who want to manage all of their important information and communications from a single, integrated handheld.
  • Send and receive email and SMS messages on the go with the easy-to-use 'thumb-typing' keyboard and navigation trackwheel.
  • A wireless extension to existing mailboxes with support for up to 10 corporate and personal email accounts from a single handheld (including: popular Internet Service Provider (ISP), Microsoft( Exchange, and/or IBM Lotus Domino( email accounts).
  • Push-based wireless architecture means that messages are delivered automatically; there is no need to dial in.
  • Users can also read and forward important email attachments from their BlackBerry handheld (including: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF).
  • Support for international roaming (on 900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS networks) enables mobile professionals to use one handheld while travelling with no need to change their phone number or email addresses.
  • Both the screen and keyboard are backlit for easy reading and typing during day or night.
  • Handhelds include 16 MB flash memory plus 2 MB SRAM, rechargeable/removable lithium battery and Universal Serial Bus (USB) connectivity for quick battery charging and organiser synchronisation.
  • Pocket-sized, lightweight and ergonomic handheld design, with an embedded RIM wireless modem and internal high performance antenna.

The BlackBerry 7230 and BlackBerry 6230 are the newest handhelds supported by the multifaceted BlackBerry wireless platform. BlackBerry incorporates the industry's best hardware, software and services together with Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) and leading GSM/GPRS wireless networks to provide unique, seamless wireless data access for mobile professionals.

All the features above really reminds me on Wireless PDAs (Pocket PCs and Palms) and I wonder if RIM will have success with this strategy. So far (I have to admit I never was a Blackberry user but tested it only), Blackberries was a kind of better two way pagers with E-Mail support for me but coming along with voice, color displays, J2ME and organizer functionalities it really reminds me on Pocket PC Phone Edition devices. Sure RIM would say now that they address the vertical markets only, not the mass market but at least that's the same market where also Microsoft is acting with its Pocket PC Phone Edition/MIS combination.

So the question for me is "how many different Wireless PDA platforms does the corporate customer/consumer/market needs?". Where is the "real benefit" and "reason why" to go with devices today which do everything a little bit but nothing bright (except the E-Mail push functionality, something I really enjoy with Blackberries but also something carriers could implement with other technologies).

Maybe it's just me and I'm to Pocket PC/PDA/Microsoft minded but I don't see a space for another competitor anymore, specially today where we are talking about more and more Smart Phones (like Windows Powered Smartphones or Nokia Series 60 devices) which also can do what a Blackberry is able to deliver.

Any Blackberry users out there who can explain why to use a Blackberry instead of a Wireless PDA or Smart Phone?

Cheers ~ Arne


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