Dead-Finger Tech: Sean says the Blackberry Pearl is the best ever but Bret has ideas for RIM

Dead-Finger Tech: Sean says the Blackberry Pearl is the best ever but Bret has ideas for RIM

Summary: Shortly before having to turn my attention to personal business (after arriving in NYC today), I grabbed a cup of coffee with Sean Mills of Bite Public Relations (pictured left). He does PR for the Opteron folks at AMD and we talked a bit about performance-per-watt benchmarking which is going to be a big theme going into 2007 as both server manufacturers and chip vendors look to prove that their servers (and the chips in them) are "greener" than the next guy's.

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TOPICS: BlackBerry
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Sean Mills loves his Blackberry PearlShortly before having to turn my attention to personal business (after arriving in NYC today), I grabbed a cup of coffee with Sean Mills of Bite Public Relations (pictured left). He does PR for the Opteron folks at AMD and we talked a bit about performance-per-watt benchmarking which is going to be a big theme going into 2007 as both server manufacturers and chip vendors look to prove that their servers (and the chips in them) are "greener" than the next guy's. But that's another blog for another day.

Now that I'm here doing the product thang in the Testbed blog, I'm going to start featuring the people I know and meet and their "Dead-Finger" technology. That's the technology that they (or you) can't do without in their everyday lives. You know... that one technology that I can't take from you unless I pry it from your dead fingers? Dead-Finger Tech is all about how our opinions may differ. Just because I say a technology stinks or is great doesn't mean you'll see it the same way. So, in many ways, Dead Finger Tech (or DFT) is going to be about how other people don't always agree with me.  I'm starting DFT now because I want to have a compendium of DFTs compiled by the end of 2007 at which point we'll figure out some sort of DFT Awards. Maybe if you win, you'll get The Finger. Ha ha.

Anyway, while Sean and I were having coffee, he pulled out his Blackberry Pearl and I asked him what he thought of it. Personally, I hate the things. First, I still can't deal with the "merged" keyboard on the candy-bar styled Blackberries. The folks at Research in Motion who make the  Blackberry routinely tell me that it just takes some getting used to. But I've spoken to some people who feel as though they have to check the display to make sure that what they meant to type is what's actually appearing and that with the dedicated-key QWERTY keyboard on other Blackberry models (also found on Treos, the Motorola Q, and the new Samsung BlackJack), they feel more confident and never have to look up.

The Pearl has also dispensed with its predecssors' most endearing feature -- the thumbwheel and back/escape button-combo on the edge of the device. Instead, cursor control and menu selection is managed with a rocker button that's placed at bottom dead-center (right under the display and the button immediately to its right is the back button). So much do I love that original dynamic duo of industrial design that it was the feature I was most looking forward to when I first laid my hands on Motorola's Q (the first Windows Mobile-based smartphone to use the one-two combination). Why don't have I have a BlackBerry then (if I love it so much)? Well, it's the perfect victim of the Digital Rights Management conundrum. Not that I support DRM. I'd rather not have it. But with most content out there being under (or eventually being under) one of three protection schemes (Apple's Fairplay, Microsoft's PlaysForSure, and Microsoft's Zune), the Blackberry is one of those devices that supports none (and I want my smartphone to be my moble content player too).

So, you can imagine my surprise when Sean said:

This is the best smartphone I've ever owned. And I've owned a lot of smartphones dating back to that big Kyocera one (the flip phone with the buttons on the outside that ran the Palm OS). I don't know what I'd do without it.

For the record, neither Sean nor Bite PR do public relations for RIM. RIM's outside PR counsel is Brodeur. So, that was quite a ringing endorsement for the Pearl (one that you'd never hear from me). That said, RIM did not escape completely unscathed during this trip.

While in Penn Station (with the Motorola Q in my mouth of all places) and getting ready to trek across the city, a finely-dressed Bostonian named Bret approached me and said "What do you think of the Q?" I explained a lot of the pros and the cons after which he whipped out his BlackBerry (not the Pearl) and started rattling off a series of disappointments, one of which was how ungraceful it is with attachments (not the Q's strength either as it lacks Pocket Word and Pocket Excel). As Bret finished discussing his disappointments, he said, "Man, if only those Blackberry people would give their customers a chance to tell them what sorts of improvements need to be made....you know... give them a BlackBerry for life or something and get all that feedback. It'd be worth it."  So, to the co-CEOs of RIM Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, if you're looking for some customer feedback, Bret from Boston is ready to talk.

Do you want to be featured in Dead Finger Tech? Send me a picture of you with (or without) your technology and tell me why it'd have to be pried from your dead fingers before you'd be willing to give it up. Write to me at david DOT berlind AT cnet.com.  

Topic: BlackBerry

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16 comments
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  • How sad is this: My DFT is VPN

    Boy is this unsexy, but the one technology (other than my smartphone) that's proved essential in my life is my company's secure VPN. It makes it very simple for me to work from home, while on the road, even inside the company on our public wireless LAN.

    I remember back just a few years ago, when accessing the corporate net involved dedicated DSL links to your house and/or SecurID cards. Blach. The convenience of a VPN client on my laptop and home PC makes connecting into work brainlessly convenient.

    Stephen
    Stephen Howard-Sarin
  • Must haves

    My dead finger technologies would be hot running water and toilets, other things I can do without quite easily.
    Kiteflyer75
    • re: Must haves

      Mine is my HDS Systems EDC Basic 42 XR GT Luxeon Star LED mpu controlled flashlight. It uses a single CR123A Lithium battery. 4 brightness settings: 42 lumen, 10 lumen (default on), 2 lumen, and 0.3 lumen. Has belt clip that can also be used as a headlamp on the brim of a ballcap. I consider this to be the Perfect Flashlight. 10-12 hours runtime at 10 lumens, and drops down gracefully in light level as battery discharges. Runtimes are much longer at 2 and 0.3 lumen.

      For headlamp, it is the Princeton Tec Corona, 8 Super Bright LED, 3 AA headlamp.
      cbradshaw@...
  • My Logitech wireless LAser Mouse

    MX Laser Wireless Laser Mouse and Companion Wireless Keyboard
    oisleach@...
  • Bikes

    Especially my mountain bike. One of the great human inventions. The gas tanks can go empty, the roads can accumulate potholes, and I can still make 2x or 3x walking speed with about the same effort as walking while emitting no pollutants. I lease a car -- I own 2 bikes.
    Robert Meppelink
  • dead finger?

    the only thing I cannot do without is my TV. as long as I can play my vhs and dvd's ,,,,I'm happy. but then, I am old school. today's society has no independence. I still believe in writing letters using the daily post office mail.
    technology is designed to aid our life,..not take over our lives.
    I feel very sad for our society!
    varick
    • lol

      and here you are, posting to a tech forum. llololol priceless. But that's ok, I understand.
      obilesk
  • Dead F...

    My cellphone. It has proved to be the most valuable piece of tech I've ever owned.
    obilesk
  • Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman

    I hate using a mouse. And my hand/arm never gets tired.
    donniebnyc666
  • Ok David, have I got a phone for you...

    Here's my entry - and it's a phone you just might like as well.

    Motorola came out with the A1200 "Ming" phone in Asia about a year ago. It's got everything except maybe a kitchen sink thrown into it feature-wise. It does the obvious phone bits using a quad band GSM system. It comes with a 2 megapixel camera that doubles as the scanner for the built in business card scanner. It's got a built in FM radio. It's got the usual Bluetooth headset feature AND doubles as a BT modem (on GPRS only).

    AND it's 100% DRM free - the built in MP3 player does MP3s and un-DRM'ed AAC files. Oh.. And did I mention it runs Linux?

    It's also got the usual plethora of smartphone features - document viewer, contacts, email, etc...

    The only thing lacking is a physical keyboard. (Big deal, the on screen keyboard is plenty for anyone except for diehard texters).

    The ONLY downside - the phone is not generally available through the usual suspects - T-Mobile and Cingular. Motorola chose not to import it to the US.. It can be gotten from cell dealers who do gray imports.
    Wolfie2K3
  • blackberry...LOL

    just get a windows smartphone and ditch the stupid BES!

    save yourself time cash and headaches get rid of the blackberry and get a decent device!
    usrhlp
    • Windows "smart"phone? LOL

      Considering 4 posts of the same message, I bet you sent them from the phone! Actually, I have tried the Windows Mobile 5.0, RIM BB Pearl, and Palm OS devices. I love the Pearl (and I am not tied to BES). Fast responses, great calls, and PTT via Cingular. The Palm units were stable, and although they worked well, they were somewhat large for my usage. Now on to WinMob 5.0.... slow user interface, somewhat lacking in where features are planted in the menu, and -surprise, surprise- had to do a cold boot (remove the battery from the device) every 3 or 4 days to keep the device running. I tried 3 different manufacturers models of phones running this platform, and the same problems with each of them.Each person is different, and has different expectations. What works for me might not work for you, and I use Windows on my computer platforms, not Linux. Bottom line...TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
      mike.motes@...
  • blackberry...LOL

    just get a windows smartphone and ditch the stupid BES!

    save yourself time cash and headaches get rid of the blackberry and get a decent device!
    usrhlp
  • blackberry...LOL

    just get a windows smartphone and ditch the stupid BES!

    save yourself time cash and headaches get rid of the blackberry and get a decent device!
    usrhlp
  • blackberry...LOL

    just get a windows smartphone and ditch the stupid BES!

    save yourself time cash and headaches get rid of the blackberry and get a decent device!
    usrhlp
  • RE: Dead-Finger Tech: Sean says the Blackberry Pearl is the best ever but B

    I???d probably be much happier with a Treo 700w or the Smartphone-based, non-touchscreen, Motorola Q.

    But what really makes the MDA suck as a phone is the dialing application. In Portrait mode the dialing keypad takes up maybe 1/3 of the screen. Did I mention that the screen is really tiny? My large fingers have a hard time dialing if I???m not fully concentrated on the task. If you are a ???Drunk Dialer??? this might be the perfect phone for you???

    The phone app also suffers from not being keyboard-aware. Punch in 666 and it???ll bring up ???Mom??? (I love that :-) ) but type in DAD and you???ll get nowhere.

    And I really frickin??? hate that it takes MiniSD instead of regular SD. There???s just no good reason for that.

    Just so that this isn???t a total bitch-fest??? T-Mobile???s coverage in South Florida is the best and in my book their customer service reps rank right up there with Fidelity ??? a pleasure to deal with at all times. The MDA???s built-in WiFi is way faster than the add-in card from my old Pocket PC. For that matter, EDGE is faster too. My old Pocket PC really sucked. Pocket IE is a pretty decent browser. Mail works great.

    And I love the wired stereo handsfree. My last several phones have included a stereo handsfree but I never actually used them ??? it seemed like a bad idea for car use and I never thought to try them elsewhere. When I???m not calling from my car I???m probably standing outdoors near traffic, a noisy environment to say the least. Having a little speaker in each ear really drowns out the background noise. I like it. Alot.
    Source:<a href="http://www.replacementdoparts.com/dodgewindowregulator.html">Dodge window regulator</a>@http://www.ntwizards.net/category/bluetooth/
    angelfast