BlackBerry 8800

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first take The BlackBerry 8800 offers several improvements to its predecessor, including GPS and the Pearl trackwheel, although it doesn't support 3G.

RIM BlackBerry 8800

Upside
RIM's latest smartphone, the BlackBerry 8800, improves on the 8700 and combines the style of BlackBerry's consumer-focused, candybar-shaped Pearl 8100 with the look and feel of previous PDA-shaped models sporting QWERTY keypads.

An immediately noticeable difference is that RIM has dropped the trackwheel from previous models in favour of the Pearl's trackball. The look is reminiscent of the Pearl, too, with the 8800 sporting a matte black and glossy silver finish.

The 8800 is RIM's smallest PDA-sized BlackBerry to date and even thinner than the Pearl, measuring in at 114 by 66 by 14mm. At 134g it has a solid feel, which shouldn't weigh you down if you're carrying it around all day.

RIM has also improved on the Pearl's memory card slot, this time placing it above the battery, meaning users can swap out the microSD card without having to remove the battery.

Downside
Although the 8800 has built-in GPS, there are currently no local maps pre-loaded into the BlackBerry Maps application. RIM says it hopes to offer this at a later stage as a free upgrade or through a third-party or carrier.

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While the 8800 keeps the Pearl's trackball, it lacks a camera. This isn't surprising considering RIM's catering for an enterprise crowd, but even a basic camera, like the Palm Treo 750's, wouldn't go astray.

Lack of 3G support is also missing -- the 8800 is a quad-band 2.5G phone. Internet browsing didn't grind to a halt during our quick play, but GRPS certainly can't match the quick and nimble speeds of 3.5G phones. A RIM spokesperson told ZDNet Australia that HSDPA and 3G support is being considered for future models, but an official announcement is yet to be made.

Outlook
The 8800 is expected to be available in Australia in May for a recommended retail price of AU$899. While not a radical departure from the previous model, the incremental improvements should entice existing and new customers alike, though the lack of 3G support may be a barrier for some.

RIM BlackBerry 8800
Company: RIM
Price: AU$899

Specifications

Phone Features
Short Messaging Service (SMS) Yes
Voice Dialing Yes
Phone Functions Voice dialing, vibrating alert
Cellular
Technology CDMA2000 1X / GSM
Application Software Address Book, Calendar, Calculator, Media Player, Organizer, Tasks
Phone Navigation Buttons trackball
Type Smartphone
Band CDMA2000 1X 1900/800 / GSM 900/1800
Phone Form Factor full keyboard, bar
Service Provider Verizon Wireless, not specified
Operating System Family BlackBerry OS
Operating System BlackBerry Handheld Software
Input Device Keyboard
Messaging & Internet
Cellular Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Messaging & Data Features Text messages
Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Communications
Communication Features Internet browser, mobile Email client
Data Transmission EDGE, EV-DO, GPRS
Wireless Interface Bluetooth
Display
Technology TFT, TFT transmissive
Display Resolution 320 x 240 pixels, 240 x 320 pixels
Color Depth 16-bit (65000 colors)
Media Player
Supported Digital Audio Standards WMA, AAC, AMR, MP3, AAC +, MIDI, MP3, MIDI
Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDHC, microSD
Battery
Run Time Details Talk: up to 300 min
Standby: up to 384 hrs
Header
Brand BlackBerry
Product Line BlackBerry
Model 8830
Edition World Edition
Packaged Quantity 1
CE Input Device
Type keyboard
Features
Phone Functions vibrating alert, voice dialing
Additional Features GPRS support, Memory card slot
Digital Player (Recorder)
Supported Digital Audio Standards MIDI, AAC, MP3, AMR, WMA
Power Adapter
Type power adapter
Flash Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSD, microSDHC

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