Undoubtedly, the biggest single piece of technology, to influence the business telecoms market over the last few years has been the Blackberry produced by RIM (Research in Motion)
The Blackberry 7290 has been styled to be more reminiscent of a PDA than other blackberry’s on the market and at first glance has a short ergonomic design which fits comfortably in one’s palm. The 7290 measures 4.5 x 3 inches and comes in a metallic blue housing. The design of the Blackberry 7290 makes it easy to hold and use and the device fits comfortably into your pocket.
The device has a nice color display (supporting 65,000 colors) with a 240X160 sized screen. The device features the usual backlight (which isn’t the best we’ve seen) and the face remains clear to read whilst on the move. Input is controlled via a backlit QWERTY style keyboard that is easy to use. The keyboard benefits from adequate spacing between keys and it’s easy method to correct typos.
Navigation is made via two buttons on the right of the device – firstly a click wheel which allows the user to cycle through options – clicking the click-wheel brings up the options available – secondly there is a select button which allows you to navigate through option menus. Flexing it’s quasi PDA muscle the 7290 features a calendar, task list, memo pad –
The device comes with 32MB of flash memory plus 4MB of SRAM (there is no expansion slot unfortunately) . This enables addresses and contacts to be stored with ease – contacts can hold up to eight phone numbers, an e-mail address, and two postal addresses
As the Blackberry device is primarily aimed to extend the use of corporate email systems, the 7290 seamlessly connects to MS Exchange and Blackberry servers (Lotus Notes users are supported via plug-in software.)
As you’d come to expect email can be synched in real time so you’ll never miss a message/appointment again.
The Blackberry 7290 can be used as a mobile phone also – but given the devices design – it’s can be difficult obtaining the best sound from the unit (you can use an optional Bluetooth headset).
Battery life was satisfactory – you can charge the device using the traditional power adapter or by USB – be warned however that if you drain the device and then charge by USB – it can take some time so you’ll need to be patient!
The 7290 is clearly a device that knows it’s market – and doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t for example there is no multimedia options – games or other things that may distract from the core task – RIM have clearly focused on something there good at and left it at that – ultimately for the business user on the go it’s an effective device – bear in mind though – that once you have one of these – it can take some time to put it down again!