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A Global Blackberry

It's always a little confusing when companies play Technology Alphabet Soup. So allow me to translate the importance of an announcement from Research In Motion this week about the new Blackberry for Verizon Wireless and Sprint-Nextel.

In the U.S., Verizon and Sprint phones operate on a technology known as CDMA. In most other countries, the standard is GSM technology (which is also what AT&T Wireless/Cingular and T-Mobile uses in the U.S.) Basically, what that means is that your Sprint and Verizon phones don't work outside of the U.S. This new device, called the Blackberry 8830, incorporates both technologies, which means that your phone will still operate on the CDMA network here in the states but will roam on the GSM network while traveling abroad.

The phones still require plans for voice and data services and there's a premium access charge for being able to retrieve e-mail in other countries, compared to the service plans for access solely in the U.S.

This is important to note for two reasons: 1) Blackberry users who travel abroad regularly now have more choices in service providers because the incompatibility issue goes away. 2) Earlier this week, RIM said it would make the popular Blackberry software available on non-Blackberry devices - such as Palm's Treo - that run on the Windows Mobile 6 operating system. Critics quickly pointed out that the bulk of the company's revenue comes from sales of the devices. Apparently, raising the bar on the devices is one way RIM can keep folks interested in both the software and the handsets.

One final thought: If the company hopes to maintain its dominance when it comes to mobile e-mail, it helps to also make sure that glitches in the service - such as the one that left Blackberry users without access to mail for hours last week - remain a problem of the past. As readers have pointed out, there are many other options now - such as a product called GoodLink - for a mobile professional who needs to stay connected. One person noted on my blog entry about the outage last week, "Treo and Good link rule."

By Sam Diaz  |  April 26, 2007; 3:14 PM ET  | Category:  Sam Diaz
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One of the reasons I left Verizon was that I couldn't do international travel with my blackberry and had to rent a phone (plus that cost was ridiculous). The other reason I left was their pathetic handset selection (I went through 4 exchanges within a year of 7730s - the software kept gumming up and fouling up some part of the handset - blame Verizon on hacking RIM's software to take out functionality). However, this world phone could bring me back. In general, though, besides riding metro, my cingular pearl has served me well in the past few months.

Posted by: Berry happy user | April 26, 2007 4:17 PM

Whether for Blackberry or Pocket PC, improving the text input is the key.
The Phraze-It Keyboard is the most convenient, effective and comfortable for finger typing on large touch screen keys displayed on Pocket PC devices. An improvement over thumbing.

Typing stylus-free with the Phraze-It Keyboard 2.0 is easy.

Posted by: Inputisthekey | April 26, 2007 8:55 PM

Now more folks can be slaves to their Blackberry in more places. I'm sorry, but I have a life outside of work.

Posted by: Annandale, VA | April 27, 2007 7:31 AM

Goodlink is a third-rate solution that is clunky and not user friendly at all. The Treo is an awful device for those who are serious about mobile email needs...good devices for used car salesman who want to impress.

Posted by: Tanjeel | April 27, 2007 8:55 AM

I can't help viewing RIM five years from now as what Apple is to the PC industry today--a powerful niche player, yet no longer a market dominator. While they still have almost half of the Smartphone/PDA market, Windows Mobile has steadily gained ground on the Blackberry manufacturer (RIM at 50%, Win Mobile at 35% as I understand it). Fueled by more options, more flexibility (everything from office apps and e-mail to playing audio and video files that integrate inherently without 3rd party apps with 90% of the world's desktop software (Windows), Win Mobile seems to be on the up and Blackberry on the down. Add in an easier enterprise setup (the majority of large organizations employ Microsoft Exchange for e-mail services and through that you don't need extra servers nor connectivity through RIM's NOC like you do to support Blackberry), along with Mobile's slow and steady improvements, RIM might be in trouble for the long haul. Further still is Win Mobile's linkages with all the major cell OEMs (minus Nokia)--gives more device and service choices to Win Mobile users too. I'm not a fan either way per say, just trying to assess this objectively. Is the future DIM for RIM? I say yes. //

Posted by: DIM Future For RIM | April 27, 2007 10:05 AM

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