Mac Musings

What Is BlackBerry?

Daniel Knight - 10 June 1999 -

"BlackBerry is the first complete, secure, integrated, wireless email solution for the mobile professional. Microsoft Exchange users can now enjoy untethered access to their corporate email wherever they go."

BlackberryCompared with the hefty Newton or moderately sized Palm, BlackBerry is simply small. It's pager-sized and comes with a belt clip. Don Crabb calls it an adequate PDA, but a dream for email.

Unlike Newton, the Palm line, and many Windows CE machines, BlackBerry doesn't require you to write messages with a stylus. Instead, you have a small keyboard with a standard QWERTY layout.

Most users find this a big improvement - you no longer have to master legible handwriting to send email.

And email is BlackBerry's forte. The compact (3.5" buy 2.5" and under 1" thick), lightweight (under 5 oz. including battery) PDA displays several lines of text, scrolls easily, and runs for weeks on a single AA battery.

In fact, BlackBerry is so energy efficient, you can leave it running all the time as an email client and pager.

BlackBerry looks like a dream. Compact. No stylus to lose. Incredible battery life.

If only it worked with the Macintosh!

BlackBerry integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook - and that's a big drawback. If you use anything else, at this point you'll have to find someone else to handle your email before BlackBerry can send or receive it.

BlackBerry costs US$399, plus $20 per month during the first year, $40 thereafter.

If you can't afford to be away from email and can have a Microsoft Exchange server handle your email, it looks like a real winner.

For the rest of us using Mac, Unix, or other Windows mail servers, we can anticipate the day when BlackBerry or something like it will work with our email systems.

Now, Apple, about that rumored deal with Palm, here's something else you should look at.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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