What Is BlackBerry?

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.”



Compared 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 an email.

Email is BlackBerry’s forte. The compact (3.5″ by 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 that 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 handling your email, it looks like a real winner.

For those of us using Mac, Unix, or other Windows email 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.

Further Reading

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