Treo and BlackBerry Readers Respond

In the August 15 edition of Mobile & Wireless UPDATE, I discussed recent developments involving Handspring's Treo series of PDAs and cell phones, and Research in Motion's (RIM's) BlackBerry devices. Today, I want to share some readers' responses to that commentary.

Mark Hall wrote, "I just started using the Treo 300 with Sprint after my 2.5G Vision network was enabled." He says the speed of the network (which uses data compression to boost the effective data rate) "makes manual mail retrieval a pretty quick process." Hall said, "I was skeptical about giving up Graffiti in favor of the thumbboard, but I'm already a convert."

Fred Engel said, "I'm afraid to use my minutes for email on the Treo. I get so much email, I'm concerned that I'll use all my cell minutes (because you have to dial in to get the mail)—unlike RIM, which charges a flat rate for as much mail as you can use."

Keith McKinney emailed me from his Treo to say, "The Treo is the best tool I've ever purchased. When Handspring gets data services fully going, the Internet will be much easier to obtain data from—all wirelessly! I can't live without it."

Several readers are pleased with the BlackBerry device. Scott Curtner said that his organization uses about 3000 of the devices. "For the most part, people are happy with them. We also use Itrezzo for Global Address List (GAL) lookup, HTTP viewing, and attachment rendering." (See this week's tip for information about Itrezzo.)

Mark Wayt said, "My organization here at Cellhire in the UK is just starting to use the BlackBerry." Mark is a developer who has "lived and breathed Pocket PC" for the past year. However, he says, "The BlackBerry is so much better. In the time it takes me to turn on my iPAQ, start Bluetooth (I keep it off so the battery doesn't flatten in a day), wait for it to reboot because it says it can't start Bluetooth, enable Bluetooth on my Sony T68, dial in and log in to my mail, and try to type with the fiddly stylus (I don't have the plug-in keyboard, unfortunately), I've read and replied to two or three messages that were already on my device waiting for a response."

Wayt also said, "Don't get me wrong: I think both solutions are great in the right scenario. (I still have an iPAQ, but since the BlackBerry arrived, the iPAQ has spent 90 percent of its life docked in the cradle at work.) I do think some people will be staunch Pocket PC supporters and some will be staunch BlackBerry supporters, very much in the way that the Pocket PC vs. Palm debate is panning out." He also thinks RIM might have an opportunity to provide client software that would run on the Pocket PC platform.

George Petersen wrote, "I depend on my BlackBerry device to be connected." He then listed his favorite features, which include the thumb keyboard ("I hate the little pen on Palm and other devices"), a large, easy-to-read LCD screen, good synchronization with Microsoft Outlook for calendar and tasks online, alert functionality for incoming email, and good ergonomics: "It fits perfectly in my hands."

Scott Perley wrote, "Although I was happy to see you go beyond Pocket PC devices and mention the Treo and BlackBerry devices, I'd also like to hear comments and feedback about Kyocera's Smartphone 6035 and the upcoming 7135." I'll make a point of looking into those devices, Scott. In the meantime, for more information about the Smartphone 6035, see Sam Greengard's Windows & .NET Magazine article "Navigating the Mobile Digital World," September 2002, at the following URL.

I'd also like to know what other devices folks out there are using and are interested in. Write and tell me!

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