I am gradually becoming more used to this device though there remain a number of things that I do not yet understand and things I would like to be able to do that I cannot so far do.
One of these is finding a way to transfer files from the Blackberry to the PC and vice versa. For example, when I write a blog post such as this on the phone, I ought to be able to copy it to the PC but thus far the only way I have found of doing so is to send it by email.
Similarly, I would like the be able to transfer ring tones and pictures to the phone from the PC. I have signed up to a user forum in the hope of being enlightened on this matter.
It turns out that the keyboard is indeed very small. It’s more usable than you might think from looking at it, and practice helps, but the keys are so close together that there is no possibility of typing with my finger tips. I hold the Blackberry on the first and middle fingers of both hands and use both thumbs – or rather, thumb nails – to type. This works but thumb nails often slip on the smooth plastic keys and either fail to type the required character or type the wrong one.
The picture below shows the relative sizes of the keyboards of (from left to right) my old 7290, my new 8900 and my Nokia 9300 in the open configuration.
On the computer, I am a fast but error-prone typist. I spot most of my errors as I go but still like to use a spell checker. One of the nice features of this phone is that it comes with a spelling checker that works even in the SMS editor!
Today I discovered the speed dial. This is when you associate a phone number with one of the alphabetic keys so that you can call it simply by holding down that key. For example, I often call London Travel for recorded news on the state of the tube before setting out. I have assigned key ‘L’ to this and can call London Travel simply by pressing and holding ‘L’.
Another thing that pleases me is that when I delete emails I can choose between “Delete on handset” and “Delete on handset and on server”. Choosing the first option means that although I have received the email on the phone I will also be able to receive it on the PC. If I could work out a way of sending my replies also to the PC for archiving, the system would be perfect!
I have to say that email delivery seems pretty good. When I am at home I have the PC running with the email client active. Admittedly, the client polls only at intervals but even so, I think the Blackberry scores points in always getting an email before the PC email client gets it.
What’s the bad side to the good email performance of the Blackberry? Why, the fact that I no longer have an excuse for ignoring email when I am on holiday!
The old Blackberry design had a track wheel on the right side for moving around the screen. I like this but it was criticised as, among other things, unfair to left-handers. The 8900 instead has a track ball placed centrally below the screen. You roll the ball in the direction you want to move the cursor and press it to select an item. It is easy to overshoot with the track ball but what is worse, it is easy to move it as you press so that you end up selecting the wrong menu item. I note that later models replace the ball with a pressure sensitive pad. Perhaps this allows better control.
Nonetheless, after some initial hesitation, I am getting to like this tiny addition to my phone collection.