Over the last 10 years, device makers have concerned themselves with great many things in addition to voice; they have been focused on integrating the disparate pieces of mobile computing into a convenient form factor. Everything from computing power, to memory, screens, and keyboards have dramatically changed, indicating a clear evolution from voice to e-mail and web-based applications on mobile devices.
For the mobile industry, e-mail is considered to be the “killer application” and in the Mobile Analyst Watch Web Blog entitled “Mobile Platforms: BlackBerry– Mobile E-mail’s ‘Gold Standard’”, Sun (2006) pointed out that BlackBerry is riding high in the mobile platform space due to its mobile space capabilities. Wikipedia defined BlackBerry as: a wireless handheld device introduced in 1999 which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services.
(para 1) While including the usual PDA applications (address book, calendar, to-do list, etc. ) as well as telephone capabilities on newer models, the BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive e-mail whenever it can access an atmosphere wire less network of certain cellular phone carriers. (para 2) BlackBerry handheld integration into an organization’s e-mail system is provided through a software package called “BlackBerry Enterprise Server” (BES).
BES can act as a sort of e-mail relay for corporate accounts so that users always have access to their e-mails. Such is the reason why the device has become very popular for businesses today who are becoming e-mail-centric because they are looking to increase the degree of voice/cost control that they have while allowing their employees secure access to data resources and enterprise contacts.
In addition to that, Wireless Developed Network News Wire on a report about “DADA and Research in Motion to introduce innovative, GPRS-Based, BlackBerry wireless email solution to Italy”, pointed that among other key features of the BlackBerry Wireless Email Solution are advanced wireless handheld, support for Java 2 Micro Edition that enables a wide range of software application development based on open standards, “Always On, Always Connected” which is designed to operate 24 hours per day while remaining connected to the wireless network to allow easy notification of e-mail and uses “push model” of e-mail delivery, and End-to-end security wherein e-mail is encrypted using Triple DES and remains encrypted at all points between the user’s e-mail account (behind the corporate firewall) and the user’s wireless handheld. Gartenberg (2001) on “BlackBerry Can Be Useful, But It Has Its Drawbacks” opined that the key to the BlackBerry’s usefulness is allowing users to stay in touch when they’re on the go or in places where a laptop is too cumbersome to use, or to sift e-mail as it arrives to enable greater efficiency for later desktop-based sessions. He said that:
the problem is that even if the bulk of the workload involves reading e-mail, some issues must be worked out. One is that although the BlackBerry handles text e-mail with ease, it doesn’t have any built-in support for the attachments that have become a major component of e-mail life. To overcome this, a user would need to add services from your wireless Internet service provider to your BlackBerry, such as the Mobile Office offering from GoAmerica Com munications Corp. This add-on to the basic BlackBerry allows users to work with attachments they receive, as well as to send their personal files directly from their devices and to work with embedded links to Web-based content. (para 6).
Another problem pointed out by Greengart (2006) on the Mobile Analyst WatchWeb Blog is that when it comes to integration with business-critical applications, the BlackBerry struggles. It doesn’t have a huge library of third-party software and the number of general productivity and consumer options is minuscule compared to the library of applications running for the Palm OS, Microsoft, and Symbian. RIM made some adjustments with the BlackBerry Pearl, the latest model in the market today by having a new trackball interface, 1. 3 MP built-in camera, speakerphone, MicroSD, polyphonic ringtones and media player but such applications have already been incorporated by other mobile device makers long ago and even provides a greater diversity of applications nowadays.
The device commoditization has practically changed the face of mobile industry. The platform itself is starting to morph into a Swiss army knife for the consumer- not from the features and functionality that are difficult to use, but instead by becoming something more than what they were in previous generations. Due to the variety of important applications that are used and integrated, a good mobile device can serve as an end user’s: email client, digital camera, photo library, mp3 player, video player, alarm clock, text message, gaming platform, mapping device and buddy List. RIM has conformed to that ruling trend in the mobile device industry.
In Wikipedia’s “BlackBerry Models”, modern BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, while older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors. The latest GSM BlackBerry models (8100 and 8700 series0 have an Intel PXA901 312 MHz processor, 64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SDRAM. In addition to that, most BlackBerry devices come with a full, albeit tiny QWERTY keyboard, using the “Alt” key to enter numbers and special characters but the 7100 series and Pearl (8100) devices feature a reduced-keyboard and use a technology called “SureType” which allows each key to represent multiple characters. This maybe due to a musculoskeletal disorder arising from repeated BlackBerry use dubbed as “BlackBerry Thumb. ”