by Rick Smith (November 22, 2001)
E-mail is probably the most popular and most powerful Internet "application" that continues to keep the number of new Internet users climbing. Unfortunately, when you leave your wired home or office, sending or receiving e-mails becomes a problem. Many people are unreachable when they travel to attend high technology trade shows and it is a common phrase to hear, "I'll e-mail you when I return to the office next week". Research In Motion (RIM) has created their BlackBerry technology to help alleviate some of these problems. Their solutions consist of both hardware and services that help you send and receive email from existing email accounts, while away from your "wired world"
There are two basic hardware form factors. The original RIM 950 looks like a "super-pager", while newer models are larger and more PDA-like. Images of both devices are below. Some of the key features of this BlackBerry solution are:
Easy, completely wireless connectivity -- no modem connections or "docking" required
Uses your current e-mail account -- no special "on-the-road" e-mail account
Provides full message control -- send, receive, store, and delete
Automated "push" technology -- messages come to you, instead of logging in to "see" if you have mail
High level of security -- supports an industry standard triple DES
In addition to their e-mail capabilities, these devices can perform an "over the air Calendar Sync". You can get calendar updates "pushed" to you wirelessly -- no more "checking with the office" to see if there are any schedule changes. You can now be wirelessly brought "up-to-date", without lifting a finger to dial a phone or logon to another computer system.
To respond and send new messages, the built-in thumb-touch keyboard is used. While you may frown at this type of keyboard, I have successfully used this keyboard style on my HP handhelds for over a decade. It takes some getting used to, but it is remarkably handy.
Also included is a full-featured, connected organizer with calendar, address book, task list and alarm. And yes, you can synchronize the RIM handheld with a PC.
These RIM devices use 32-bit, Intel 386 processors and weigh about 5 ounces including their battery.
© 2006 Rick Smith All rights reserved.