Magmic‘s main BlackBerry man, Jeff Bacon, is back with another piece for us. This time, however, Jeff isn’t answering your BlackBerry questions, but giving you the straight deal on the Pearl. You see, as a trusted BlackBerry developer, Jeff has had his hand on the Pearl for some time, but hasn’t been able to talk about it to anyone until it was officially announced (which was today, duh). So take a look at this little pearl of wisdom Jeff sent to our inbox this morning — one that might change your mind on how effective a multimedia device the Pearl will be.
When evaluating BlackBerries I have to be careful. Since I develop BlackBerry application and games, the use cases I run into for BlackBerrys are significantly different from the average user. For example, I have about 8 BlackBerrys on my desk right now. Only one has a SIM card in it. The rest are just testers I use to make sure Magmic’s games run well on every BlackBerry out there. For me, the fact that I have to pull out the battery to switch the SIM card is a major headache. Every time I do it I have to wait an insanely long time for the BlackBerry to boot back up again and register with the network before I can load on whatever game I’m testing at that moment and get back to work.
For most people, replacing the SIM is a once-a-year (or longer) action. For me, it’s a multiple-times-per-day occurrence. Aside from paying for 8 active SIMs with data plans on them that I only use for 30 minutes a day (that’ll make my CFO’s head explode) there’s not much I can do to avoid this.
In my pockets right now there are two pieces of electronics irradiating me: my BlackBerry 7100v and my iRiver H10 6GB MP3 player (which kicks the iPod’s ass for my usage). One of the reasons I have a hard drive based MP3 player instead of a flash one is that when I bought it, flash memory was freaking expensive. There were very few large, cost effective flash players out there. I like to carry around a variety of music to listen to depending on the activity I’m partaking in and my mood. Ideally, I would have a player that takes SD cards and I’d load up 4 or 5 SD cards with music and just swap them in/out of a player. With 1GB and 2GB SD cards going for < $50 CDN, that may soon be a reality.
So the common thread in my usage of SIM cards and my ideal MP3 player is the ease of changing the medium carrying the data (SIM or SD card) in the device without having to restart the device so I can get back to using it as fast as possible (not to mention that rebooting sucks battery power).
Now, does anyone remember the N-Gage? Here’s a snippet of a review on the original N-Gage from 2003:
The main minus of the device is MMC-slot covered by the battery, so you should turn off the phone when changing card.
That doesn’t seem so bad, just turn off the phone and swap out the card right?
…the biggest fundamental design problem, as you may have heard, is the incredibly complex procedure necessary to change games or insert an MP3 media card. To do this, you’ll need to turn the system over, press a button and slide off the back cover, reach under and lift up the battery, slide out the current card (which is located right next to the phone’s SIM card), slide in another one, replace the battery, put the battery back on, and turn on the phone and wait for it to boot back up. (source)
Anyone looked at the location of the microSD slot in the Pearl?
The big issue I have is the placement of the MMC card slot. I really, really, really hope they redesign this feature because it’s inconvenient, annoying, and just moronically designed. (source)
(Wow, does this make things interesting. Will this Pearl design flaw be a minor bump in the road, or another N-Gage disaster? Post a comment and tell us what you think. -ed)