3 and RIM have announced the launch of the BlackBerry 8707g for customers in Sweden. That area hasn’t seen a lot of BlackBerry devices before so it’s good to see RIM expanding like this. The UMTS-enabled 8707g has a full QWERTY keyboard, and Cognos has modified their Go business intelligence system to work for the device. Additionally, 3 has pledged that they will collaborate with VM-data when customers need assistance integrating with existing business systems.
It has not been the best week to be a North American BlackBerry user. While we (in the form of America first, then Canada shortly after) usually get the best RIM devices first, this past week saw not one, but two separate launches of slick BlackBerry handsets in Europe rather than our side of the pond: the BlackBerry 8820 in the UK, and the BlackBerry 8310 in Germany. Sure, some may say that these are just updated versions of devices we already have — and that AT&T is hopefully getting the 8820 soon — but this means that our esteemed friends in Europe have been first to receive both the only relevant Wi-Fi BlackBerry, and the only 3G GSM BlackBerry (something that still burns our Rogers using hearts to this day).
So break it down for us, trusted reader: why is RIM showing Europe so much love? Do they feel the need to compete in a savvy European market with more fully loaded devices, or are they just trying to spread their product launches around? Or, is this a depressing sign that, like the BlackBerry 8707, there are just some BlackBerry devices that North American shores will never receive? Post the best answer as to why RIM has European fever this week (other than to just break our hearts) and you’ll receive a free copy of Magmic’s newest release, Chuzzle!
LAST WEEK’S WINNER was Ralf, who pointed out that until recently, BlackBerrys were (and still are, in some cases) behind in terms of consumer functionality. Enjoy your games, Ralf!
A quick sigh of relief can now go out to all the BlackBerry 8707 users in the world. A team of independent scientists at the UK’s University of Essex are reporting that symptoms such as anxiety, tension and tiredness, previously thought to be related to mobile devices, are not caused by the typical emissions from 3G phone masts.
Essex tested 44 people who had previously reported symptoms or sensitivity to mobile phone technology, and 114 people who had not reported any health effects, at a specially-designed laboratory. The three-year study found that physiological measures such as heart rate, blood pressure and skin conductance were not affected by whether the mast was switched on or off, and did not detect any significant effects in either sensitive or control participants between 3G UMTS exposure and no exposure.
Of course, the study didn’t test the effects of 3G EV-DO use (which we’ve heard causes consumption) or how 3G affects the ever dreaded CrackBerry syndrome, but still good news all around. There you have it RIM: you now have absolutely no excuse to not put a 3G GSM BlackBerry in the hands of North Americans by the end of the year.
The Japanese language support we mentioned last month has come to fruition, with BlackBerry software updates happening next monday. Not only are menus going to be in Japanese, but input support is also on the way. Anyone on a BES will also get an update to facilitate the new features, along with the desktop manager. With that out of the way, maybe BlackBerrys can make some headway into Japan beyond visiting businesspeople.
Here we go, this is the kind of Pacific push I’m talking about. DoCoMo’s announced that they’re going to be pre-loading the BlackBerry 8707h sometime this summer with Japanese language support. BIS 2.3 featured Japanese as one of the freshly-embedded languages, and on top of that, BES and the desktop manager will be getting the oriental treatment.
With this move, RIM is diving head-first into a market that has yet to show much interest in BlackBerry. This has been in the works since at least October, but really should have been included from the get-go. Japanese character input seems like a pretty basic, no-brainer way of doing business in Japan, don’t you think? Coming out of the gates without language support seriously hurt BlackBerry’s initial release – hopefully its reputation hasn’t been too tarnished over there.