Weekly Contest: Pearls Aplenty

PearlsThis last week has been rife with rumors of the new BlackBerry 8130. We even had a bit of patent-side news dealing with Suretype. For now, the GSM Pearl 2 is only on the other side of the pond, but it’s simply a matter of time before it finds its way over here. The Pearl is getting a lot of attention in light of this news, and it’s time we start thinking about how it might change in the near future.

Since coming out a scant year ago, the Pearl pioneered the trackball and overall layout of RIM’s 8800 and 8300 lines, which have become the main flagship formats for BlackBerry. The incremental upgrades we’ve been seeing recently are all built on the foundations of those three core devices, but they continue to evolve, such as with the 8130’s new external microSD slot. With the spotlight square on the Pearl, our question for this Weekly Contest is: what lies in the Pearl’s future? Will it continue to set the standard for new features and innovation, or will form factors like the fabled BlackBerry 9000 take over? Maybe the BlackBerry 8300 has already stolen the Pearl’s thunder? This is pretty open-ended, so feel free to comment on design, function, overall attitude, and everything in between. You guys have free rein to sound off on what the Pearl did right, what it did wrong, how it is changing, and where it’s going in the long haul. The most comprehensive, full-bodied comment will win 3 games from Bplay.

First off, we’d like to thank everyone who submitted. Everyone sounded genuinely keen to help out their organizations, and they’re all good causes. It’s great to see people finding something they want to change in the world and getting directly involved. Honourable mentions go out to our Save-a-Pet entry, who suggested something well outside the box of donation tracking. The event roster idea was also a great way of stretching forms into new areas. In the end, however, we’re going to have to give the iPod shuffle to Kasey for her entry for the March of Dimes. Kasey’s suggestions weren’t just for keeping participants informed of donation progress, but for actually taking donations during annual events. When TrueContext does these forms up, they’ll also be applicable to a bunch of other nonprofit organizations. Congratulations Kasey, we’ll be getting in touch with you soon! Thanks again to all of our entrants, and we look forward to seeing you again this week.

4 Responses to “Weekly Contest: Pearls Aplenty”

  1. 1 Dave Hughes

    The 9000 is just an interim product. The newest Pearls will remain small, but incorporate a projected full-sized keyboard on the desk in front of the phone as well as a projected full-screen monitor on the wall above the phone. the keyboard projection will also have an area that will be used as a mouse pad that you use your finger on just like today’s laptops only it’ll be a projection on the desk or other flat surface. For those that don’t like the scratch pad for a mouse, you’ll be able to buy a blue-tooth style mouse for the thing.

  2. 2 Zax Nemeziz

    What the Pearl did right is to capture a bigger consumer pie with appealing design and multimedia integration into the BlackBerry.

    Further to that, the SureType technology used on older BlackBerry such as the 7100 series, already have a huge following to SureType, just that at that time, the the devices were huge!

    With the advent of the Pearl, SureType users found a way cool product that immediately made these users find it an appealing yet natural way to upgrade to the Pearl. It is based on the current phone designs (slim, camera, media card support). Apart from getting SureType fans an upgrade path, it also appeals to newer audiences as well.

    As more newer users found the SureType to be a more appealing alternative to common phone keypads (it is indeed quicker to type emails and even sms via SureType or MultiTap as compared to normal phone keypads). Think about it. Who would have thought a QWERTY keyboard is possible for a phone numeric keypad? Only BlackBerry with SureType technology has made it into reality.

    Another design factor is the trackball. No other mobile phone company could compare to the ease of use of the trackball. This is another design breakthrough in itself in the mobile phone industry in terms of usability of product. I’d say one can navigate on a BlackBerry faster to a certain feature or setting quicker on a BlackBerry compared to another mobile phone product.

    Apparently, there are also another group of users who still prefer a full QWERTY keyboard nonetheless. These are the users who grew from the 7250/7290 series to the 8700. These users may find SureType to not be as appealing as a full QWERTY keyboard. Hence, they waited long enough for the 8800 to be released, which appeals to them as well (slim and nicely designed). Business users don’t have to look boring anymore and the 8800 changed it to a hip factor. It also replaced the trackwheel to the more functional trackball. This works for people or organizations that find the camera to be unnecessary.

    Now, another group of users demand even more. They want full QWERTY plus they want multimedia and camera. Hence the 8300 fits this very group of users. It sort of brings the best of the Pearl with a QWERTY keyboard. Apart from that, it is light due to the new material used for the plastic casing.

    What’s next? I wouldn’t know for sure but I would think that they would cater to the 3 core groups of users that I defined above. Perhaps there is a new group of users who would like to use touchscreen. And possibly that’s where it’s heading. So it might make sense then that there would be 4 core groups of users.

    It is also possible that they are making another breakthrough in design (remember the trackball that gave Pearl its name and the SureType technology).

    I would think that even if they introduce touchscreen on the BlackBerry, it would be soo revolutionary that other mobile phone makers would say: Why didn’t I think of that?

  3. 3 Ricardo

    If the Pearl is to be a commercial success at the same time establish a higher standard, look to the Nokia E51. Just released, the E51 has HSDPA, WIFI, user friendly OS and can be bought either as open line or through a carrier. The rest of the world doesn’t use QWERTY and has gotten along very well. The present Pearl’s half-QWERTY is a good transition, but may not be a stable long term standard. Personally, I bought the Pearl because it looked more like a phone and didn’t have the wide face of classic blackberrys. I will get the E51 as well and use it for voice and closed mobile broadband connection on a second business number. My private number will be on an iPhone. Sure, a single device can handle 3 phone numbers. And its unwieldy to have 3 devices in both pockets. But if one wants the best in each category, can you blame me? Whichever one I pull out will be a beautiful work of technology.

  4. 4 Chris L.

    The 81XX will be their biggest selling series. Even though they dominate the business world and have targeted the 88XX at that segment. Executives at my company are switching to the pearl from the 8800 and midlevel managers are getting the curve.

    The best thing about the Pearl is the shape. It fits well in your hand, it feels like a phone should, and it is not too wide. It adheres to the long known “Mathematical Golden Ratio”, meaning that it is rectangular and is the ideal shape according to the Egyptians and Greeks. Most stereo speakers also adhere to this same exact rectangular shape because the bass notes radiate from it evenly and don’t have any boomy tendencies at any specific frequencies. So in other words, it is tonally neutral. This is because it is derived from the mathematical “Golden Ratio”, which all designers, architechs, and matmaticians are familiar with because it is tied back to the Fibonacci series. So in other words, it is the natural shape that is instantly comfortable. (The Curve and the 8800 just too wide for their height).

    The addition of video recording will bring over a lot of younger users who might be considering the curve. The future of the Blackberry will obviously be focused on increasing the performance of the already existing features. We should not expect anything shockingly new in the future. My personal wish list would include 10 hour talk time, 7 megapixel camera with image stabalization, Video recording with Night vision and of course wifi AND GPS in every unit.

    As far as the 9000 goes- Who needs a I-Phone impersonator. Typing on it is a joke. The huge screen is just a drag on the batter, thus making it heavy. It will never be a serious business device. Who needs an I-Phone the pearl will do it all (and it has 3.5mm headphone jack that will accept any headphones) with out the use of a ridiculous 4 inch adapter headphone adapter.

    The new pearls should correct most of the bugs and annoyances of the 8100, which will make it a big seller. I have recently noticed a large number of college kids who use blackberrys, and went to a concert this weekend only to see what appears to be a large number of middle-school kids with them too. If you want to buy a hot stock, RIM is the stock to buy. Just remember, there are about a Billion Chinese people out there, and they are all just waiting to get there hands on a brand new Blackberry Pearl.

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