New Crop of Blackberry's

A Fresh Crop of BlackBerrys

Wi-Fi's the word with the latest RIM Handhelds.
by Sascha Segan PCMagazine.

Fall is the season for berry picking, so a few weeks ago, I took my daughter out looking for juicy, ripe blackberries. Coincidentally, a new crop of BlackBerry smartphones have also been popping up on my desk. But unlike the berries we picked down on the farm, these are even sweeter than last year's.

If you haven't considered a BlackBerry, I highly recommend doing so. That's because the latest models are generally very good phones and are terrific for both texting and e-mail. They also have pretty good music and video players, and there are an increasing number of games and third-party programs available for them. The one true missing link in the BlackBerry software ecosystem, a great Microsoft Office editing program, is coming soon from Dataviz, though it isn't quite out yet.

The new trend in BlackBerrys abilities is Wi-Fi. For example, the new Blackberry Curve 8320 for T-Mobile, lets you make calls over pretty much any Wi-Fi network. That's a huge deal. Subscribe to T-Mobile's $10/month Hotspot@Home package, and calls originated over Wi-Fi, whether it be at home, in your office or at Starbucks, don't cost anything extra. You can use your own Wi-Fi router, or one that T-Mobile is giving away free with a rebate.

The 8320 brings other Curvy goodness to T-Mobile as well. AT&T subscribers have been enjoying the Curve for a while, with its "real" headphone jack that takes true music-player headphones, support for playing music and videos from 4GB memory cards plus a 2-megapixel camera. It's no wonder, really, that young Hollywood actors I've spoken with have been throwing away their old Sidekicks and picking up the latest BlackBerrys.

AT&T has a Wi-Fi BlackBerry too, but it's less charming. The BlackBerry 8820 can't make calls over Wi-Fi, and doesn't have a camera; really, its Wi-Fi is just there so you can get e-mail in the bowels of a corporate campus where there's no AT&T service. Since it's priced the same as the previous 8800 model, though, it's like getting free Wi-Fi, and who's ever said no to free Wi-Fi?

Verizon and Sprint's crops seem to be blossoming late. They'll be getting their next round of BlackBerrys in November, rumors say, as a high-speed variant of the popular BlackBerry Pearl pops up on their networks.

Complete article from PCMagazine.