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What is BlackBerry?

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BlackBerry 8300 Gold

BlackBerry 8300 Gold

A BlackBerry is a handheld device that is primarily designed for email communication, although it does have other functions. Created by Research In Motion (RIM), the BlackBerry connects to wireless networks and allows users to email and browse the net. Recent models also have phone capabilities.

BlackBerry = Palm / Pocket PC/ Treo ?:

No, pocket PCs and other PDAs of the like are basically downsized computers that also include email capabilities, whereas the BlackBerry is designed specifically for email. Unlike them, it cannot store documents like word processing or spreadsheet files, except for email attachments. It can only do so for email. Another big difference between the BlackBerry and the other PDAs is that it runs an operating system different from theirs.

The BlackBerry handheld device has now evolved in such a way that the difference between it and other PDAs is depleting, with features that were not found in earlier versions. The demarcation line has finally become so blurred between it and the other PDAs that it is all seemingly boiling down to a mere matter of brand. Here is what you can do with a BlackBerry:

BlackBerry's Basic Functions

  • Email
    This is the primary raison d'etre of the BlackBerry. For email, you need to subscribe to data plans whose price can be unlimited or traffic-based.
  • Phone
    Like with cell phones, a service is required, which can be call-based or unlimited. Now that VoIP has come to the BlackBerry, phone calls are becoming more interesting and cheap. We see VoIP on BlackBerry below.
  • Browsing
    A BlackBerry has an integrated browser for Web surf. Here again, data service is required.
  • Camera and Video Recording
    Some models come with a 2.0 megapixel camera.
  • Social Networking and Instant Messaging
    The camera and video recording allows capturing and sending photos and other multimedia files to social contacts online through networks like Facebook; along and reading and posting messages.
  • GPS
    Global Positioning System allows you to use your device for geographical tracking and locations, based on satellites.
  • Organizer Tools
    The BlackBerry carries handy tools like a calendar, calculator, address book, memo pad etc.

Connectivity

To get up with email and voice, you need data and voice plans. BlackBerry offers plans from other service providers like At&T, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon for the US. Rates range from $10 to $30 a month. BlackBerry smartphones are also available in other parts of the world, with many data and voice service providers.

BlackBerry and VoIP

VoIP is the way to free or very cheap local and international calls on BlackBerry, but the BlackBerry-VoIP relationship is still in its early days at the time I am writing this. Click here to see what you can do to bring VoIP to your BlackBerry.

Compare BlackBerry prices from different vendors here.

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