BlackBerry Curve 8330 easy to navigate

The BlackBerry Curve 8330, available through Telus Mobility, has a lot of features for such a small device. You can listen to music, surf the Web and use it as a cell phone.

Manufactured by Research in Motion Inc. of Waterloo, Ont., the Curve 8330 is targetted at business users, though it has features that don’t seem work-related, unless you’re in the music business or you take a lot of photos. For this reason, you may want to ask whether your users really need all of the features that are included.

There’s no advantage to buying this unless you have BlackBerry Enterprise Server installed. BlackBerry Enterprise Server is widely regarded as the gold standard in corporate mobile email because it integrates with enterprise messaging systems, works on both GSM and CDMA carrier networks and the handsets have QWERTY keyboards.

So if you already have a BlackBerry and are looking to upgrade, what’s the advantage of the Curve 8330? Well, for $549 (without a contract), you can get a device with music, games, a megapixel camera and navigation system, plus access over the Internet to Facebook, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk. If these are important to your job, this is a device worth considering. If not, you may want to consider buying a different wireless e-mail device without paying for these extra features.

One key feature is the keyboard and navigation features. If your workers have good fine motor co-ordination with their fingers, this device is very easy to use. In other words, if you’re a dentist, surgeon or tailor, you can definitely use the Curve 8330. However, workers who have trouble making fine, precise movements with their fingers would probably have trouble using this device.

The QERTY keyboard, which was one of the defining features of RIM devices before other handset makers (including Nokia and HTC) followed suit, is a must-have for wireless e-mail. The small trackball-like navigation device in the centre below the screen is a god-send to users who hate using a stylus, and it’s very easy to find and open the application you want quickly. The applications on the screen have little icons, and if you don’t know what the icons are, you can simply use the trackball to move the cursor over, and text will appear identifying the application.

The still and video cameras weren’t tested, but the device has a USB port, which makes it easy to download large files.

It’s nice and small, measuring 10.7 by 6 cm, with a screen size of 3.5 by 5 cm. It’s 3 cm thick, and this is probably as small as the manufacturer can make a device with a QWERTY keyboard.

Unlike other mobile e-mail devices, the 8330 does not have Windows Mobile, which you might want if you’re making minor edits to Word or Excel documents on the go.

But overall, the 8330 is definitely worth considering if you’re supporting users who need access to BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Web access, a cell phone and all the extras.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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