Thursday, April 09, 2009

Blackberry 8110

The powers that be at CPIT have changed telecom providers which means a change in the mobile phones supported by the institute. So my trusty Treo 700wx (which I have been allowed to keep for it’s PDA functions) has now been replaced with a Blackberry 8110. None of my students will have a Blackberry L but the Blackberry seems to be making inroads in to corporate mlearning. Blackberries interface with Blackboard LMS but we have shifted to Moodle. However, it is always good to be able to trial mlearning on a multitude of mobile phone OS & the Blackberry will be added to our collection.

I will be spending much of the Easter break getting to grips with how to make the most of the Blackberry. Will be away tramping so it will be a good opportunity to find out what sort of mobile phone coverage the Blackberry has, test out the GPS / camera / video & assorted PDA capabilities and work out how long the battery charge will last J The West Coast is aka as the ‘wet coast’ for it’s damp climate. Although the forecast seems to me mostly dry, it will be a good test of my ability to keep the phone dry & to see how well it works under non-ideal conditions.

As a first impression, the size & weight is much better (from the trampers point of view!). The Blackberry is about 1/2 the weight & 2/3 the size of the Treo. The trackball which runs most of the menus on the Blackberry is pretty intuitive to use. Without reading the manual, I figured out how to access email, SMS, web browser etc. practiced using the ‘suretype’ system as the phone does not have a full qwerty keyboard but an adapted one with two alphabets to each key (laid out as per qwerty). After that sending email, SMS was simple although slower as I am used to using both thumbs on the Treo. With its smaller size, the he Blackberry handles better with just one thumb and my left hand is always not as easy to coordinate as my right.

Voice dialling was quite nifty but I have yet to get the media manager on the desktop manager to work, although backup, synchroniser & application loader (loaded mobipocket reader) all work OK.

So will report back on progress next week.