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Old 09-15-2004, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [09-15-2004] Time.com - Gadget of the week: BlackBerry 7100t

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As someone who tries to cover the gadgets that most affect consumers people who spend their own money on phones, computers and the rest I tend to ignore cool corporate props like RIM's BlackBerry. But RIM's new 7100 was developed as a consumer product first, and, oh yeah, it can do all of that corporate stuff, too.
You probably know the BlackBerry I'm referring to, the one that's been plastered all over the Web for the past week. The reason? It's about two-thirds the width of older BlackBerry models, the most recent of which could be called a phone by dictionary definition only. Sure you could hold it to your head, but who wanted to. The 7100 is really a phone. About the same size as Nokia's 3600 series videophones, it's not what you'd call trim, but definitely pocketable.

Its size is not the only innovation: it's the first BlackBerry with Bluetooth connectivity for a wireless headset, the first with dedicated "Send" and "End" buttons, and one of the first with a built-in speakerphone. In an age when phone makers like to differentiate themselves with neat-looking but potentially annoying keypad layouts, the 7100 has a truly well-conceived one: a traditional QWERTY layout superimposed over a standard number pad. If you want to dial a number, go right ahead. If you're composing an e-mail or message, just start typing. Never mind the fact that both the Q and the W are on the same key, or that the E and R are under the number 1. Taking the cell phone industry's word-guessing software to a new level, the BlackBerry uses logic and a dictionary (plus the names in your address book) to intuit whatever crazy stuff is coming out of your head as you're typing. It even learns things about you that you might not know about yourself: for instance, I like to start messages with "Yo." It now defaults to that instead of "to," which shares the same key combination. This can be annoying, though, since it doesn't care about the context. Yo BlackBerry: I don't want to drive "yo" the theater, I want to drive "to" the theater.

The firsts keep coming: this is the first BlackBerry to provide instant messaging, and it even has a wizard, designed by T-Mobile, to set up not just AOL Instant Messenger, but Yahoo Messenger and ICQ as well. The streamlined e-mail setup can handle any POP3 accounts plus AOL Mail. (Despite what you may have read, there's currently no support for Hotmail or MSN Messenger in the T-Mobile version of the 7100.)

You may wonder what's missing from such a smooth product. Just keep in mind that this BlackBerry has no camera, no MP3 player, not even a memory card slot for loading photos, etc. The question is, will you miss any of that?
By WILSON ROTHMAN
Found this on time.com today.

http://www.time.com/time/gadget/20040915/
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice! I just changed your post around a bit so it would flow well on blackberrycenter.com (the portal page)
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A RIM rep today told me that the software BB uses to interpret what words you want to type with the 7100 keyboard was developed by a 19yr old kid I think. But is VERY impressive. He's an avid blackberry user and says typing for him on the 7100 was actually just as easy, if not easier, than the 62xx/72xx/77xx devices.
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the contribution, emale. Isn't Blackberry great? It's the single most useful handheld device I've ever seen. It is easy to use but brings all the features I need to have right to my hip. 8)
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfrye
A RIM rep today told me that the software BB uses to interpret what words you want to type with the 7100 keyboard was developed by a 19yr old kid I think. But is VERY impressive. He's an avid blackberry user and says typing for him on the 7100 was actually just as easy, if not easier, than the 62xx/72xx/77xx devices.
You know, the more I hear about this new predictive text ability, the more I am impressed. I will have to check it out, of course, but the addition of information in contacts, calendar (I think) and user defined disctionary (i.e., rememberred after first use), may make this really work. Still a bit tricky enterring URL's and new email addresses - but other than that, could be really good!!!
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well what I've heard most about it over the cell phone type of automatic handling...

When trying to type a word on a cell phone, I'm repeatedly hitting the backspace key to undo the words the cell phone was trying to figure out for me....

With the 7100, it will supposedly finish the word, but you can continue typing and if you're trying to type best and the phone thinks you want been, you can continue typing over the word to get the one you want. Make sense?
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not sure -- doesn't T9 on the cell phone work the same way? You keep typing and it keeps guessing? I've never used it myself, so I don't know for sure. The key difference, as far as I understand it, is far fewer characters per key, and far more words in the "dictionary" -- combined with better software.
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Old 09-15-2004, 10:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks!

Dont forget it's still based on qwerty so your instinct to move your left hand/thumb to the left to press the Q key and move to the right with your right hand/thumb to press the P key will still apply, which makes for a much easier learning curve. Those other T9 keyboards have more keys but they mess the layout up, requiring you to have to learn how to type again. From the looks of the new keyboard the L and M keys are alone on a button which will make the predictive text smarter because they are more common letters to type.

Try this, practice on your Blackberry by trying to type with your thumb pressing the two keys next to each other together when you want one of those keys (Q W, E R, T Y ect.)

I desperatly want to get my hands on one of these!! I hope we dont have to wait too long in Canada to get one! (cmon rogers....)
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