Latest Blackberry phone answers users' call for GPS

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Latest Blackberry phone answers users' call for GPS

Arif Mohamed

The latest Blackberry smartphone from Research in Motion, the 8800, features a global positioning system and omni-directional trackball navigation.

It is also thinner, offers a full Qwerty keyboard and provides a media player and a microSD expandable memory slot which allows the user to store data. But like most of its predecessors, the device has no built-in camera or Wi-Fi capability, analysts said.

GPS support was one of the most requested enhancements voted for on the International Blackberry User Group's website.

"RIM retains its market lead based mostly on technical merits, namely robust security, excellent manageability and long battery life," said Todd Kort, principal research analyst at Gartner. But he questioned whether the data speed of the device was sufficient.

"Despite the inclusion of older Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (Edge) technology, which limits the speed of data transmissions to a maximum of about 180 Kbps, the 8800 is fine for wireless e-mail however, it may be slower than other, third-generation (3G) models for browsing the web on some networks."

He added, "Despite RIM's upgrades, competitors are narrowing the gap in terms of ergonomics. The T-Mobile Dash, for example, is less boxy than the 8800, though it uses displays of similar quality."

Gartner said it expects to see a model of the BlackBerry 8800 that combines Wi-Fi and cellular, with faster high speed downlink packet access mobile technology, and more PBX integration resulting from RIM's acquisition of Ascendant.

Kort said that devices based on Microsoft's latest Windows Mobile 6 operating system will offer "stiff competition" to the Blackberry later this year.

International Blackberry User Group:

www.ibbug.org


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