VIDEO REVIEW: BlackBerry's Bold

BlackBerry's latest device offers improved Microsoft Office support.

Research in Motion's upcoming device, the BlackBerry Bold, includes a number of new features including a high-resolution screen and increased support for Microsoft Office. The Bold will also have DataViz Documents To Go as a standard feature.

RIM recently unveiled the BlackBerry Bold, an upcoming smartphone that will offer a number of firsts for this long-running product line.

In addition to being the first BlackBerry with HSDPA, high-speed wireless networking, it will have a higher-resolution screen than any previous RIM model, and much better support for working with Microsoft Office files.

Last night, I was able to spend some time with a pre-release unit, and I wanted to share my first impressions.

Some bold design choices
The Bold appears to have been designed around its half-VGA (480 by 320 pixel) screen. This is big enough to make this device a good option for mobile video, and will certainly make reading long emails easier.

Office documents on the go
I have long been amazed by the primitive support BlackBerries offer for working with Microsoft Office files. The viewer on current RIM models is lightyears behind what's available on other smartphones.

But that's all about to change; DataViz Documents To Go will soon come standard on BlackBerry models, including the Bold.

To me, Docs To Go is the gold standard of mobile Office suites. It displays Word Documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations almost exactly as they appear on a desktop.

But BlackBerry users should be aware of one thing: the version that will come bunded with their devices will allow you to view and edit files, not create them.To get the ability to make new Office files, you will need to buy an upgraded version from DataViz.

If you frequently collaborate on documents over email, all this should be music to your ears. I haven't been able to test this version of DocsToGo yet, but the one for Palm OS works very well.


Preliminary conclusion
BlackBerries have always excelled at mobile email, but have been lackluster in other areas. Still, RIM has been making strides to remedy this in recent years, and the BlackBerry Bold is a sttrong step in this direction.

This smartphone will debut later in the northern summer. At this point, no ANZ carrier has committed to the new device.

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