informa
/
2 MIN READ
Commentary

BlackBerry 8800: Is It Right For Your Enterprise?

Michael Brandenburg at Network Computing takes a look at the BlackBerry 8800 and how it might fit in your enterprise.
Michael Brandenburg at Network Computing takes a look at the BlackBerry 8800 and how it might fit in your enterprise.Michael likes the layout, the new trackball (thank you, Pearl), and the voice dialing features:


The 8800 replaces the click wheel with a small trackball on the front of the device. The trackball is one reason Blackberry's Web experience is better, in our opinion, than that of a Windows Mobile device. Although RIM attempts to format Web pages for the small screen at the server (the carrier's Blackberry Internet Services server or at the enterprise's Blackberry Enterprise Server), there are some sites that just don't optimize very well. But by using RIM's default Web client in Desktop Mode, you get a cursor on the screen that has a full range of motion thanks to the trackball, making it easy to scroll vertically and horizontally. The trackball also helps make up for the fact that BlackBerry doesn't have the touchscreen found on many Windows Mobile devices.

He also addresses Web access through BlackBerry Enterprise Server. BES makes it relatively easy for IT managers to limit Web surfing. It also allows IT managers to give employees secure access to applications behind their corporate firewall. This is one of the big reasons BlackBerry is still so big in the enterprise market. No other solution makes device management this simple and easy to understand.

But the 8800 isn't perfect, as Michael points out:


Although the 8800 brings both form and function to the BlackBerry line, there are flaws beneath the chrome. One concern is battery life. While RIM claims a staggering 22 days of standby time between charges, we were only able to send and receive e-mails and make occasional phone calls for five days before recharging. We've found that RIM devices get very close to standby time when just used for data. (The last one we reviewed, the 8700, listed 10 days of standby, and we got seven days out of it just using e-mail.) E-mail and data usage doesn't fall under "talk time," but since RIM doesn't publish a "data time" either, we thought the battery issue worth mentioning.

Also, despite AT&T's ongoing deployment of its 3G wireless network and the near-broadband speeds it offers, RIM has chosen to limit the 8800 to the older, slower EDGE network. With other wireless carriers offering smartphones, including other BlackBerrys, with much faster data speeds, it puts both the 8800 and AT&T at a definite disadvantage. (At present, AT&T is the only carrier for the 8800 in the United States, though that's likely to change in the next six months.)

Have any of you deployed the 8800 in your companies yet? And if so, what do you think? Is it better than earlier BlackBerry smartphones? And what features -- if any -- do you have to lock down?

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing