This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Wide Appeal for Slimmer BlackBerry

Big changes for BlackBerry show Research In Motion (RIMM) isn't exactly sitting out the smartphone scramble.

Sprint's (S) BlackBerry 7130e is among the first of RIM's narrower handset designs and a big style break from the wide squat devices users have been toting around for the past few years.

Suddenly, for the first time, the words sleek and BlackBerry can appear in the same sentence.

But looks haven't really played a big role with the BlackBerry-obsessed. The hook that continues to reel in users is RIM's unsurpassed ability to keep people connected to email at all times.

BlackBerry fans will be overjoyed to know that RIM's email finesse is as impressive as ever on the 7130.

Add to that the fast mobile Net connection through Sprint's EV-DO network, and you have a Web-viewing experience that's even better than ever.

A Mixed Message

Unfortunately, the 7130 is sort of an in-between model for RIM.

While its lean form will appeal to BlackBerry users looking for an updated style, the fashion party is already being upstaged by the introduction of an even sleeker BlackBerry Pearl model this month with T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom (DT).

RIM's newfound fashion consciousness is a welcome development and likely to catch the eye of an even broader group of cell-phone shoppers. The one-trick pony aspect of BlackBerry's email superiority saddled with a portly design didn't make it as much of a compelling device for consumers.

While the trimmer RIM is more like a conventional candy-bar phone than most BlackBerrys, it doesn't have some of the features that have become common on cell phones, like a camera or music player.

In fact, the 7130 would be pretty much all business if it wasn't for its great Internet agility.

Form and Function

With its bright 2 1/2-inch LCD screen, handy thumb dial and Sprint's 3G mobile network, this BlackBerry is a powerful Web-surfing machine. In most cases, the BlackBerry browser presented Web pages better than the beloved Palm (PALM) Treo .

The sleekness of the 7130 comes with a few tradeoffs, though: A daunting keyboard and a truncated subject line for email.

The 7130 is nearly 3/4 of an inch narrower than other BlackBerry phones.

To make the squeeze work, letters on the qwerty keyboard have to double up and share most of the keys. Great idea, in theory, but getting used to the SureType predictive text system takes a lot of time, practice and patience.

BlackBerry 7130e

The SureType program guesses what words you are typing as you go. In most cases, this works out satisfactorily. But names and passwords will repeatedly stump the SureType predictor -- overall, the software still doesn't trump a qwerty-style keypad.

Another unfortunate aspect to the narrowing squeeze is the shrunken info line in the email inbox.

Each line display shows the time an email arrived, the sender and the subject. But there are only six to seven characters available for the subject. That's plenty for some subjects, but for most others, just a few more letters would have been helpful. In many cases, you have to open the email to find out what it's about. Not hugely daunting, of course, but an annoying extra step.

Overall, the 7130 packs RIM's superior email system in a sleeker form targeted to professionals and consumers -- or the so-called pro-sumer segment.

Email, as RIM does it, is a killer application for mobile phones, as industry watchers would say. And while it may not appeal to everyone, slimmer BlackBerrys are likely to be embraced by an even wider audience.

Unlike its rival, the Palm Treo, BlackBerry's designers are pushing form as hard as function.



Enjoy the Good Life? Email us with what you'd like to see in future articles.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,778.15 +421.28 2.43%
S&P 500 2,061.23 +48.34 2.40%
NASDAQ 4,748.3960 +104.0840 2.24%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs