Earlier this month, we took a look at one of the newest phones in Blackberry's line up - the Pearl. This was one for the consumers - a Blackberry that came in a sleek, candy bar form factor, had a two-letters-per-key SureType keyboard and featured easy setup for web-based email, such as Google Mail.
The compadre to the 8100 Pearl is the new 8800. It has the same design stylings as the Pearl - the glossy piano black, the metal accents - but resembles the Blackberries of old far closer. It's the latest device for businesses, and its got a few tricks up its sleeve. But can it dethrone the 8700 as king of the pocket email devices?
Let's compare the new 8800 to the previous generation 8700. What's different? Well, the form factor has altered. The screen is still the same resolution - 320 x 240, the same as most Windows Smartphones - but the physical dimensions are a little smaller, making for a slightly crisper image. The smaller screen is one of the things that goes into making the 8800 significantly thinner than the previous gen, with a notable difference in thickness between the two (the 8800 is 14mm thick, the 8700 is 19.5mm). However, partly to ensure that all the electronics gubbins get squeezed in, the 8800 is slightly longer (114mm v 110mm), making it look more extruded compared to the chunky-monkey 8700.
Blackberry business devices have traditionally lacked cameras, since photo taking in a corporate environment is often a big no-no, for privacy and legal reasons. The 8800 is no different here, which is one of the major functional differences between it and the 8100, which was one of the first 'berries to have a camera. However, there is some big-time added functionality - GPS. Yes, you can now mount your phone on your dashboard and get driving directions from it, thanks to the included Blackberry Maps application.
Like the 8100 Pearl, the 8800 is also being pushed as a consumer and small business device, so the phone includes functionality for checking web-based email - either directly via IMAP/POP, or through a web-based forwarder to push mail to your provided @blackberry.com address. Traditional Blackberry users will find emails easier to answer on the 8800 than on the Pearl, thanks to the fact that this version reverts back to the full-size keyboard that has defined the device across its lifetime.
Finally, the 8800 borrows the eponymous 'Pearl' from the 8100, replacing the old-school scroll wheel on the side of the device with a roller wheel in the middle.