So RIM is fighting back with the Curve in an attempt to produce a BlackBerry with consumer appeal. The most significant aspect of this is that the BlackBerrry Desktop Manager includes for the first time a Media Manager. This is based around Roxio software from Sonic.
This is quite a comprehensive application. You can use it to rip CDs to MP3, create and manage playlists, and copy music to the Curve. You can also use it to copy pictures to and from the Curve and to manage your PCs media library. For someone who is not already using a media manager, it could be a useful application in its own right.
If you would rather not bother with the Media Manager the Curve’s internal memory can be accessed simply by connecting the device and your PC at which point it functions in Mass Storage mode. You can only get to the flash memory using this method, though, not to the device’s internal memory.
The Curve’s 3.5mm headset and stereo earbuds are also a step in the right direction as far as consumer multimedia is concerned, though I had to use my own headphones to get a sound quality I felt I could live with, thereby waving goodbye to handsfree calling.
As a multimedia device the Curve needs plenty of memory. There is just 64MB on board, but earlier I mentioned flash memory. This comes in the shape of microSD cards. Unfortunately, RIM has elected to put the slot under the battery cover next to the SIM where it is very awkward to get at.
There is a camera here. Not so long ago RIM would have looked in horror at anyone suggesting they might include one in a BlackBerry, and the 8800 is camera free. The Curve’s 2-megapixel resolution is in the ‘good enough’ bracket. Its colours can be a bit washed out and I wouldn’t suggest you consider the flash as good for much. You can set photos as the home screen images, so kiddies, pets and significant others beware.
The basic mobile email element remains intact, of course, and this time around benefits from a spellchecker. I can’t help wondering why it has taken RIM so long to realise that this is a must have requirement for mobile email.