Sunday, September 28, 2008

Product Review: BlackBerry 8820

My New "Engagement Ring"

I reviewed the BlackBerry Curve (Verizon) a couple months ago and this month I reviewed the BlackBerry 8820 (AT&T).

Why a BlackBerry 8820?

Initial Needs: Send/receive emails, ease of use when it came to typing emails, ability for clients to reach me out of the office, easy to use/view calendar to schedule work. This BlackBerry is provided for work, not personal use.

I could bore you with all the specific specifications about the phone, but most users just want a phone that works. (There is a link at the bottom for all the nitty-gritty details) As a result, I am detailing my experiences with the phone through out my work day.

Here Is My Review:


Buttons: Typing on the 882o is amazing! Compared to my BB Curve, where the buttons have small spaces between them and are smaller, the buttons on the 8820 are full, rectangular, and easy to hit. When it comes to dialing phone numbers, it is slightly more difficult (compared to a regular cell phone) as there are many more keys and the numbers are on the left side. Nevertheless, despite my bigger hands, I have no real problem punching in the numbers.

Call Quality: The voice on the other end is pretty clear. The phone does have an "airy" sound during the call, which is somewhat distracting and makes it at times a little hard to hear. However, I do not have my ear piece volume all the way up. It can go to a very loud setting. For me, I have it set at the second softest level. The main issue with the call quality is when I am speaking, the phone seems to have "bounce back". I feel my voice is bouncing off the phone.

Scroll Ball: The scroll ball is the main way the user maneuvers between applications. It is utilized by either moving it up, down, left, or right. The user can also press it to make selections instead of the arrow enter key on the keyboard (see image below). I have no problems scrolling in either direction. (On the Curve, it does not scroll as well to the left)

Battery Life: It does a good job. I will say I have not been using it non-stop yet, just emails and a couple calls, so I do not feel ready to give input on battery life. I will update this portion later.

Navigation: The user explores the phone through the 5 top bar buttons. Predominately, I use the scroll ball, the multi-dot button, and the half-circled arrow button. The multi-dot button allows me to bring up prompts for more detailed windows and to access the full list of applications. The half-arrow button allows me to go-back a screen. Then of course, is the scroll ball which the user uses to select and click the desired applications.

The phone comes with loads of applications, which clutters the navigation fields. As a result, I have hidden most of them as they are entertainment based applications. This is a work-phone, it's supposed to be bland. Haha! It is very easy to customize the phone. I can move my more frequently used applications to my main screen. I can select one option to associate with the side button on the phone for rapid selection. I have the ringer control on the left quick button. One issue I have with customizing the screen is that I cannot have the "L" shaped icon set-up compared to my Curve. I am not sure if this is a Verizon vs. AT&T phone thing or not.

Access: This phone is Wi-Fi capable and I used it the other day. It is nice to be able to access the internet faster when in a hot spot. It moves pretty quickly. I have not tried the GPS nor any of the additional applications. I've been on the EDGE network, no 3G cities yet, but I have no complaints. I cannot wait to try it on the 3G network.

Screen: It is pretty sweet. No complaints on the resolution. The colors are very rich. Compared to the Curve, the screen colors are brighter and not as dull/fuzzy. They are also slightly sharper. I do clean it often as the oils from my skin transfer onto the screen.

Camera: n/a. This is for WORK!!

Accessories: My boss ordered a hip holster case. (I'm that cool now). Unless I lock the phone, buttons are hit when I slide it into the case. It almost deleted a contact once. The phone also comes with a ear piece. It can go in both ears which is cool as it's a phone conversation in "surround sound".

Software: The BB 8820 comes with software to sync/manage with your computer. It works well if your computer's hardware can process it smoothly.


*Easy to use
*Great screen resolution / colorful
*Compact for a full QWERTY keyboard
*Internet Access
*Full Keys -- easy to type
*Scroll Ball is very fluid
*Slimmer than the Curve

*Voice "bounce back" when user speaks
*"Airy" sound when making and having a call
*Wider and longer than the Curve (but for reading emails, t
*Ringer is very loud even on the medium setting

In closing:

I find this phone very useful. The typing easy of use and ability to send/receive emails is great. The screen is bright and crisp. Just like the Curve, you rely on the scroll ball, if something were to go wrong, you're in trouble. For a business professional, this is a great phone. The bigger keys allow you to write emails well and avoid a lot of typos/misspellings. It has certainly improved my productivity outside of the office when in the field.


Here is the Link to BlackBerry's Official Page

~ the GURU

Monday, September 15, 2008

BlackBerry 8820 Review Coming soon

Review will be posted soon.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When To Stop Your IT Investments?

IT Success is All in the Approach

Long time, no post everyone! Sorry I have been MIA. Life has been hectic (brother off to college, promoted at work, knee issues with cycling, and building a restaurant reviews website/blog), but I'm starting to find a routine again.

As you all know, I am pro-IT. I think the opportunities Information Technology can bring a business and society as a whole are amazing and still an untapped resource that many businesses do not take advantage of because energies are focused elsewhere. But, in this post, we're talking about control IT costs because they can lose focus on the ultimate goal.

I was reading an article from Harvard Business Publishing that gave a very brief and succinct overview of IT costs and how to manage them. The article is by Susan Cramm, link here. We all have budgets that we need to try to stay in and sometimes when the goals are not clearly laid out, budgets are "bent". This is not good. IT investments are rarely cheap, but if your IT team and your vendors work well together uncovering how a solution will bring BENEFITS and RESULTS, the investment will be worthwhile.

However, I do disagree with Ms. Cramm's statement below:
The key to further, smart, cost reductions is to recognize the fact that, in general, companies spend too much on IT because they are unwilling to say "no" to IT-related requests. The path of least resistance seems to rule the day: Too many projects are funded, too many die a slow death, too much technology is procured, too many quality defects are tolerated, and users require too much hand holding.
Through my experience to date, a lot of businesses shut down IT projects/management without looking at what the project's goals are. A great example, your stressed out and over-stretched IT guy manages everything from email/spam management, security processes, phone systems, routers, network management, bandwidth allocation, data management, and puts out all the fires your fellow employees create. Now, any IT guru will say the problems they deal with the most is the nagging processes... email/spam. This results in the IT guy not being able to focus his efforts elsewhere. Imagine if you could pay your service provider to MANAGE your email/spam filters for you?! Your IT guy would thank you and he could focus on solving and creating solutions your business is facing. This project would not suffer a slow death. But, too many businesses are scared to let go of these projects because they are stuck on the idea they have to manage everything for it to work. Take off one of the hats you wear and give it to someone else.

Moving back to the main point of the article, sorry about the little tangent that isn't really applicable to the article. Having clearly defined goals are critical for project success. I recently took a Project Management course and having a PM can really help keep projects on course. Just something to think about.

At the end of the day, businesses need to look at the project's progress and see if the BENEFITS are becoming apparent. If they are not, cancel the project. If there are some delays, but the benefits are being seen, continue a little longer.

Finally, a lot of projects become out-of-hand because the full support from everyone is not there. A problem I see a lot of businesses facing is that only a few people see the benefit of the project and the rest could care less. As a result, people are not depending and routing on its success. It is more of a "status quo" mindset. If you're going to set strict deadlines, you better give the project your best effort. No half-bassing it.

What are your thoughts on this? How have you approached your projects in the past? How are you approaching them currently?

Like the article says how do you manage the "truth" when it comes to your projects?

~the GURU