The BlackBerry is a wireless handheld device introduced in 1999 which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services. Developed by the Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM), it delivers information over the wireless data networks of mobile phone service companies. BlackBerry first made headway in the marketplace by concentrating on e-mail. RIM currently offers BlackBerry e-mail service to non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, through the BlackBerry Connect software. The original BlackBerry device had a monochrome display, but all current models have color displays.
While including the usual PDA applications (address book, calendar, to-do lists, etc.) as well as telephone capabilities on newer models, the BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive e-mail wherever it can access an atmosphere wireless network of certain cellular phone carriers. It has a built-in keyboard, optimized for “thumbing”, the use of only the thumbs to type. System navigation is primarily accomplished by the trackwheel (or “thumbwheel”), a scrolling wheel with a “CLICK” function, located on the right side of the device. Newer models are now utilizing a trackball in the middle of the device as Research In Motion has moved from the trackwheel to the trackball. Some models (currently, those manufactured for use with Nextel, TELUS, and other iDEN networks) also incorporate a two-way radio. Some BlackBerry devices don’t depend on mobile phone service coverage and are Wi-Fi compatible like similar handheld devices that are on the marketplace.
Modern BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, while older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors. The latest GSM BlackBerry models (8100 and 8700 series) have an Intel PXA901 312 MHz processor, 64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SDRAM. CDMA BlackBerries are based on Qualcomm MSM6x00 chipsets which also include the ARM 9-based processor and GSM 900/1800 roaming(as the case with the 8830). The devices are very popular with some businesses, where they are primarily used to provide e-mail access to roaming employees. To fully integrate the BlackBerry into a company’s systems, the installation of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is required.
On April 11, 2007, RIM announced the number of BlackBerry subscribers had reached 8 million.
BlackBerry Operating System
RIM provides a proprietary multi-tasking operating system (OS) for the BlackBerry, which makes heavy use of the device’s specialized input devices, particularly the thumbwheel. The OS provides support for MIDP 1.0 and WAP 1.2. Previous versions allowed wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server’s e-mail and calendar, as well as with Lotus Domino’s e-mail. The current OS 4 provides a subset of MIDP 2.0, and allows complete wireless activation and synchronization with Exchange’s e-mail, calendar, tasks, notes and contacts, and adds support for Novell GroupWise and Lotus Notes.
Third-party developers can write software using these APIs, and proprietary BlackBerry APIs as well, but any application that makes use of certain restricted functionality must be digitally signed so that it can be associated to a developer account at RIM. This signing procedure guarantees the authorship of an application, but does not guarantee the quality or security of the code.
Published on: Dec 21, 2007 @ 6:32