RIM Blackberry: The Wireless E-Mail PDA

 
 
By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2001-05-14
 
 
 

Suppose all that your customers really want is e-mail? If thats the case, Research in Motions (RIM) BlackBerry Wireless Handheld will fit the bill.

BlackBerry devices, which have become as much a sign of executive success as cell phones and Palm Pilots were in their early days, have taken the market by storm. And why not? In a device slightly larger than a pager, people can read and write e-mail using their usual business mail service. Its a small idea, but a big success.

The technology behind BlackBerry is also small. Rather than grasping after technologies that arent here yet, like 3G, BlackBerries run off existing digital phone networks: Motient and Bell Mobilitys DataTAC and Cingular and AT&Ts Mobitex Network. While not as widespread as OmniSkys Cellular Digital Packet Data network, BlackBerries can operate in almost all major cities and in many midsize cities. RIM avoids Ricochets infrastructure woes by piggy-backing on already-growing digital networks.

Both networks are narrowband and packet-switched. The device itself works well with multiple mail protocols and servers. Whether your customer uses an Internet Post Office Protocol or Internet Message Access Protocol server, an Exchange server or Lotus Domino/Notes, the BlackBerry can be used as a home mail system, as well.

Worried about someone reading your mail? Dont be. Triple DES keeps your private mail private.

In the BlackBerry model, a server gets your customers e-mail from their own corporate mail servers. Then, it pushes the messages to the handheld devices. Thanks to the BlackBerrys long battery life, users on the go keep in near-constant e-mail contact—without needing fresh batteries every day or two.

Better still from a business viewpoint, BlackBerries scream out for customization. While theres little money to be made from selling the units, the possibilities for integration, installation, wireless networking and support work already are proving lucrative for network integrators, ISPs and even ASPs like Mi8, which bundles it with its existing e-mail services. With the addition of an organizer, its crystal clear that the BlackBerry will only grow more popular as time goes by. Indeed, the BlackBerrys use of basic technologies in a popular package answers a real business need and may make it the must-have of PDA wireless.

Rocket Fuel