The BlackBerry 8800 – Marrying Multimedia and Productivity

By | May 22, 2023

With the success of the BlackBerry Pearl, the company best known for providing business solutions has surfaced as a potential player in the “stylish” smartphone market, spreading its wings to include multimedia features and other add-ons designed to excite a consumer audience. The BlackBerry 8800 represents another step towards that end, springing to life as a hybrid of the Pearl and more traditional BlackBerry models.

The BlackBerry 8800 is the first offering from RIM to include a full keyboard, a music player, and a trackball. As such, it stands apart from the Pearl, which is a much more streamlined version of the BlackBerry motif. The 8800 is hardly bulky, though, measuring just 0.6″ thick, to go with its 4.5″ x 2.6″ frame. The first thing that jumped out at me was the screen; the 320 by 240 pixel display is stunningly bright, and the colors sharply distinguished. Plus, like the Pearl, this screen adjusts its own brightness depending on ambient light.

This phone’s usability might put it at the top of the entire BlackBerry family. While the keyboard is slightly more cramped than the older and wider BlackBerries, the keys are well-delineated and the learning curve is not terribly steep. However, what sets the 8800 apart from other full-keyboard BlackBerry phones is its trackball. While some folks might initially miss the signature side-mounted wheel, the ability to scroll horizontally, even diagonally, is a huge step forward for the business-oriented user. The trackball has a precise feel to it, and responds to just the right amount of pressure; plus, the BlackBerry 8800 is still easy to operate with one hand, despite the new navigation.

The software package bundled within the 8800 certainly helps keep this phone consistent with other BlackBerries. You’ll recognize the speed, ease of use, and stability — especially in the email client. Set up accounts from Yahoo! to Outlook Access online, and the 8800 integrates everything perfectly. TeleNav GPS software is also built right in, along with a solid Web browser and slightly stripped down versions of MS Office and Opera Mini.

In addition to the typical productivity functions, the BlackBerry 8800 comes complete with music and video players, which allow you to load songs and videos from your PC straight to the phone using an included media manager. The media files reside on a removable MicroSD memory chip.

Calls are loud and clear, both through the earpiece and the speakerphone. Reception also tends to be very good, and the 8800 handles international roaming, making it ideal for travel. It operates on the EDGE data network, which leaves something to be desired in terms of connection speeds, but also saves on battery life over some of the faster 3G-enabled smartphones.

In the end, there are still trade-offs to be made. If you value a high-speed 3G connection, you may be better off with something like the BlackBerry 8703e a device which tilts towards the business/productivity side of the spectrum. However, if you place more importance on a slick interface, excellent e-mail service, and an integrated music player, the BlackBerry 8800 is tough to top. For pricing info, visit a site like, which allows you to compare and contrast features of all available BlackBerry phone models.