A couple of weeks before Christmas, Dad helped me procure a Blackberry Pearl for my Cingular account. Of late I’ve been a “just a phone” person, with the small form factor Razr, but, as usual, the Motorola UI has been driving me incredibly, incredibly crazy. How can they make UIs that bad? It’s a mystery to me. Before that, I had a Treo, which I liked quite a bit, except for the large size of the phone, the antenna nub, and the crashiness, which has become the defining feature of Palm devices over the last few years. The UI, though, was tremendous. I had avoided getting sucked into the Blackberry/Crackberry vortex for a long time — not because I don’t like e-mail on my phone (I like it well enough), but because I felt like the devices weren’t much fun, and had pretty crummy interfaces (except for the scroll wheel, which is pretty handy).
Anyhoo, my new Pearl is *great*. A terrific device — both in terms of data access and as a phone. The trackball, small as it is, is fantastic — and feels better on my aging (see: January 9; wrong side of 35) thumb muscles. The screen is really bright and attractive. It’s *really* small — just about the same size as my Razr was. And the UI isn’t bad. Plus it’s got more consumery features like a camera (other folks at work don’t care about but I like having from time to time). The keyboard works great for me — two letters on a key seems strange, but it’s not at all difficult to get used to. I think that when they release the new models in a year or so (the Crimson, which is the same slimness, and has a camera, but is marginally wider to accommodate a full keyboard) I’ll move back to a full keyboard, but for now I couldn’t be happier with the phone.