The BlackBerry is a wireless handheld device which supports e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, web browsing and other wireless information services. It is provided by Research In Motion through cellular telephone companies. more...
It made headway in the marketplace by first concentrating on email. Research In Motion is currently involved in a patent dispute. See Research In Motion.
The devices are manufactured by the Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) and are resold by cellular phone companies throughout the world. They fit in the palm of the hand and are operated using a trackwheel and buttons. The original BlackBerry device had a monochrome display, but the newer models are color.
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 anywhere it has access to an appropriate wireless network, as well as for its built-in keyboard optimized for "thumbing", or using 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. Some models (such as 7510 and 7520) also incorporate a two-way radio.
Modern BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, however older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors. They recently announced that new devices will have the Intel XScale PXA9xx cellular processor, code named "Hermon".
The devices are very popular with some businesses, where they are primarily used to provide e-mail delivery to roaming employees. To fully integrate the BlackBerry into a company, the installation of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is required.
In November 2004, RIM announced that the number of subscribers to the BlackBerry service had reached two million, having doubled within ten months. Continuing their growth, RIM announced an additional one million subscribers in May 2005, only six months after reaching two million.
Most BlackBerry devices come with a full, albeit tiny, QWERTY keyboard, using the "Alt" key to enter numbers and special characters. A self-configurable "Auto Text" feature can be used for frequent words or easier input of special characters like umlauts (point 13 at , German). The new 7100 series models feature a reduced-key keyboard and use SureType technology to allow each key to represent multiple letters, numbers, and symbols.
RIM provides a proprietary 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.
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