I recently upped my travel quantity and one a particular day when I was traveling in New York, I was
out of touch with my colleagues for a day. A key project that I was an important driver on lost a day of work and given that it was on a tight deliverable, I felt I had let down my coworkers and my client.
So I bit the bullet and decided to get a mobile e-mail device. I have sworn for years that I wouldn’t get a Blackberry because of the obnoxious habits people who have them inflict on the rest of us. I was unhappy about it, but I had to do it since I am still involved in some time-sensitive projects. (Someday the company will be big enough that I’ll have to move out of that role and focus on the management of our technology strategy purely, but that day has not yet arrived.)
So I went down to the Cingular store around the corner, and wouldn’t you know there was an e-mail device with a full keyboard: the Cingular 8125. It wasn’t a Blackberry, but it ran Windows Mobile, which is a big deal to me. I think the platform is hugely important, and I couldn’t stand the thought of buying the Blackberry’s proprietary OS. So I went and read a bunch of reviews (here, here, here, and here). I checked with the guys that run our Exchange server to make sure we had GoodLink’s technology setup to pick up my Exchange server, and then went and bought it.
When I got it and it got all hooked up, I had two seminal experiences:
- A colleague I respect a great deal came into my office to speak to me. As she sat down and started telling me what was on her mind, I absent-mindedly grabbed the 8125 and started checking my e-mail. I hadn’t had the device more than a day and I was already an ass.
- I constantly answered e-mail obsessively a few days later in a training class, checking every ten minutes, and I ran the battery down in a few hours.
Out of this experience, I learned that it’s easy to be a Blackberry jerk, and that you have to tune the power settings on the device to turn off Bluetooth and wifi if you’re not using it, and to set it to sleep when not in use after a minute. With those settings, I haven’t charged it now for two days. I’ve been answering e-mail every hour or so and I’ve still got 43% battery. I’ve also been IM’ing with it, since I’ve got an instant messenging client that speaks 6 different protocols.
That’s one of the coolest features. We were blowing down I-95 yesterday, coming back from some training in Baltimore when I started im’ing Sarah. We talked the whole way down while she was on the real phone with her boss. (Actually, I think she was talking to him with Skype, so perhaps it’s not
accurate to call it a phone either. 🙂
You should play with one at a Cingular store, and avoid it if the following things irk you:
- When you dial a phone number, you can’t stand using your finger to touch the screen to dial.
- You absolutely need to check your e-mail every five minutes.
- You need a Blackberry for status reasons.
This is a great device, and if you’re in the market for portable e-mail and you don’t want to be the kind of Blackberry jerk that basically goes throughout your whole day answering e-mail while ignoring the people around you, I highly recommend you get the Cingular 8125 or the equivalent product from T-Mobile. The full keyboard, the enormous screen, the nice camera which took the photo that accompanies this article, the availibility of Windows Mobile software, including lots of fun games, the web browser, and the enterprise e-mail make it a really good choice.