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blackberrytourI just upgraded my Verizon Blackberry World Edition to the BlackBerry Tour 9630. This note provides a few observations.

I use my phone for business, so I need good clear always-on voice.  But my Blackberry is also my hand held office. I need a device that lets me rapidly draft and send e-mails, and I need always on connectivity to the many cloud computing services we have all grown to depend upon in this cloud driven age.  I need access to contact info from the cloud and need access to my office and home calendars.  I need access to work documents, spreadsheets and presentations as well.

My previous phone, the older Blackberry 8830 World Edition, met most all the requirements I really needed met.  It was great at receiving and sending e-mail and had a keyboard that lets me fly when it comes to typing.   Browsing speeds on the Verizon World were acceptable.   I almost didn’t upgrade.  But, in the end, I’m a gadget freak, and I thought it would be cool to have a 3.2 mega pixel camera.  I convinced myself that I just had to do this.

I’m glad I did. The many feature upgrades add up to enhancements to my productivity.  This was good.

The screen on the Tour is very bright and much higher resolution.  That means I can make the font much smaller and still read e-mails- so I can read more faster.

The keyboard is just what I expected.  It is fast to use.

GeneralWashingtonAndDavisFordThe camera is very powerful.  3.2 Megapixel’s is pretty cool. I haven’t used it for work yet (and might never), but I have put it through its paces. One of the first pictures I took is of a Prince William County historical marker  (I was somewhat surprised to find this marker in my neighborhood, since I think it means a relative of mine walked right down the road I currently live on (see: http://bit.ly/3KsKkp for a tid-bit on Captain Thomas Gourley of the Revolutionary War ) .

When I take a picture I’ve set the camera to automatically upload it to the site iTookThisOnMyPhone.com  Photos are automatically put into a private folder then I can move them to public view when I want.  For example, see: http://bit.ly/O2lJi

I also use Twitter, to keep myself informed and to stay engaged with the community.  This phone makes it even easier to do that.  The great screen means I can read more tweets at once.  Great add on software like UberTwitter adds other key features. There is also a Facebook client for the Backberry, and I played around with that for a while, but for my needs I am find just using the mobile web version of Facebook. I uninstalled the Facebook client.

Thanks to Google, the contacts and calendar of my domain at http://crucialpointllc.com are always synched with the contacts and calendar on my new Blackberry, which is great for info management.  I am a power user of Google documents.  The blackberry provides a great way to view those, but, unfortunately, Google provides only limited ability to make changes to documents from Blackberry.  I’m hoping that feature will come soon.  Till then, the way to change documents with the blackberry is somewhat cumbersome.  The only way I’ve figured out how to do that is to e-mail it to myself and use the word editor on the Blackberry then e-mail it back.  That is clunky and I’m sure the gang and Google will figure out how to make this work better.

The Tour comes with Blackberry’s App Store.  I thank Apple and Steve Jobs for this.  If Apple had not produced the incredibly friendly, fantastically designed iPhone app store, RIM would likely not have been motivated to produce something so cool as what they did.  The Tour’s app store has a great interface into all the applications you would want for a small business mobile device.

I’m not happy that the Verizon version of the Tour does not have WiFi.  Sounds like someone at Verizon made a business decision that does not take consumer desires in mind.  Shame on them for that.  But, Verizon’s 3G network is very fast.  And there has been a great deal of bad press about AT&T’s networks, so overall I’m glad I stuck with Verizon (see AT&T Is A Big, Steaming Heap of Failure).

Well, we all need connectivity to the cloud, and if you run a small business like me you need a way to connect that lets you rapidly crank out e-mails.  This Blackberry Tour lets you do that and far more.  I’d recommend it to any business professional.

Related posts:

  1. Cloud computing and my small business
  2. I like my MiFi: A micro hotspot that fits in your shirt pocket
  3. How fast is 3G and what is 3.5G and when will 4G be here?

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com