T-Mobile just sent us an evaluation Blackberry 8220 to test and review. While I’m just getting started on using this and won’t be ready for a full review until a couple more weeks – I wanted to post some of my initial thoughts on where this device fits (and where it doesn’t). You may know that prior to the iPhone I was a diehard Blackberry user. Ultimately I gave up the Blackberry in May 2008 due to these 10 reasons. I’m always open to taking a fresh look at the latest devices and the Blackberry 8220 was intriguing to me because it’s the first flip phone from Blackberry and I also think it fills a different niche than every single prior Blackberry I owned.
So what’s the niche that I think the 8220 might fill?
First, it runs on both Wi-Fi and cellular. T-Mobile offers unlimited Wi-Fi calling for a $10 additional monthly fee — or you can just use Wi-Fi without any special plan and the minutes come out of your normal monthly bucket.
BIG TIP FOR THOSE WHO TRAVEL OVERSEAS: You can bring this phone with you anywhere, connect it to Wi-Fi and make calls back to the states with NO INTERNATIONAL ROAMING. One of the most overpriced services that cell companies offer is the cost of International calls. BTW – your Blackberry data will work via Wi-Fi as well — so if you travel overseas frequently you should check out any of the several T-Mobile Blackberry’s that support UMA.
The Blackberry 8220 is shaping up to be a great second phone for receiving instant push email notifications. Despite all of Apple iPhone’s positive traits – the email on the iPhone is still what I’d consider consumer level. It lacks any capability to push out my Google Email (it’s strictly pull). And on iMap the GMAIL pull fails for me about 1 in 10 times.
I like that this phone will run on T-Mobile’s fabulous UMA technology. What this does is allow you to use the full phone features (voice, data, Blackberry) in almost any place you have an open Wi-Fi connection.
The voice calls seamlessly transfer between Wi-Fi and cellular. You can start a call in your car on the way into the office. When you enter the office (and your Wi-Fi connection) the call transfers to your Wi-Fi without any intervention on your part.
The same interaction works in reverse. Start a call on UMA (Wi-Fi) and walk outside and your call transfers to T-Mobile’s cell towers. In my testing I was not able to tell the difference between a Wi-Fi and cellular call.
There’s a lot that still is wrong with Blackberry devices.
The applications for them are very “version 1.0-ish”. For example the Facebook application has not been significantly beefed up since its original release for Blackberry. And the iPhone is running rings around Blackberry in terms of both available applications as well as applications in development.
With the Blackberry Bold dropping today starting at $399 before rebates, you may want to take a look at this Blackberry 8220 which runs the same operating system (mine has 4.6) and uses Wi-Fi just like the Bold. Unlike the Bold, the Blackberry 8220 will let you make calls over Wi-Fi and is available via Amazon at a net cost of $0 after $50 rebate.
More thoughts coming in a more complete review after I’ve road tested the 8220 for a few weeks.