Pogue Drools Over BlackBerry Bold, Disses Flip

The NYT’s David Pogue weighs in on RIM’s attempts to keep pace with the iPhone. He loves the too-expensive Bold and harrumphs about the flaws in the cheaper Flip. The BlackBerry vs. iPhone score, meanwhile, remains the same:

  • BlackBerry is better for email
  • iPhone is better for the Internet

Pogue >

Both phones feature new software, loaded with useful programs (like a slick Clock/Stopwatch app) and white line-drawing icons against a jet-black background. As on the BlackBerry Pearl and the Curve, you navigate by turning a tiny, clickable trackball.

As usual, the strength of these BlackBerrys is e-mail, either individual or corporate. The new software offers fully formatted e-mail — fonts, bold, italic and so on — and pictures embedded right in the message. Word, Excel and PowerPoint attachments open right up, ready for simple edits.

Since these are BlackBerrys, they have physical, illuminated thumb keyboards. (Take that, iPhone!)

A hundred ingenious shortcuts save you time. Hit Space twice to get a period, a space and a capped next word. Hit Space when you’re typing an e-mail address to get the @ symbol. Apostrophes appear in contractions automatically. And so on.

The much-improved Web browser is still not as nice as the iPhone’s; you can’t rotate the screen for ease in reading wide columns, for example. And there’s no touch screen (let alone multitouch), so you can’t pinch or spread your fingertips to zoom in and out. Instead, Web pages appear in miniature; you click the trackball to zoom in. It works well enough.

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