The Blackberry Electron came out in 2005 and featured a huge range of variants depending on the networks they supported. Here in the UK, we had the ‘g’ version, but there were also ‘c’, ‘f’, or ‘v’ versions depending on where you were in the world. This was important at the time as there were two distinct mobile phone technologies (GSM/CDMA) which were not compatible with one another.
Blackberry had already been making full QWERTY handsets for some time, from the original Blackberry 6230 and with the advent of colour screens and faster mobile phone processors, it was inevitable that these phones would need to be upgraded. Technology had not moved in such a way to make these phones lighter, however, and even by 2005 standards the handset was thick and heavy. But this was considered an acceptable trade-off for most users as the benefits outweighed the downsides.
The Blackberry 8700 helped pave the way for full QWERTY handsets by the company, and many of the best-selling classics design can be traced back here.
Pros of Blackberry 8700g:
Unrivalled e-mail experience: Unsurprisingly as the phone was designed for messaging, typing was much easier compared to many other handsets including other QWERTY types such as the Nokia 6300. The size was just right for two handed use.
Colour screen: The colour screen really enhanced the usability of the handset, featuring more colours and a higher resolution, ideal for image attachments.
Menu redesign: With no navigational arrow buttons, the trackwheel became the weapon of choice. On this handset, the menus were redesigned and customisable to allow the user a faster experience. The additional call and drop call keys as seen in the Blackberry 7100 were retained.
Cons of Blackberry 8700g:
Bulky handset: Whilst this was still pocket-sized, it was a heavy phone: almost twice the weight of the lightest mobiles. Other organiser-type phones suffered the same fate, but compensated by using much larger screens, for example the Sony Ericsson P910.
Limited application support: At this time the phone was not easily integrated into many of the tasks it was used for. Office documents could be viewed, but not edited. Bluetooth files could not be exchanged with the only use being for a wireless headset.
No camera: The phone lacked a camera, despite many other handsets in 2005 managing to put one in.
No expansion: On-board memory was limited to 64MB and there was no additional memory card slot: it was safe to say that this phone was not very media friendly and squarely aimed at the business e-mailer.
Future Prospects and Current Pricing:
Blackberry handsets are not very coveted yet, perhaps due to their availability in large numbers or that because of their operating system many of them are not much use as phones. The market for the older models is thinner than that of the mid-range models and as such may see greater volatility in prices.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.