BlackBerry for casual Friday
BLACKBERRY PEARL FLIP 8220 PHONE: When we think of BlackBerry smartphones, we often think of hunched-over, claw-fingered business executives, thumbs scampering over tiny keyboards. Eager to shed this image of its customers, Research in Motion is introducing the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220, which looks like a standard-issue flip phone.
The Flip uses SureType technology to mimic a BlackBerry's keyboard. Instead of 26 tiny buttons, the Flip has multiple letters assigned to each keypad number. You hit a few keys to spell out words; a predictive spelling checker ensures against gibberish.
The phone also downloads e-mail messages and can connect to instant-messaging and social-networking services. It has a 2-megapixel camera and can play music and videos. It includes a 256-megabyte microSD memory card, can hold up to 16 gigabytes and has Research in Motion's scroll ball.
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The Flip will be available through T-Mobile this fall (price information was not yet available). An external microphone and speaker let you make calls without flipping open the phone. The Flip's “casual Friday” design has another stealthy advantage: employees and bosses can continue to obsess over what is happening at the office without looking as if they are. JOHN BIGGS, New York Times
T-Mobile keeps it simple
TM506 PHONE ($79): With manufacturers falling over themselves to announce new smartphones, it is refreshing to see a standard, old-school clamshell handset now and again. The TM506 fits that bill: Instead of keyboards and other bells and whistles, this compact device has a simple numeric keypad and a basic user interface for ordinary phone functions.
The phone runs on T-Mobile's GSM network and also works internationally. It comes in green and black and costs $79 after rebates. Interestingly, this is the first phone from T-Mobile that supports wireless 3G networks in some cities in the United States and overseas. The TM506 can send text and picture messages and supports AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo and MSN messaging. It is also compatible with T-Mobile's MyFaves calling plan.
A 2.2-megapixel camera is included; battery life is about 5 hours of talk time and 10 days of standby time on one charge. It has a 2.2-inch screen and supports Memory Stick Micro.
It is nice to know that someone is still thinking of people who don't want to read a 100-page manual just to make a call. John Biggs, New York Times
2 monitors in the space of one
SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 2263DX ($550): Power users, stock traders and NORAD personnel have known for some time that working with multiple monitors has its advantages: More applications can be open and managed at a glance. But there is also a downside for many people: Attaching two big monitors to a PC consumes plenty of desk real estate.
Samsung's answer is the SyncMaster 2263DX ($550). It mates a 22-inch high-resolution (1,680 by 1,050 pixel) monitor with a 7-inch, 800 by 480 sidekick display (ideal for, say, an e-mail inbox or a chat window) that mounts above or to one side of the larger screen. The small display can also be detached and used independently.
The main display has high-definition HDMI and DVI digital inputs, as well as a VGA input for analog video. The smaller display has a USB input, with a DisplayLink chip to decode compressed video signals.
For video chats or conferences, the main monitor has a 3-megapixel Webcam and two microphones that pick up voices while minimizing ambient noise. Speakers are built into the bottom of the main screen, clearing even more desk space. Ivan Berger, New York Times