A Business Technology Place

Saying Goodbye to BlackBerry Classic Keyboard!

BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Ralph Pini announced in a blog this week the decision to stop making the BlackBerry Classic. Pini writes that “sometimes it can be very tough to let go” but that “we will no longer manufacture BlackBerry classic.”BB Classic

It’s been so long since I’ve seen a BlackBerry in service that I was surprised they were still making the classic model. It’s no secret that BlackBerry hardware sales continue to fall and the company is desperately trying to reinvent itself. Just what would take to recapture the magic that a BlackBerry device once held in the business world?

The physical keyboard on the face of the device and track ball created a loyal following of addicts. It changed the way we both read and composed email. I don’t have any statistics to prove this but it sure seemed like BB users made less spelling mistakes with the classic BB keyboard. Amazingly guys with big fingers made it work too! I started composing email messages with a phone number in the footer so that someone reading on a BB could just scroll over the number for an instant phone dial.  The device was good at messaging and security. No frills. No Angry Birds. All business.

But take heart die-hards. Pini reminds us that “For now, if the Classic is still your device of choice, please check with your carriers for device availability or purchase Classic unlocked online. “ If you find a supply of them you may want to buy more than one.

Onward and upward!

Google Voice on BlackBerry

Google Mobile released a new version of its app for BlackBerrys last week. What’s new? Two features related to voice recognition and location detection.

  • Voice search
  • Search with my location

To run the voice search, you hold down the talk button on your BlackBerry and speak your search term.

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But wait there’s more. Voice search is tuned to work with American, British, and Canadian English.

I ran a quick test on this with a colleague at work. The results were less than convincing for the Brits.

Search term ‘Shoes’

American English returned ‘Shoes’
British English returned ‘Susan’

Search term ‘Cincos Restaurant’
American English returned ‘Kinkos Restaurant’
British English returned a local restaurant in Leeds England. Now that was interesting result. But for the record we were in Decatur Georgia, not Leeds.

Search term ‘Elliot’ (Hullo Elliot)
American English returned ‘Elliot’
British English returned ‘Antietam Centos’ – um, ok?

Just for fun. Search term ‘Susan’
British English returned ‘Feudalism’ – At that point we quit.

Give it shot. To get Google Mobile App on your BlackBerry, you can point your phone’s browser to http://m.google.com

UPDATE 4/13/09

Based on Jeb’s comments I found there is a setting on the application to change to ‘British English’.  I reran the experiment with my co-worker:

Shoes yielded Shins

Susan yielded Suzanne

Elliot yielded NES

Cincos Restaraunt gave a positive match.

While, generally closer there still appears to be some room for fine tuning the British English feature on Google Voice.