As I have mentioned, I recently got a new BlackBerry 8830 World Editon with Sprint. Its been a while since I've upgraded a BlackBerry, the one I've had until now was a BlackBerry 8700c (older, EDGE with Cingular/AT&T). Needless to day, the new unit is much more advanced in terms of 3G connectivity, LCD Display and software/application support.
Hardware: the 8830 looks very sleek looking with a thin candybar profile which fits in my pocket nicely. Laying the device on a table makes you want to take a double look at its beautiful minimalist design. Having full QWERTY keyboard is nice, I miss having this luxury since I am relying on my N95-3 (standard 12-key numeric) now days. The 8830's QWERTY has a nice texture to it; the keys' surface has a bit of a protrution which feels better on the finger tips (unlike the 8700c keypad which has a flat surface). As mentioned, this is a Sprint version so its my first EV-DO 3G handset from a CDMA carrier and I am very impressed by the web speed. This is also the world edition which will allow me to make a roaming phone call when visiting countries running 900/1800 GSM network (which happens to be none US GSM bands). This is the first BlackBerry I've used using the trackball which took me a little to get used to; I am either too fast or too slow for the trackball sensitivity. The way I describe it is the trackball feels more analog whereas the classic scroll wheel is more digital which matches up each click nicely with the next icon across the screen. Other noteworthy hardware feature includes integrated-AGPS, MicroSD slot (next to the GSM Card slot in the battery compartment) and its support for a Media Player. The only complaint here is lack of WiFi and Camera.
Software: The best way to describe BlackBerry OS is "rigid", this OS is reliable as day 1. It didn' take me long to get familiar with BB's system. By contrast, I actually miss Symbian S60 application structure w/ the menu and sub-menu systems keeping things some what organized whereas BB's applications are just all scattered within one screen; which can look clustered after you have over 20+ icons. Some noteworthy improvements including shortcuts to various main functions like "profile", "search", etc... The addition of a media player is a plus; allowing you to playback videos, pictures and music files. Where the application really shines is the Google third party applications, such as the Google Maps (2.2 which supports real time train schedule) and GMAIL. Both applications are so well integrated that it actually feels like BlackBerry folks developed it as a native software; although a new app called BlackBerry Maps is now included, I find myself using Google Maps out of force of habit... largely because of the long history of having it available from my old BB days to WM6 to even Symbian S60.
An area where I was a litle disappointed is the lack of flexibility in the BlackBerry OS when it comes to downloading meda files. When I wanted to test out the music player, I tried several ways to load the music without having to pull the MicroSD card out of the device. When I send a URL for download, the browser says it won't support the file for playback (so downloading is not an option). I emailed the MP3 file as an attachedment, the device prompted me of exceeding BIS server limit. In the end, the only way to put music on device is to pull the MicroSD card out and use a card reader to transfer files. This is a little ironic because with the awesome EV-DO connectivity, I can't actually use it to download mass media file.
Overall, I am pleased with BlackBerry 8830's performance. Its as reliable as ever and with the new functionality supporting media files and adding MicroSD storage solution, its better than ever. I am excited to add another smartphone to my staple and will look forward to testing out new mobile experiences with it!