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2006 Product-of-the-Year: Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Pearl Smartphone

The challenges to the knowledge worker are manifold; the challenges to the mobile knowledge worker are innumerable.  The number of solutions, both hardware and software, that Basex analysts look at over the course of a year is in the thousands.  Every day, several vendors brief one or more Basex analysts on a new tool that promises to make the life of the knowledge worker more productive.

Every so often there comes along a device that solves several challenges at once.  The one that caught our eye is Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Pearl smartphone, to which we bestowed the 2006 Basex Product-of-the-Year Award.

The Basex Product-of-the-Year Award singles out the best product or service – launched in the past year – designed for the knowledge worker that has achieved industry-leading and all-around excellence.

We selected the BlackBerry Pearl from a wide field of hardware and software solutions, citing its unique ability to combine the mobile telephone form factor with smartphone functionality via a single interface, through which mobile knowledge workers can surf the Internet and manage e-mail and calendar.

The BlackBerry Pearl exemplifies the type of device that has broken new ground and points the way to the future.  Over the past three months, I’ve had upwards of 25 fully featured mobile phones and smartphones arrive at my desk.  Many were very, very good.  But the Pearl was better.

Everyone who looked at it felt that it is truly a masterpiece of design; the pearl-like trackball used for navigation allows the mobile knowledge worker to literally tap into tremendous functionality

My colleague David Goldes captured the sentiment: “The Pearl provides the knowledge worker with as perfect a mobile telephony experience as is possible.  The designers of the Pearl created a better mobile phone and managed to add BlackBerry functionality without any compromises.”