Hands On: Redfly Turns Your BlackBerry Into A Pseudo-Netbook

Turns out the Redfly, that netbook-looking device that extends a smartphone to its 8.9-inch display via Bluetooth or USB, is doing all right. So all right that they rolled out support for BlackBerry. I still would rather a netbook.

The $US250 Redfly hardware is the same—it has an 8.9-inch screen, a pretty cramped keyboard compared to the 10-inch netbooks of today and a decent-sized touchpad. I took issue with the latter. When it is paired with a Windows Mobile phone it works as a mouse, however, with the BlackBerry it works as a four way directional pad of sorts. It is supposed to mimic the rollerball on the Berry, but it doesn't really and it will take some getting used to.

Navigating the BlackBerry OS was a bit sluggish. It took at least two to three seconds to switch Windows or tasks (though apparently the drivers aren't final). The lag is killer when playing BrickBreaker. If I'm going to carry round a notebook looking device in my bag, I'd much rather a $US300 netbook with browsing and performance speed. But the Redfly isn't popular with people like me, it is primarily an enterprise solution for companies that would rather deploy smartphones rather than laptops. In that niche case, I assume this BlackBerry solution will be welcomed with open arms.

Not going to lie, I'm totally surprised that this company is still kicking with the onslaught of netbooks that cost just a tad bit more (though you can find good netbooks on sale now for $US250). But Redfly is still buzzing; they will be available at a larger brick and mortar retailer very soon and Android support will be here by the end of the year. [Celio Redfly]

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