I've been carrying a Samsung BlackJack around with me for a year now, and posted extensive comments on the device back then (actually, it was a year ago to the day!). All in all, I have been very pleased with the phone, and have even been willing to overlook its shortcomings.
But, I am always on the lookout for something better. And so the announcement this weekend of the Samsung BlackJack II caught my attention. Based on the published specs, this one looks very interesting:
- The biggest change is that the BlackJack II runs Windows Mobile instead of Windows SmartPhone, that will resolve some important limitations. It'll also mean that far more add-on software is available (including a Windows Remote Desktop client).
- The biggest difference between Windows Mobile and Windows SmartPhone is that the former is designed for point-and-click or point-and-touch, whereas the latter is not. Of course, this means that the BlackJack II (which, like its predecessor, has no touch screen) needs a way to point-and-click. To address this, the BlackJack II replaces the old circular direction button with a jog wheel (kind of like an iPod control). And in doing so, it looks like they removed the side scroll wheel (which I use constantly). I'll have to try this for myself.
- Battery life has supposedly been improved, that's a biggie.
- In addition to quad-band GSM (an absolute minimum requirement), the BlackJack II supports HSPDA, which means it'll work in Japan and elsewhere. That's a big plus.
- GPS is included, and it appears that it'll work with Google Maps. Nice!
- Bluetooth 2 is supported, but no word yet if they removed the ridiculous one active paired device at a time restriction. Some have noted that this may be a Windows SmartPhone issue, in which case in may indeed not be a problem with the BlackJack II. We can hope.
- It's slimmer and lighter, although the width and weight have never been an issue for me.
- The device is supposedly faster, has more memory, and a higher resolution camera, but those have never been issues for me, either.
Of course, I dropped by the AT&T store today to look at it, but was unable to do so. Although they received a shipment over the weekend, none had been unpacked yet. And while they were willing to sell me one, they did not have a unit on display for me to play with. I'm going to have to drop by later in the week, and will post more comments then. My gut feel is that I am going to have to upgrade, but ...
In the meantime, if you've had a chance to tinker with the BlackJack II, please share your thoughts.