Hands-On With The Redfly That Turns Your BlackBerry Into A Psuedo-Netbook

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

The $250 Redfly hardware is the same — it has a 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 touchpad, however. When it is paired with a Windows Mobile phone it works as a mouse, but 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.

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 around a notebook looking device in my bag, I'd much rather a $300 netbook with browsing and performance. But the Redfly isn't popular with people like me. It is primarily an enterprise solution for companies that would rather deploy smartphones than laptops. In that niche case, I assume this BlackBerry solution will be welcomed with open arms.

View gallery »

I am 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 $250). But Redfly is still buzzing; the devices will be available at a brick and mortar retailer very soon and Android support will arrive by the end of the year. [Celio Redfly]