BlackBerry Javelin 8900 Hands-On Hardware First Look

Hands-On with the BlackBerry Javelin 8900!!!
By Kevin Michaluk on 20 Sep 2008 03:58 am EDT

A Hands-On First Look at the BlackBerry Javelin 8900!

w00t! It's time for yet another hands-on first look of a pre-release, pre-officially announced BlackBerry smartphone. We brought you the web's first review of the BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Pearl Flip, and now we're rounding out the Triple Crown of Smartphone Exclusives with an in-depth first look at the BlackBerry 8900, currently codenamed "Javelin."

Verizon's recent spree of media announcements / leaks / shenanigans surrounding the BlackBerry Storm has the smartphone world thinking "touchscreen" when it comes to the mention of a new BlackBerry smartphone, but there is another non-touchscreen BlackBerry just around the corner which has a huge contingent of BlackBerry users equally excited. No, it doesn't quite have the "wow" factor of a touchscreen BlackBerry, nor the all-in-one power of the flagship BlackBerry Bold, but as an evolution of the Curve and younger sibling to the Bold, the Javelin is one tight, sexy package that is going to find its way into the pockets and holsters of millions of people.

As with our BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Pearl Flip reviews, keep in mind the device we're working with here is pre-release. While the hardware of our Javelin seems to be pretty good, it's definitely an earlier pre-production build (dated to June/08). The unit in this review actually features the French AZERTY keyboard layout (vs. QWERTY) along with a white trackball and 128MB of onboard memory. Newer evaluation builds of the Javelin, and presumably the 8900 when it becomes commercially available, will feature a grey/black trackball and 256MB of device memory. So as you read this, keep in mind some things will likely change-up a little bit by the time you can walk into your local carrier store and buy this device.

It only takes three words to sum up the BlackBerry 8900... Curve on Steroids. But three words are not enough for any real CrackBerry Addict to get their fix, so continue reading after the jump for my initial hardware impressions and a whack load of images. I'll follow up in a few days with a hands-on video and some more feedback on device use. Oh, and in case you were thinking it, I DID NOT buy this Javelin off eBay for $17,100. I'm crazy, but I'm not *that* crazy :-)

Read On For My Initial BlackBerry Javelin 8900 Impressions >>


Some BlackBerry Javelin History

It was back in early May when the "Javelin" codename for RIM's next generation, full-QWERTY, 3G-less BlackBerry surfaced online and mid-June when the first in the wild images and brief video emerged. The device was originally tagged as the 9300 but in recent weeks switched to the 8900 model number, just as the 9100 KickStart became known as the 8220 Pearl, leaving the BlackBerry Bold 9000 at the top of the non-touchscreen BlackBerry chain. While the device looked sweet in the early images, it wasn't until we leaked these images that there was really quasi-official proof of what the new BlackBerry 8900 was going to pack come its eventual release... 

BlackBerry 8900 "Javelin" Key Features:

  • Quad-band radios: GSM/GPRS/EDGE (no 3G)
  • Wi-Fi b/g with UMA + GPS in one
  • OS 4.6.1, featuring Safe Mode start up
  • 480 by 360 high-res HVGA+ display
  • 512 MHz Processor
  • 256 MB onboard flash memory (more room for apps)
  • Hot-swappable microSD slot - located under the battery door 
  • 3.2MP camera, includes auto-focus
  • Glass cover - one piece glass cover will house the camera and flash, providing a very polished look and feel
  • Micro USB charging/syncing port, w/ high speed data
  • Dedicated Lock Button - will allow easy access to lock / hold the device when not using a holster
  • "Sweet Spot" narrow keypad
  • Battery Cover features a new easy to use, latch mechanism

Suffice to say the blogosphere has been pretty clued in to the 8900's goodness. The big questions remaining are when are we going to see it and what's it officially going to be called at release? Regarding release date, some people say within 30 to 60 days while other rumors suggest the Javelin may be getting pushed back a bit longer (let's hope not!). As for the name? Well... at this point I'm not sure. The KickStart unexpectedly kept the name of an existing device model, becoming the BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220. Could the same thing happen here with the 8900? Will RIM leverage the strength of the existing Curve name and brand this device the Curve 8900? Or will they get creative and come up with something snazzy and new?! I guess only time will tell...

But there's a big difference to knowing the specs of a device and holding it in hand. Time to get hands-on with the Javelin!

Initial Reactions and Observations

Having used the BlackBerry Bold since its release on Rogers, my first thought when seeing the Javelin unboxed was "dammmmnnnn, this thing is small." And having used a BlackBerry Curve as my daily smartphone up until purchasing the Bold, my first thought upon picking the Javelin up was "dammmmnnnn, this feels ohhh soo familiar and good."

A whole lot of full-QWERTY BlackBerry goodness From left to right: the evolution of the BlackBerry full QWERTY keyboard
The Evolution of Full-QWERTY BlackBerry Smartphones!

I immediately fell in love with the 8900's overall form factor. The shape and styling of the BlackBerry 8900 is definitely an evolution and tribute to the existing Curve form factor, but in my opinion feels and looks even better than the 83xx series with much improved specs. It's faster, has a better display, more memory and has WiFi and GPS in one (none of this 8310/8320 compromise stuff). If only it had 3G, the decision between the Bold and the Javelin would be relatively easy. Specs and looks aside, the 8900 is simply the device I'd rather carry with me and hold and use all day based on size and feel. It fits me. That doesn't mean it's a better device than the Bold, far from it, but simply that both are pretty awesome and personal preference and requirements (do you need 3G?) are going to dictate which device you immediately gravitate towards. More on that later... 

A freshly unboxed pre-release BlackBerry Javelin 8900 Pulling off the protective wrap to unmask the 8900's dazzling display

A 3.2 megapixel camera! Finally! Nice BlackBerry logo and new latch design is much improved Firing up the Javelin's display. Big, Bright and Beautiful!
Getting Hands-On With the BlackBerry 8900 for the First Time


BlackBerry Javelin 8900 Hardware Observations

There are a ton of photos here (each with descriptive captions), so I'll try and keep my initial hardware observations limited and you can click a picture to get your thousand words. Once I spend a bit more time using the device I'll follow up with more in-depth observations.

Display: Frak'n awesome. In terms of physical dimensions, the Javelin's display is narrower than the Bold's by a ¼ inch and is the same height. Yet at 480 by 360 pixels, the 8900's display is actually higher resolution than the Bold's already-amazing 480 by 320 display. Looking at the homescreen, icons appear smaller and crisper on the Javelin. I can't wait to load it up with videos and put it to the test.

Keyboard / Navigation: The Javelin's keyboard is compact, but I've been finding it easy to type on (even with the French AZERTY layout, which I have already gotten used to and have concluded may actually be more efficient to use over QWERTY for typing in English!). Just like the BlackBerry 83xx series, the BlackBerry 8900's keys are spaced out. This key spacing means there are no cool guitar-style frets, like on the Bold and Pearl Flip. If you look at the 8900's keyboard closely, more than the Curve it most closely resembles the keyboard on the BlackBerry 8700 series, just condensed slightly.

The central navigation buttons for the Javelin are the same as for the Bold, only shrunk down, and as mentioned above it sounds like the commercially available 8900 is going to feature a change up in trackball color, to grey / black. In my BlackBerry 9000 initial review I noted that the trackball looked a little small / lost on the Bold's body, but on the Javelin it looks perfect once again. I never measured for Phi, but I'm assuming there must be some of that Divine Proportion stuff at work here.

Around the Perimeter: The perimeter buttons/ports/controls on the phone are one of the biggest areas where the Javelin has evolved from the Curve and is very different from the Bold. The left side of the Javelin is almost empty. It features only the left side convenience key and what I *think* is a tiny speaker port at the top. The right side of the Javelin has become extremely BUSY. Not only is there the standard volume up / down and right side convenience key, but the 3.5mm headset jack and syncing/charging port which used to be on the left are now on the right. Like the Pearl 8220, the Javelin features a microUSB port vs. miniUSB. I have to admit, I've been finding it extremely weird to plug the microUSB cable into the lower right corner of the 8900. I instinctually keep reaching for the upper left.

The bottom of the 8900 is also very empty. Like the Curve, it features just a tiny hole for microphone pickup. However, the top of the phone is an area where RIM has kicked things up a notch. Instead of just having a mute key, that if held down for two seconds puts the phone into standby, RIM has taken a more intuitive approach and given the Javelin its own dedicated Lock button. The lock / mute buttons are very cool. They're actually hidden beneath the plastic casing of the device, so that you're actually pushing in on the device body to active them (will demonstrate in video). This definitely helps in giving the Javelin a sleek look. 

The 8900's busy side. Headphone jack, volume up and down, right side convenience key and microUSB port The 8900's empty side. Tiny speaker port at the top and left side convenience key

No leather back on the 8900 like its big brother, the Bold 9000 Improved battery door release mechanism. The latch is actually attached to the door
The BlackBerry 8900 is a Tight Little Package. Hawt!!

Back Side: Two things really stand out when you flip the BlackBerry 8900 around for a look. One, there's a much-welcomed 3.2MP camera on the Javelin that's housed behind a glass cover (THANK YOU), and two, a smartly engineered battery cover latch. The battery door itself looks nice and feels good, though if you've grown to love the leather back on your Bold then the 8900's door may leave you wanting (if you haven't seen it, check out the video for Hit Me On My BlackBurry and you'll know where I'm coming from). The sliding mechanism on the Javelin's latch is actually built into the battery door. Instead of pushing in a button (Curve) or pulling the latch down towards the bottom of the phone (Pearl 8220), you actually push the sliding mechanism up towards the top of the phone, which immediately provides a handy grip for lifting the cover off. This is by far the easiest experience I have had with removing and replacing the battery cover on a BlackBerry. I haven't done a drop test yet (don't plan on it either!), but kudos to RIM for finally figuring this one out. And if you ever do run into issues with the latch, a battery door that actually contains the latch mechanism will be much cheaper and easier to replace than a full casing.

Under the Battery Cover: Remove the battery cover on the Javelin and things are nicely laid out. You can tell RIM put a lot of though into this part of the device. The battery is 1400mAh, and unlike other RIM batteries that are always perfect rectangles, the D-X1 battery in the 8900 has a small jog in it near the leads. RIM even left a small space in the casing to the left of the battery, making it easy for you to get your fingernail in there to lift and remove the battery. We'll see how the battery lasts over the next few days of use.

The SIM card slot has a convenient location and is easy to get your card in and out of. The battery blocks the SIM port a little bit, so you will have to remove the battery in order to remove your SIM card.

The media card slot is convenient and soooo easy to use, although its location confused me at first. I was looking for the typical hinged door mechanism and when I didn't see that I was second guessing myself altogether as I definitely never saw an externally accessible microSD card slot. The media card slot location is to the right of the SIM card slot, and all you need to is drop your card in and slide it to the right. Removing the card is easy as well (slide it to the left). I've griped in the past that every smartphone should have an externally accessible media card slot, but if you think about how often you actually access your media card, and factor in the Javelin's easy-to-remove battery cover, I think the solution RIM has come up with here is optimal. It keeps the outside lines of the phone cleaner, and is actually an easier mechanism to work than the spring release systems I have experienced on the Bold and Pearls.

Processor: I won't weigh in too much on the Javelin's processor just yet, as the version of OS4.6.1 on this unit is a fairly early build (here's to hoping some newer versions find their way into the wild soon!), but I think it's fair to say the 8900 is not as fast as the Bold, but is a helluva lot faster than the Curve / 8800 / Pearls. It's definitely zippy flying through the menus and native programs, and with a device memory increase up to 256MB it should hopefully keep that speed even as you load the device up with apps. Come full release time, I don't think anyone will be disappointed in this processor.

GPS & WiFi: The Javelin has both, but I haven't really tested either out yet. Stay tuned for me here.

Camera: I haven't played too much with the camera yet (and haven't touched the video camera at all), but the initial snaps I have taken with the 3.2MP camera seem pretty good. Although, I did encounter one glitch that I have yet to rectify... when the option for Picture Size is set to Large, 8900's 3.2MP camera should take photos at 2048 by 1536 pixels. Yet the photos I have taken are clocking in at only 1856 by 1392 pixels (which is not even an option on the phone). I'm guessing it's a tweak that has already been address in a newer version of the OS (or user error I'm not aware of?!).

For those interested in a quality comparison between the Bold and Javelin's camera, I snapped a shot of a couple of cars parked on a street. Taken one after another, here's a Photo taken with the Javelin and the same Photo taken with the Bold. You be the judge.

Sound: Historically this wasn't something I immediately looked at in a hardware review, but the BlackBerry Bold's awesome (for a smartphone) sound has put it on my radar for good. This is one area where the Javelin really seems to be lacking in comparison to the Bold. The Bold features a ton of sound ports around the perimeter of the phone that maximize airflow out of the device and create an almost stereo-like effect. The 8900 has one at the top, one below the camera glass, and I *think* another small one near the top left of the phone (unless that's something else... I'm an Addict, not an Expert!!). Cranking up the tunes, the Javelin goes twangy quite quick in comparison to the Bold.

OS 4.6.1: My BlackBerry 8900 unit is currently running OS4.6.1.28, and I'm sure there are some newer versions out there for it already. I'll get more into the OS in a follow up review, but essentially 4.6.1 builds upon the OS found in the Bold. The biggest new feature I'm itching to try out is Safe Mode, which apparently can be entered by holding the back key while booting. Stay tuned for a lot more here....

All in all, the Javelin's hardware makes for a tight little package stacked with a lot of performance. The lack of 3G definitely hurts, but I'm sure RIM is already working to get that one figured out for a future model based on this (or a similar) form factor.

The new battery door release seems to work really well - best I have experienced on a BlackBerry Under the hood: Battery has a custom shape; no need to remove the battery to access media card

Snapping a photo on the Javelin's 3.2 megapixel camera. Image to the right is actual full size photo Picture taken on the Javelin. Click for full size 2048 x 1536 photo
Attention to Detail in the 8900's Design, and a Promising 3.2MP Camera!


BlackBerry Javelin 8900 vs. BlackBerry Bold / Curve

Comparing the BlackBerry Javelin to the BlackBerry Bold is a little like comparing the BMW 3 Series to the BMW 5 Series. Either way you're a winner. Sure there will be some arguments back and forth as to which is the better car, and each will outperform the other in certain areas, be it power, luxury, agility, gas mileage, or the ability to easily parallel park it, but push come to shove the car that appeals to you will be the one that meets your requirements, satisfies your priorities and provides you with your ultimate driving experience.

If you a value a smartphone that is small and can live with the absence of 3G, you're going to love the BlackBerry 8900. It's smaller than the Bold in every dimension, feels comfortable in the hand and is small enough to easily tuck into a pocket, yet it packs more device memory, a higher resolution display and a better camera than the Bold. Not to shabby for a younger sibling.

BlackBerry Javelin 8900 and BlackBerry Bold 900 side by side The Javelin moves the headset jack and sync/charging port over to the right side of the device

The 8900 looks empty compared to the Bold when lined up side by side like this. Javelin is thinner The view from behind. Both look good to me! Decisions, decisions, decisions...

From the bottom: Javelin has one tiny microphone pickup while the Bold has pickup, latch and speaker port The Javelin features a dedicated lock/unlock key (awesome!) and mute key in a hidden button design
Comparing the BlackBerry 8900 Javelin to the BlackBerry Bold 9000

So long as you don't mind the size, it's hard to beat the flagship of RIM's full-QWERTY lineup, the BlackBerry Bold. It has 3G, GPS and WiFi all in one, has a bigger display (physically), a roomy keyboard that's easy to type on, excellent speakers (consider them to be Harmon Kardon or BOSE compared to Javelin's factory speakers), a wicked-fast processor, and the leatherette battery cover and chromed guitar frets give it an extra touch of class. Heck, it even comes with a plushy 1GB of storage space built in for media (though I've never really understood that one... don't we all buy big microSDHC cards the second we get our devices?!). The Bold is the king of the road. And while I personally prefer a smaller phone, there are plenty of people out there who prefer a little more leg finger room. Hopefully we'll see the extra memory and bigger camera hit the 9000 lineup one day soon.

BlackBerry Curve 8300 and Javelin 8900 side by side Curve and 8900 from the back. Gotta love 3.2 megapixels!

Curve stylings have definitely carried through into the next generation Javelin 8900 The BlackBerry 8900's left side is very clean
Comparing the BlackBerry 8900 Javelin to the BlackBerry Curve

While choosing between the Javelin and the Bold will be a difficult decision for many in the months ahead, the comparison and decision between the Curve 83xx series and 8900 is much easier... as I said at the start of this write-up, the Javelin is the Curve on Steroids, without the moral dilemmas or potential health issues to worry about. The BlackBerry Curve is an awesome phone, but the Javelin outperforms it in every single area.... speed, display, memory, operating system, camera, functionality, form, feel, looks... period.  


Up Next - Using the BlackBerry Javelin

The 8900's 480 by 360 HVGA+ display is brilliant Pre-Release OS on the Javelin. Will try and track down a newer version for Part II of this review!
Stay Tuned for Part II of the Hands-On BlackBerry Javelin Review

So much for a short review! There's still lots of BlackBerry Javelin goodness to come in the days ahead as we spend some time with the 8900 and get to know it a bit better. Stay tuned for a hands-on video and more. In the meantime, be sure to submit your reactions and questions in the comments!

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Reader comments

BlackBerry Javelin 8900 Hands-On Hardware First Look


Just on this particular model/unit. North American devices will of course have full QWERTY. AZERTY is just the french keyboard layout. But I've been finding it to work great for English too. Just took a few minutes to get reacquainted (only a couple of keys are moved around)

And don't expect anyone who's NOT an American to understand tact or common decency.

Don't we all just love ignorant generalizations?

Dude you're a ignorant foreigner who isn't good enough to be American. You can only wish and dream that one day you will get to suck a big American wang you freakin foreign fruit. How many young boys a day do you sodomize over there in non-America? As many as your disgusting heart desires I presume. We understand your jealous of what you can't have(freedom in America). It must be hard being homosexual in a country that doesn't tolerate your gayness and fondness for man gravy dribblin down your chin. Suck America's wang, b*tch

my chin is free, the man sauce dribbles nicely, as i watch ur dollar fall, my thong stands tall, u hit a recession and fell into depression, ur economy stinks just like ur next black president, u put ur trust in the black hole, smoking crack and sniffing blow, ur a bunch of junkies u and ur flag, the star spangled banner represents fags.

Yes, that was explained in the review. But what's the actual purpose? Do some consider it easier to type on? Is it just tradition? Is it because some letters are used more frequently in French compared to English?

Kevin, I must say you crushhhhhhed it with this mini-review. I was definitely looking forward to a Javelin - Curve comparison. Keepem coming!

Sweet review Kevin, looking forward to the rest of it that's for sure, and you are so right about the key styling..cross between curve and 8700..Javelin is looking pretty pimp to me, but I'm a Bold lover..although at some point I can see a javelin being added to my collection just based on pure sexxyness of it ;)

1. as a smalltime poster, but avid, crackberry guy - dude you are the coolest. and, im not being a suck up.

2. I think that this phone is the (2nd) coolest phone on the t.b.r. list (storm is #1) I'm a curve guy and I just dont think I'll jive with the bold anymore.

3. when do you sleep?

MODS and Admins don't sleep as a matter of fact we're not sure if we are even human any more, we're more like...BlackBerry news robots/zombies lol!

Now I have to choose?? AHH...I think I like the Javelin better for the moment. I like that its smaller and has a great camera. I think I will hold out for it! :) :)

Since getting my Bold I've had little/none success with receiving any other pre-releases and I'm in 'BlackBerry City'....Kudos Kevin, I've been tryin to get one of those for weeks, had one in my hands but was not up for grabs...sigh :S
Excellent review none the less...Still a bold fan, wish it had the black/grey trackball though! Looking forward to the Storm review ;)

I had my heart set on switching from T-Mo to VZW for the Storm. Where as I was 100% sure before I started reading, I am about 70% sure I want it now. They are sure to come out with a new better looking Storm in a year or two, which just happens to be the agreement between the wife and I about how long I would have to wait to get a new phone after I switch BB devices for the third time in 8 months!!! Addict you say? I think, hellz-yeah!!!

Kevin, while there may be no 3G version of this phone for the GSM carriers, I'm willing to bet that when this phone makes it to Verizon and Sprint that it will be EV-DO Rev-A.

The CDMA carriers will have 3.5 G Javelins to sell.


Thanks for this awesome review, I defenitly looking forward to your opinion for choosing my next BB device. Javelin or Storm? Or maybe an updated version of the Bold...


Do you think when the 9000 or 8900 are released in North America, that they will be exclusive to one carrier? It looks like Verizon will be the place to go for the Storm and I for one was hoping to have some carrier options with these models.

Excellent review. It said everything I suspected from months of scouring this site. If I didn't live in a 3G coverage area, the 8900 would definitely be my toy/tool of choice. Now if AT&T will just release the 9000.

Great great review kevin. This is a definate purchase for me when it comes out so youre just adding icing to the cake for me. Keek up the good work man

Thanks for the first mini review of the Javelin!

Question, I know you had mentioned the sounds quality of the speaker on the Bold were far better then Javelin correct? Well how does the Javelin compare to the curve? Is there an improvement? Just wondering, I am on Verizon so i am still undecided as to which device I want next the Storm or Javelin? Decisions, Decisions...LOL

Very nice review Kevin! We can tell you spent a lot of time putting this together. I am sure the CB community appreciated your work on this!

Excellent review as usual Kevin. Thanks for the article!

I am assuming having 3G would be too much for the battery considering the form factor. Great device nonetheless.

Great little review Kevin! I can't wait for more in dept review with videos.

Kevin, which keyboard do you feel is better/comfortable between curve/javelin/bold? The keyboard looks sweet but I just want to know when it comes down to it if you think it's the best one yet.

I am not a bb owner, I will only buy the Javelin with 3g.

Excellent review as usual Kevin. Thanks for the article!

I am assuming having 3G would be too much for the battery considering the form factor. Great device nonetheless.


My 3G sprint curve gets two days of battery life with heavy use, I don't see why at least on Sprint or Verizon that couldn't be possible.

I just think in the case of the GSM version,RIM has decided to pass on 3G for the moment.


Nice review Kevin!

Now the ultimate question - which do YOU prefer?

The Bold or the Javelin?

For me - I like the Bold more still. I have a Sony Cybershot for pics and the camera seems to be like the only strong point besides size. The bold packs more punch.

If only AT&T would drop the Bold so I can actually pick one up.

What are you going to use?

I was hoping nobody would ask me that....

Still thinking on it. It's a tough decision. Will talk it over with Craig on our next podcast and I'll see if I proclaim a personal favorite there.

Stay tuned!


Kevin, your the man! I love my Bold, and I think I will pick up the Javelin for my wife, she is on her third pearl, and she is getting frustrated with Suretype.

When the iPhone came out I thought of abandoning the BB 8830. But over time I learned how much I like the BB. But if Verizon keeps on killing WiFi and GPS on their phones I really need to get a BB on another network or hang a netbook and TomTom on my belt ;) Thanks Verizon!

Good stuff Kev. I love the review and no I didn't think you would have purchased it for $17,000. Lol.

I can't wait for the rest of it. Hopefully AT&T gets 3g added to this bad boy seeming that they aren't looking to add any non-3g smartphones/pdas anymore.

Camera... A lot of users are drooling over the 3.2mp, but I would love to see it in action before assuming that because they slapped the 2.2 more MP on it, that it's better.

I'm getting a new blackberry in a couple of months (around December or January). It's up to you guys, which Blackberry should I get? Size nor the price doesn't bother me. I just want THE BEST Blackberry that's available. (Oh, I'm on the AT&T network).


the new BB Javelin is amazing!

quite the review :D

im just hoping to start hearing talk of a release date for this thing!
i wanted to update soon, and was just thinking Curve (the Bold is to big), and now VZW is talking the Storm...

are they going to be released together?
or do you think that the Javelin will the the big BB holiday release?

Another great review.

No 3G in my area. It seems like a suitable replacement for my curve.

Its just up to T-Mo which Berry they come out with. I can't wait much longer!!

Seems like there more worried about new colors than new technology.

Boy, it sure is going to be a tough call on all of the new blackberrys. They all look good, except the "flip". I was going to get a new iPhone 3G, but I can't upgrade now and they won't sell me one otherwise. By the time I can upgrade, all of the Blackberrys will be out and I could change carriers as well. Choices, choices! I had the Iphone 1G, and it was too big and heavy for my small hand. My pearl is fantastic.

Its REALLY frustrating when you guys keep saying this phone is not 3g. It may not be 3g when it releases on Att and Tmobile, but ALL of Sprint and Verizons blackberries are 3g (EVDO). ALL of them. So this will be too. And Sprint/Verizon (CDMA) customers far outnumber ATT/Tmobile (GSM) in the U.S.

So when you say this phone is not 3g, that is technically wrong. There will be MORE 3g (EVDO) handsets than non-3g (GSM) made for the US market.

I'm getting the Jav! *hand down!* Luv the size, camera, and everything about it. I sure hope it's a Nov/Dec release!! (holiday release, as someone mentioned!) 2-3 months to go... hurry up!! ;-) If Kev has the pre-released Javelin already, maybe it'll be released sooner/earlier than we expected, whoo!!

First and foremost, this model, the 8900 is not 3G and never will be. There may be a 8930 with 3G for CDMA, but that would be a different model, now wouldn't it? i.e. the Curve 8320 (non-3G) is not the same phone as the Curve 8330 (3G). Secondly, if you knew your stuff, you would know that chances are this phone won't reach CDMA until way after its launched by T-Mobile. Much like, Sprint released the Curve nearly a year after T-Mobile released it. And finally, EV-DO is not the only format of 3G, and 3G is not limited to CDMA. There are countless GSM 3G phones out there that use UMTS technology.

Nope. Not confused at all. Im talking about the Javelin in general, not specifically the 8900, I'm talking about ALL Javelins (8900,8910,8920,8930,8940,8963,8988, etc.) It seems every article written in this site is written from the perspective that ATT is the only carrier in the US.

The fact is there are more CDMA than GSM customers in the US.
The facts are that all blackberries released so far from the past few years have hit all 4 major carriers.
The facts are that all CDMA blackberries have been 3g.

So with all these facts in mind, it can easily be deduced that there will be MORE CDMA (Sprint/Verizon/Alltel) blackberries made, than there will be GSM (ATT/Tmobile). So the majority of the Javelins in the US will support 3g.

And finally, I never said anyting about EVDO being the only form of 3g, or 3g limited to CDMA, or ANYThing about UMTS at all.

Okay, that's for clearing up what you meant. And hey, if Sprint keeps dropping millions of customers every quarter, and T-Mobile and AT&T keep gaining millions every quarter, we may have a GSM-CDMA ballgame lol. There's always the possibility that the Javelin may be an exclusive with T-Mobile for longer than usual. Think about it, AT&T is getting the Bold, Verizon is getting the Storm and Sprint just got the Curve....wouldn't it be a tad bit over saturating (from RIM and/or the carrier's perspective) if the Javelin were released to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint along with the Storm, Bold and 8330? Not to mention RIM and T-Mobile seem to be awfully buddy buddyish.

Neither one of you two know what you're talking about. The Javelin will be GSM only. There will be a CDMA version of the Javelin, but it's called the Niagara.

Now Kevin, WHERES THE VID???? ;)

Thanks for the great review! I'm definitely thinking about a javelin now - and I can't wait for part II of the review. Addicts don't need sleep.

So excited for this phone! Glad RIM has fixed the SIM card issue, it's a pain in the ass to have my SIM card fly out every time I do a battery pull.

I wonder if RIM will put it out in more than one colour...

I don't really care about the 3G's nice, but it's not imperative.

I really really wish this phone was 3G, seeing as how t-mobile has 3G coming across several major U.S. cities. And I think my city already has it, just no 3G phones for the carrier (not sure if that statement is %100). I am looking forward to the G1 though. Great review. Gonna due a video of it?

(if this double posts its due to slow internet)

Hi Kevin,
nice review :-) just wondering do you have any problem with the screen? like when you push the button below the screen (phone function, blackberry logo & back logo)or eve if you touch lower part of the screen, somehow it might give 'fluid effect' like in LCD panel?
I just wondering why they put charger pod in right side of the keyboard :-( It disturb you to work while charging

The Jav. would be my choice hands-down if I could pick any Berry.

Of course I'm on Verizon so I guess I'll just have to hang on to my Curve and watch all the cool kids until my turn finally comes.

It's all Kevin's fault I have a Bold. Really, I was all set to get the Aphone. I looked into Pearl, and Curve and was impressed but not convinced. Then Kevin did whatever necessary to get his hands on a Bold, posted his exclusive review and I was hooked. Well it seems Kevin just added to his fan base. My girlfriend (who loves my Bold but not sure she wants to sell out to, just fell in love with Kev... errr JAVELin "he can afford to buy phones for $17, that a picture of his hummer?"

Ok all jokes aside, Yeah that Javelin is nice. This definitely seems like the phone my girlfriend wants. I could definitely go for the 3.2 mp camera with autofocus, as I love picture blogging with my phone (what, you didn't think I bought my Bold strictly for work did you?). I sent her the link to the blog and she is in awe. Slim and sexy, with a full qwerty which is important to her. She has stood by to watch my thumbing improve and wants the the mad texting skills I now have. Decent Camera (I am going to be sooo jealous). Can't wait for more review so that we can see the media tools and more. The improved display is a bonus. To be honest I wasn't sure they could do a qwerty and better than half VGA but Blackberry has surprised us again. Finally, when Javelin comes to Canada it will most likely be available with other carriers, rather than another Rogers exclusive, so Jessy doesn't need to sell her soul, like I did for the Bold.

3G is completely wasted on the BOLD as either the hardware, or the software sucks. My BOLD is about as fast as my EDGE 8310, so I will most likely replace with a Javelin for smaller phone. Push email seems same speed on both.
my 2c

3G is completely wasted on the BOLD as either the hardware, or the software sucks. My BOLD is about as fast as my EDGE 8310, so I will most likely replace with a Javelin for smaller phone. Push email seems same speed on both.
my 2c

I hope when this comes to the UK they manage to sort out 3G for it; it would be a dream phone if that was done.

Have they released who the carrier(s) will be yet? I'm looking at getting the Thunder when it comes out but I'd rather have the Javelin / Niagra because I like the ACTUAL full keyboard rather than the virtual.

I hope it comes out on VZW cause then I'm not going to get the Thunder for me, just for the wife. I'll wait and get the Javelin / Niagra then, if it's coming to VZW by like June 2009.

Anyone got any insight on the carrier(s) yet?

Someone wake me up when someone gets the cold hard facts on the CMDA model. We all know CDMA has the best coverage here in the U.S. I would be way more interested in this is it was CDMA and 3G. I just dont see the point in this day and age of releasing a non 3G capable phone. Yes, GSM here in NA is very lacking on 3G coverage. I don't think this means you should not build it into the phone.

Someone asked this, but i didnt see an answer, Kevin (or anyone who knows) how does the sound on the Javelin compare to the Curve? This is a big selling point for me as well, and you said it gets tinny pretty fast, is it at least as good as the Curve's speakers? Better?

Keep in mind - prerelease device, so there's a good chance it'll be better at full release than what I have.

Probably right now it's equal to, or little better than Curve. But nowhere near the Bold.

Kevin - I really appreciate the work you put into that great review and the pictures. I think the Jav is the natural upgrade to the curve user where there is no local 3G on the horizon. Question: I know there are endless options for font sizes on both devices, but can you give a relative comparison on how page the ratio is between a Curve and the Jav? Like, "a full page of text on the Jav with font size 8 would take 1.75 pages on the curve?" Personally, I think I am most excited about the screen size.

Thanks again!

- Jet (currently an 8310 user)

I avoided this story/reveiw for a long time because I am pretty much awaiting the bold. But after I read the story I must say that I'm pretty excited about this phone even though I have no intention on buying this thing. I do like the camera enlosed fully in glass and all. Pretty sweet.

I have just a few questions about the javelin.

Is the screen glass? If it isn't, is it at least more durable than the one on the Bold?

ATT says that they will not carry any more non-3G phones so does this mean that there is little chance they will receive the javelin whenever it comes out?

Any idea when it will debut? Maybe by Christmas?

anyone notice or mention that the blinking indicator LED light is in the same position as the CDMA curves?

is this a CDMA (first to get it) release?

and yes, i would like to think that Verizon would be wanting to use it on their 3G service, which by the way is FAR superior to that thing AT&T is calling 3G, meh... :||

Well it says "edge" (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) in the upper right edge of the display in one of the screens, so it's supposed to be a GSM phone.

Any news of expected release date for Jav on Tmo? I was about to sign a two year with AT/T for Bold... but Jav looks sweet! And I LOVE customer service at TMO! They are always nice and NEVER pressure you to renew the contract. You could stay off contract forever and they never ask you to resign unless you get the new phone.

Release date?

Wow! Your research on this new product is awsome, Kevin. I'm glad you didn't pay the $17k for it, but oh is it sweet, & a workhorse to boot!

Thanks again for all the work you put into researching these new products!


Hey everyone. I don't own a Blackberry but after doing allot of research into the Bold I have decided to become a crackberry user. My question is though ummm what is this whole CDMA and such, why does this make a deciding factor on what phone people get?

@ NYsLegend78:

CDMA is the type of network that Verizon and Sprint use. T-Mobile and AT&T use GSM. These networks are incompatible. So the argument that the phone is CDMA would effectively mean that the Javelin's release for AT&T or T-Mobile (GSM) is tentative. I think that the phone in this review is GSM unlocked (not locked to a specific carrier) but i could be wrong... Anyways if this was a CDMA phone it would mean AT&T or T-Mobile might not see it. However, i think it is quite the opposite, that it will not be released to Sprint or Verizon until after awhile. Does this answer your question? Hope i helped.

Oh and welcome to the club :)

Just curious as to how the faster processor, enhanced video, etc will affect the battery life of Javelin 8900 vs Curve 8300.

I'm also bummed that they're not keeping the same mini-USB connector. All of my other devices use this, and it was one of the (many) things that drew me to the BlackBerry. I can do so many things with one USB cable right now.

I'd rather not have to carry another cable with me just for my phone.

Well I was so excited about the bold that when it came out I immediately upgraded from the curve.. And I love the bold but know that I see the Javelin hmm the excitement and anxiety of waiting for this is starting to build again!

Alhtough I love the bold I loved absolutely the size of the curve. I WANT A JAVELIN!

Looks like my type of phone. I have become a crackberry since getting my Pearl in late last year and then switching to the Curve through work in June. I too have been watching closely at the launch of this phone. I didn't think that anything could be better than my curve, but by your review the look and feel of the 8900 and the upgraded features look like something right up my alley!! Can't wait to see when it will come to the market here in the U.S.

with the blackberry 8900 in the pics, it says "rogers" on the home screen, also i can see that the sim card is rogers, does that mean it will be on rogers? or that it is compatible with rogers?


kevin when are we going to see the video you promised us??? just curious cause i really want to see this badboy in action

Almost all countries have their own natiional keyboard layouts. Here's a link that shows the many and various layouts in use

Keyboard layouts are based on two major criteria.
1. Which keys are typed in which order and most often by that national language users. Clearly languages that yse accented characters require specific key assigned to these characters. Usually these replace the curly and square brackets and a few other keys as well.

2. Historical. The American standard QWERTY layout came about in the days of mechanical typrewriters. It turned out not to be possible to make a keyboard that supported ABCDEFG due to the way that the old letter hammers came up and hit the paper so they invented the QWERTY layout.

Today Windows uses the selected keyboard fora variety of things ranging from deciding which language to install software and where you are routed to get Microsoft undates.

Do you know if that camera cover is scratch resistant glass? That would be a major feaux paux if it wasn't. I like the phone though and your review is awesome. I just got my first BlackBerry (8320) and love it but now I'm getting buyers remorse and wondering if I should have held out for one of these newer ones. Man, the bad part about technology is once you do get something it practically becomes outdated the minute you get it! Guess, I'll have to wait until these come out and just get one! Screw the pricing! LOL! So, is it known for sure this is coming to Verizon?

Just wondering if you had a chance to test the reception and call quality.

I was considering upgrading to the bold but if the reception and call quality for this phone is the same or better I'll be waiting until it comes to rogers.


Great review, thanks.

One question I cannot find an answer to anywhere is the vibrate issue. Can you compare it to the 83xx at all as some people ave reported issues and this would be a deciding factor for me.



I had just ordered a Bold, and then heard the new Curve was coming out, so I was thinking about whether or not I should keep the Bold or have it sent back/sell it/whatever else and just get the curve when that comes out. Thanks to this review, I've decided the Bold was the right decision. Always go with your first intuition, folks! I don't have anything against the Curve, so don't get me wrong. I just think the Bold was the right decision, despite it's not so sleek design in comparison to the newest Curve :)

Thanks for the review! It was very informative.

Since the storm is not what it was cracked up to be, what is Verizon going to get next and when? Bold Curve 2?

Yes, "Azerty" layout is a little easier than "Qwerty" to type on. The easiest over all in my opinion is however the "Dvorak" layout. I doubt however that such a layout would be added to any curren mobile units.

I belive "Qwerty" became the more popular form factor merely due to the marketing prowess behind it at that time.

Dvorak form factor link below.

Hi Anyone can assist me, i have all along sync with my pc but lately when BB launched the MAC version, which i have been hoping and waiting for.. after synching it the 1st time, there is only two option - sync mac to bb and no sync. now after choosing sync mac to bb bothways, i have 17000 address book which was duplicated from the original 1450.
How i can remove the duplicated address book? any idea guys.