First Look: Celio REDFLY Support for BlackBerry Smartphones - Coming Early Q4

By Kevin Michaluk on 15 Sep 2009 09:25 am EDT

Here's some cool news for the hardcore BlackBerry users and enterprise travellers out there. The folks at Celio Corp have hooked us up with an exclusive video first look at their BlackBerry driver support for the REDFLY Mobile Companion. If you haven't heard of the Celio REDFLY before, it's essentially a dummy monitor/keyboard for your smartphone that allows for an improved typing and viewing experience. Previously the REDFLY has been available to Windows Mobile-powered devices.

The BlackBerry connects to the REDFLY either over USB connection or via Bluetooth and from there it is the actual BlackBerry operating system that shows up on the REDFLY's screen. You're still using your berry - just via a much bigger screen and even bigger/faster to type on keyboard. Currently the REDFLY comes in two models, 7" or 8," and has an MSRP of $199 and $249, respectively. Celio says we can expect the BlackBerry support driver to become available in early Q4, which should mean it's just a few weeks away. Watch the video above to see it in action.

Now for the big question... what do you think?! Netbooks are getting smaller these days and tethering with your BlackBerry is easier than ever, so the immediate Wow factor maybe isn't what it would have been a year ago. I do think one of the big draws to the REDFLY, especially in the enterprise space, is that you can improve the BlackBerry experience (pound out massive emails quickly) without having to leave BlackBerry's secure environment, similar in fashion to what Bayalink achieves with their Liberty product. We'll definitely give this a CrackBerry hands-on review when it becomes available.

Reader comments

First Look: Celio REDFLY Support for BlackBerry Smartphones - Coming Early Q4


Is there a MOUSE????!?@!?!?!??!?!@?

If not, it's just a slightly less awkward keyboard attached to a screen magnifier. You might as well just make a keyboard with a phone dock on it but I think Palm probably has that idea patented a thousand times over.

I can't think of many times I am without my laptop but find space in my pockets for a huge netbook sized screen/keyboard gadget. What would be nice is a Windows driver that allowed you to "tunnel" into your phone via bluetooth or USB and see your phone's screen in a little window, giving you the ability to make/take calls with your PC, send/receive texts, use BB messenger, etc.

A mouse would be great, especially for TrackBall users.

The ability to make and receive calls while sitting at your desk while you are "hooked up" to your computer or laptop would be great also. I cant tell you how many times my BB rang while its hooked to the computer and having to fumble with the USB wire is a PITA! I hope someone will come out with this in the future.

I was just thinking about investing in a netbook, but this could easily replace that idea, especially if the price is right. Unfortunately, the high-end model runs about the same price as a decent netbook.

I just bought a netbook today for $259, just $10 more than the high end model. My netbook has better specs all around:
-7 Hour battery
-1.6 GHz Atom
-10.1" 1024x600 screen
-yada yada

I couldn't possibly imagine buying this.

Yes! A program that runs on Windows which does the exact same thing on a netbook, laptop, or even a desktop should be available.

"Additional USB Port

With the REDFLY Media Cable, the REDFLY Media Port can also function as a third powered USB port. The third port has the same functionality as REDFLY’s standard 2 USB ports allowing the use of USB keyboards, mice or Flash Drives. The REDFLY Media Cable features a standard full-size USB connector".

I think I'd just get myself a $250 Netbook, then go with Tetherberry.

Nice for the novelty factor (IMHO), but not much else.

Didn't palm try to do something like this a couple years back? It failed hardcore if i remember. (c;

they have this for the Treo awhile ago and Palm killed it. why would you carry another bulky device with you? it is not a netbook or laptop. You still need to connect to your BB and you can not run Windows. All it does it gives you a bigger keyboard and screen. If you going to type email and edit doc you might as well get a netbook at the same price

All of the keystrokes appear to be delayed.

If the delay between device and monitor, then there would be a delay between audio and video when watching a movie since audio would come directly from the BlackBerry.

If the delay is from keyboard to device, then.. that's still not good.

The guy in the video states that REDFLY has NO CPU and doesn't run an OS. Yet, in order to do what it does, it MUST have a CPU and OS (to run the thin client software) - that's what this thing is; basically a netbook form-factor thin-client. It likely has a low-power CPU and runs some sort of embedded Linux OS.

But to say that the device has NO CPU or OS would be incorrect. And the fact that it needs these things to work is what makes it cost as much as a low-end netbook.

Like another commenter pointed out, it is the size of a small laptop, but has none of the functions of a laptop. So for the price, you might as well get a small laptop and wait for an app to come out that allows you to do this same thing from the laptop. I see no point in paying this much for a device that is only used to make you screen and keyboard larger. Maybe I am missing something, but it doesn't seem worth the current price.

Actually this product is quite good depending on how one uses their BB

Thee are several advantages I can think of eight of the bat

-Battery life is huge 8 hours! Most laptops give you 3.
-Centralized workstation and storage. You will not carry your laptop every where but you will carry your BB everywhere
-RDP you can remoteDesktop inTo a PC if you need a PC
- no tethering required and its legal. So you save 20-50 pe are saving $15 per month
- hardware works with many phones so when you upheat should work
- more durable than a laptop
- lower maintenance cost

I had a Redfly for my WinMo phones and loved it. The battery lasted forever and you could use a wired/wireless usb mouse. It is especially good if you are using it with a WiFi smartphone so you can surf the web faster. The keyboard on it was great. I sold mine when I got my Storm. They also have a good support forum and will work with you on issues.

Others here are suggesting using Tetherberry instead of REDFLY. But, we've heard the horror stories of Tetherberry users receiving H-U-G-E carrier bills for data useage because Tetherberry useage breaches the terms of your contract. Is that same problem possible with REDFLY??

That was one of the points I listed as a plus. The REDFLY does not break the tether agreement because it is not tethered to the BB. It is only interacting with the BB by providing a bigger keyboard and screen. All processing and surfing is done from the BB.

where have you been red fly. now i can forget about a netbook on the road. Greatest thing ever..HOT DAMN>>>>>>>>>>>>
That shit is mine. YES...

Why is it that Blackberry is always the last one or behind when getting any updates for smartphones. Flash, Skyfire etc. Dead Last. Guess its another wait and see B.S. I don't like it. I want this for my storm by X-MAS

If you use this device you still have to use the slow blackberry browser. With a netbook you have a better browser and you can backup your phone.

This is a very stupid idea and product. IMO. That’s the point of having a full qwerty smartphone, so you can type like a real keyboard. Yes, it’s smaller, but I know most people like myself that can type pretty fast on their Blackberry. Like said, I would much rather go ahead and buy a Netbook for that price and have much much more than just a screen and keyboard. Or release the driver or sell it so you can do the same thing on any notebook or netbook. Just wait, someone will make a driver for free pretty soon.

This would be a lot better if the BB had a web browser comparable to the iPhone (yes I said that name). One of the few things (maybe the only thing) I don't like about my BB is the limited browser. If BB used a full web browser, then I can see this as being a great tool to surf and do work from. It just seems so overpriced with where it stands now, which is just a small LCD screen and keyboard. It looks even more expensive when you compare it to fully-functioning netbooks.

I have a Redfly windows version. Now I have a BlackBerry Storm and have been waiting for this announcement. I really enjoyed using the Redfly. It is a wonderful addition and very useful. The Redfly works with Bluetooth and merely transfers the information from your BlackBerry to the Redfly and back when you shutdown, there is nothing left on the Redfly. I am really excited that the Redfly will be available sometime in the fourth quarter. Plus I am excited that I didn't get rid of my Redfly. Hopefully there won't be a problem getting the new software for the Blackberry/Redfly. You won't regret this purchase.

I would welcome this as a Windows program. I cannot see the validity of yet another netbook size piece of hardware.

I can buy a netbook for about $200 so why should I pay for a widget that only interfaces with my PC.

If this were a $79 piece of software that ran under XP/Vista/Win7 then I would buy it.