Smartphone fans are excited about yesterday's announcement of the, aka Blackberry Bold, aka Research In Motion's iPhone killer. But Blackberry users are a different breed than iPhone users--the Blackberry's reason for existence is always-connected e-mail, and Blackberry users tend to be all business, afraid of being out of touch for even a moment. (An old friend in Washington D.C.--where Blackberry users are legion--had to make a vow after her third child was born not to check her e-mail after 6 p.m.)
So while the iPhone grew out of the iPod, and thus counts music playback as one of its primary features, the Blackberry Bold focuses more on its core communications features--e-mail, messaging, and telephony--as well as new physical improvements, like a bright color screen. You can see this focus in the first detailed hands-on review of the product at Crackberry.com, where media playback isn't even mentioned until part III (of IV) and gets no more than a paragraph. And 1GB of onboard memory isn't really enough for serious music listeners anyway, although it's expandable to 16GB.
But the clearest indication of all: while the 9000 might echo past Blackberries and ship with a Roxio application for organizing music on your PC and transferring it to your phone, RIM is also preparing a new application called Blackberry Media Sync that will let you use Apple's iTunes to transfer files to the phone. Of course, once you do get music onto the device, a relatively powerful internal stereo speaker system might actually make listening without headphones a reasonable option--sort of like the boombox of tomorrow. The iPhone's speakers are apparently not quite up to the task.
Still, for music fans in desperate need of a new phone--like me--the iPhone is still the most obvious choice, especially now that a 3G model is almost certainly on the way. But if you're already a Blackberry fan, or are primarily concerned with having access to e-mail at all times, the 9000 seems like the clearest alternative to the iPhone.