The BlackBerry seems to have become a cult among its owners, breeding a loyalty as strong as it is bewildering to friends and relatives, who wonder why you need to be answering emails within seconds of them arriving.
There's something almost sinister about the product's tag line: 'Let your email find you'. There are two reasons for the fixation. If you have bought a BlackBerry to be always available, then it seems rather wasteful if you aren't. Second, the BlackBerry makes it so very easy.
Born and bred as an email pager, the device excels in this function. Since its inception, the device has been honed and redefined and is now in its slimmest and most pleasing full QWERTY keyboard state yet.
Opening an email, your calendar, or notes takes two clicks of the side wheel, allowing for single-handed use. The keyboard, while requiring two thumbs, is extremely ergonomic, even if you have large fingers, so quick replies and text messaging is a breeze.
You won't be composing your latest novel on a BlackBerry, but anything up to five or six lines is comfortable and, with a little practice, quick too. The email client can deal with MS Office attachments and a variety of multimedia attachments.
A secure web browser allows interaction with other services. There are now two versions available, one for corporates that supports Exchange and a consumer focused version that will allow you to use your POP3 accounts.
The remaining software applications on the device - calendar, notes, addresses and so forth - are not as polished as the messaging application, but remain perfectly usable, more so for referring to existing content than creating it.
You can synchronise with Outlook, and this is where most data entry, as opposed to data reference, will be done.