Adventures in amateur BlackBerry repair

Taking apart a BlackBerry PearlLast night as I was walking home I pulled my BlackBerry Pearl 8120 out of my back pocket and noticed that the LCD was cracked (image here). I have no idea how this happened — I didn’t drop it or anything. The phone is only two weeks old! Unfortunately, no matter how it happened I knew T-Mobile wasn’t going to have much sympathy for my plight. T-Mobile, like most carriers, considers any screen breakage to be the customer’s fault, and it’s not covered by warranty.

This particular Pearl, however, was a replacement for my old Pearl — an earlier model 8100 — which I accidentally dropped in the toilet about two weeks ago. And that gave me an idea: Why not swap out the broken screen in the new Pearl with the working screen from the old one? » More... »

Taking netbooks through their paces

Asus Eee PC 901A new category of low-cost, ultra-lightweight laptops has appeared recently. It began with the Asus Eee PC and spawned a slew of imitators, including the Acer Aspire ONE, the HP Mini-Note, and the MSI Wind — not to mention a somewhat-confusing array of Eee PC models to follow the original.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

These devices have mostly been marketed to students and home users, with Web browsing and light computing tasks in mind. I wanted to see whether they might also be attractive to business users. So I packed up an HP Mini-Note and Asus’s latest Eee PC 901 and headed off to the airport, with the plan to test each of them in real-world field conditions. My review for InfoWorld, published today, details the results of my trials. » More... »