So last week I finally got the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) software from Research in Motion (RIM). The install went OK. They have a pretty nice checklist of things that need to be done before BES is installed on the designated server.
Things like IIS has to be installed, you have to have an account in Exchange for the BES services to use that has specific rights and that account has to have a mailbox that works, server has to be able to resolve DNS names and the server has to be able to initiate contact to the relay servers on the web over a specific port. I'm sure there's more that you need to do, but you get the gist.
Some issues that I've run into so far: In order for over the air synching of contacts to work, the desktop software has to be running for the user of the Blackberry and the BB Handheld software must be version 4 or higher. T-Mobile is currently shipping the 7730s with version 3.7. BES has to be version 4 as well, but that is now available.
Over the air synching of calendaring can only be done while the user has a system connected to the Exchange server running the BB Desktop software.
Over the air reconcilliation of email can only be done if the Handheld software is version 4 as well.
I'm not sure how Goodlink handles synching and reconcilliation of these types of info, but if it's done over the air without the user having to run software on a PC separate from the server, I'd say that they have a big leg up even after BES 4 was released.
The 7730s themselves work fine, although if you have a lot of contacts it can take a while for the BB to sort them if you want to say change the sort method from First name to Last name. Whereas a newer Palm device seems to do this much more quickly.
The keypad on the 7730 is pretty easy to use once your brain gets used to the fact that it's a "qwerty" and not a phone keypad. The 7100Ts look like they will have a much steeper learning curve before you are able to type decent emails quickly.
The backlight, while not as strong as on the 7100T, works pretty good, especially at night. It's pretty much not needed when you are outside during the daytime.
Overall, I'd say that the interface on the 7730 is pretty easy to use, but I can see that a new user will take a bit of time getting used to using the scroll wheel and its integrated button. Of course, it's a bit different from using a Palm or Pocket PC as you can't touch the screen to navigate.
The integrated phone works good, especially with a headset. The ubergeeks out there will be missing Bluetooth support, but I personally don't care if I have a wire going up to my ear.
So, so far it's still a neat technology that enables you to keep in contact with your "customers", but it's still not perfect. I'd prefer if the email functionality actually "looked" like your mailbox on the Exchange server with all of the folders, but I'm sure that would require much more memory than the 16MB that seems to be on most of these devices.
Although it does look like you can use the BB browser to access OWA in a pinch, but it ain't pretty. :)