RIM Throws Customers a Curve

Fans of the BlackBerry Curve are in luck, as BlackBerry has launched an updated Curve in Canada and the United Kingdom.

At 0.53 inches, RIM said the Curve 8900 is the thinnest-ever BlackBerry with a full QWERTY keyboard. The screen has also gotten an upgrade, as the 2.4-inch display now has a 480-by-360 resolution.

Like RIM's other smartphones, the new Curve should be a strong messaging device. It's capable of receiving e-mails from up to 10 personal and corporate accounts, and there's also built-in instant messaging that supports BlackBerry Messenger, Google Talk, Windows Live, and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Messenger.

Unlike the recently released BlackBerry Bold and Storm, the new Curve doesn't have support for 3G networks, but it does have integrated Wi-Fi and EDGE support for surfing the Web and retrieving e-mails. DataViz Documents To Go is pre-installed, so users can view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files on the handset.

A 3.2-megapixel camera is on board, and it includes auto-focusing, flash, image stabilization, and video recording. A GPS chipset can be used to geotag photos, as well as provide directions and local searches for road warriors.

RIM has made a concerted effort to improve the multimedia capabilities of its smartphones, and the Curve 8900 is no exception. It can play multiple video and audio formats, and it's capable of streaming media from Web sites. The smartphone has only 256 MB of on-board memory, but that can be expanded up to 16 GB with the MicroSD slot.

British customers can pre-register for the Curve 8900 now, and the price will vary depending on carrier subsidy. Canadian customers can purchase the smartphone today from Rogers Wireless for about $144 with a new 3-year contract. RIM said the handset is expected to roll out in other markets in the first half of 2009.

— Marin Perez, InformationWeek

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