Cingular Plays BlackJack

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-11-20 Print this article Print

The smart phone is aimed at both enterprises and consumers.

Cingular Wireless is selling a new third-generation smart phone called the BlackJack, a device aimed at both business users and consumers and designed to compete with Motorolas Q.

The new device, which Cingular began selling on Nov. 16, features a QWERTY keyboard, Cingular Video and a music player with access to Cingular Music. It works with Cingulars HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) and EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) networks and includes Bluetooth 2.0 and a 1.3-megapixel camera that takes both still and video images. The BlackJack supports Good Technologys Mobile Messaging, Cingular Xpress Mail, Microsoft Push Direct and Pocket Outlook, and it runs Windows Mobile 5.0.

The device is made for Cingular by Samsung. It also supports the XM mobile radio service with 25 channels of content.

"It looks a bit like the Motorola Q," said Mike Woodward, executive director of Cingulars Mobile Professional Solutions group, in Redmond, Wash. "Its a bit more svelte. It fits handily in the shirt pocket."

"Were starting to see a whole host of consumer-friendly smart phones in terms of form factor and price," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. "It used to be that a smart phone would set you back $400, and it would be a brick."

Greengart said the initial target audience for devices such as the BlackJack is the "prosumer" segment, given the way theyre being marketed.

"Theyre not just coming out with the phones," Greengart said. "Theyre coming out with personal e-mail plans that go along with this."

Greengart said that a move into the enterprise by the BlackJack and similar products is inevitable.

"Consumers bring them in the back door of the enterprise and eventually demand that IT support them," Greengart said.

However, because of its flexible design and support for Goods Mobile Messaging products, Greengart said he also thinks the privately owned smart phones and PDAs, including the BlackJack, may find their way into the enterprise more directly.

Greengart also said that its basic functionality will determine whether the BlackJack is a success in the enterprise or with consumers.

"You have to always remember that no matter what else youre cramming in, its a phone," he said. "You cannot achieve any sort of volume if you dont place voice functionality above everything else."

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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