The BlackBerry Torch isn't the only device with which Research In Motion is working to lure smartphone shoppers away from competitors Apple and Google. On Aug. 9, RIM introduced the BlackBerry Curve 3G, which will be available in August from various carriers around the world, including T-Mobile in the United States.
"The majority of people in the worldwide mobile phone market have yet to buy their first smartphone," RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said in a statement, "and the BlackBerry Curve 3G is designed to provide an extremely attractive and accessible choice that will help convince many of them to make the leap."
A 9300 device, Information Week reports that Curve 3G is similar to the 85xx series offered by AT&T and T-Mobile, but its distinguishing feature is that it's the first to support 3G on GSM-based networks. The other 85xx series Curve handsets relied 2.5G EDGE networks for their wireless data, but the Curve 3G includes two 3G radio configurations, one for T-Mobile and another for AT&T (which has not yet announced that it will offer the phone.) Travelers will appreciate that it's both a tri-band 3G UMTS/HSDPA world phone and a quad-band GSM world phone.
Also notable is that while the Curve 3G will ship with BlackBerry 5, it's BlackBerry 6 ready and so can upgrade to the new operating system once it becomes available. While some early reviewers aren't terribly keen on the Torch, the first BlackBerry that will ship with the new OS Aug. 12, all agree that BlackBerry 6 is an improvement, with its cleaner, easier-to-user home screen, as well as new features such as Universal Search, smoother transitions between social-networking applications and a notification dropdown menu that's said to streamline multitasking.
The Curve 3G measures 4.3 by 2.4 by .55 inches and features a 2.4-inch display with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. Below it are a touch-sensitive optical trackpad and a RIM keyboard. WiFi connectivity for voice and data, GPS with TeleNav location services, Bluetooth 2.1 and visual voicemail are all included, along with a 624MHz processor, 256MB of memory and a hot-swappable microsSD/SDHC card slot with support for up to 32GB. (A 2GB card comes with the phone.)
There's a Web browser, that's said to offer a desktop-like experience and six instant messaging applications preloaded. Also on board straight out of the box are calendaring options, voice-activated dialing and a number of options for personal e-mail accounts, Exchange e-mail, BBM, SMS and MMS. Users also get a 2-megapixel camera with video capabilities, a music player, the BlackBerry Media Sync app, for syncing to Apple's iTunes or Windows Media Player, and a choice of exterior finishes: smoky violet or graphite gray.
Pricing will vary according to carrier, and T-Mobile has not yet disclosed any pricing details.
"The new BlackBerry Curve 3G is a perfect choice for happily busy people who are looking for a user-friendly 3G smartphone to help them make the most of their day and to stay connected with their friends, family and co-workers," Lazaridis said in the statement.