Cingular Launches BlackJack 3G Smart Device
The device is designed to compete with Motorolas Q smart device, which is sold in the United States by Verizon Wireless.
The new device features a QWERTY keyboard, a music player with access to Cingular Music and Cingular Video.
It will work with Cingulars HSDPA and Edge networks, includes Bluetooth 2.0, and a 1.3-megapixel camera that will take both still and video images.
The BlackJack supports Good 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 will also support the XM Mobile Radio Service with 25 channels of XM Radio content.
"It looks a bit like the Motorola Q," said Mike Woodward, executive director, Mobile Professional Solutions for Cingular in Redmond, Wash. "Its a big more svelte. It fits handily in the shirt pocket."
"Its thin and narrow enough that Id call it a smart phone with a keyboard," Woodward added. "One of the things that are a big advantage over something like the Q is the ability to do simultaneous voice and data."
"Its great for business customers as well as consumers who might want multimedia," he added. "It has removable micro SD card memory. And it does all of that with the familiar Microsoft OS and presentation."
Woodward also noted that the BlackJack can work as a phone in 185 countries and as a data device with HSDPA and Edge in 115 countries, something the Q cannot do.
"Were starting to see a whole host of consumer-friendly smart phones in terms of form factor and price," said Avi Greengart, Principal Analyst, Mobile Devices at Current Analysis.
"It used to be that a smart phone would set you back 400 dollars and it would be a brick," he said.
"Its competitors are the Q, the Dash from T-Mobile and the BlackBerry Pearl," Greengart said.
He added that its not completely clear who the target audience for products such as the BlackJack might be, although he said initially that the first target will be the prosumer audience. One key to that is the way theyre being marketed, he said.
"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 from them," Greengart said.
However, because of its flexible design and support for Goods Mobile Messenger products, he also thinks they may find their way into the enterprise more directly.
"When youre doing a major roll out, device price becomes a factor," he said.
Greengart also noted 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," Greengart said. "You cannot achieve any sort of volume if you dont place voice functionality above everything else."
The price for the BlackJack will be $199.99 with a two-year contract when it goes on sale at Cingular stores on Nov. 16, Woodward said.
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