RIM BlackBerry Curve 3G, Pearl 3G Coming to ATandT

AT&T is cozying closer to RIM, adding the BlackBerry Pearl 3G and BlackBerry 6-supporting Curve 3G to its portfolio in time for the holidays.

AT&T will expand its lineup of BlackBerry smartphones with the inclusion of the BlackBerry Curve 3G and the BlackBerry Pearl 3G, it announced with Research In Motion Sept. 29.

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G will arrive on Oct. 17 in AT&T stores, online and through business channels, for $149.99. The Curve 3G will follow in time for the holidays-AT&T hasn't offered a firm date-for $99.99. Neither phone requires a rebate, and users can choose from a monthly data plan of $15 for 200MB or $25 for 2GB.

"The BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Pearl series of smartphones have become extremely popular around the world," Carlo Chiarello, vice president of RIM's global handset business, said in a statement. "These new 3G models offer faster performance and a very attractive mix of features and services for AT&T customers."

The BlackBerry Curve 3G has a full QWERTY keyboard, an optical trackpad and dedicated media keys. In addition to 3G connectivity there's WiFi-with AT&T's service contract subscribers getting access to its more than 23,000 hot spots-and GPS. There's a full Web browser on board, and of course e-mail support, plus a camera with video capabilities and a MicroSD/SDHC slot that supports a 32GB memory card.

AT&T also plans to make its U-verse mobile application available to Curve 3G customers, enabling them to manage their DVR recordings from their phones, as well as download content over WiFi to watch on the go.

More notably, the Curve 3G will be BlackBerry 6-ready, with RIM planning to make the new OS available "in the coming months." RIM hyped BlackBerry 6, widely considered a big improvement, for months before launching it in August on the BlackBerry Torch-a device currently exclusive to the AT&T network. (With its exclusive ownership of the Apple iPhone expected to expire in January 2011, the carrier appears to be securing as many other exclusive offerings as it can. Among these is also the Apple iPad.)

As for the Pearl 3G, AT&T describes it as being "as powerful as it is compact." The slim candy-bar-style phone with its glowing "pearl" orb is 2 inches wide, weighs 3.3 ounces and supports 3G, WiFi and GPS. Its high-resolution display is paired with an optical trackpad (the orb) and dedicated keys for volume and controlling media.

Also packed into the tiny frame are a 3.2-megapixel camera, with flash, and support for 32GB of content. For a bit more panache, users can forego the standard black exterior for a version with a red gradient.

"As the first U.S. carrier to offer BlackBerry service, we are pleased to add the BlackBerry Pearl 3G and BlackBerry Curve 3G to our portfolio, which deliver style without compromising features or functionality," Michael Woodward, vice president of AT&T's mobile phone portfolio, said in a statement.