UPDATED: BlackBerry shows off its compact Curve
By Simon Aughton, Alun Williams
Posted on 3 May 2007 at 10:41
RIM has unveiled the Curve smartphone, the latest addition to its range of BlackBerry handhelds.
The model 8300 is the smallest and lightest BlackBerry with a full qwerty keyboard. It is the second model aimed at the consumer market, as oposed to BlackBerry's traditional corporate heartland, following on from the Pearl.
In addition to that keyboard, BlackBerry Curve has a 320x240 display (the same resolution as the Pearl) packed into its 106x61x15mm silver finished, chrome highlighted casing. The display includes RIM's light sensing technology that automatically adjusts backlighting levels for indoor, outdoor and dark environments while the keyboard sits below the trackball navigation button.
Turn it over and there is a two megapixel camera, complete with 5x digital zoom, built-in flash and self-portrait mirror . The camera can capture images in up to three picture quality and size resolutions that can be shared by email, MMS or BlackBerry Messenger and transferred over Bluetooth or USB cable to a PC. For purposes of comparison, the Pearl has a 1.3 megapixel camera.
It was the integration of the camera that RIM product manager, Karen Rudnitski, emphasised when demonstrating the 8300 to us. 'You are just one click away from sending an image as email or MMS,' she said. It's not just a camera, as we have integrated the camera applciation into BlackBerry functionality.'
Audio playback is supported via a standard 3.5 mm stereo jack or Bluetooth headphones, and the Bluetooth stereo audio profile (A2DP/AVRCP) is supported.
Bundled software includes Roxio Media Manager for BlackBerry, to enable users to search, view and organise media files on their computer, create and tag MP3s, create playlists and automatically copy or convert pictures, music and videos for optimal playback on the handheld. Alongside that, Roxio Photosuite 9 allows for picture editing and enhancement.
There are no changes in functionality for the browser client, but Rudnitski claimed a significant performance improvement has been made.
As the Curve has just 64MB of on-board memory, additional storage of up to 2GB can be added via the microSD card slot. The handheld will automatically support 4GB cards when they become available later this year.
All that multimedia stuff aside, the Curve provides all the usual BlackBerry wizardry, notably push email, messaging and Internet browsing with RSS support. It is also a fully-fledged quad-band mobile phone
The handheld is supported on BlackBerry Internet Service, giving users access to up to 10 work or personal email accounts (including the most popular ISP email accounts), as well as BlackBerry Enterprise Server, enabling advanced security and IT administration within IBM Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise environments.
'The BlackBerry Curve offers a unique blend of communications, multimedia and web features to provide people with an exceptional mobile companion for both work and leisure,' said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at RIM. 'The BlackBerry Curve delivers RIM's industry leading email and messaging capabilities in a highly approachable smartphone design that is packed with consumer-friendly features.'
Officially unveiled today, BlackBerry Curve will be available through wireless carriers around the world later this spring. More info can be found at www.BlackBerryCurve.com.
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