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BlackBerry Curve 3G: Affordable and Upgradable

Canada’s Research in Motion might be embroiled in international intrigue, but the company is still taking time to announce new BlackBerry devices: today the company formally announced its BlackBerry 9300 Curve 3G, an evolutionary update to its entry-level BlackBErry smartphone that features a full QWERTY keypad, 3G mobile broadband, up to 32 GB of storage via a microSD/SDHC slot, and a video-capable two megapixel camera. Although the devices will ship with BlackBerry 5, the Curve 3G will be upgradable to BlackBerry 6, RIM’s forthcoming mobile operating system refresh, in the “coming months.”

“The majority of people in the worldwide mobile phone market have yet to buy their first smartphone 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,” said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, in a statement. “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.”

The BlackBerry CUrve 3G sports a 320 by 240 pixel color display—rather diminutive by today’s smartphone standards—a fixed-focus video-capable two megapixel camera, full QWERTY keypad with backlighting, RIM’s optical trackpad, along with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR wireless networking, assisted GPS, along with an integrated speakerphone. Of course, the Curve 3G supports all the BlackBerry’s standard feature, including BlackBerry Messenger, the ability to tie in with BlackBerry enterprise services, a full HTML Web browser (BlackBerry 6 will offer a WebKit-based browser), along with simultaneous phone and data capabilities. The Curve 3G is the first BlackBerry Curve to support 3G connectivity on GSM networks: the Curve 8500-series devices were limited to EDGE connectivity.

RIM hasn’t announced carrier partners or availability, but reports have T-Mobile as the first U.S. carrier to land the BlackBerry Curve 3G, with the device expected to go on sale by September.

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