Cingular Dives In with BlackBerry Pearl

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As of today, Cingular Wireless is making the BlackBerry Pearl available to customers in select retail locations, with availability in most Cingular Stores scheduled to happen by December 4, 2006. And Cingular isn’t offering just a generic Pearl: they’ve integrated Cingular Push To Talk features and GPS navigation into the consumer-friendly smartphone.

“The BlackBerry Pearl from Cingular provides a winning combination of business and entertainment-related applications that make it a great device both for work-time and leisure-time use,” said Jeff Bradley, Cngular’s VP of business data services. “The iconic yet highly functional design, popular BlackBerry service, and rich music and video features coupled with our Cingular-exclusive capabilities make this a powerful offering that will play well equally in the enterprise and consumer spaces.”

The BlackBerry Pearl offers a 240 by 260 LCD display (with light-sending technology which automatically adjusts the backlighting and keyboard brightness level) and, almost uniquely, a built-in trackball which makes scrolling around the BlackBerry interface quick and intuitive. The Pearl also features a 1.3 megapixel cameraphone, music and video player (MPe, AAC, MPEG4, and H.263), a stereo headhone jack, and integrated email and Web browsing capabilities. The phone features Bluetooth and USB connectivity and an integrated speakerphone.

Cingular-exclusive features include Push To Talk (PTT) service, which includes “availability” icons and group calling, plus GPS-based navigation with Telenav GPS Navigator software; Cingular says the Pearl is also the first wireless device in the U.S. to include TeleNav Maps, a free program which provides non-GPS static maps and step-by-step driving directions…of course, many phones can access similar mapping services through Google, Yahoo, and other providers.

The BlackBerry Pearl is $199 after rebates with a two-year service commitment; unlimited corporate email access via BlackBerry costs a minumum of $44.99 a month, but a BlackBerry Personal Service plan can run as ow as $29.99 a month withou voice. Cingular Push To Talk is $9.99/month on top of other subscription fees, and $19.99 for Push To Talk Family. TeleNav GPS Navigator csts $5.99/month for ten trips, or $9.99/month for unlimited trips.

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