Research in Motion has announced its new BlackBerry 8700c mobile email, phone, and data device. The 8700c has been reengineered to utilize both a new high-end Intel cellular processor (the PXA901, aka “Hermon”) as well as high-speed EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) networks for data transmission. The 8700c will be available exclusively from Cingular Wireless beginning November 21, 2005, with prices starting at $299.99.
RIM announced forthcoming BlackBerry products would utilize Intel processors just over a month ago, and the 8700c is both the first BlackBerry to be built around an Intel processor and the first to utilize high-speed EDGE networking. EDGE is a mobile voice-and-data networking technology which enables data transmission at higher bandwidths than traditional networks, although not at the level of so-called 3G networks currently deployed outside the U.S. Nonetheless, Cingular’s EDGE network coverage within the U.S. is extensive, making it a good choice for a device like the BlackBerry which is more about email and Web access than being a voice communication tool. Cingular’s EDGE network is available in more than 13,000 municipalities throughout the United States, as well as along nearly 40,000 miles of major highways and interstates, as well as offering data service in more than 90 countries around the world (170 countries for voice).
As a phone, the BlackBerry 8700c includes quad-band GPRS/GMS and EDGE network support, smart dialing, conference call support, speed dialing, and call forwarding, along with a built-in speakerphone and “mute,” “send,” and “end” phone keys. The 8700c also offers Bluetooth support for hands-free headsets, car kits, and data exchange.
As a data device, the 8700c offers 64 MB of flash memory, 16 MB of SRAM, a backlit QWERTY keyboard, and a QVGA (320 by 240 pixel) landscape LCD display supporting 65,000 colors. The Intel PXA901 runs at 312 MHz, and RIM says the CPU offers substantial processing power for applications without sacrificing battery life. In terms of software, the 8700c offers BlackBerry’s standard capabilities, including email, SMS, MMS, address book, calendar, memo pad, and to-do list. For Web browsing, the 8700c will offer two options: RIM’s BlackBerry Browser and Cingular’s MEdia Net browser. Of course, the 8700c also integrates with the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution, letting users access wireless-enabled applications, access company resources and email accounts, and more.