RIM Debuts BlackBerry Curve Smartphone

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Canada’s Research in Motion today announced the BlackBerry Curve, a small, slim, and sleek new smartphone which combines the QWERTY-keyboard capabilities of RIM’s famously addictive mobile email devices with full smartphone features, a 2 megapixel camera, Web and Internet capabilities, USB, Bluetooth, microSD storage, trackball navigation, and integrated multimedia options.

"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 RIM President and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in a statement. "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 including a 2 megapixel camera, enhanced media player and high-performance browser."

The BlackBerry Curve, a.k.a. the BlackBerry 8300, follows on last year’s successful launch of the BlackBerry Pearl, RIM’s first smartphone offering to specifically target everyday consumers, rather than the enterprise and government markets which initially adopted the BlackBerry. The Curve builds on the Pearl’s success by offering a 2 megapixel camera (with a 5× digital zoom), integrated flash, full-screen viewfinder, and a self-portrait mirror), music playback capabilities which can push tunes through the integrated speaker, a headphone jack, or over Bluetooth to A2SP/AVRCP wireless headsets. The Curve also includes Roxio‘s Media Manager for BlackBerry, which helps users find and manage their stored media files, create playlists, and automatically convert images, media, and video between formats. The Curve also offers Roxio Photosuite 9, enabling users to do on-phone image editing. And, of course, the Curve can play video (WMA, WMV, and H.263) on the ultra-bright 320 by 240 pixel display. Users can store media in the onboard 64 MB of flash memory, and expand storage by up to another 2 GB with microSD cards.

Of course, multimedia isn’t the first thing people think of when they consider a BlackBerry, so potentially customers will be happy to know all the traditional BlackBerry mobile email, Internet, Web browsing, and smartphone features are present, offering Web browsing, access to up to 10 email accounts, integration with BlackBerry Enterprise Service along with calendar, task management, and PIM capabilities. And, lest anyone forget, the Curve is also a phone, with dedicated send, end, and mute keys, smart dialing, speaker-independent voice recognition for voice-activated dialing, noise cancellation technology and—there’s the multimedia again—support for polyphonic, MP3, and MIDI ring tones.

The BlacKBerry Curve will debut this spring on AT&T’s wireless network, and on other wireless carriers around the world—although no pricing information has been announced.. The Curve will also be available on QWERTZ and AZERTY configurations to support different language groups.