Research in Motion (RIM) has just announced the BlackBerry 7100t. For years, RIM has been known for a very successful series of cellular-wireless handhelds. The 7100t will be its first smartphone.
Despite its smaller size, this device will offer a phone, email, instant messaging, HTML Web browsing, and organizer capabilities.
The 7100t will be the first BlackBerry that doesn't include a full keyboard. Instead, it will merge a keyboard and a number pad in a design created by RIM. Each key will handle two letters, and the device will include predictive text software.
Leaving off a full keyboard will allow the 7100t to be smaller than other BlackBerry models. It will be 4.7 inches tall, 2.3 inches wide, and 0.8 inches thick (119 mm by 59 mm 21 mm) and weigh 4.2 ounces (120 g).
While RIM has been very successful selling BlackBerry wireless-handhelds to corporate users, its sales to consumers are virtually nil. The company hopes the 7100t will be the device that will interest the man on the street in getting a BlackBerry.
"The BlackBerry 7100t is the perfect phone to help customers balance their busy work lives and not lose a step with what's really important, like friends and family, and all for a great value," said Scott Ballantyne, vice president marketing, T-Mobile USA.
This smartphone will be exclusively available from T-Mobile USA in early October. With a qualifying rate plan, the BlackBerry 7100t will cost $200, after mail in rebates.
Additionally, T-Mobile plans to offer voice and data plans starting at $59.99. These will include voice minutes, plus unlimited email, unlimited text and instant messages, and unlimited Web browsing.
It is not known when versions of this device will be available from other wireless carriers.
This will be a Quad-Band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM/GPRS device, which means it will be able to be used in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and just about anywhere in the world.
In addition, it will include Bluetooth, which will allow it to be used with wireless headsets.
Of course, this smartphone will run RIM's proprietary operating system. It will have 32 MB of RAM. It won't include a memory card slot.
According to RIM, the 7100t's swappable battery will be good for up to 8 days (192 hours) of standby time and 4 hours of talk time.
More information about this BlackBerry smartphone is available on RIM's web site.
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