AT&T has become the latest wireless carrier to commit to offering the newest version of the BlackBerry Curve.
With the 8500 series, this smartphone’s hardware and software have been updated, and it offers a consumer focus, with mobile access to email, social-networking sites, and music and video.
To help reduce its price, AT&T’s version will not have 3G mobile broadband, but it will have Wi-Fi.
“The new BlackBerry Curve 8520 is a great choice for first-time smartphone users and offers easy-to-use messaging, social networking, and multimedia features with a full-QWERTY keyboard that makes typing fast and comfortable,” said Carlo Chiarello, vice president, product management, Research In Motion.
T-Mobile introduced the redesigned Curve 8520 this summer, and both Verizon and Sprint plan to launch the nearly-identical Curve 8530 in the near future.
An Overview of the BlackBerry Curve 8520
All the latest models in this series have a slim design with QVGA (320×240) display and a full QWERTY keyboard, plus a new touch-sensitive optical trackpad.
In addition, this smartphone offers multimedia capabilities and access to music, games, and other mobile apps. This is the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature dedicated media keys, while users are able to listen to audio via the 3.5 mm headset jack or over a Bluetooth connection.
BlackBerry Media Sync lets users sync music from iTunes or Windows Media Player with the smartphone.
Although not generally considered a consumer feature, this model will let users edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files with the DataViz Documents to Go office suite.
On top of the built-in software, the Curve 8520 offers access to the new BlackBerry App World, which features a growing catalog of third-party applications. Categories include games, entertainment, social networking and sharing, news and weather, productivity, and much more
AT&T’s version of this quad-band phone will not support its 3G service, but it will have Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi. Users will have access to this carrier’s extensive Wi-Fi network with more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots.
Other features include a 2 MPx camera with video, and a microSD/SDHC memory card slot (1 GB card included).
Overall, this device is 4.3 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide, and 0.5 inches thick (109 mm by 60 mm by 13.9 mm). The weight is 3.7 ounces (106 grams).
Availability & Pricing
AT&T says it is going to release the BlackBerry Curve 8520 in the coming weeks, but doesn’t give a more specific date.
This smartphone will sell for $100 with a two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate. A $69.99 per month service plan will be required to get this price.