Research in Motion has just announced its first smartphone with Wi-Fi short-range wireless networking. The BlackBerry 8820 will also include a built-in GPS receiver.
RIM is promising that this device will seamlessly switch between cellular networks and a Wi-Fi network to allow users to access email, Instant Messaging, organizer, web browsing, and other mobile data applications while on the move.
It will offer voice support for UMA (unlicensed mobile access) service, a VoIP service currently being offered from various wireless carriers around the world. One of this is T-Mobile USA, a good indication that this carrier may soon release the 8820.
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This smartphone will include support for 802.11 b, g, and a.
A Standard Design
As its first smartphone with Wi-Fi, this BlackBerry is a significant step forward for RIM. But the 8820 itself will use a standard design.
It will be a member of the BlackBerry 8800 series, a group of devices now being offered by a few carriers. This means it will have a full QWERTY/AZERTY/QWERTZ keyboard, a QVGA screen, and a built-in GPS receiver.
It will also be one of RIM’s latest generation of models that include significant support for multimedia, including playing video and MP3 files.
For storing large audio and video files, the 8820’s microSD card slot will support SDHC, allowing it to use cards that are as large as 32 GB, when these come on the market. microSD cards with 8 GB of storage are expected later this year.
This BlackBerry will also sport Bluetooth 2.0 and a trackball in place of the traditional jog dial.
Despite today’s announcement from RIM, no carrier is offering the 8820 yet. However, the company says AT&T will pick it up before the end of this summer.
In addition, because it is a quad-band GSM/GPRS device with EDGE, this BlackBerry could be coming to a wide variety of carriers around the world.