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BlackBerry 8820 on sale through Amazon

AmazonIf you don’t feel like waiting for AT&T’s soft launch of the BlackBerry 8820 to catch up to your store, Amazon is offering the Wi-Fi BlackBerry to US customers for $199.99. That sounds alright if you’re in a rush to get some Wi-Fi action going, but Amazon has some conditions you have to meet for 3 months in order to enjoy their subsidized cost. For one, you’ve got to pay your monthly bills. We’re presuming you were going to do that anyway, but if you miss just one, you’re liable to be forking over another $250 to Amazon. Second, you can’t disconnect from AT&T and switch over, since AT&T presumably has an exclusive on the device. Third, you can’t switch to another AT&T line of service, or drop down to a lower data plan, and finally you can’t replace your existing account with this one. Yeesh. Might as well just wait for it to hit the stores.


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GSM and HTC share a birthday

BirthdayTwenty years ago today, the Global System for Mobile communications was signed in as a wireless standard which would blanket Europe and put an end to a few niggling incompatibility issues. Little did those 15 operators in Copenhagen realize, by 2007 there would be 2.5 billion people using GSM technology. 1.2 million new people connect to the GSM network every day, and at the given pace, 4 billion people will be cruising the GSM airwaves by 2010.

Ten years ago today, High Tech Computer began their business of quietly outsourcing to the likes of Microsoft for their Windows Mobile devices. Now HTC is the quintessential innovator in smartphones and Taiwan’s most profitable listed firm after weighing in at $1.34 billion in sales over the last three quarters. To commemorate their birthday, HTC cut the ribbon at a new world-class headquarters in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Happy birthday to these two mammoths of the wireless industry. Hope you have as much fun as these guys.


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RIM was actually the one to rock the summer

iPhoneAlthough we were talking primarily about penetration numbers when it came to iSuppli’s report on the iPhone’s summer performance, apparently some folks were interpreting other comments to mean that the iPhone was outselling RIM’s entire lineup. The opposite is actually true: all of RIM’s phones combined have outsold the two iPhone models 2-to-1 this summer, but the iPhone did manage to outsell any individual smartphone (which is still pretty awesome). iSuppli has clarified the issue thusly:

“iSuppli’s sell-through research and the subsequent press release indicated that the iPhone outsold all smart phone models in July in the United States on an individual basis. While iSuppli stands by this analysis, it is important to note that iPhone’s retail sales did not exceed the combined retail sales of the entire BlackBerry line of smart phones (approximately twice that of the iPhone if taken in total) in the United States in July.”


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Rogers’ BlackBerry 8310 available September 11th.

Rogers has announced today that the BlackBerry 8310 will be hitting Canadian shelves next Tuesday, on the 11th., to the raucous fanfare of many. Previous speculation on the GPS-enabled Curve’s pricing is confirmed, at a $299.99 price point with a 3-year contract and $40 monthly plan. The big question is, is it in black? Well, according to the press release, it’s really more of a titanium, which is alright, but we need some classic black going on.

Rogers and RIM Introduce GPS-enabled BlackBerry Curve 8310 Smartphone in Canada

TORONTO and WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 7 /CNW/ – Rogers Wireless (TSX: RCI;
NYSE: RCI) and Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today
introduced the BlackBerry(R) Curve(TM) 8310 smartphone, complete with built-in
Global Positioning System (GPS) and mapping software. The smallest and
lightest full QWERTY BlackBerry(R) handset is packed with powerful and
convenient features for both business and personal use and can now pinpoint
its location through built-in GPS.
The BlackBerry Curve 8310 features a smooth and comfortable handset
design and delivers the renowned mobile communications experience that
BlackBerry smartphone users have come to know and love. It offers exceptional
email, messaging and phone features together with fast web browsing, enhanced
multimedia capabilities, a 2 megapixel camera, an easy-to-use QWERTY keyboard
and an intuitive trackball navigation system. With the BlackBerry Curve 8310,
it’s easy for Canadians to get where they’re going, connect with friends,
family and co-workers, and access important information on the go.
“As Canada’s largest wireless carrier with the most reliable network,
Rogers is proud to offer Canadians innovative and cutting-edge products,” said
John Boynton, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer. “The
award-winning BlackBerry email solution that users know and love, combined
with the addition of multimedia features such as GPS, will make the BlackBerry
Curve 8310 a very attractive device to our customers.”
“The BlackBerry Curve 8310 brings personal productivity and flexibility
to a whole new level,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research
In Motion. “The built-in GPS and mapping capabilities add another incredibly
useful dimension to the smartphone that users quickly appreciate.”

The new BlackBerry Curve 8310 from Rogers features:

– A small and stylish design with smooth edges, titanium toned finish
and chrome highlights. It measures 107mm x 60mm x 15.5mm and weighs
approximately 111 grams.

– Built-in GPS, BlackBerry(R) Maps, and TeleNav(R) Navigator, for
accurate turn by turn directions.

– A 2 megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom, built-in flash, self-
portrait mirror and full screen viewfinder. The camera can capture
images in up to three picture quality and size resolutions that can
be quickly shared via email, MMS, BlackBerry(R) Messenger or
Bluetooth(R). Photos can also be set as a unique caller IDs or Home
Screen image.

– EDGE/GPRS/GSM connectivity operating on Roger’s high speed nationwide
network, with roaming in 200 countries for voice and 127 countries
for data.

– Premium phone features including noise cancellation technology to
offset background noise, Speaker Independent Voice Recognition (SIVR)
for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), dedicated ’send’, ‘end’, and
‘mute’ keys, low-distortion speakerphone, and Bluetooth (2.0) support
for hands-free use with headsets, car kits and Bluetooth peripherals.

– A microSD expandable memory slot for additional data storage.

– A built-in spell checker with user-customizable dictionary to help
ensure accuracy of emails and other text entries.

– A powerful new media manager application included with the BlackBerry
(R) Desktop Manager software. The Roxio(R) Media Manager for
BlackBerry(R), which was developed with Sonic(R) and based on the
award-winning Roxio Easy Media Creator(R) 9, introduces a new level
of simplicity, allowing users to easily search for media files on
their computer, view and organize them, create MP3 music files from
CDs, add audio tags, create playlists and automatically copy or
convert pictures, music and videos for optimal playback.

– A 3.5mm stereo headset jack, support for Bluetooth stereo audio
profile (A2DP/AVRCP), and dedicated volume controls.

– Support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI and RealTrax ringtunes.

– Support for instant messaging with BlackBerry Messenger, Google(R)
Talk and Yahoo!(R) Messenger pre-loaded.

– BlackBerry(R) Internet Service support that allows access to up to 10
personal and corporate email accounts, including most popular ISP
email accounts.

– BlackBerry(R) Enterprise Server support for enterprise deployments,
enabling advanced security and IT administration within IBM(R) Lotus
(R) Domino(R), Microsoft(R) Exchange and Novell(R) GroupWise(R)
environments.

– Support for downloading music directly to the device using Rogers
Music Store.
>>

Accessories for the BlackBerry Curve 8310, including premium leather
holsters and totes, an automotive charger, and Bluetooth(R) headsets, are
available at www.shopblackberry.com.

Availability & Pricing

The BlackBerry Curve 8310 will be available in Canada from Rogers
Wireless in retail and business channels beginning September 11 for $299.99,
with activation of a minimum $40 voice plan and data plan for a three year
term.

About Rogers Wireless

Rogers Wireless is Canada’s largest wireless voice and data
communications services provider with offices in Canadian cities across the
country, with 7 million customers, and two powerful brands: Rogers Wireless
and Fido. Rogers Wireless, which operates Canada’s largest and most reliable
integrated wireless voice and data network, providing advanced voice and
wireless data solutions to customers from coast to coast, is Canada’s only
carrier operating on the GSM/GPRS technology platform, the world standard for
wireless communications technology and the only technology that enables
roaming around the world in 200 countries for voice and 127 for data. The
company is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI; NYSE: RCI), a
diversified Canadian communications and media company. For further
information, please visit www.rogers.com

About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of
innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market.
Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that
support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and
solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email,
phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications. RIM technology
also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers to
enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity to data. RIM’s
portfolio of award-winning products, services and embedded technologies are
used by thousands of organizations around the world and include the
BlackBerry(R) wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld(TM) product line,
software development tools, radio-modems and software/hardware licensing
agreements. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates
offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. RIM is listed on the Nasdaq
Stock Market (NASDAQ: RIMM) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RIM). For
more information, visit www.rim.com or www.blackberry.com.

Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the
“safe harbor” provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. When used herein, words such as “intend” and similar
expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions made by and information
available to Research In Motion Limited. Investors are cautioned that such
forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Important factors
that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or
implied by such forward-looking statements include, without limitation,
possible product defects and product liability, risks related to international
sales and potential foreign currency exchange fluctuations, the initiation or
outcome of litigation, acts or potential acts of terrorism, international
conflicts, significant fluctuations of quarterly operating results, changes in
Canadian and foreign laws and regulations, continued acceptance of RIM’s
products, increased levels of competition, technological changes and the
successful development of new products, dependence on third-party networks to
provide services, dependence on intellectual property rights, and other risks
and factors detailed from time to time in RIM’s periodic reports filed with
the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and other regulatory
authorities. The Company has no intention or obligation to update or revise
any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future
events or otherwise.
The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are
the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited. RIM,
Research In Motion and BlackBerry are registered with the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office and may be pending or registered in other countries. All
other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are
the properties of their respective owners. RIM assumes no liability and makes
no representation, warranty or guarantee in relation to third party products
or services.

For further information: Media Contacts: Odette Coleman, Rogers
Wireless, (416) 935-6441, Odette.coleman@rci.rogers.com; Marisa Conway,
Brodeur (for RIM), (212) 515-1924, mconway@brodeur.com; Investor Contact: RIM
Investor Relations, (519) 888-7465, investor_relations@rim.com


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Weekly Contest: What’s after Wi-Fi and GPS?

The BlackBerry 8820’s been making the European rounds by now, and the BlackBerry 8310 will be spreading its GPS love to the consumer market soon enough. GPS is still a far cry from being widespread in handhelds, and it will be some time before it’s as common as camera and music in phones. But for conversation’s sake, let’s say that by the end of 2008 Wi-Fi and GPS will become a common feature in any BlackBerry that comes out. For this week’s Weekly Contest, we ask you dear reader: what’s after Wi-Fi and GPS? Is it simply a matter of expanding their capabilities? Is 3G the next big feature to drop? How about near-field technology? A recent ABI report seems to think so. Maybe WiBree? Whoever can best tap their inner techno-voodoo and see into the future will win 3 games from Bplay.


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Broadcom moves forward with antitrust case against Qualcomm

Gavel The ongoing spat between chip manufacturers Qualcomm and Broadcom continues this week, but Qualcomm’s managed to stem the tide of litigations a fair bit. A US Court of Appeals has ruled that two out of Broadcom’s eight initial charges would be able to proceed in court, even though the whole thing was put to bed in August 2006 by a District Court. The dismissed charges involved CDMA chips and Qualcomm’s acquisition of OFDM/OFDMA developer Flarion. Broadcom has already locked down a chip ban, but Qualcomm still has some fight left. We’ll keep you posted on the next move in this bitter grudge match.


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Gold 8300-series faceplates hit the streets

BlackBerry 8320 faceplateHot on the heels of reports of a gold and silver-faced BlackBerry 8320 from T-Mobile, BGR has spotted replaceable faceplates at CNN.cn for $12.99. The silver is supposedly for the BlackBerry 8310, and gold for the 8320, but making the brash assumption that the keypad, frame and screen haven’t changed across the 8300-series, they could work on existing BlackBerry Curves. Colour-swapping a la Pearl seems like the next foreseeable step for RIM to push the BlackBerry 8300s on the consumer market. What colour would you want to see your Curve in?


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BIS 2.4 features posted on RIM knowledgebase

Jibi has spotted a hint on the forums of the BlackBerry Internet Service v.2.4 features list on RIM’s knowledgebase. Highlights include vCard, MP3, PDF and RTF support, improved Yahoo! mail sync, delivery and read receipts, as well as wireless message deletion. Hmm, a lot of these sound like they were supposed to be in 2.3, weren’t they? Rumor has it we’ll be seeing the upgrade released before the end of the month.

Details

This article profiles the main changes to the BlackBerry Internet Service 2.4.

Automatic login (new BlackBerry Internet Service subscribers only)

New subscribers can create their BlackBerry Internet Service and BlackBerry® Mail 2.4 accounts on their BlackBerry devices without having to create a login user name and password. For more information on Automatic login, see KB13955.

Branded icons for hosted domains

BlackBerry Internet Service 2.4 supports branded mailbox icons for hosted domains on the Homes screen of BlackBerry device. This feature requires that BlackBerry® Device Software 4.2.1 or later be installed on the BlackBerry device and that the organization’s wireless service provider have an existing relationship with Research In Motion.

Improved language support

The user interfaces will be translated into all of the BlackBerry Internet Service supported languages: English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Chinese (traditional), Czech, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portugese (European), Portugese (Brazilian), Russian, Turkish.

Enhanced BlackBerry Attachment Services

*
Support for MP3 or WAV encoded voicemail playback – up to 500KB file size
*
Support for Rich Text Format (RTF) file format
* Support for PDF rendering on server – requires BlackBerry Device Software 4.2.2 or later is required for this feature to function.

Address Book (vCard) Attachments

Attach and view a vCard®. A subscriber can attach an address from their BlackBerry Address Book to emails the subscriber composes, view vCards attached to received email messages, and have the option to add a contact to their BlackBerry Address Book.

Wireless Meeting Request (Support for iCalendar Attachments)

* Subscribers can create, receive, accept, and decline wireless meeting requests (iCalendar-formatted) on the BlackBerry smartphone.
* BlackBerry Device Software 4.2 or later is required for this feature to function.
* Not supported on devices running BlackBerry Connect™ software.

Delivery receipts

* Sends a delivery receipt to the original sender as a notification that an email message has been successfully delivered to all recipients or to a subset of recipients.
* Must be turned on through Options > Email Settings in the BlackBerry Internet Service email address icon.
* Available for both the BlackBerry Internet Service email address as well as third-party integrated email accounts.
* BlackBerry Device Software 4.2 or later is required for this feature to function.

Read receipts

* Designed to notify subscribers when other BlackBerry Internet Service email message recipients have read email messages that were sent to them
* Must be turned on through Options > Email Settings in the BlackBerry Internet Service email address icon.
* Available for both the BlackBerry Internet Service email address as well as third-party integrated email accounts.
* BlackBerry Device Software 4.2 or later is required for this feature to function.

Improved Mailbox management

Synchronization of message status

Full two-way immediate synchronization of message status (read/unread) to source mailbox. For example, if a BlackBerry device user reads an email message from an integrated third-party Inbox, the email message is automatically marked as read on the BlackBerry device as well

Save Sent items

A copy of email messages sent from the BlackBerry smartphone is placed in the source Sent Items folder. For example, if you send an email message from the BlackBerry smartphone using a third-party integrated account, a copy of the sent email message is placed in the Sent Items folder of the third-party account.

Wireless deletion

Email messages deleted from the BlackBerry smartphone can also be deleted from the mailbox of an integrated email account. When deleting an email message, the BlackBerry smartphone user will be prompted to select whether or not to delete the email message from the original mailbox as well.

Save Deleted items

A copy of email messages deleted from the BlackBerry smartphone is placed in the source Deleted Items ( or trash) folder. For example, if you delete an email message from the BlackBerry smartphone using a third-party integrated account, a copy of the deleted email message is placed in the Deleted Items folder of the third-party account. This feature is limited to source-types including IMAP, Microsoft Exchange, and IBM® Lotus® Domino® sources.

Improved support for enhanced Yahoo!® Mail

Synchronization of message status

Full two-way immediate synchronization of message status (read/unread) now supported to and from the Yahoo! Mail Inbox. For example, if a BlackBerry device user reads an email message from a Yahoo! Mail Inbox, the email message is automatically marked as read on the BlackBerry device as well.

Note: Full two-way synchronization of deleted email messages was added with BlackBerry Internet Service 2.2.


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Verizon announces dividend

Verizon Wireless has announced today that they’ll be shelling out 43 cents per share on November 1st., up 2.5 cents last quarter. This is kind of funny, considering some Vodafone shareholders wanted to drop Verizon so they could get more dividends. Irony’s a drag, ain’t it, ECS? This is the first time Verizon’s increased their dividends since March 2005, so no doubt their 2.5 million-odd shareholders will be pretty happy about the news.


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T-Mobile cuts a deal to BlackBerry resellers

SalesmanT-Mobile has recently expanded their Business Partner Programme to include BlackBerry resellers, dangling 17 benefits (like lower pricing on handsets, marketing support) and good commissions as bait. Those retailers have to meet some standards, though: T-Mobile will only approve deals with resellers who can sell on a quarterly basis 150 BlackBerry connections, 120 of which must be at least 2-year contracts. Olive Communications is a prime case study on how this kind of partnership can do really good things for retailers. Other existing UK partners include WN1 Communications and BusinessMobiles, with plenty more in tow.


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Rogers’ BlackBerry 8310 almost here?

A smattering of reports are coming in that the BlackBerry 8310 is coming to Rogers soon, GPS and all. The new Curve will supposedly be nailing the same price point as the existing BlackBerry 8300 ($299 with a 3-year contract, $449.99 with 2 years, $499.99 1 year), effectively dislodging it in the same way that AT&T is doing with the BlackBerry 8820. If this strategy of continual and planned obsolescence keeps up, RIM could be rubbing end-users the wrong way. Sure, Lord Jobs might say that’s just the way the business goes, but something tells me you can make a buck while still being humane to the customer.


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BlackBerry 8820 landing in Singapore

Word has it that the Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry 8820 is landing in Singapore thanks to M1, Singtel and Starhub. The keypad is decribed as “highly tactile”, which seems bizarrely necessary now that other nontactile keypads are emerging. We’re all pretty familiar with the 8820 by now (pretty much the BlackBerry 8800 plus Wi-Fi), so no need to dive into stats. No word on pricing yet.


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