RealTime IT News

'Round The World With a Verizon BlackBerry

Research In Motion  (RIM) said users of new BlackBerry devices available from Verizon  will have voice and data service outside the U.S. starting May 14.

The BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smartphone and Global BlackBerry service, both available from Verizon, will allow customers to place and receive voice calls from more than 150 countries, as well as send and receive e-mail in more than 60 countries.

The device will come equipped with both CDMA  technology for domestic use and GSM technology for international use. GSM is the de facto wireless standard for most of Europe and Asia, with the exception of Japan and South Korea.

It also comes equipped with GPRS  technology for data transmission.

BlackBerry 8830
Verizon adds globe-trotting feature to RIM partnership.
Source: Verizon

The 8830 includes new functionality and features that RIM introduced with the 8800, including Trackball navigation to replace the track wheel and a 14 millimeter form factor. Speaker-independent voice recognition is also included, which means that customers don't have to spend time "training" the device to learn their particular vocal inflections or accents.

Mike Lanman, vice president and chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless, said the package will set a new standard for global wireless service, particularly among multinational companies. "We expect this device to quickly become our top-selling BlackBerry for domestic use, as well," he said in a statement.

The deal gives Verizon a competitive edge against AT&T , which offers international support for the Palm  Treo.

While a small subset of the world's population travel internationally, BlackBerry users represent a more significant proportion of potential customers.

According to Avi Greengart, principal analyst for mobile devices at Current Analysis, multinational companies have a highly mobile workforce, and supporting a variety of smartphones to suit different needs in the enterprise is a headache for IT managers.

You might be supporting 200 users and only 10 of them travel internationally. But if you can standardize on one thing that will work well for everybody, that's a huge burden that's been removed," he told internetnews.com.

Greengart said that asking customers to understand the network topographies of different countries and making arrangements accordingly is a challenge that influences IT buying decisions.

"Companies have gone to AT&T rather than Verizon because of this issue," he said.

The smartphone will sell for $299.99 after a $100 rebate with a two-year customer agreement; monthly access plans will range from $49.99 to $69.99. The relatively low price point means that IT departments can upgrade all current BlackBerry users to the 8830, including those who don't travel internationally.