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RIM Debuts 3G BlackBerry For U.S.

Mobile PDA maker Research In Motion (RIM) Thursday introduced a new data and voice-enabled handheld - the BlackBerry 6750 - that will operate on CDMA2000 1X or third-generation wireless networks.

As part of the product launch RIM said it is partnering with Verizon Wireless , which will offer the new device via Verizon's national high-speed Express Network. The Network offers average data transmission speeds between 40 and 60kbps with bursts up to 144 kbps.

The 6750 is currently in customer trials in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to be available through Verizon in the U.S. and Bell Mobility in Canada in the first quarter of 2003. Handheld and airtime pricing and roaming services are being determined by the network carriers and will vary based on specific service plans.

The announcement marks the first time a BlackBerry has been available on a 1X network in the United States. Previously, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company had operated its mobile devices over 2.5G and GSM networks.

The new BlackBerry 6750 features wireless e-mail, dual band phone, SMS, browser and organizer applications in a single handheld and supports Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME).

With CDMA functions, you can click on an e-mail address, telephone number or URL inside a message to automatically invoke an e-mail message, call the telephone number or connect to the URL.

Like its standard 6700 series models, the 6750 includes its "thumb-typing" keyboard design, navigation trackwheel, "push" architecture, embedded RIM wireless modem, rechargeable/removable lithium battery, internal speaker/microphone and headset jack. Both the screen and keyboard are backlit.

"BlackBerry has already been adopted by thousands of businesses and government organization as an open, secure and powerful platform," said RIM president and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. "We believe today's announcement significantly strengthens the BlackBerry story for customers through added support for the CDMA 1X standard and collaboration with leading carriers."

This is the second carrier partner RIM has signed up this week for its handhelds. The company Tuesday took the wraps off its BlackBerry 6510 device that includes traditional Nextel Direct Connect walkie-talkie functions.

In a separate announcement, RIM said its BlackBerry 6720 Wireless Handheld is now available in the United Kingdom through T-Mobile UK . The BlackBerry 6720 is a dual band handheld that operates on 900/1800 MHz GSM/GPRS wireless networks in Europe and Asia Pacific.

This represents the first commercial availability in Europe of RIM's new BlackBerry 6700 series handhelds.