New BlackBerry Sports Verizon Broadband

It’s a phone, it’s a PDA, no wait, it’s also a high-speed modem.

The latest BlackBerry handset released this week is all of the above,

thanks to an agreement between Research In Motion (RIM) and

Verizon Wireless . RIM’s BlackBerry 7130e is the company’s

first handset to use Verizon’s BroadBand Access service, which is based on the carrier’s

Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) network.

The 7130e can also be used as a high-speed modem to connect the device to

a notebook computer and tap into the BroadBand Access service. Verizon says

it offers average connection speeds of 400 to 700 kbps, with coverage of some 140

million Americans in 171 metropolitan areas.

7130e

BlackBerry 7130e

Source: Blackberry

In addition to advanced phone functionality, the 7130e has the same

features as the popular BlackBerry handheld, including support for

“push-based” wireless e-mail, Web browsing, text messaging, personal

organizer and other corporate data applications.

“BroadbandAccess Connect on the new BlackBerry 7130e introduces another

option for customers who view office mobility and speed as a competitive

advantage in their business,” Bill Stone, vice-president of marketing for

Verizon Wireless, said in a statement.

The 7130e handset features a bright, high-resolution LCD screen that RIM says

has been optimized for indoor and outdoor viewing, Bluetooth support,

64MB of flash memory, and dedicated “send” and “end” phone keys. Also

included is RIM’s SureType keyboard technology, which effectively combines a

phone keypad and a QWERTY keyboard to fit within the size of

a traditional wireless phone form factor.

Meanwhile, users of BlackBerry competitor Palm’s Treo device now also

have access to push e-mail services. Everyone.net announced EmailTreo this

week. EmailTreo is a service that gives Treo users instant access to their e-mail and lets them remain continuously synchronized with their Web mail and Outlook e-mail

clients.

San Jose, Calif.-based Everyone.net is a hosted e-mail services provider

with more than a million paid mailboxes. Designed for individuals and small

businesses, Everyone.net says an EmailTreo account can be set up in as

little as a minute’s time, without software plug-ins.

An EmailTreo account is configured directly from the Treo handset and is

provided free for six months, and for $1.75 per month thereafter.

“Real-time e-mail on the Treo is no longer limited to companies with IT

staffs or extensive budgets,” said Josh Mailman vice president of marketing

at Everyone.net, in a statement.

“With an EmailTreo account, users get an extremely powerful push e-mail

solution at a monthly cost that’s less than a cup of coffee,” Mailman said. “Users will

always be up to date with their messages because e-mails will appear on their

Treo devices the same way they do on their desktop: instantly and

automatically.”

Along with competitive pressures, RIM is fighting off patent infringement

claims by NTP that could effectively force it to curtail its

wireless e-mail service in the United States, which is by far the Canadian

company’s biggest market.

But London-based Visiongain said in a report last month that the

BlackBerry handheld “remains the device to beat,” despite its current legal

difficulties.

“Beginning with a prescient logic that defined an enterprise need before

it materialized, RIM has successfully and consistently adapted both hardware

and software ahead of market-shaping forces,” said Visiongain report

author Pam Duffey in a statement. “We think there are new uses for

BlackBerry in customized — and converged — applications.”

Visiongain says that after several years of false hope, wireless email

is finally set for more significant market traction, and its potential

remains largely untapped, bringing new RIM competitors to the fore.

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