Hot off the presses, we’ve got news that the BlackBerry 8820 is en route, packing delicious Wi-Fi connectivity. Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b and g will all be supported, as documented in the FCC patent last week, and not only for data. Generic Access Networking (a.k.a. UMA) will allow for seamless dual-mode calling while in a Wi-Fi hotspot. Although that’s the big feature, besides which the device is largely an 8800, the new BlackBerry will also also be bringing a few other goodies. For one, it will support microSDHC memory cards, meaning up to 32GB of storage capacity. We looked at the 8 GB cards that are in the works from Samsung not too long ago. No 3G just yet, still quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE. GPS is in there too, and RIM also points out AZERTY and QWERTZ keypad availability, pointing to an early launch in both France and Germany. In fact, RIM’s handset index lists France as the only European country confirmed to carry the 8820 so far.
So, maybe those rumors about making room on T-Mobile’s shelves for a Wi-Fi BlackBerry were on to something. The press release confirms AT&T will be releasing the summer, but is leaving the door open for other carriers worldwide. We’ve had some fun sleuthing things out with domain names before, and there’s a little tidbit to be had this go-round as well. The site www.blackberry8820.com redirects to www.blackberry8800series.co.uk/blackberry8820/ . Will the Brits have the first go at the BlackBerry 8820, or the French?
Here’s the press release, for your viewing pleasure.
RIM Announces the BlackBerry 8820 Smartphone
The First Dual-Mode Cellular and Wi-Fi BlackBerry Smartphone
Waterloo, ON – Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq:RIMM; TSX:RIM) today announced the BlackBerry® 8820 smartphone. Featuring RIM’s thinnest smartphone design with a full and highly tactile QWERTY* keyboard, large and bright display (320 x 240), user-friendly trackball navigation system and best-in-class voice and data functionality, the BlackBerry 8820 also includes built-in GPS (Global Positioning System), RIM’s latest media player enhancements, and a microSD / microSDHC (microSD High Capacity) expandable memory slot that can support current and future generations of microSD memory cards up to 32GB. The BlackBerry 8820 is the first dual-mode BlackBerry handset, combining EDGE/GPRS/GSM cellular and Wi-Fi® connectivity for data access and voice support through UMA (unlicensed mobile access) for fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) service offerings from various wireless carriers around the world.
“The BlackBerry 8820 is an extraordinary business phone for people who really care about mobile communications and productivity. It features all the renowned power and usability of the BlackBerry platform with executive class styling and unprecedented connectivity features, including cellular, Wi-Fi and built-in GPS,” said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at RIM. “The BlackBerry 8820 complements our carrier partners’ cellular networks with the added ability to stay connected via Wi-Fi at home, through hotspots and corporate campuses.”
The BlackBerry 8820 smartphone supports the 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi standards to enable data access over Wi-Fi connections in the enterprise, as well as through public hotspots and wireless home networks. The smartphone works in conjunction with both BlackBerry® Enterprise Server and BlackBerry® Internet Service and can 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.
To meet various security requirements, the BlackBerry 8820 is compliant with Wi-Fi security protocols including WEP (Wireless Equivalency Protocol), WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2, as well as Cisco Compatible Extensions for simple, secure connectivity with Cisco wireless solutions. For enterprises that require Wi-Fi users to access the corporate network through a VPN (Virtual Private Network), the BlackBerry 8820 includes IPSec-based software that supports the most commonly deployed VPN gateways from vendors including Cisco, Check Point and others.
The BlackBerry 8820 also supports UMA, enabling wireless carriers to offer a fixed-mobile convergence service for both business and home use. With a UMA solution in place, the BlackBerry 8820 can also seamlessly switch voice calls between a wireless carrier’s cellular network and a Wi-Fi network.
The BlackBerry 8820 is a quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE-enabled smartphone that provides global wireless voice and data capabilities with best-in-class performance. The BlackBerry 8820 features include:
• World Class Phone – The BlackBerry 8820 is a world-class mobile phone with advanced noise cancellation for enhanced audio performance and easy-to-use phone features including Speaker Independent Voice Recognition for Voice Activated Dialing (VAD), smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing and call forwarding, as well as dedicated “send”, “end” and “mute” keys. It features a high quality, low-distortion speakerphone and Bluetooth® 2.0 for use with hands-free headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals. Support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ringtones is also included.
• Built-in GPS – Through its built-in GPS, the BlackBerry 8820 can pinpoint its location and provide “out-of-the-box” support for a wide variety of location-based applications and services, including BlackBerry® Maps.
• microSD / microSDHC Expansion Memory – The BlackBerry 8820 includes a microSD expansion memory slot that can support both microSD (up to 2GB) and microSDHC (4GB to 32GB) memory cards. 4GB memory cards are available today, and 8GB cards are expected to be available later this year.
• BlackBerry Services – The BlackBerry 8820 can operate with BlackBerry Internet Service, giving users the ability to manage up to 10 supported personal and corporate email accounts, as well as BlackBerry Enterprise Server, enabling advanced security and IT administration features within IBM® Lotus® Domino®, Microsoft® Exchange and Novell® GroupWise® environments.
• Application Support – The BlackBerry wireless platform gives customers the capability to deploy a variety of applications. Thousands of applications and business solutions from third party software providers can further extend the BlackBerry platform to support business needs such as CRM, sales force automation, field services, business intelligence, supply chain management and continuity of operations, as well as a broad range of industry-specific applications for sectors including health care, law enforcement, government, financial services, insurance, pharmaceutical, professional services, real estate, manufacturing, wholesale and retail.
• Multimedia – The BlackBerry 8820 supports the Bluetooth stereo audio profile (A2DP/AVRCP) and comes with the most recent BlackBerry media player refinements, allowing users to play music and search by simply typing the title, genre, artist or album name. Videos can also be played in full screen mode. The BlackBerry 8820 comes with a new and powerful desktop media manager – the Roxio® Media Manager for BlackBerry® – which was developed with Sonic® and based on the award-winning Roxio Easy Media Creator® 9. The desktop media manager software introduces a new level of simplicity by 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 on the smartphone.
• Removable Battery – The BlackBerry 8820 comes with an ultra-thin, high-capacity, removable battery that further extends the exceptional battery life for which BlackBerry handsets are known.
• Accessories – The BlackBerry 8820 comes with a complement of accessories in the box, including a headset, travel charger, USB cable and holster. Additional Authentic BlackBerry Accessories, including premium leather holsters and totes, desktop and automotive chargers, Bluetooth® headsets and other peripherals, are available online at www.shopblackberry.com.
For more information about the BlackBerry 8820, please visit: www.blackberry8820.com.
The BlackBerry 8820 will be available from select wireless carriers around the world in the coming weeks. AT&T is scheduled to launch the BlackBerry 8820 in the U.S. later this summer.
* Keyboard also available in AZERTY and QWERTZ configurations to support different language groups.
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® wireless platform, the RIM Wireless Handheld™ 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.