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AT&T and the BlackBerry 8820: July or August?

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BlackBerry 8820Poor Boy Genius. The guy has so many sources on the inside that sometimes their “hot tips” conflict with each other. Take the impending release of the BlackBerry 8820 (mmm, sweet Wi-Fi goodness) on AT&T, for instance. One BG devotee claims that AT&T will be launching the 8820 as early as this week, for $299 on a 2 year plan. The launch will coincide with a “phase out” of the already passé BlackBerry 8800. Others, citing “internal AT&T training documents”, are claiming that AT&T will have exclusivity on the BlackBerry 8820 (sorry, T-Mobile), but not until August.

With RIM’s official press release failing to offer a firm date, it’s no wonder there’s so much confusion. For our money, it’s most likely that AT&T is soft-launching the BlackBerry 8820 this week for enterprise customers (a common carrier tactic), with a full consumer rollout to hit in August. Only time will tell, however. Keep your ear to the ground, BG, but do your best to filter out the noise.

RIM announces BlackBerry 8820

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BlackBerry 8820Hot 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.

Press release and more behind the jump.