Well, here’s the official release, hot on the heels of Verizon’s teaser campaign. Heralded as the first CDMA BlackBerry Pearl, the 8130 will be packing high-speed EVDO, GPS, A2DP, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 2mpx camera with video capture and a whole new interface including a browser overhaul with streaming video support. We saw some UI upgrades not too long ago, which included media playlists and the BlackBerry 8130 will be where we see them first. As for video capture, I guess we can see where T-Mobile screwed up their BlackBerry 8320 description – it was the 8130 they were talking about. It’s cool, T-Mo, all the model numbers screw with our heads too. North American CDMA carriers will be seeing this puppy come November.
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Earlier rumors of Slingbox support for BlackBerry has been confirmed by Pocket Lint today. Some ambitious reports have claimed the world will have 120 million people watching TV on their mobiles by 2012, which is saying something considering we’re sitting at under 12 million viewers right now. Even if Sling’s BlackBerry support doesn’t come soon, Sprint’s 8120 will be packing some streaming video service. Would you guys want to watch TV on your BlackBerry?
Engadget’s got their hands on some shots of Sprint’s upcoming Q4 lineup, including a BlackBerry 8130. Sprint’s poster confirms that the next-gen Pearl will have GPS, and previous reports have led us to believe that you won’t find both Wi-Fi and GPS under the same hood. Beyond that, the BlackBerry 8130 will be sporting stereo Bluetooth, EVDO compatability, as well as being able to work with Sprint’s streaming TV service. Guess that talk about streaming video support in the upcoming 4.3 OS update was well-founded. The rest of the rumored features are likely to hold up, like 3.5mm headphone jack and external microSD card slot. Keep an eye out for it before the end of the year, as expected.
The upcoming BlackBerry OS might be packing streaming video support, but the real moneymaking could be in video messaging. A recent report from ABI Research forecasts $17 billion in revenues from video messaging and telephony services by 2012. RIM’s still getting their feet wet in multimedia devices, and to be honest, video messaging seems a long way off. Incoming video streaming is a good start, but not only will the camera hardware have to evolve, but a network which reliably supports the data stream will also be necessary for outbound video messaging to happen. Even then, data-intensive activity like that isn’t exactly RIM’s style. The consumer angle for mobile video support is obvious (who doesn’t want a webcam on their phone?), but could video conferencing functionality make a camera more of a business-oriented feature on a BlackBerry?
Rumors creeping in of streaming video support for new BlackBerrys could be validated if comments from Slingbox’s CEO turn out to be true. In a recent interview on Revision3’s show GigaOM, Blake Krikorian suggested that a mobile client for Sling could be coming to BlackBerry. Considering Slingplayer Mobile is already available for Windows Mobile and Palm devices, BlackBerry-compatible software isn’t much of a surprise. User-friendliness aside, would a service like this match the entertainment value available from iPhone video streaming? Of course, comparable products such as Mobile TV Center are already out on the market, and offer extra features such as show recording, but with the slew of new Slingbox services detailed in the interview, it’ll be a tough fight.