The New BlackBerry World Phone!Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I go back a long way with RIM, I carried one of its first two-way pagers (excuse me, Mike, two-way messaging devices) in the mid-1990s on the RAM Mobile Data network. Before the first BlackBerry was introduced on the same network, I carried one and knew this was going to be a big deal—email, calendar and address book on your hip (or in your purse)―even if you had to sync it in a cradle to update it.
Over the years, I think I have carried every BlackBerry introduced on the RAM network, ARDIS and then all of the cellular networks. Today, I carry an 8800 and while I miss the track wheel on the side a lot, I really like the size and increased battery life of the device, and I am learning to live with the track wheel.
My BlackBerry service is on a different network from my voice service for one reason. I have found that the Verizon network works best for me in the United States, but since I travel worldwide I need a BlackBerry that works in many other countries so I have my BlackBerry on the T-Mobile network. This combination has worked great for awhile now, but I end up carrying two devices most of the time and would prefer a single device.
Enter RIM’s latest BlackBerry! The 8830 operates around the world on both the CDMA networks and the GSM networks. It will be sold by both Verizon Wireless and Sprint for anywhere from $200 to $400. The other big news for me is that Verizon will supposedly charge a $20 per month premium for worldwide data services or occasional travelers can opt for a pay-as-you-go plan. According to the news account, Sprint has not yet decided on pricing.
Another reported difference is that the Verizon unit will be “locked,” which means the SIM used for GSM cannot be replaced with another SIM while the Sprint unit will be unlocked so customers could purchase service in another country and not pay roaming charges while in that country. Many who travel around the world already have a number of different SIMs they use in their phones in order to try to keep costs down. No matter which is the right decision, the fact that this product is going to be available very soon is great news for those of us who travel outside the United States.
RIM has been pushing the envelope of email and devices for a long time and recently announced it was going to support Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 devices. This will give corporations an opportunity to have a wider range of devices with BlackBerry services. RIM is one of the companies I watch closely and one of the companies that keeps surprising me with devices such as the new 8830.