The skinny on RIM's BlackBerry 8800

It features a full QWERTY keyboard and longer battery life

Research In Motion Ltd. today announced the BlackBerry 8800, which features a full QWERTY keyboard, longer battery life and Global Positioning System capability.

RIM officials described the 8800 as "sleek and stylish" and the company's thinnest BlackBerry yet, measuring 4.49 by 2.6 by .55 in. and weighing 4.73 ounces. But one analyst said the full keyboard will attract some users.

"It is basically a bigger version of the Pearl announced earlier," said Gartner Inc. analyst Philip Redman.Pearl, by comparison, relies on fewer keys with input software called SureType that works well except for proper names and nonstandard words, he said.

RIM's BlackBerry 8800

RIM's BlackBerry 8800 AT&T Inc.'s Cingular Wireless division also announced today that it will begin offering the device on Feb. 21, starting at $299.99 with rebates and a two-year voice service contract. E-mail access and unlimited AT&T Push to Talk service will be available for added costs.

The 8800 battery allows five hours of talk time and 22 days of standby time. By comparison, the Pearl has 3.5 hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time.

In addition, the 8800 features built-in GPS capability and a new trackball navigation system. It will support phone, e-mail, text messaging, Web browsing, an organizer, corporate data applications and a media player for listening to music or watching videos while e-mailing or browsing, the companies said.

With the internal GPS and TeleNav GPS Navigator from AT&T, users can receive over-the-air, turn-by-turn voice and on-screen driving directions. A demonstration of the device over the RIM Web site features full-color, movable 3-D maps for navigation as well.

The 8800 provides wireless access with quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE, although AT&T said it will operate the device on its broadband enhanced data rates for global GSM evolution wireless data network. In addition, AT&T said customers will be able to use the device for phone calls in more than 200 countries with access to e-mail and data applications in more than 120 countries.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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