Sprint to Deliver Broadband BlackBerry

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2006-06-01 Print this article Print

Updated: The wireless handheld devices will use Sprint's Power Vision Network.

Sprint Nextel has begun shipping a new version of Research In Motion's popular BlackBerry device, designed to take advantage of its Power Vision mobile broadband network.

The company will also upgrade an earlier version of the BlackBerry to take advantage of the network later in 2006.

The BlackBerry 7130e, as delivered by Sprint, will be able to download information across the mobile broadband network at average speeds of 400 to 700K bps, with speeds as high as 2M bps possible in some areas.

The new device will come with software support for a variety of graphical file types. In addition, the 7130e will support Bluetooth, and it will act as a modem for laptop computers. The 7130e sells for $199.99 after all discounts and promotions.

Mark Guibert, vice president of corporate marketing for RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, said he thinks the combination of features will be very popular.

"The combination of EvDO [Evolution Data Optimized] support providing faster connectivity in such a small form factor opens this up to a broader audience," Guibert said, adding that the product is aimed at traditional cell phone users who are upgrading their phones and who consider better data connectivity to be an important feature.

"This is a form factor that has been successful for us on the IDEN [Integrated Digital Enhanced Network] network (the network used by Nextel) and we hope it will be successful on the CDMA [Code Division Multiple Access] network," explained Christopher Callender, group manager for Smart Devices at Sprint Nextel, headquartered in Reston, Va. "This is aimed at people who spend more time on the phone than doing e-mail or browsing."

Callender said he thinks the new product will draw customers who have not been smart-phone users in the past. "Now phone-first customers can enjoy the same features that exist on the traditional BlackBerry in the form factor of a phone," he said. He added that he thinks this will help Sprint competitively.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Sprint to Deliver Broadband BlackBerry

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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