12:33 PM

RIM Introduces Dual-Mode BlackBerry Supporting Cellular And Wi-Fi

Users can connect on slower cellular networks or faster Wi-Fi. The phone also has built-in GPS.

Research In Motion finally introduced the first BlackBerry smartphone with both cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity.

RIM is playing catch-up with other business smartphone markers like Nokia and Palm -- both have smartphones with built-in Wi-Fi. Apple's new iPhone also comes with Wi-Fi capability, making it a good alternative for mobile professionals.

The BlackBerry 8820 smartphone is RIM's thinnest so far, and offers dual-mode capability that will let users switch from cellular to Wi-Fi networks for faster Internet access.

RIM launched a Wi-Fi-only BlackBerry for "corridor warriors" in February 2005.

The BlackBerry 8820 will be available from select wireless carriers in the coming weeks and from AT&T in the United States later this summer, according to RIM. AT&T is also the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the United States.

The smartphone supports 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi standards for data connections over corporate wireless local area networks, public hotspots, and home wireless networks.

The BlackBerry 8820 comes in two keyboard configurations, AZERTY and QWERTZ, to support different languages. It features a 320 x 240 display screen, and also includes built-in GPS, an enhanced media player, and an expandable memory slot that takes MicroSD cards of up to 32 Gbytes.

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