Software // Information Management
12:20 PM

Sprint Adding BlackBerry Pearl 8130 To Prosumer Lineup

The smartphone will operate on Sprint's EV-DO network, which typically delivers downstream data rates up to 600 Kbps.

Sprint on Wednesday said it will start offering the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 next month with music, TV, and navigation services specific to the carrier's network.

The thin cell phone-like BlackBerry Pearl will support the broadest range of Sprint Power Vision Services of any BlackBerry smartphone offered by Sprint, the company said. The services include access to the Sprint Music Store where subscribers can download songs, Sprint TV where subscribers can choose from more than 50 live TV channels to watch on their smartphone, and on-demand content like news, sports, and weather updates delivered to subscribers.

The Sprint will begin selling the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 in November.
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Sprint is taking advantage of the increasing demand for location-based services by offering a navigation service on the Pearl, which sports built-in GPS technology. The service provides voice-guided and on-screen turn-by-turn driving direction, 3D maps, and traffic alerts. It also supports BlackBerry Maps, Research In Motion's mapping application for BlackBerry smartphones running software version 4.1 and later.

"The BlackBerry Pearl 8130 combines advanced smartphone features in an innovative design so customers can leave the laptop behind and live large," said Danny Bowman, Sprint's VP of customer equipment, in a statement.

The Pearl has many of the features demanded by business professionals, such as calendar management, "push" wireless e-mail, the ability to view documents, and the ability to use the smartphone as a modem with a laptop. But it's considered a "prosumer" device that appeals both to professionals and consumers because of its multimedia capabilities.

The smartphone will operate on Sprint's third-generation (3G) cellular network called EV-DO, which typically delivers downstream data rates up to 600 Kbps.

The BlackBerry Pearl 8100, a variation of the 8130, is already available from T-Mobile and AT&T, among other carriers in the United States.

Sprint's announcement comes a week after Verizon Wireless announced the Pearl 8130 as part of its holiday lineup. Verizon Wireless' Pearl will also use its high-speed EV-DO network and will come with a navigation service.

RIM's second-quarter profit -- reported earlier this month -- beat expectations by breaking the 10-million subscriber mark. RIM earned $287.7 million for the three months ended September 1, up from $140.2 million in the same period last year. The company's co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie attributed strong growth to demand for its prosumer smartphones: the BlackBerry Curve and the Pearl.

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