The spies over at CrackBerry said Verizon Wireless will soon be getting the BlackBerry 8530. The great thing about this is that this handset packs Wi-Fi. It's about freaking time.The smartphone itself is kind of boring, as it will essentially be a CDMA version of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 that was announced for T-Mobile. It's a relatively low-end BlackBerry and its main new features are an optical track pad, and media controls on top. While I sincerely think both of these will add to the BlackBerry experience, the device itself isn't that appealing to me.
But the Wi-Fi is an interesting new development for Big V, which has inexplicably kept Wi-Fi out of some high-end handsets like the BlackBerry Storm and Tour. What's even weirder is that Verizon was just fine having Wi-Fi in less popular handsets like the Samsung Omnia.
The mobile carriers get a lot of guff for doing things to protect their businesses. For example, Apple recently pulled a Google Voice app at the reported request of AT&T because it could let customers get around being charged for text messages. If this is how it went down, then I understand the rationale because these are public companies with a legal obligation to maximize profits. I don't have to like it, but I get it.
What boggles my mind is that Verizon already requires data packages for its BlacKBerry smartphones, so users wouldn't be using Wi-Fi to get around this. The other CDMA network, Sprint, has also been pretty silly with its lack of Wi-Fi for some phones, but hopefully both are changing their strategy around this.
No official word on when or how much this will cost, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it within a few months. When you factor this one, the Tour, and the sequel to the Storm, Verizon is going to have a very nice lineup of BlackBerry smartphones. Also, don't be surprised if RIM has a surprise up its sleeves later this year with a touch-screen handset that has the familiar BlackBerry form factor (keyboard and all).