Alltel joined Verizon Wireless in planning to become one of the first U.S. carriers to sell BlackBerry's competitor to the Apple iPhone, which is offered exclusively by AT&T. Pre-orders for the titanium-colored Curve 8330 are being accepted through Alltel's online store.
The new smartphone features a trackball navigation system, a QWERTY keyboard, and a 2 megapixel camera that supports video recording. Alltel offers a personal navigation service through the device's global positioning system.
Other features include support for hi-speed USB ports for faster data transfers with a PC and a MicroSD/SDHC memory slot for external storage of music, video clips and photos. In addition the smartphone has voice-activated dialing, a stereo headset jack and supports Bluetooth 2.0 for hands-free operation through a wireless headset. The device also contains a removable, rechargeable battery that's rated for up to 260 minutes of talk time.
The new smartphone measures 4.2 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches and weighs four ounces, making it RIM's smallest and lightest full QWERTY device.
Alltel Wireless plans to sell the Curve 8330 for $300 after a $100 mail-in rebate. The discounted price is available for new customers who sign up for a two-year service agreement and for current customers on qualifying rate plans. Alltel service plans begin at $70 a month.
Alltel's offering is more expensive than Verizon's. The latter company plans to start selling the 8330 in May for $270 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year service contract. Verizon this month dropped its rates for data services for smartphones to a starting price of $30 a month from $45 a month.
The Curve 8330 will also be available through Sprint, but details have not been announced.