Alltel Starts Taking Orders For Latest BlackBerry Curve

The carrier joins Verizon Wireless in becoming one of the first U.S. carriers to sell BlackBerry's competitor to the Apple iPhone.
Alltel Wireless on Monday said it would begin selling on May 1 Research In Motion's latest consumer BlackBerry smartphone, which includes a music and video player,

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.