New BlackBerry Hits The Streets

RIM's latest pocket email device launches in the UK first.

It’s not often that a company from across the pond launches a product in the UK before it hits North America, but that’s exactly what Research In Motion (RIM) did today. Working with UK based network operator O2, RIM launched the latest device in the hugely successful BlackBerry line – the 7130g.

The 7130g follows on from the 7100 series, which embodied a smaller, more pocketable BlackBerry, but lost the full QWERTY keyboard. Like its predecessor, the 7130g sports a reduced keyboard and relies on the SureType predictive text system to turn your key presses into perfect pros.

The 7130g will be sharing some technology with already available BlackBerry 8700, most notably the 312MHz Intel XScale processor. It also sports a much improved screen, complete with an ambient light sensor, just like its big brother – although being a smaller device the screen on the 7130g has a reduced resolution of 240 x 260, compared with 320 x 240 on the 8700.

The new handset measures 114.5 x 56 x 18.4mm (HxWxD) and weighs in at 120g. This makes it only 14g lighter than the 8700, but a fair bit smaller.

Obviously the 7130g incorporates the superb BlackBerry push email client, allowing you to send and receive email pretty much anywhere – and with quad band support, you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere that the device won’t function. As well as standard GPRS, you also get EDGE support to speed along those emails, and help with the odd spot of web browsing.

Despite still promoting the BlackBerry as a corporate tool, the inclusion of Yahoo! Messenger as a preloaded application hints that RIM is aware that non-business users are also keen on BlackBerry devices. But the consumer friendliness stops short of including an integrated camera or Bluetooth file transfer capability.

RIM is quoting four hours talk time and an impressive standby time of 18 days. Of course in general use there will be a mix of both, but I’d take a guess at a few days between battery charges – unless you really are a BlackBerry email addict.

I managed to walk away from the press briefing with a 7130g in my bag, complete with an O2 SIM. I’ll be playing with RIM’s new baby over the next few days, so expect a full review very soon.

Research In Motion

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