T-Mobile Gets Trackpad-Equipped BlackBerry Curve 8520

Research In Motion's BlackBerry line has a long history of being the go-to smartphone for the business crowd. By and large, the BlackBerry hasn't changed much over the years, sticking to its vertical form factor, full QWERTY keypad and generally small screen. Those attributes, along with a few nice extras, are all present on the company's latest slice of fruit, the BlackBerry Curve 8520.

The sleekest BlackBerry yet is destined to launch on T-Mobile USA, and while the specs list is decent, it's still being classified as a low-to-mid-range smartphone. It'll be available in two shades (black and frost) and will provide push e-mail, messaging and applications that provide easy access to popular social networks Facebook and MySpace. As with other GSM-capable T-Mobile phones, the 8520 is also a world phone, meaning that it will work in practically any nation in the world with a GSM network. RIM has also equipped this mobile with a Wi-Fi module, though 3G support is sorely missing.

Unlike most BlackBerry units of the past, this one boasts a slightly new trackball setup. Described as an " innovative touch-sensitive optical trackpad," it replaces the "ball" that's in most other RIM handsets. It is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature dedicated media keys, which are integrated along the top of the handset, giving customers an easy, convenient way to control their music and videos. The new BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone will be available from T-Mobile stores, Walmart locations and other authorized dealers starting on August 5, 2009 for a price that's to be disclosed. It's also expected to be the first BlackBerry with "out of the box" Mac compatibility, which ought to make OS X fanatics quite happy--or, at least the ones that don't already own an iPhone.

Key features of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone include:

  • Full-QWERTY keyboard and touch-sensitive optical trackpad for reliable, responsive typing and navigation
  • 256MB Flash memory and a 512Mhz next generation processor for enhanced performance
  • Premium phone features including voice activated dialing, and Bluetooth (2.0) support for hands-free use with headsets, car kits, stereo headsets and other Bluetooth peripherals
  • 2 MP digital camera with zoom and video recording
  • Advanced media player for music, pictures and videos, with dedicated media keys and a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, plus BlackBerry(R) Media Sync, which makes it easy to quickly sync music from iTunes(R) or Windows Media(R) Player with the smartphone(ii)
  • Access to BlackBerry App World(TM), featuring a broad and growing catalog of third-party mobile applications developed specifically for BlackBerry smartphones. Categories include games, entertainment, social networking and sharing, news and weather, productivity and much more
  • BlackBerry(R) Internet Service support for access to up to 10 supported email accounts, including most popular ISP email accounts such as Yahoo!(R), Windows Live(TM) Hotmail(R), AOL(R) and Gmail(TM); and BlackBerry(R) Enterprise Server support, which provides advanced security and IT administration features for corporate deployments
  • Expandable memory via hot swappable microSD/SDHC memory card slot, supporting cards of up to 16 GB today and expected to support next generation 32GB cards when available; a 1GB card is included
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) with support for T-Mobile Unlimited Hotspot Calling service
  • Quad-band world phone: EGDE/GPRS/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)