RIM picks up speed with new handheld

Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) Thursday announced it is launching its first handheld device designed for use on CDMA2000 1X (Code Division Multiple Access) networks.

The data and voice-enabled BlackBerry 6750, which supports Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME), offers users access to e-mail, short message service (SMS), dualband phone, browser and organizer applications, according to the company.

The offering is designed specifically to meet the needs of both IT departments and end users, RIM said.

Along with the enterprise e-mail integration offering which is enabled through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the firm is also providing a new Web-based application with this device which supports ISP e-mail accounts through the POP3 protocol. The application, called BlackBerry Web client, enables users to access various e-mail accounts through their handheld devices, configure settings, and set up filters and automatic signatures. RIM noted in a statement that enterprises currently running BlackBerry Enterprise Server will still have the ability to manage handheld devices that “prevent access to personal ISP accounts.”

CDMA2000 1XRTT networks offer a migration path between 2G and 3G capabilities but some Canadian companies are still anticipating the data transfer rates of up to 2Mbps that true 3G provides, said Lawrence Surtees, director of telecom research with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto.

For now it’s going to find initial take-up in the consumer market – video games, mobile phones – but the real untapped potential is the enterprise market which requires the better speeds of 3G, Surtees said.

“For the business market it’s a first step – it’s a prelude to even better, faster true 3G services (data transfer rates of up to 2Mbps) which are still a few more years out,” Surtees said.

The 6750 is currently in customer trial across North America, but is expected to be available in Canada through Bell Mobility in the first quarter of 2003, and through Verizon Wireless in the U.S. at the same time.

RIM is on the Web at www.rim.com.

– With files from Ryan B. Patrick, IT World Canada