Chicago (IL) – The next-generation Blackberry Curve 8900 will be available to both new customers and subscribers at AT&T by early summer.
The 8900 has been selling at T-Mobile corporate stores for several weeks, with authorized dealers getting the device depending on their depleted stock of preceding Curves. AT&T will b getting the same spec device, a 2G phone and quad-band EDGE (850/1900/1700/1800 MHz) capability.
The 8900 is one of RIM’s best Blackberry devices out in some time, featuring design elements taken from the touchscreen Storm model. Key characteristics include angled edges and brushed surfaces. The screen delivers a 480×360 pixel resolution, a 3.2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and GPS navigation via the AT&T Navigator (subscription required). Basic GPS capability can be added via the mobile version Google Maps as well as a few free applications from the Blackberry application store.
AT&T will provide Wi-Fi access through 20,000 hotspots nationwide, but it is unclear at this time whether free Wi-Fi calls via VoIP apps will be possible. A Blackberry version of Skype is expected to arrive this month and there is no information whether it will actually do voice calls through the AT&T or T-Mobile data network, so don’t hold your breath.
We have had access to the Curve 8900 for some time now and believe it is the best Blackberry released by RIM so far, hands down. Considering the maturity of the design of the device, we almost can forgive RIM for the terrible first generation Pearl phone. The Curve 8900 has few weaknesses, if you care for such phones with a physical QWERT keyboard. The most significant is an obvious lack of battery capacity. Make use of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection throughout the day, and add a few calls, and the device runs out of juice after 10 hours.
With AT&T relying solely on its iPhone, the Blackberry Curve may help the company to boost sales even further. In the first quarter of 2009, the Blackberry Curve outsold the iPhone, according to market research firm NPD.