Verizon & RIM launches BlackBerry 8830 World Edition

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Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion Ltd. today launched the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smart phone, which is designed to provide business travelers data and voice connections in 60 countries.The 8830 will be available to Verizon Wireless business customers by May 14, and it will be in Verizon stores May 28.

Verizon's Global BlackBerry service will feature a local number for domestic and international use in Australia and Europe, and in portions of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North America. The service provides constant connectivity for the device's wireless e-mail, contacts, calendar, organizer and Internet access.

The BlackBerry 8830 ties to an EV-DO/GPRS network for high-speed data transfers. GSM/GPRS service provides constant voice and e-mail while traveling in foreign countries. Other features include a media player, Bluetooth connectivity and a new trackball navigation system.

The smart phone will be priced at $399, according to the companies. But people who sign up for a two-year customer contract from Verizon will get a $100 rebate. An additional $100 credit may be applied toward the purchase when concurrently signing up for specific voice and data plans.

Global BlackBerry service is available for $64.99 a month on top of a voice plan, or for $69.99 a month without a voice plan. A pay-as-you-go feature allows customers to buy a voice plan and then purchase data capability for $20 per megabyte, according to a statement issued by the companies.

The 8830 features a new trackball navigation system, a media player, expandable memory, Bluetooth capability and an instant messaging tool, the statement said. At 14mm thick, it's not svelte.

Users who sign up for global BlackBerry service with Verizon Wireless service will receive the Global Support Pack, which includes a SIM card, a user reference guide and access to a global help desk for around-the-clock customer support. A free calling card is also provided in case a user needs to make a support call from a landline phone if the 8830 is lost, broken or stolen.

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