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RIM expands Bold to CDMA, updates Pearl

Research In Motion Ltd. unveiled updated versions of a pair of its devices this morning that should bring increased functionality to its devices that are seeing a dramatic increase in competition in the smartphone market.


RIM said it’s set to launch a CDMA version of its Blackberry Bold smartphone, dubbed the 9650. The device looks set to replace the CDMA/GSM-enabled Tour that the company launched last year domestically with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. The Bold’s updates over the Tour will include embedded Wi-Fi connectivity and a trackpad to replace the finicky trackball that is on the Tour. The Bold will continue with international capabilities with the inclusion of support for UMTS/HSPA in the 2100 MHz band and EDGE/GPRS/GSM in the 900/1800 MHz bands.


Sprint Nextel said it will begin offering the device on May 23 for $200 after all rebates and a two-year contract.


RIM also announced a 3G version of its candy bar-style Pearl device that will include support for UMTS/HSDPA networks. RIM did not indicate the 3G spectrum bands that were supported by the new device, though the current 2G model is offered by both AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA Inc. AT&T Mobility uses its 850 MHz/1.9 GHz spectrum for its 3G network, while T-Mobile USA relies on its 1.7/2.1 GHz spectrum for its 3G network.


The updates to the Pearl also earn the diminutive device an upgrade from its previous 8000-series identifying numbers to the 9000-series range.


In addition to the new devices, RIM also announced its Blackberry Mobile Voice System 5 that works with Cisco Systems Inc.’s Unified Communications Manager to allow Voice over Internet Protocol calls to be placed over Wi-Fi-enabled Blackberry devices. RIM said the latest version of the service will allow employees to use single number shared between their desk phone and mobile phone to make and receive calls over a Wi-Fi connection.


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