AT&T's BlackBerry Sports Global 3G Speed

By Joseph Palenchar On May 19 2008 - 6:00am

The first BlackBerry equipped by Research In Motion with W-CDMA high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology will be available later this year from AT&T Mobility through its enterprise and retail channels, AT&T said.

The BlackBerry Bold 9000, due exclusively in the United States through AT&T, will be the first BlackBerry sold by a U.S. carrier to operate globally in 3G (third-generation) wireless networks and the first BlackBerry from a U.S. carrier to operate in Japan and South Korea, AT&T said. In those countries and others around the world, the Bold will operate in HSDPA mode in the 2.1GHz band, delivering download speeds at up to a theoretical peak of 3.6Mbps.

Other BlackBerry worldphones operate in GSM/EDGE mode globally with theoretical peak download speeds up to 473kbps (up to 130kbps on average). Another BlackBerry worldphone, the 8830 available through Verizon Wireless, operates in U.S. CDMA 1x EV-DO networks at theoretical peak speeds up to 2.4Mbps peak, but in foreign 900/1800MHz networks, it operates only in 2G networks in low-speed GSM/GPRS mode, delivering a maximum of 57.6kbps.

The Bold supports enterprise email servers as well as BlackBerry Internet Service, which pushes consumers' personal email to the device.

Because the device features HSDPA, it will offer simultaneous voice and data transmission, enabling users to talk while they surf the Web, send and receive email, and view turn-by-turn driving instructions. It lacks high-speed uplink packet access (HSUPA) to accelerate upload speeds over W-CDMA upload speeds.

In other enhancements, the device:

  • doubles the processing horsepower of previous BlackBerrys to 624MHz from 312MHz to open applications and documents faster, deliver smoother video streams, and the like;

  • comes with 480 by 320 half-VGA 65K-color display that exceeds the resolution of previous BlackBerrys;

  • will ship with document viewer/editing included rather than sold as an add-on. The DataViz Documents To Go application is included in the device's OS, BlackBerry OS 4.5, which will also be available later this spring as a downloadable upgrade for existing BlackBerry users and as a running change at the factory to existing models. The application lets users open and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files delivered over the air; and

  • offers a "push button setup" to speed up connections to protected wireless Wi-Fi networks that require a sign on process.

AT&T hasn't announced the AT&T-proprietary services that it will offer with the Bold. Such services could include Video Share, which enables subscribers to transmit live video while talking.

The 4.5-inch by 2.6-inch by 0.5-inch, 4.7-ounce device operates in GSM/EDGE mode in the 850/900/1800/1900MHz bands and in HSDPA mode in the U.S. 850/1900MHz bands and foreign 2.1GHz band. It also offers 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, making it the second BlackBerry to access 802.11a Wi-Fi networks, RIM said.

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