AT&T Scores BlackBerry Curve 3G And Pearl 3G - InformationWeek

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9/29/2010
02:09 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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AT&T Scores BlackBerry Curve 3G And Pearl 3G

AT&T announced plans to add the BlackBerry Curve 3G and Pearl 3G to its lineup of smartphones.

The BlackBerry Pearl 3G will land in AT&T stores October 17 for $150. RIM refreshed the Pearl earlier this year and added 3G to the GSM version of the Pearl line for the first time. The Pearl 3G also moves to the now-standard optical trackpad for interacting with the device.

The Pearl is RIM's smallest BlackBerry, and has been a popular seller for years. It has seen only evolutionary upgrades over the years, but adding 3G is a long overdue upgrade for this device. It also touts GPS, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 3.2 megapixel camera with flash, and can make use of microSD cards up to 32GB. The Pearl 3G also has a nice, high-rez display.

AT&T was less specific about the Curve 3G's availability. It would only commit to saying that the Curve 3G will reach stores before the holidays. The Curve 3G retains a nice, low $100 price point. (Verizon Wireless is selling the Curve 3G for $30, and Sprint is selling it for $50, but that is after rebates.)

The Curve 3G is compact, but still has a full QWERTY for messaging. It shares many of the same features as the Pearl 3G, including GPS, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and can make use of microSD cards up to 32GB. The Curve has a disappointingly low-end display, and also offers a 2 megapixel camera with no flash.

AT&T is taking an unusual tactic on the pricing for both of these phones. Typically, customers have to deal with the hassle of a rebate to get the lowest advertised price from wireless carriers. This time, AT&T is offering the Pearl 3G and Curve 3G for $150 and $100, respectively, with no rebate required.

This leaves me wondering if AT&T is pushing back against the likes of Best Buy, which has also started offering phones without the pain-in-the-neck rebate process.

Both phones require a data plan, which start at $15 for 200MB and $25 for 2GB. Two-year contracts are also required.

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