Good news for Sprint business customers who want a world-roaming smartphone but don't want the RIM BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. Today, the carrier introduced the Samsung Ace, a Samsung BlackJack lookalike, that offers dual-mode CDMA/GSM functionality so you can use your smartphone internationally. This means that the Ace will use Sprint's CDMA network for all domestic calls, and then you can use the included SIM card to make calls on GSM networks abroad. In addition, the SIM is unlocked so you're not restricted to the one packaged with the smartphone. That means travelers can buy a local SIM card at their destination and save some money on calling rates.
As far as design goes, the Samsung Ace bears a striking resemblance to the first BlackJack. It's slightly taller but more narrow, and the QWERTY keyboard has been slightly revamped. I've had the phone for a couple of days and prefer the Ace's keyboard to the Samsung BlackJack II, since the buttons aren't as stiff and they have a raised ridge that make them easier to press. Inside, the smartphone is running Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition with Windows Live integration and has Bluetooth, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and push e-mail. It's also a EV-DO capable handset with support for Sprint TV and On Demand.
The Samsung Ace for Sprint is available now for a pretty nifty $199.99 with a two-year contract, after rebates and discounts. As I mentioned earlier, I've had the smartphone for a couple of days now and I'm pretty impressed. Call quality has been great, and general performance has been solid as well. I'll have a full review when I get back to the office on Tuesday, so check back then.