Today, Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion officially announced the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition, a dualmode CDMA/GSM smart phone designed for those who frequently travel overseas for business or pleasure. Like the Samsung SCH-i730, the 8830 comes with a SIM card and automatically switches between CDMA and GSM networks to offer seamless international roaming. This allows you to get voice coverage in 157 countries (22 of those on CDMA) and e-mail coverage in 62 countries. The device is also EV-DO-capable, so you'll be able to enjoy faster data transfer speeds.
Aside from the dualmode functionality, the 8830 is very much like its GSM-only cousin, the RIM BlackBerry 8800 for Cingular/AT&T and T-Mobile. The 8830 does shed the all-black casing for a sleek silver one, and includes a media player, a speakerphone, voice-activated dialing, conference calling, 64MB internal memory, and a microSD expansion slot. Of course, you get that much-beloved BlackBerry push e-mail solution with support for Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise. The 8830 also has integrated Bluetooth with dial-up networking capabilities (tethered or wireless) and a rated talk time battery life of 3.6 hours and up to 9 days of standby time. The only thing on our wish list would be a camera. Yeah, yeah, we understand that a lot of workplaces are banning the use of camera phones for security reasons, but we'd at least like the option of a camera model. Also, for now, the device won't support any of Verizon's V Cast services or its VZ Navigator location-based service.
The BlackBerry 8830 will be available through Verizon starting May 14 through direct sales channels and in retail stores starting May 28. Pricing starts at $299.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate, and data plans start at $64.99 for unlimited global e-mail with a U.S. voice plan (beginning at $39.99) and $69.99 for unlimited global e-mail without a voice plan.
Update: In case there were any Sprint customers frothing with jealousy this morning, you can rest easy. Sprint has also announced plans to offer the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition to its customers. You'll have to wait till July, but you can preregister for the smart phone starting tomorrow at www.sprint.com/8830. Pricing details will be revealed closer to the launch date.