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RIM takes new BlackBerry design overseas

Revamped keyboard is key feature of the 7100v, which is headed for European and Asian shores.

Research In Motion is targeting European and Asian markets with a phone-and-messaging device that uses the company's new SureType keyboard design.

The BlackBerry 7100v, announced Thursday, blends a phone keypad and a QWERTY alphabetic keyboard below its LCD screen, in a variation on the original design of the iconic handheld device. The new model is smaller than earlier BlackBerry devices and shaped more like a phone.

The 7100v supports Web browsing, SMS (Short Message Service), instant messaging, and access to Web-based and corporate e-mail systems. It will enable a user to view and forward attachments in a number of common formats, including Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The device supports Bluetooth wireless technology, and it offers 4MB of RAM and 32MB of flash memory. The 7100v also supports several languages, including English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

The new BlackBerry will be available in October through Vodafone. It will be introduced on a staggered schedule in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Pricing details were not immediately available.

The wireless device is similar to the BlackBerry 7100t, which RIM launched in the U.S. market last week in partnership with T-Mobile.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK contributed to this report.