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BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 entry-level smart phone gets speed boost

No fancy touchscreen tech for a new version of the BlackBerry Curve that runs on 3G and is aimed at people looking for an entry-level smart phone

RIM will launch a new version of its popular BlackBerry Curve smart phone this month -- the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 -- as it returns to the large screen and full Qwerty keyboard design that's served it so well.

While the BlackBerry Torch showcased new touchscreen capabilities hiding a Qwerty keyboard underneath, Palm Pre-style, the new Curve 3G offers 3G capability -- which the previous version lacked -- in a package current owners will be familiar with.

Despite coming equipped with the current version of the BlackBerry operating system, the device will be ready to upgrade to the new, sprightlier BlackBerry 6 OS.

It is very slightly taller and has video-recording capability -- which the Curve 8300 and 8310 didn't have -- but RIM didn't feel it was worth improving the 2.0-megapixel camera.

A trackpad is present, like the current BlackBerry Bold models, rather than the dated trackball of the previous Curve incarnations. It has 256MB of onboard memory, much better than the last Curve's 64MB, and a microSD/SDHC slot supporting memory cards up to 32MB.

Otherwise, it doesn't look much different to the previous version of the Curve. RIM was quick to point out this is considered the entry-level smart phone, meaning it's likely to come at a cheaper price.

So while the BlackBerry Curve 3G doesn't boast too many new features, it still offers BlackBerry Messenger -- a vital app for RIM -- and entry into the world of 3G smart phones at a reasonable price.