We would've never figured on Verizon carrying over the "Curve 3G" name from this phone's GSM counterpart, considering all of its older Curve models have already had EV-DO -- but branding consistency trumps logic in this case, we suppose. Given what we know about the GSM model, you can probably guess the specs: 2 megapixel cam and BlackBerry OS 5 with upgradeability to 6 are both in the cards, though interestingly, Verizon's official specs just list 802.11b/g for WiFi -- there's no mention of 802.11n, which the current Curve 3G has under the hood. Regardless, perhaps the best feature is the price: $29.99 on contract after a $100 rebate, making it one of the most affordable brand new smartphones on the market -- assuming BlackBerry OS is your cup of tea, of course. It'll launch in business sales channels this Thursday, while in-store availability for us lay folk follows "in the coming weeks." Follow the break for the full press release.

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VERIZON WIRELESS AND RIM LAUNCH A NEW MODEL OF THE POPULAR BLACKBERRY CURVE 3G SMARTPHONE

Stylish 3G Addition to the Popular Curve Family Is Fast, Easy to Use, Feature Rich, and BlackBerry 6 Ready

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., and WATERLOO, Ontario – Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced a new 3G addition to the popular BlackBerry Curve family of smartphones. Running on the nation's largest and most reliable wireless voice and 3G data network, the new BlackBerry® Curve™ 3G smartphone (model 9330) will be available in business sales channels beginning Sept. 16. It will be available online at www.verizonwireless.com and in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores in the coming weeks.

Colors: Charcoal or Fuchsia Red

Key features and specifications:
· Stylish new design (4.3" x 2.4" x .55" and 3.7 oz.) with face finished in a mirror-like trim; black, soft-touch sides; and textured back for a comfortable, secure feel in the hand

· 35-key full QWERTY backlit keyboard for fast, accurate typing and optical trackpad for easy and fluid navigation

· Dedicated media keys integrated along the top of the smartphone, so music lovers can easily access their tunes while on the go

· BlackBerry® Media Sync to easily sync music as well as photos with the smartphone*

· 512 MB Flash memory and microSD/SDHC slot that supports up to 32 GB memory cards for media storage

· Built-in GPS with support for geo-tagging and location-based applications, including VZ Navigator®, which provides audible turn-by-turn directions to millions of points of interest and the option to share the directions with others

· Built-in Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g) for fast browsing; smooth music streaming; and the ability to talk on the phone while browsing the Web, instant message with BBM™ (BlackBerry® Messenger), and share location with friends on popular social networking sites

· Camera with video recording (requires a separately sold microSD card)

· Industry-leading BlackBerry e-mail and messaging capabilities

· Easy mobile access to Facebook®, Twitter™, MySpace™ and Flickr® as well as popular instant messaging services

· Support for BlackBerry App World™, featuring a broad and growing catalog of third-party mobile applications developed specifically for BlackBerry smartphones

· Premium phone features, including voice-activated dialing, speakerphone, and Bluetooth® (2.1)


BlackBerry® 6 ready:
· The BlackBerry Curve 3G smartphone ships with BlackBerry® 5 and is BlackBerry® 6 ready. BlackBerry 6 is a new operating system for BlackBerry® smartphones that retains the trusted features that distinguish the BlackBerry brand while delivering a fresh and engaging experience that is both powerful and easy to use. BlackBerry 6 is expected to be available for the BlackBerry Curve 3G, upon network certification, in the coming months.


Pricing and availability:
· The BlackBerry Curve 3G smartphone (model 9330) will be available in business sales channels on Sept. 16, and it will be available online and in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores in the coming weeks for $29.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement on a voice plan with an Email and Web feature or an Email and Web for BlackBerry plan. Data plans for the BlackBerry Curve 3G smartphone begin at $29.99 when added to any Nationwide voice plan. Customers will receive the mail-in rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.

· For more information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com. Business customers can contact their Verizon Wireless Business Sales Representative at 1-800-VZW-4BIZ.

· To learn more about the new BlackBerry Curve 3G smartphone, visit www.blackberry.com/curve3G. For more information about BlackBerry 6, go to www.blackberry.com/6.


*Certain music files may not be supported, including files that contain digital rights management technologies. Photo syncing is currently only available for Windows-based PCs.

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