Canadian Smartphone manufacturer RIM has announced a new, cheaper Blackberry handset, the Curve 8520 which will be targeting the lower end of the keyboard-equipped smartphone market.
The phone, formerly known as Gemini, doesn't come with Blackberry's signature pearly trackball and instead uses a novel technology (and track pad) that apparently provides with an experience similar to that encountered on a laptop's touchpad.
Otherwise, the phone appears to be like any other Blackberries bar one glaring omission; there's no 3G connections although you will get WiFi and a 512MHz "next generation processor".
There's also a 2.64-inch display showing 320x240 pixels, 256MB onboard storage, Bluetooth, native MacOS X compatibility (thanks to the Blackbery Desktop Software for Mac), a 2-megapixel camera with a 5x digital zoom and video camera capabilities and a talktime of 4.5 hours.
As expectd, this Blackberry is consumer-friendly as it comes with a 3.5mm headset socket as well as a microSHDC slot capable of accommodating 32GB cards plus you will find the familiar dedicated media keys.
The phone will be available in the US through T-Mobile and Vodafone is expected to be the first operator to carry it in the UK. The Curve 8520 should be available on packages from £25 which is slightly more expensive than Nokia's E71 on 3 Networks.
With special deals and promotions, the Curve 8520 is likely to become the first Blackberry to be permanently available for less than £20 per month. It will be a welcomed replacement for the tried and trusted older models like the Blackberry 8120. If only Blackberry could make its phone slightly less thicker.