BlackBerry Bold lands in Australia

Canadian phone company Research in Motion (RIM) launched its first HSDPA BlackBerry in Sydney today, the BlackBerry Bold, with Vodafone, Optus and Telstra confirming they will carry the handset.

Canadian phone company Research in Motion (RIM) launched its first HSDPA BlackBerry in Sydney today, the BlackBerry Bold, with Vodafone, Optus and Telstra confirming they will carry the handset.

Dennis Kavelman, RIM chief operating officer, said the company was hoping to increase its market share amongst consumers with the Bold. "Our job has been to disguise this tool ... as something fashionable," he said at the Bold launch in Sydney today.

Optus said the Bold would be available from 20 August, for AU$10 per month over 24 months in conjunction with the BlackBerry AU$79 cap plan. Vodafone has not released pricing on either the handset or the data plans. Meanwhile, Telstra said it would be offering the Bold from late September, but did not disclose pricing.

Kavelman denied the data plans would be as expensive as the iPhone on any carrier. "No one is going to put up with a 1,000-dollar data bill at the end of the month, it makes no sense," he said. "I think what you will see is operators offering unlimited data plans."

According to IDC telecommunications analysis Mark Novosel, RIM held 2.3 per cent of the mobile market in Australia in the first quarter of 2008. This was up from 1.3 per cent in the previous quarter. RIM's share in the smartphone market was 8.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2008, up from 5 per cent in the previous quarter.

The Bold has a similar design to BlackBerry's previous range, with a half-VGA display. Other features include 802.11g Wi-Fi, a microSD card expansion and a two-megapixel camera with flash. The Bold also features assisted GPS and BlackBerry's signature QWERTY keyboard.

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