updated 01:25 pm EDT, Fri March 21, 2008
RIM Chief on 3G BlackBerry
Research in Motion president Mike Lazaridis has effectively confirmed the upcoming release of a BlackBerry capable of 3.5G Internet access, the Financial Times revealed in an interview (registration required). The company founder noted that he has a prototype phone that can connect to an HSDPA network, providing a "very fast" connection to the Internet when in the right coverage areas. His statements echoed earlier comments by fellow executive Jim Balsilie that a device would be available soon, but now confirms that such devices are close enough to completion to be used in the field.
Past indications suggest that Lazaridis' device is the BlackBerry 9000. The full QWERTY phone is understood to be aimed at the high end of RIM's lineup with a sharper 480x320 screen, GPS, and Wi-Fi in addition to the 3.5G access touted by the executive. The phone is tentatively slated for a European launch in May and could be announced as early as CTIA next month.