updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed June 4, 2008
BBerry 8120 at Rogers
Rogers Wireless today kicked off the launch of both its version of the BlackBerry Pearl 8120 and a service to match. The candybar smartphone adds Wi-Fi to the original formula and on Rogers is used for the company's newly formalized Home Calling Zone VoIP service. Based on Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) like T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home in the US, the feature lets users make calls from a Wi-Fi access point with the added ability to bridge calls: a phone conversation starting from either the cellular network or a Wi-Fi spot will hop to the other network without disrupting the call.
Calls started from a Wi-Fi area don't count against regular minutes on a cellphone plan even when the user leaves the hotspot and enters the cellular network, Rogers adds.
The 8120's Wi-Fi is also used for short-range Internet access and is part of a design that otherwise keeps close to that of the GPS-based 8110 already in use at Rogers, including the 2-megapixel camera, the externally reachable microSDHC card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Canadian provider bundles its version with a 1GB microSD card and sells the device for $250 when paired with both three-year phone and data plans. Home Calling Zone is optional and costs either $15 per month for unlimited local calling or $20 for unlimited Canadian calls.