updated 03:15 pm EDT, Wed August 6, 2008
BBerry Bold in Germany
Research in Motion today officially began shipping the BlackBerry Bold to Austria and Germany, putting the device in competition with the iPhone 3G and other devices for the first time. The devices are available through T-Mobile in each country and are the first true 3G Blackberries to be available in Europe; both follow the reference design closely with GPS, Wi-Fi, and a two-megapixel camera but support T-Mobile's NaviGate mapping service in addition to BlackBerry Maps
The device's signature 480x320 display is home to a customized version of the new BlackBerry interface for the two German-speaking countries. Both also come bundled with Roxio's Media Manager and Photosuite as well as RIM's new BlackBerry Media Sync for streamlining use of the phones with iTunes on Windows PCs.
The launch is the first to demonstrate RIM's pricing strategy for the Bold and reveals the BlackBerry maker pursuing a strategy similar to the iPhone 3G for heavily subsidizing the cost of the device; a T-Mobile Germany model will cost 40 Euros when paired with a high-end Relax 200 plan, or 420 Euros less than the price without a contract. A more modest Relax 50 plan still prices the phone at 130 Euros, or 40 Euros less than the maximum price for an 8GB iPhone. Austrian pricing puts the phone at 250 Euros with a two-year contract, or significantly more than a 100-Euro iPhone on the same terms.
RIM also says it has already launched the Bold in Chile for multiple carriers and will launch the Bold for Australia through Optus on August 20th. North American releases aren't expected until either late August or September and will include AT&T in the US and Rogers in Canada.