updated 09:40 am EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
BlackBerry Curve 9220 aims at developing world
RIM out an end to at least one rumor on Wednesday with the BlackBerry Curve 9220. Its new entry smartphone is the first to have a dedicated BlackBerry Messenger key. Hitting the side-mounted BBM button launches the app from wherever the user is in the OS, making it easier to respond to a message or share something as soon as it shows.
BlackBerry 7.1 ships from the start and helps both with overall performance as well as voice-guided device searching, among others. In tune with the developing world audience it's targeted at, the 9220 has a built-in FM radio to complement whatever music the owner puts on a microSDHC card. A 2.44-inch, 320x480 screen carries over from the Curve 9350 and 9360.
The primary cost-cutting comes from the camera and cellular networks. It only includes a two-megapixel, fixed-focus camera, and Internet access outside of Wi-Fi is limited to EDGE (2G). As with the FM radio, however, the new Curve's data choice reflects countries where 3G is either rare or too expensive for . RIM does promise a relatively lengthy seven hours of talk.
India gets the Curve 9220 first, with stores carrying it as of April 19. Other markets will get it in the next few weeks. In current form, it's unlikely to reach North America, but the region may get a 3G-capable Curve 9320. Those in India who buy before June 30 get a free bundle of apps from BlackBerry App World worth 2,500 rupees, or about $48.