It’s almost here! Blackberry’s first-ever fully-featured, native Apple support — finally — right out of the box is being offered in the new Blackberry 8520 smartphone that will be available to T-Mobile USA customers starting August 5.
Also topping the new features list for the device is its touch-sensitive optical trackpad, which had been rumored for months to replace trackball found on other Blackberry devices.
The integrated new Mac compatibility will get into gear in September, when the phone’s maker, Research in Motion, officially launches the long-awaited Blackberry for Mac desktop software that promises to make life easier for Mac-loving Blackberry users. Until Blackberry for Mac, Blackberry users have had to use third-party software such as PocketMac to use their devices with their Mac computers.
The new 8520, along with the just-on-the-horizon Blackberry for Mac software, will be a huge gain for Mac users who until now had to put up with some frustrations to bring together their beloved Macs and Blackberries. There is, however, one caveat: Blackberry for Mac will support only Mac OS X version 10.5.5 or higher, leaving some users in the cold for now.
The new 8520 will be offered in black or frost, and includes a built-in 2-megapixel digital camera in an attractive if not distinctive 4.29-inch-tall, 2.36-inch-wide and .54-inch-thin unit.
Other features include:
- New dedicated on-screen media keys that allow users to instantly skip songs, pause their music or repeat favorite songs while easily answering calls.
- A full QWERTY keyboard.
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g enabled
- 256MB flash memory
- 1150 mAHr rechargeable Lithium battery, with a claimed 4.5 hours of talk time
- 320-by-240 pixel screen
- 2.64-inch diagonal color display
- A hot-swappable microSD/SDHC memory card slot, with an included 1GB card.
- Quad-band world phone: EGDE/GPRS/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
No pricing has yet been announced by T-Mobile, but customers can sign up for updates when pricing is available.
Amazing — native Mac support comes to Blackberries. Has hell frozen over today, too?
(Todd R. Weiss is a freelance technology journalist who formerly wrote for Computerworld.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TechManTalking)