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Vodafone adds Blackberry to mobile office offerings

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Mobile phone carrier Vodafone will begin offering an own-branded version of RIM's Blackberry 7230 handheld to European businesses later this month.

The device - and the back-end systems that connect corporate Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino or vanilla POP servers to Vodafone's GPRS network - will be positioned alongside Vodafone's Mobile Connect Card, which brings GSM/GPRS connectivity to laptops. Both will be offered under the carrier's Mobile Office brand.

The Blackberry system automatically beams email to users' handhelds, including attachments. Enclosed PDF, plain text and Microsoft Office files can be read on the device, but not edited.

The 7230 also doubles up as a tri-band GSM handset. It features a micro keyboard, backlit 16-bit colour screen, 2MB of SRAM and 16MB of Flash memory. The rechargeable battery is removable. The device can be synchronised with a PC using a USB connection, which also doubles-up as the battery charger.

The handheld, offered as 'Blackberry from Vodafone', will be initially offered in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

In September, Orange launched an own-brand version of PalmOne's Treo 600 smartphone. ®

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