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Vodafone UK picks BlackBerry for small firms

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Vodafone UK has assembled a package flogging the latest BlackBerry 7230 wireless handheld to small companies and individuals.

Previously the Research in Motion (RIM) mobile email device was offered only to companies that integrated RIM's back end software with groupware applications to enable the pushing of email to handhelds over GPRS.

However, Vodafone now reckons that the triband handheld, with its integrated phone, text messaging, Web browser and personal organizer, has mass-market consumer appeal. It has customised its user interface to provide access to Vodafone live! content and promises that "small firms and individual users go through a simple set-up process to gain access to up to 10 different email accounts."

Ready for the Christmas rush, the BlackBerry will appear on the shelves of selected Vodafone UK Retail stores from 1st December 2003.

Potential buyers would, however, do well to read the pricing small print. The BlackBerry offering from Vodafone is available in two packages. The first option which includes the handheld with a headset, holster and charger for £200 allows customers to send, receive and reply to emails within the UK for £20.00 per month - over a minimum 12-month contract. Vodafone live! and Internet access is charged at £2.35 per MB.

The second option offers the same hardware bundle for £40.00, but raises the cost of sending emails to a hefty £45 per month, but bundles up to 200 minutes of voice calls within the UK per month. ®

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