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O2 falls for Blackberry 'Charm'

Handset-styled email gadget to ship as 7100x

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UK mobile phone network O2 has followed rivals Vodafone and T-Mobile and launched a version of Research in Motion's handset-like Blackberry 7100, aka 'Charm'.

O2 Blackberry 7100xCalled the 7100x by O2, the black handset sports RIM's QWERTY two-characters-per-key keypad system, SureType, which it claims enables faster, more accurate text input than a typical mobile phone keypad.

The handset also features a quad-band GSM/GPRS radio, Bluetooth connectivity for headsets and in-car systems, polyphonic ringtone support, 4MB of SRAM and 32MB of Flash memory. There's a "large and bright, high-resolution" colour LCD, and battery power sufficient for four hours' talk time and over eight days on stand-by.

The phone contains the usual Blackberry PIM, push email and web browsing software.

Vodafone launched the 7100 in the UK as the 7100v in October 2004, backed by a significant marketing campaign to push the device to consumers and businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile is gearing up to offer Charm as the 7100t, the same handset that the network currently offers to US customers.

O2's version goes on sale later this month. The company did not announce pricing. ®

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