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Cingular brings BlackBerry to Nokia's commie

At last

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Cingular is finally bringing Nokia's hit Communicator the 9300 to the US market, offering a price challenge to Palm and RIM. For the latter, it'll be the stiffest competition so far to its hardware business on its North American home turf. But equally, the 9300 is the most compelling device to carry RIM's BlackBerry Connect software since the Canadian company began to license its crown jewels three years ago.

The 9300 will be equipped with BlackBerry's Connect software as an option, as well as Nokia's recently launched Business Center mobile email. Consumers will be able to sign up for Cingular's Xpress Mail, a version of Seven's email platform.

Nokia 9300 Communicator - from the front

The phone will be available for $299.99 after rebates, with contract, with a choice of $44.99 or $34.99 BlackBerry plans. Businesses can order it right off the Cingular web site from November. Cingular currently touts BlackBerrys at $199 and $249, while Palm's Treo weighs in at $349, and a Samsung Windows mobile for $499 after rebates.

The phone was launched at the turn of the year in European and Asian markets, but Cingular's model supports the 850Mhz frequency that's becoming increasingly essential - especially in Silicon Valley. Otherwise, the specs are the same: Bluetooth, EDGE data, and the same 640x200 pixel display.

We reviewed the 9300 back in March, and found it did a great job, although we missed the vibrate function. It's the first device in the business category that doesn't make you look like a nerd.

Well, not that much.

A long term test based on several months' use also revealed a few surprises - and a review will appear here at El Reg tomorrow.

Watch this space. ®

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