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RIM develops Wi-Fi BlackBerry... again

Second-gen 8800 to get WLAN tech?

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The BlackBerry range has taken a step closer towards bringing Wi-Fi on board following claims that Research in Motion (RIM) has gained the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approval to include the connectivity feature in its handsets.

Exact details are still sketchy, but a number of online reports state that RIM will integrate 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi into its BlackBerry 8800 series of GSM/GPRS/Edge handsets.

Such a development would be welcome news for BlackBerry fans, as it would mark the first time any of RIM's BlackBerry devices have combined both Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities together in a single handset, something users of numerous other handset brands now take for granted.

Interestingly, when details of the 8800 series first emerged back in October 2006, Wi-Fi was one of the features the then-unlaunched handset was claimed to incorporate. But when the smartphone - reviewed here - finally went on sale in February this year, Wi-Fi was not part of the package.

If the claims are true, it's likely RIM will release the Wi-Fi enabled device as an updated 8800 - perhaps the 8850. Curiously, the device doesn't appear to be the rumoured 3G BlackBerry 9000 handset, which first surfaced on the rumour mill in January.

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