Vodafone first to offer slimmer Blackberry device

Vodafone is the first mobile operator to sell the new slimmed down Blackberry 7100v "push e-mail" device, which will appeal to...

Vodafone is the first mobile operator to sell the new slimmed down Blackberry 7100v "push e-mail" device, which will appeal to both large corporates, and SMEs who do not want the expense of having to configure their servers.

The Blackberry 7100v is available on Vodafone networks from 1 October and resembles a traditional "smartphone" - much slimmer than the chunkier PDA Blackberry devices that have already found a niche among corporate users.

There are two versions of the 7100v, Blackberry Enterprise and Blackberry Internet, with the latter ideal for SME users who want to use webmail such as Yahoo and AOL to keep in touch with the office while on the move.

The Blackberry Internet version involves a webmail server relay e-mail to a Blackberry internet server, which then sends the e-mail to the user over Vodafone’s GPRS network.

The Blackberry Enterprise version sees e-mail pushed from a company’s Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino e-mail server direct to the user. For this option, the company has to configure the server with special Blackberry software, and many companies have chosen to bring in an outside expert to do it.

The price of the 7100v is up to £82.50 for users on lower-priced Vodafone voice/GPRS data tariffs, and free for those on packages offering between 400 and 1,000 minutes of voice calls.

The cost of 6MBytes-worth of e-mails a month is between £8.50 and £16 depending on the voice tariff used.

"Businesses want the option of stylish mobile handhelds, similar to those available to consumers, but incorporating the business functionality they need," said Bill Morrow, Vodafone UK chief executive.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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