Honestly, a new smartphone for $50 isn't a horrible deal even if it means using a mail-in rebate. But what potential customers may have to consider is the state of RIM and its BlackBerry service. Currently things aren't rainbows and pretty flowers for the Canadian company, and as it stands now, BlackBerry 10 devices won't hit the market until 1Q13. That leaves devices like the BlackBerry Curve 9310 -- not to mention bargain prices -- to keep the company doors open until then.
With that out of the way, Verizon Wireless said on Tuesday that RIM's BlackBerry Curve 9310 will go on sale this Thursday, costing customers a hefty $49.99 after signing a two-year commitment and mailing in the $50 rebate (which returns in the form of a debit card). Verizon said the phone is ideal for customers making the move from a basic phone to an app-charged smartphone with all the core BlackBerry messaging and social-centric services.
"Running on BlackBerry 7.1, the Curve 9310 also features the iconic BlackBerry keyboard for quick and easy typing and a dedicated BBM key for instant access to RIM’s popular mobile social network," the company reports. "Facebook and Twitter apps allow customers to easily interact with their social network in real time, and, with the new Social Feeds 2.0 app, they can post updates to multiple social networks simultaneously and capture updates from news sources (RSS feeds), social apps and instant messaging apps, all in one consolidated view."
In addition to the QWERTY keyboard, the phone sports a 3.2MP camera, a microSD card slot for adding up to 32 GB of storage, and on-device Parental Controls. With this latter service, device owners can can grant as little or as much access to the Internet, social networking and messaging as they see appropriate -- simply create a select list of contacts for both incoming and outgoing calls.
As for the actual specs, the device sports a 2.44-inch screen with a 320 x 240 resolution and 164 ppi pixel density. The SoC is single-core but the phone sports 512 MB of RAM -- there doesn't seem to be on-board storage, however. As for other hardware features, it has Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, a microUSB port, a compass, accelerometer and more. Ultimately this device is a modest upgrade from the Curve 9330 which sported a 2MP camera and BlackBerry 6.
The new BlackBerry Curve 9310 smartphone will be available online at www.verizonwireless.com starting July 12 and will be in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores in the coming weeks for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. New customers who purchase the BlackBerry Curve 9310 will need to subscribe to a Share Everything plan starting at $80 monthly access for unlimited talk and text messaging and 300 MB of data.