Research In Motion (RIM) today unveiled the latest BlackBerry smartphone — the Curve 8520 — with a little help from Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am.
The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is RIM's new entry-level smartphone and is the first to use an "optical trackpad" instead of the traditional BlackBerry trackball. The Curve 8520 is also the first to feature physical multimedia keys and is aimed at users new to smartphones.
Helping RIM launch the phone was Black Eyed Peas star and self-confessed "BlackBerry addict" will.i.am. The music star discussed both BlackBerry technology and the future of the music industry at the launch in Sydney this afternoon.
In Australia as part of the Black Eyes Peas' The E.N.D. World Tour, will.i.am revealed he prefers BlackBerrys to the iPhone because he "can't text on the iPhone."
"I prefer buttons as a touch screen is confusing," he said. "I can't text on the iPhone. I like this phone [the BlackBerry], it's like it was made for me. If I was to design a phone I'd have designed it like this one."
will.i.am also briefly commented on music piracy, saying it only exists "when there is a middle man." Commenting on the future of the music industry, he said that in the future songs will be released as they are produced and the content pushed out to users using mobile technology.
"I can deliver a piece of content to 10 million people in less than a minute," he said.
Posing for photos with will.i.am was BlackBerrys Australian managing director, Adele Beachley. Beachley said the Curve 8520 smartphone is "incredibly easy to use," making it ideal for novices. "The Curve 8520 delivers exceptional messaging, social networking and multimedia capabilities and it is a perfect choice for the first-time smartphone user."
Reflecting the Curve 8520's entry-level status is the lack of 3G connectivity, though the smartphone does include Wi-Fi. Also on offer are a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and a microSD card slot for extra storage.
The BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone will be released on the Optus and Vodafone networks in Australia, with a firm release date, pricing and plan details yet to be announced.