Orange scores smartphone double


Orange has scored a smartphone double over rival mobile retailers as the first to range the much-anticipated BlackBerry 900 Bold and Samsung’s 16GB Omnia handsets.

Orange launched the Bold, by Research in Motion (RIM), earlier this month, ahead of T-Mobile, Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone. 3 said in April at the Hugh Symons Unity seminar it will also take the handset. O2 has confirmed they too will stock the handset before Christmas.

Orange has also taken delivery of early stock of the 16GB version of Samsung’s Omnia phone, its first Windows Mobile device, which comes with a 5 migapixel camera. Orange has a six-week exclusive on the 16GB version. Other retailers will range the 8GB version in the meantime.

The Bold is already available ‘free’ on £40 deals from all Orange’s direct channels. It will be available from Carphone at the end of the month on Orange, on the same price plans. A £2.50 charge for unlimited data is also available.

T-Mobile customers signing to the Business One plan can take the Bold from September, with free access to T-Mobile’s 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country.

Vodafone said it will be selling the device in the coming weeks on 18 month deals, although tariff details were unavailable as Mobile News went to press.

The Bold is HSDPA-enabled. It is the first RIM BlackBerry handset to allow customers to open, edit and send Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

An Orange spokesperson said: “Some people are calling it a genuine rival to the iPhone, so for us to be the first to launch the handset is great news.”

T-Mobile head of business marketing Oliver Chivers said: “The BlackBerry Bold offers all the features our customers expect, as well as a range of advanced functionality that enhance its business benefits.

“We are sure it will prove a popular choice with both SME and enterprise customers.”

The new Samsung i900 Omnia touch screen handset, uses Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The handset strikes many similarities to Apples iPhone not only in looks, but by being sold in two different versions 8GB and 16GB.

However, unlike the iPhone, this device has expandable memory capabilities, and features a 5 megapixel camera, including a feature called face and smile detection.

Other features include GPS, FM radio, Wi-Fi and HSDPA, and will be boxed with a spare stylus and leather carrying case.

Details on pricing have yet to be confirmed.