Sprint / Nextel BlackBerry 8350i Officially Announced!

Sprint BlackBerry 8350i
By Kevin Michaluk on 10 Sep 2008 01:59 pm EDT

CTIA week always means lots of news and press releases, and it looks like SPRINT is getting some love this week with the official announcement of the Sprint/Nextel iDen BlackBerry Curve 8350i Smartphone. No pricing or launch date has been stated yet... but at least we "officially" now know it's coming. Press Release after the jump!


Sprint to Deliver Industry-Leading Push-to-Talk Services on New BlackBerry Smartphone

Operating on the fastest national push-to-talk network, the BlackBerry Curve 8350i will be the first from Sprint to offer built-in Wi-Fi capabilities and Group Connect, allowing instant group conversations with up to 21 people nationwide

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS and WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 10, 2008) - Sprint customers seeking the benefits of industry-leading push-to-talk services and the power of BlackBerry smartphones will have a new version of the coveted combo available later this year. Sprint (NYSE:S) and Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)(TSX:RIM) today announced plans to deliver the BlackBerry Curve 8350i - the newest Nextel Direct Connect-capable BlackBerry smartphone - by the end of 2008.

The BlackBerry Curve 8350i will be the latest BlackBerry smartphone to utilize iDEN technology and feature Nextel Direct Connect, the only national push-to-talk service in the industry to offer sub-second call setup and connection to the world's largest push-to-talk community with millions of users and integrated business solutions, including one of the largest selections of GPS-enabled solutions. With Nationwide and International Direct Connect, Sprint customers will be able to instantly connect within the US and to users in other eligible countries including Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. The BlackBerry Curve 8350i will also be the first BlackBerry smartphone from Sprint to offer Group Connect, allowing customers to instantly set up group conversations with up to 20 other participants.

"Smart phones in general, and BlackBerry products in particular, have become more important to both business people and consumers lately," said David Chamberlain, Principal Analyst with analyst firm In-Stat. "The BlackBerry Curve 8350i with PTT capability rounds out Sprint's options to fill communications needs of many industries particularly those in the blue-collar segment of construction, field services, transportation and manufacturing."

"Sprint is the undisputed leader in push-to-talk services, and with the launch of the new BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone, we are keeping our promise of expanding the Nextel Direct Connect capabilities and options for our customers," said Danny Bowman, president of Nextel Direct Connect. "The BlackBerry Curve 8350i will be very attractive for business customers who need instant, convenient push-to-talk services to communicate now with employees, customers and suppliers but also want the capabilities of a high-end smartphone."

In addition to delivering the unmatched push email and messaging capabilities of the BlackBerry solution, the BlackBerry Curve 8350i will provide rich multimedia, organizer and Internet browsing capabilities, as well as access to thousands of other mobile applications. The smartphone will also include built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing customers to browse the Internet and download email attachments quickly and easily. When connected to a Wi-Fi network, customers will also be able to send and receive emails or surf the Internet while talking on the phone.

Other key features include:

  • Integrated GPS - Built-in capabilities for assisted autonomous GPS capabilities
  • 2 Megapixel Digital Camera - with 5x digital zoom, flash and video recording(i)
  • DataViz Documents to Go - preloaded software makes it easy to edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly on the smartphone
  • Internal Antenna - improves design appeal and durability
  • Speakerphone - optimized for exceptional sound quality with Direct Connect
  • Advanced Media Player - great for listening to music, watching videos and showing pictures
  • Removable/Rechargeable 1400 mAH Battery - provides exceptional battery life
  • Expandable Memory - microSD memory card slot allows plenty of storage for pictures, videos, music and documents
  • Bluetooth - version 2.0 with support for (A2DP) stereo Bluetooth and more
  • Additional Messaging Capabilities - support for instant messaging and multimedia messaging including audio, pictures and text to email addresses and capable phones

"The BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone will offer customers an exceptional communications and multimedia experience together with the power and convenience of the popular Nextel Direct Connect service," said Mark Guibert, vice president of corporate marketing at RIM. "We are pleased to build on our successful relationship with Sprint to bring this powerful new smartphone to Sprint's customers."

Customers can find more information on the BlackBerry Curve 8350i smartphone and sign up to be notified of commercial availability from Sprint at www.sprint.com/instantconnectbb. Pricing, service plan details and an exact availability date will be announced at a later date.

Nationally, the Nextel National Network continues to operate at best-ever performance levels based on internal metrics. Internal performance metrics show double-digit percent improvement year-over-year (i.e., March 2007 to March 2008) for drops (i.e., where a customer's voice connection fails or drops during a call) and blocks (i.e., where a customer is unable to make a voice connection) for the Nextel National Network. Customer issues related to dropped and blocked calls, and voice quality combined, have decreased more than 60 percent year-over-year (i.e., March 2007 to March 2008). This level of improvement translates to a more reliable calling experience for our customers. Customer calls on the Nextel National Network are successfully connected and maintained better than 99 out of 100 times.

For more information about Nextel Direct connect, please visit www.sprint.com/nextel.

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Sprint / Nextel BlackBerry 8350i Officially Announced!


To make a BlackBerry Curve look completely LIKE ASS by making it black with YELLOW TRIM and SILVER SEND/END KEYS?



Oh...And Yeah...Leave it to Sprint to ALSO post a web address in their Press Release that isn't even up yet.

I can't believe someone at CTIA was stupid enough to give the CEO a "Keynote Speaker" role.

your a real dickhead, this is one of the best and I consider it the best looking curves out there. the black and the yellow when it comes to contrast it excellent and what link does not work?

Petty(key term) phone company bashers need to grow the fuck up a color a late phone all very fvcking petty you dont like it go curl up with the phone and the company you are with and fvck it.

so many dumb internet nerd fvcks...

I'm not a fan of Sprint's somewhat lacking "forwardness" phone-wise, and I'm not a fan of what people tell me is their sh*tty customer service -- but I've never had problems so I have no reason to leave. And I've been a customer of Sprint since 1997. Anyway, went to Sprint.com to pay my bill and the Curve is sitting there in plain sight. Am I missing something? Or is it because I'm sitting in Hawaii this week and the 6 hour time difference with the east coast means I'm looking at a site that's gone public technically on 09/11/08? Hmm... Curve looks great to me at less than a hundred bucks...

kind of wondered what you are getting at. I want the curve so I was willing to switch of nextel to sprint now I am glad there are still on backorder in my area. I can gain wifi and 2way which is two features that I can't get on the Sprint version.

DAMN..... I just dumped Nextel for Sprint to get a crackberry curve....now the friggin thing is coming out for Nextel.....GRRRR

But I can't believe it will actually have wifi! Isn't this the very first phone for Sprint with wifi? But on the Nextel side first. Hey, I am happy for all you Iden people who stuck it out to get this sweet phone. But......, I can only imagine how much they will charge. $399 with a two year agreement? $599 straight up?

I am still kickin my own a** if only I'd waited a month longer I'd have my iDEN crackberry with WiFi not the curve I have now....oh well...

Radar One can you post the email you got from Sprint? All indications I am getting is late November. Thanks for any info !

Is this the only curve with BOTH gps and wifi? Is it just me, or is this a larger form-factor then the regular curves? I kind of pisses me off that there is finally a wifi curve for sprint and the nextel users get it. It's good that blackberry finally figured out how to put GPS and WIFI in a curve. If only they had thought of this earlier. This is autonomous GPS, right? Doesn't that mean you don't need service to run GPS?

Thank you for contacting Sprint. I am happy to assist you regarding the
Blackberry 8350i.

The iDEN BlackBerry 8350i combines instant Direct Connect service with
the capabilities of a high-end Smartphone. Convenient for business
customers who need to communicate instantly with employees, customers,
and suppliers.

Following are the key features of this phone:

Nextel Direct Connect
Built in Wi-Fi
Integrated GPS
2.0 megapixel digital camera
BlackBerry 4.6 software

This phone has already gone through many tests. So it will be launched
in market for all the customers now. This phone will be launched in
October 2008. However, the launch date has not been decided yet. Also,
we don't have any information about its price yet.

You can go at http://www.sprint.com/instantconnectBB for additional
information and pre-registration for the BlackBerry 8350i.

Further, I am sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced with
Sprint handset. Please reply with the detailed problem you are facing
with your current handset.

Thank you again for contacting Sprint. We appreciate your business.

Portia K.
Customer Service Specialist

The new Blackberry Curve 8350i has been field tested for the past 2 months. I know as I work for Sprint. This new curve is the bomb. Yes on the IDEN network but it is fast and well worth the wait. RIM just took for ever to get us this new Blackberry. But now it's here. Should be out on the market in November some time. Just no set date as of now. But it is sweet. I talked to several dealers who have been testing it and they are so excited.

Tip for sprint/nextel just bring back a upgraded version of the i930 plzzzzzz. I bet that would bring customers back.

After have a converstation yesterday with sprint there now saying not till the end of the year for posible date before we see it, how much truth there is in that I dont know, I have heard three different dates..Oct,Nov and Now December. I dont know what the rest of you all have seen or heard. well that all i know !

My rep told me the delay is from a trackball problem... apparently the ball sets too low in the device because they did not account for thickness of the phone in the new phone... but they are working on it, and probably Dec 1

I am confused regarding previous posts on which network this new Blackberry will run on...

Is the Nextel network seperate from Sprint network? I figured since they are now one company, it was all the same.

I want this for for the simply fact it has GPS and WiFi. I have no use for the direct-connect feature.

Will I still get the same great coverage as I would I the regular Sprint Network?


Nextel and Sprint are on completely different networks. The company is under one name, but they are still completely separate networkwise. and just as a warning, Sprint does have better coverage in some areas over Nextel, So before you get this phone you may want to check Nextel coverage in your area. Better to be safe than sorry! :)

I am an indirect dealer for Nextel/Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon. I'm taking pre orders for the new Blackberries being released in the next few week. The Blackberry Bold(AT&T), Storm (Verizon)and Curve(Nextel). You can reach me at trampolla@vazcom.net to place your pre order. We service individuals and businesses. Additonal discounts will be available when purchasing through our company. Troy

You can't say one is better than the other, you have to just ask around. I live in an area where Nextel far exceeds Sprint. My husband and I both bought a Sprint phone on the Sprint network and the service was SO bad (even though we BOTH loved our phones and were so unhappy to relinquish them) that we had to return them and go back to the Nextel phones on the Nextel network. Nextel is just a better network in the area where I live. Just ask around. If all else fails, remember, Sprint and Nextel (or shall I say Sprint-Nextel) has a 30 day money back guarantee, no questions asked. You can return the phone in 30 days and go back to your old phone and plan within 30 days and cancel any contracts you signed. That is what I did. My husband just swapped his Sprint phone for a new Nextel phone and stayed under his contract. It works well with that condition. Oh, and I am waiting on the 8350i :).

I've been waiting for this...The first time I even seen a sneek peek of this I WAS I LOVE...I am a die hard nextel customer...been with them before sprint and nextel merged...I am getting one of these.

I have Sprints "Simply unlimited" plan and got rid of my NEXTEL phone for the BB 8330. Now with the 8350 I can use the direct connect on my plan .... Yippee !

I've been with Nextel for 8 yrs and the last year with Sprint. Both are good but Nextel seems to hold on to calls better in low signal areas.

THE BLACKBERRY RELEASE DATE HAS BEEN PUSHED BACK! Sprint just announced that they are pushing the release date of the highly anticipated Blackberry 8350i to December 15th. We are currently taking pre-orders for this handset; to be added or for more information, please contact me directly at cpowell@vazcom.net

I just spoke with a Sprint Customer service rep yesterday and she told me they just got word it would be released tentatively December 1. Just like anticipated. Quit trying to drive your sales by lying.


12/15 is correct...confirmed by my rep. Angry....really? Dude take a chill pill...you aint going to die if you have to wait another 2 weeks. I know it sucks...but it is know reason to be angry at anyone!

I wonder if this new smartphone will have a come with a QR Code reader. Everything I've been reading lately it looks like QR codes are becoming quite mainstream here in the U.S.

Just got off with sprint and was notified that the phone is not coming out till after the first of January. I no longer have a phone due to its malfunctioning and have sent it out this being the 3rd time, so it looks as though i will have to be switching. I figured I would let everyone know the information i just got from sprint.

I called Sprints help line and after about 8 transfers (I asked a technical question about my current phone) I talked to a guy name Rick. Rick told me he has been working for Sprint for about a year and knew a little bit about the 8350i phone. First off he said he got to hold the 8350i for about 5 seconds during a big corporate meeting. He said the meeting was quit transparent. It was organized to boost morale for the Nextel guys in the office and shop. In the meeting they (Sprint executives) claimed that Sprint would be rolling out a working model of the 8350i before the end of August. Since that meeting only his boss's boss got a 8350i. Rick said he keeps it in a locked draw in his office and it has become kind of a office joke. Since Sprint can't get any more 8350i the technical support guys have been training on a computer simulated model. The other day Rick got an inter office memo demanding that there will be no more jokes about the 8350i release date. The joke the memo said were "in poor taste". Well there you go fokes, Sprint has lied to us again. Maybe there will be phones available by 12/15/08 but probably not. For all those who doubt me - I remember months before the instinct came out Sprint had posters, fliers, and plastic mock up models - DO YOU REMEMBER? I haven't seen any fliers or mock ups of the 8350i, I wonder why?

Enough is enough!

Patience is one thing but I think its time to switch to another carrier that already has the newer Blackberry or an even better communications device for serious business users trying to grab any advantage we can out there.

I am switching all 63 of our phones next week if this is true and its now moved to January 2009. Fool me once... Fool me twice... fool me ...... I don't care about the cancellation fees. It will be worth it!

Here is what's really going on for everyone to know the truth. I am also an indirect dealer for sprint/nextel. In our newest "playbook" there are two release dates. December 15th is for direct ship only, meaning they can only be ordered through a store or online. The official full launch date is january 11th,2009 in stores.
Also, DO NOT rely on customer care to give you actual launch dates, all they do is help with bills and other usless info. Get up and go to a store and talk to a sales rep that actually sells the stuff and can help you better.
So there u have it!!!
12/15-direct ship launch
01/11-official in store release

Please let me Know ASAP when 8350i BlackBerry Curve will be available I would like to get the Company on board. This looks like the perfect fit for the office & field.
Thanks Pat.



Yes!!! Sprint emailed me the tracking number for my new nextel blackberry!! It is 1.5 hours from my house as we speak. What is wierd is that the new phone still doesn't show up on Sprint's site to order...but the stores can.

The long awaited Blackberry 8350i is available for ordering on the Sprint Nextel Website. All doubt that it would be released today is over. Too bad it wasn't sooner. I can't wait to get my hands on one. Just ordered this morning.

Ours will be in on Wednesday. Anybody else been able to get their hands on one yet? I hope that this thing is as good as all the hype suggests it will be.

We got all our pre orders in our store, but they are gone. They are pretty badass. And they run off os 4.6 which is sweeeet!

received three units today...went to swap them in...all three units could not read the SIMS! Our account rep tells me that this is a nationwide issue. NOT A GOOD START!

Did you get this resolve? I bought a new 8530i nextel phone and place my old sim card in, it give me an error when I try to make an outgoing call. "Sorry, only emergency calls are allowed?" But I was able to receive incoming call with no problem. I also notice that it pick up my phone number but keep telling I need to place a sim card. Any idea, much appreciated! Andy

I have the Nextel 8350i, and it is by far the BEST nextel out there. I have had the 8330 Curver from sprint and hands down the 8350i is the last phone i will ever need to buy!!!!! call me if you need to know anything about it at (704) 902-5825 or text!!!!!!!!!!!!

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