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Old 10-04-2004, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default [10-04-2004] BlackBerry, Bluetooth Miss a Shot

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BlackBerrys and Bluetooth share an embarrassing trait -- these two uses of wireless technology have remained stubbornly irrelevant to many mainstream users, despite the benefits they might offer and the hype they often get in the press.

Many busy executives have become utterly dependent on the always-on e-mail access provided by Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry handhelds, but these devices' high costs and business-oriented features haven't constituted an attractive bundle for people who mostly use their cell phones to talk.

In a similar manner, Bluetooth has drawn a fervent following among enthusiasts who use it to link their phones to headsets, computers and even cars -- but it has remained invisible to customers of the nation's largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, which until recently did not carry a single Bluetooth phone.

These two technologies, however, just got another shot at breaking out into the mass market. RIM's new BlackBerry 7100 is the first BlackBerry that looks and acts more like a phone than a palm-sized computer, thanks to a crafty little keypad that works for both dialing numbers and entering text. Motorola's V710, meanwhile, finally brings Bluetooth to Verizon customers -- along with such high-end features as a built-in camera, camcorder and MP3 player.