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New BlackBerry Smartphone Includes FM

Model 9320 battery might provide up to 30 hours of radio listening

Research In Motion introduced the BlackBerry Curve 9320 smartphone that includes built-in FM radio.

The feature, says the Ontario-based company, allows users to listen to local radio stations using headphones. RIM emphasizes that radio listening does not require a data plan or use data services.

The news comes on the heels of a study conducted for NAB that finds that four out of five adults who own a cellphone would consider paying a small, one-time fee to hear FM on their device.

Designed to allow both 3G connectivity and long battery life, customers can get up to seven hours of talk time or up to 30 hours of FM radio listening or music playback with headphones, according to RIM.

The new model will be popular with customers upgrading to their first smartphone, as well as current BlackBerry users looking for more functionality, predicts RIM EVP, Smartphone Business Carlo Chiarello.

The 9360 and 9380 models, showcased earlier this year at CES, also feature built-in FM.

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 comes with the new BlackBerry 7.1 OS, which supports features such as mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi calling where available.

Pricing and availability are to be announced.