BT unveils "Blackberry for consumers"

BT is trying to introduce consumers to the delights of Blackberry-style mobile email and web access.

Dubbed BT Total Broadband Anywhere, the service provides the company's broadband customers with a "free" HTC Windows Mobile smartphone to take outside of the home.

The smartphone will hook up to any BT Wi-Fi hotspot - including 80,000 BT FON hotspots - to make calls, download emails or surf the web. When outside of a hotspot zone, the smartphone reverts to dawdling GPRS on the Vodafone network.

BT is attempting to play-up the simplicity of the device, claiming that it is simple for users to synchronise their BT email, VoIP telephone service and calendar. "This is not a niche play," Warren Buckley, BT's group director of mobile and convergence told PC Pro at this afternoon's launch event. "Having email and calendar access is not something consumers are used to. In testing, that was something consumers were very attracted to."

View: PC Pro

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So what exactly is BT offering apart from a "free" HTC Phone? You can do any of that stuff on just about ANY Windows Mobile device, so I don't really see what makes this special, apart from locking you into a terrible broadband service.