Embattled mobile phone maker Research in Motion (RIM) has unveiled the latest of its new generation of smartphones based on the BlackBerry 7 OS, unwittingly picking a period of great upheaval in the mobile device world to do so.
RIM launched the top-end Bold and the large-screen Torch ranges with BlackBerry 7 at the start of this month and now it's the turn of the lower-specced Curve family. Specifically this means the 9350, 9360 and 9370, which only seem to differ by minor increments such as storage.
"These new models will build on the incredible success of the BlackBerry Curve line and further expand the largest global launch of BlackBerry smartphones in our history," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at RIM. "The new BlackBerry Curve smartphones are absolutely stunning and offer a significant performance upgrade with an unmatched mobile social experience for the millions of feature phone users in the market as well as our existing Curve customers."
Vodafone and 3 have wasted little time in pinging out press releases announcing the imminent arrival of new Curves - in both cases going for the 9360 - but neither have committed to dates or tariffs. Vodafone even made a vid, which you can see below.
The BlackBerry 7 generation of handsets comes with some pretty major baggage, however. Firstly they arrived a fair bit later than originally expected. The consequences of this delay were made all the more severe by the rapid evolution of the rest of the market, with top-end phones becoming obsolete within months.
The other major issue surrounding BlackBerry 7 is QNX - RIM's brand new mobile platform - which is being positioned as the one to get it back in the smartphone game, and which made its debut in the PlayBook tablet. RIM has to convince everyone to invest in BlackBerry 7 when it's set to be made obsolete within a year. This is a not dissimilar problem Nokia faces when it launches a new Symbian phone, and we've all seen how that's playing out.