It’s not exactly news that RIM has had a terrible year – we documented many of its woes last week, when RIM’s share value fell below an important milestone, signifying a loss of confidence in the company among investors, following a clear loss of interest in the company’s product among consumers.
New product is what’s desperately needed, and The Verge has got its hands on an image purporting to show exactly that – a next-generation BlackBerry handset.
The device has a full touchscreen interface with no hardware keyboard, and is reportedly equipped with a dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP processor, along with 16GB of built-in storage and 1GB of RAM. The handset is claimed to be “thinner than the iPhone 4”, and around the same size as a Galaxy S II, with an 8MP camera round the back, and a 2MP camera up front.
Codenamed “London”, the handset is pictured with an OS similar to that of the PlayBook tablet, suggesting that it has the PlayBook’s QNX operating system on board. It’s possible, however, that this is actually the recently announced BBX OS; The Verge notes that some elements including icons and colouration differ from those found on existing QNX builds. However, the image seen here was apparently of a dummy model, so these inconsistencies may not necessarily support the BBX theory.
RIM BlackBerry Porsche Design P9981. Image source: Pocket-lint
Clearly, the London bears a clear resemblance to the BlackBerry Porsche Design P9981 that RIM revealed recently, which suggests that RIM may be adopting this design language for its broader BlackBerry portfolio. The P9981 is available now with BlackBerry OS 7, and its unique hardware design is essentially all that justifies its enormous price tag (£2,000 GBP in the UK - the equivalent of $3,200 USD / €2,300 EUR).
It's worth considering the possibility that details of the London handset could well have been leaked by RIM itself. Given the company's current situation, leaking pictures and information about its upcoming product (even if that product is months away from going on sale) does shift the media focus away from the perilous condition of RIM's business, and helps to present a positive front towards investors and potential buyers.
This is speculation, of course - but these are desperate times for RIM; such desperate measures might just help it to keep its head above the water until its new product is ready to go on sale.
Update: BGR has spoken to a 'trusted source' claiming that the image of the BlackBerry London is accurate, and that this device will be BlackBerry's first BBX phone. It replaces another device - the Colt - which was expected to look like a 'mini PlayBook'; that handset has now been binned in favour of the London. Clearly RIM has decided to cast aside the utterly forgettable looks of the PlayBook in favour of something a bit more distinctive - although the wisdom of that choice is debatable, given the slightly awkward new design language of the devices shown on this page.
The source expects the device to launch in Q3 2012 - but BGR itself issues a reminder that can't be repeated often enough: RIM still hasn't got its own BES and BBM services working on BBX, so it really is anyone's guess as to when this thing will arrive.