The Motorola Rokr once proved that people love a flip phone, and according to Research In Motion, more than 100 million Americans still flip to chat. For those fans of the form factor, RIM is introducing the BlackBerry Style 9670, a rounded-edged flip phone that will come in Steel Gray or Royal Purple (think grape Lifesavers) exclusively on the Sprint network, beginning Oct. 31.
Sound like your bag? On Oct. 19, you can reserve a Style on the Sprint site. With a two-year agreement, expect to pay $100 after a $50 instant rebate and a $100 mail-in one.
RIM hasn't offered exact specs on the Style, but there's a display on the outside, so one can check the time and incoming calls and messages without opening the phone. On the inside, a larger, higher-resolution display is paired with a full QWERTY keypad and an optical trackpad for navigating the device. The operating system, as on the BlackBerry Torch, is RIM's newly redesigned BlackBerry 6.
"The beautiful and compact flip form factor on the BlackBerry Style smartphone makes it quite unique within the BlackBerry lineup," Fared Adib, Sprint's vice president of product development, said in a statement. "Customers will appreciate that the flip form factor is extremely easy to use for calls, and with a full QWERTY keyboard, it provides the same attractive features enthusiasts have come to expect from their smartphone."
As is expected from RIM, there's support for e-mail, Web browsing, messaging and chatting over BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), WiFi connectivity and an SD slot for 32GB of additional storage. There's also a 5-megapixel camera with flash and video recording, and GPS for geo-tagging images or pairing with location-based apps.
RIM says it has also expanded messaging capabilities on the Style, to simplify the management of social-networking apps and RSS feeds, and that Twitter, Facebook, BBM and MySpace, among other apps, all come preinstalled.
Thanks to the BlackBerry 6 OS, users can also expect a WebKit-based browser that renders pages in a quicker, prettier, more laptop-like way.
"The flip form factor appeals to a very distinct but sizable set of consumers in the U.S., and we're pleased to work with Sprint to bring this unique new BlackBerry smartphone to their customers," David J. Smith, RIM vice president of product management, said in a statement.
Interested in BlackBerry 6? From Oct. 26-28, Sprint will hold its 10th annual developer conference in Santa Clara, Calif. The event is open to everyone and will include information on developing for BlackBerry 6. Take note, however, that eventually RIM will guide all of its devices over to an OS based on QNX technology. Its first QNX-running device will be the PlayBook tablet, which is expected to arrive in early 2011.