Research In Motion's upcoming BlackBerry 10 device will be ultra-slim and somewhat narrow, with a wide touch screen and rounded edges.
At least, that's according to a leaked presentation slide posted on the BlackBerry-enthusiast blog CrackBerry, which didn't name its source for the information. "We're hearing that both TI OMAP5 and Qualcomm chipsets are being tested (1.5GHz dual core processors)," added the Jan. 31 posting. "If we look ahead by looking at BlackBerry history, it could be that Qualcomm is for the CDMA carriers."
In November, The Verge posted an image of what it claimed was a BlackBerry 10 device in development. It had a silver frame and sharp edges, which in turn represented a significant deviation from RIM's usual design language, which tends to emphasize black plastic and softer curves. The image posted by CrackBerry is much more representative of the company's overall design ethos.
RIM is betting heavily that BlackBerry 10, supposedly due in the second half of 2012, will prove a tougher competitor in the increasingly crowded smartphone market. RIM's current BlackBerry devices have failed to prevent the company's U.S. market share from sliding in the face of aggressive competition from Apple's iPhone and the growing family of Google Android smartphones. A renewed push by Microsoft's Windows Phone could also complicate the environment for RIM in 2012.
RIM's first smartphone running BlackBerry 10, reportedly codenamed London, has been in the works for some time. In the post accompanying the slide, CrackBerry described the device on view as "a phonified BlackBerry PlayBook, featuring the rounded corners and all-black look of RIM's first tablet." Whether one agrees with that assessment (those smooth edges and black plastic frame also beg comparison to a number of smartphones already on the market), the link between any BlackBerry 10 device and the PlayBook is more than cosmetic: both the tablet and the upcoming smartphones rely on a QNX-based operating system.
In a Jan. 10 interview with eWEEK, Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations and ecosystem development, suggested that those developers working with HTML5 and WebWorks to create apps for the PlayBook will have relatively little trouble porting those apps to BlackBerry 10, once the later hits the market. "You may need to make some tweaks, but your code base is preserved," he said.
In light of that, RIM has been encouraging developers to create apps for the PlayBook platform, hoping that will parlay into a more robust app ecosystem for upcoming BlackBery 10 devices. That push comes despite anemic sales for the tablet. RIM hopes that its PlayBook OS 2.0 software update, due sometime in February, will encourage consumers and businesses to take a second look at the tablet and its potential.